Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Communications 101

Welcome! You've recently enrolled in Communications 101. Our objective, in this class, is to show what not to say when communicating with people. To help drive this points home, I'll be sharing a real life scenario, they may have occured this past weekend.

Let's get some back story established for this scenario. Being the age of 28 and single, people like to set me up on dates. Misty* is a coworker who asked if she could give my number to her neighbor, T-Dogg*, and I told her that would be fine. T-Dogg sent me a text a few days ago (I'm not a huge fan of first introductions over text, but that may be a whole other post on my issues with texting) and we exchanged a few texts back and forth. He called me later that night, but I was at dinner with my friend and missed the call. I sent him a brief text explaining where I was and that I may not be able to call him back till later. By the time my friend and I were done, he had called again, but when I noticed the missed call it was late so I didn't return the call. The next morning I tried calling him, but he wasn't available. T-Dogg sent me a text saying he understood my dilema the other night and that he'd try me again. Well he never did. Normally I would just count this as a loss and move on, but since he was a set up of a friend and he had tried to call me twice, the least I could do was call him one more time and make another effort.

I called him Sunday night and here's what happened. (majority of you may not be shocked by what happens here - this is just my luck)

T-Dogg: Hello?
Me: Hi, T-Dogg? This is Erin - Misty's friend.
T-Dogg: Who?
Me: Erin. Erin Johnson.
T-Dogg: I don't know an Erin.
Me: Misty gave you my number and we've texted a few times and we've played phone tag for a while.
T-Dogg: ... hmm... oh, Erin! Yeah okay. Sorry, I forgot who you were.

Well, I'm dying of embarrassment at this point. I just called a guy who forgot about me!

Erin: (clearing throat and trying to muster up whatever self-esteem is left laying on the floor) Have I caught you at a bad time? Can you talk right now?
T-Dogg: Oh yeah, now is fine.

So we make small talk. He tells me he's working on a christmas gift for his dad and i start to ask him another question when he says:

T-Dogg: You know what, I'm really busy right now. Can I call you later, tonight?
Me: Oh, sure. No problem.

I run downstairs and begin sharing with Michelle what's just happened. I tell her how I just called this boy, who I've been "talking" to for a few days, and he has no idea who I am. How I called him and had to explain to him  how he knows me. I go off and say things like "How can someone send you handfuls of texts, call you 2 or 3 times and two days later have no clue who you are?!" "Are you that busy of a dating fool that you can't keep your girls straight?" "Who tells someone 'oh yeah, I'm not busy, let's chat' and then ten minutes later they are too busy to talk? Why can't he just say 'I'm no longer interested'?"

After this small rant, T-Dogg sends me a text that says:
"hahaha you just butt dialed me and you so didn't know. i liked your conversation with your roomie"

Yup! Somehow along the way from my room to the downstairs I had called him and he heard everything I said. I even made Michelle go upstairs in her room and I called her and left my phone on the couch and recreated the conversation. She came down and informed me that minus the echo, she could hear everything!  I'm mortified and feel like a fool! This is just my luck -which is no luck. I have no luck in several areas, and dating is one of them. After a good five minutes of freaking out, I sent him a text apologizing for what happened and he graciously accepted it. T-Dogg then started texting me and all I could think was "Wait. Aren't you too busy to talk? How do you now have time to text?"

About two hours later he asked me if he could call me and I said yes. He called and I again apologized for what I said - even though I don't think I said anything way mean or inappropriate - and he said not to worry about it that it's a crazy situation. I explained to him that being set-up isn't crazy; however overhearing a conversation you weren't meant to is a crazy situation. So I start asking him a few questions and then I decide - hey, he called me, let him ask a few.  That wasn't a great idea. We sat in silence for 15 seconds (which is like ten minutes in silence when face-to-face with someone).

I started asking questions again and he started mumbling so I had to ask him about 10 times to repeat what he was saying.  I learned he was a baker and then I learned he has to be up by 4 am. I made a comment about how early that was and that I was shocked he'd be up still at 11 pm. Suddenly he replies "Yeah, it's early, so I better go. Well it was nice talking to you and you know what - I can guarantee you'll hear from me again." I just say "Oh, ok then. Goodbye."

So what have we learned?
1- Don't forget the names of people you are talking to.
2- Always lock your phone and avoid accidently calling people and then talk about them while they hear everything.
3- When calling someone, be sure to initiate some conversation and don't leave it up to the one person.
4- Don't mumble. No one likes a mumbler.

Thank you for your attendance.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent, not so innocent, fools and mumblers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yes, it really happened

Two good friends begged me to share this incident*, so here it is. Please, don't judge me.

Sometimes late at night, I find myself starting the most pointless projects - organizing closet, cleaning out the 'junk drawer' in my nightstand, dusting, organzing my book case, etc. This night I was trying to glue my glasses case back together. I had some super glue, a napkin and my glasses case all lined up ready to put back together - this all started around midnight or so. I open the glue and start putting it in one section of the case. I screw the lid back on the glue and hold down the case for about two minutes to make sure it sticks. I take my hand off and so far the lid is sticking. I unscrew the glue lid again and start squeezing out more glue, but nothing is coming this time. I hold it upside down for a bit and squeeze harder, still nothing. The cap is still in my right hand, and the tube is in my left hand. I screw the lid on and go to move the case when I realize my right hand won't let go of the lid. I yank and it doesn't even budge - not even a wiggle! I try release my left hand - nope, it's sealed to the tube. My hands are stuck to a tube, it's midnight, I'm in the basement, all alone and I don't really know what to do.

I unscrew the lid so at least my hands are somewhat free. I panic and find the carton for the glue to read what happens when it makes contact with skin. Well, no shocker here, but it's highly discouraged to let super glue touch your skin - "May cause irritation and rash". I just sigh and think about what I can do. I decide that warm, soapy water is my best bet to help relax the glue. I run to the bathroom and go to turn on the water, but then realize that my hands aren't really in the best position to be moving things, like faucets. My right hand is stuck as follows: My thumb and pointer finger are stuck to the lid and my middle finger is glued to the pointer finger and they are stuck in a claw-like position. My left hand has the tube stuck the same fingers, but it's running along the inside of my hand. Glue also spread to my ring finger and pinky and they are in a claw like position as well. I soon realize that I can't get my hands around the faucet and turn them - my solution is to go upstairs and use the sink where all you have to do is lift the lever to turn the water on.

I tip-toe upstairs, get the water running and then realize my next dilema - get a bowl down from the cupboard so I can soak my hands. I basically have 3-pronged claw hands and simple tasks are seeming impossible right now. I open the cupboard and then proceed to do this scoop and lift thing so I can basically knock the bowl out out and hopefully catch it. After a few attempts I get the bowl out, put some warm water in it, and then head downstairs so I can do the soaking down there. Getting water soapy when you don't have hands, is a bit tricky, so I decided to just throw in a bar of soap and let it soak and in-turn make the water soapy. I get my hands in the bowl and after ten minutes the tube and the lid finally wiggle loose and fall off; my fingers, however, are still glued together. I keep soaking them and keep trying to free them, but when I try, I just feel my skin tearing, and it really hurts. Every ten minutes I have to add more warm water, but I'm able to use the faucet downstairs now that the glue tube and lid isn't stuck to my hand. I repeat this process for about an hour, and finally my middle finger, on both hands, is freed. It's bright red, hurts a bit, but it's free!  I decide to just soak one hand at a time and this proves to be a better idea. My left hand is finally free and I can use it to help my right hand.

I lather up soap as best I can and just massage my fingers hoping the glue will give way soon. The soap is really stinging my left hand, and I'm starting to wonder at what point I can wake my parents and ask for help - but then I realize how crazy that sounds and I just keep working at it. Thirty minutes later I feel my fingers start to wiggle and then it's a matter of just working more soap in. FINALLY - my hands are free.  As I examine them, I notice that they are bright red, some skin is missing and red blotchy marks are all over my hand.  I washed them a few more times to make sure the glue is completely rinsed and I'm nearly brought to tears from how bad it hurts to have hot water and soap touch them. I manage to get some bandaids and ointment on them - took me almost another 30 minutes cause it hurt to bend my fingers - and I finally go to bed.

In the morning my hands are still aching; washing and doing my hair was a bit difficult, and I just stare at the mess in the bathroom as I remember everything that happened that night. I eventually shared the story with my mom - who just laughed and shook her head, and then my friends who rolled with laughter and to this day still ridicule me. Sometimes they hold their hands up in a claw-like manner and try to pick things up. I may need new friends... or I need to stop doing dumb things...

*There's a whole other piece to this story, but it's a bit... gross and potentially offensive to some. If you really want to hear it, ask me in person.