Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I’m not much of a people person. I’m okay with that. I could spend days upon days alone, not speaking to or seeing anyone and be perfectly content. I live inside my head a lot. I think more than I speak. I don’t do small talk. I would rather phone than visit. I would rather email than phone. I would rather stay home than go out. I would rather sit in my backyard than go on vacation. It’s a wonder I have a husband and friends. But, I have a blog, so I can’t be a total social dud.

There are just so many ways to be connected. The students around here are in constant contact with each other and, for many, with their parents. I had to make a “no cell phones” rule to keep them from chatting on the phone/texting while I was paying them to work. MSN messenger is not allowed on the office computers. I think it’s crazy that I have to explain to them why this is inappropriate. Why do they need to be so connected?

I’m sure I’m just showing my age, but here are some things I could definitely live without:

Cell phone: I now have one because my husband insisted. Two people have my number: my husband and my assistant at work. I don’t even know the number (I have to look it up on the phone, if I can remember how). Right now, it’s sitting on the kitchen counter. I am sitting at my desk at work. When I get home, there will no doubt be a message from Homer saying, “WHY DO YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE IF YOU NEVER HAVE IT WITH YOU?” Why, indeed.

Facebook: Even though I swore I would never have an account, I do. I mostly signed up because I was missing invitations to events, etc. because everyone (including MY PARENTS) is on Facebook. I used my maiden name and set my privacy settings so no one at work (i.e. students) would find me, but hadn’t counted on gooby guy that I rarely talked to in high school wanting me to be his friend. Many of my cousins are friends, which is fine, but I find I don’t really care that they “had a great time at Sherry’s party”. So, now I rarely look at it and I’m still missing the invitations.

Twitter: I guess it’s the “I don’t do small talk” thing, but I still don’t get Twitter. I’m on it, but don’t post anything, rarely respond to anyone who has posted and… yeah, I just don’t get it.

What about you? Do you like to be super-connected to the world, or are you content to unplug and miss some of the chatter?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sore losers

Lisa has a couple of girls in her soccer league that are real brats. They gloat when their team wins; they scowl, kick things and blame team-mates with their team loses. Their parents sometimes try to reign in their behaviour, but more often than not, these kids’ attitudes are chalked up to “intense personalities” or “fiercely competitive”. You probably know how I would cure these brats, but I’ll tell you anyway: I would not let them play. It would start with pulling them from one game, but if they kept it up, they would be pulled from the season.

I think all kids want to win. Each of my kids has cried because they have not won a board game or a round of checkers. The first time it happens, they get a talk about being a sore loser. The second time it happens, we stop including that kid in the game. It doesn’t take much to train them to be good sports.

It’s a valuable life lesson that not everyone learns. I’ve had encounters with the following grown-up sore losers just in the last year:

*A medical professional in his mid-40’s vying for retail space on campus who low-balled his rent offer and was not granted the space. He thought it was unfair that I didn’t inform him that his offer was lower than the winning bid so he could adjust his offer. There was yelling involved (by him – I’m not a yeller).

*A job candidate in his mid-20’s who was turned down for the position. I spent about 10 minutes with him by phone talking about his interview and offering tips and advice for future interviews. That night (when he knew I wouldn’t be in the office to answer the phone) he left me a voicemail message telling me that I had made a misinformed decision, one that I would surely regret. He added that I shouldn’t come begging him to take the job when my candidate of choice failed to pan out. No problem.

*A furniture salesperson in her early 50’s who has been given over $200,000 of business from me in the past 3 years, but missed the mark and was not awarded a recent contract worth about $45,000. She criticized the competition’s product, questioned my ability to recognize quality merchandise and implied that I owed her something because of all of the work she had done for me in the past.

Not surprisingly, I treat these adult poor sports the same way I treat the kids: they don’t get to play anymore. The next time there is available retail space, medical guy will not be invited to bid. Job candidate guy will never work anywhere near me. And the furniture lady? I called the company’s owner and asked for a different rep… she will not get another cent of commission from me. Their parents really should have beat them at checkers more often.