Friday, January 05, 2007

Hatchet instructions

Had a weird phone conversation today with someone I used to work with and have determined this: I am not good on the phone. I do not "chit chat".

Now, if you're my friend and you want to talk - to really have a conversation - I'm all over it. I'm involved and active and interested. If you call up and chit chit, taking many minutes to expound upon the weather, I'm calling that chit chat and will probably itch to get off the phone. Unless the weather is crazy like tornadoes or mud slides or blizzards.

I'd also like to point out that my not being good on the phone extends to calling people on a regular basis. I don't even call my mother on a regular basis (and I love my mom), so if you're a friend of mine, you'll need to accept the fact that while I do love you, I won't be calling you any more frequently than I call my mom. That it doesn't mean that anything is wrong, or that I'm mad at you or anything like that. It just means I just don't call people regularly because of Item the First. I don't like to chit chat.

Related to the concept that Not Calling does not equal Does Not Care, is the concept of Greeting Cards. I don't send Greeting Cards. The Greeting Card Industry has spent a great deal of time and money on advertising to convince you that cards are necessary for every single event, significant or otherwise, that occurs in the human life. Hell, they made up Secretary's Day and massively cashed in on Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc.! To do what? Sell cards. So in general, I don't send or buy cards for people. Xmas cards I make on my own, so it doesn't involve third parties (other than Michael's). So for your birthday/anniversary/new job I won't remember to send you a card. I, personally, don't expect anyone to remember my birthday other than my mom and Eric, so that leaves you off the hook, too!

This is how it usually works: I will remember that your birthday is coming up a week ahead of time and will make a mental note to myself that I should call you. Then, the day before, I remember again. The day of your birthday, I've probably remembered that I should call you while I'm in the shower, but this tends to be an inappropriate time to call most people, so I'll wait until later. Next thing you know, the day has been spent on whatever it is that I do throughout it and all thoughts of your birthday (or other significant event) have been blown out of my brain (by tantrums, most likely). The end of the day rolls around and I'll suddenly remember that it's your special day while I'm brushing my teeth at 11:30 pm. This leads me to forehead smacking and recognizing that it's not a good time to call you, especially if you are in a different timezone than I am. This is why I call you the very next day for a sheepish and silly conversation.

And yes, I do have your birthday on my calendar!

On playing The I'm Fine Game: If you have a problem with me, you're going to have to come straight out and tell me. This is something I've learned from Eric and from reading Your Erroneous Zones. It's all about not accepting guilt from other people. Eric cracked me up when we were first dating, when he told me of ex-girlfriends that would tell him "I'm Fine", when clearly they were not and he would take them at face value. The idea was that if they were going to lie just so that they could feel emotionally wounded was not going to ruffle his feathers any. To this day, I don't play that game. If I have a problem with Eric, I may tell him "I'm mad at you.", but then I will think on it until I come to the full understanding of what exactly it is that I am mad about and then we'll talk about it. So if you're mad at me, you're going to have to spell it out, otherwise I'm not going to know or pursue you in a paranoid frenzy that I've wronged you somehow.

I mean, if you're mad at me and you can't verbalize why, how am I supposed to do any better?

On Collecting Stamps: I don't Collect Stamps, or try not to at any rate. What do I mean by this?

It was an expression I learned in a Project Management course when working for The Man (back when projects I managed involved more than just my immediate family) . Emotional stamp collecting was when, for example, someone would do something to irritate you and instead of broaching the subject and getting the issue out into the air and resolved, you'd let it slide. And be irritated. Several such things would occur, you would begin to seethe until one day, you'd finally have had enough and then you cash in your page (or even book!) of stamps (ala Green Stamps). Then: POW! You explode all over the person for a single final infraction which in no way deserved that level of anger. The other person is left confused, defensive and angry.

Finally, don't hit me. I don't care if you think you're being funny or cute or whatever. Don't hit me. I don't like it. I don't do it to you. You don't get to do it to me and then depend on my social skills to keep me from hitting you back. This is not how grown ups who respect one another treat each other with respect.

Capite? Buon.

Ciao!

6 comments:

UneremployedNama said...

Tracy, I love the "stamp collecting" notion. I know what it is, I've done it myself, but I've never heard the term. Lovely.
I hope you're not as stir-crazy as I am. Our streets are still in vile condition & it's difficult to GET OUT! I made it to a Viewing (i.e., a rosary for a friend to died) on Thursday, but missed the actual funeral due to MORE SNOW and other considerations. Blah. All right, I'm nattering on. Have you had any ideas re: rewards for outrageous parenting stories? Me, neither. More later. --Yvonne

Woman with a Hatchet said...

It took us TWO HOURS to dig our our driveway (the massive skiing slope that it is on a good day), both sides of it, the stairs, front walk and the 10 feet to the street from the base of our driveway.

We've watched the trash people come and go and still NOT PICK UP our recycling or our trash. They are SO on my shit list right now! Argh!

I've also watched the city plow come by and clean up our intersection corner but NOT scrape up the 10 feet of snow that goes from the sidewalk to the drive-able part of the street. There's no parking anywhere.

Oh and school was closed yesterday too.

Scylla said...

You are all going to hate me when I tell you we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather, in the low to mid 70's, and sunshine. Oddly, I would rather be in the snow with you all than here in the warm, but I can't for another 6 days.

I am with you on the communication thing. I expect people to be friends in the truest sense, and part of that is understanding that life is busy and insane. If our friendship can't survive a month of no phone calls, it is too high maintanence for me. I don't manufacture ill will when I don't talk to people, I am shocked and in awe when people remember my birthday, and I rarely if ever remember theirs.

I don't see why friends should make their lives harder by requiring a certain level of contact. If you want to talk to me, you will call, and if not, I will assume that there is nothing horribly wrong with your life, or our friendship. If I really want to talk to you, I will call, otherwise, there is little going on.

Besides, I get to read up on you all the time, which helps immensely.

One of the reasons I have surrounded myself with you, and others like you, is that I can't have friendships with people who require me to be more maintaining than I am capable of being. I don't do guilt for failure to maintain, and like you, I expect people to tell me when they are angry with me.

We make a good team, please promise me you will never imagine I am upset with you for having a busy and interesting life that precludes you from calling me for mindless chit chat on a regular basis. I would love it if you would count me among people who will never be mad at you for having a life!

I love you!!

Katie H. said...

Hey it's Katie. I'm a friend of Misty's from law school. I met you once or twice. Anyways, I found your blog from her website and I've become a reader of it because you have lots of interesting stuff to say.

I'm totally not offended by rarely talking on the phone. I don't particularly enjoy talking on the phone. So I'm fine with friendships that don't involve long phone conversations.

I also totally hear you about the "I'm fine" thing. I don't do emotional dishonesty. If you can't be honest with me about negative feelings that you have toward me, then there isn't much point on being friends because I'm going to keep upsetting you and have no idea I'm upsetting you.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Oh Misty, I love you too! *sniffle*

Kate put it best: My emotional bank account is overdrawn dealing with Caitlin on a day to day basis.

Hi Katie H! Thanks for coming by! Remind me it's you when next we meet at one of the many Misty galas, OK? Thanks for the compliment. I try to have something interesting to say now and again. Heh!

Wish said...

My emotional bank account tells me that it has insufficient funds some days haha.

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