Here's how I was originally going to open this post:
Long-time readers may have noticed that this post is coming a day earlier than usual. Really long-time readers may have noticed that back in the day there was, in fact, no set schedule, and that such a schedule was necessitated by my increased busy-ness shortly after last semester started. This subversion of the schedule has in turn been necessitated by me working from ten to six tomorrow and not being able to access a computer after that hour. Normally I won't have to work on Saturdays but I had to miss some hours for my finals and I'm supposed to make them up. So I'll be calling verbally abusive normal people instead of passive aggressive businesspeople, but that will be compensated for by getting to work on a different project for a while. This current project is basically the hardest and worst one because no one wants to cooperate, and I made the mistake of performing too well for a new guy and getting left on it. When more people were put on it, part of me thought "You poor souls" but another part of me thought "Yay, now I'm less alone in my misery!"
But there's no need to open this post like that anymore because that shift isn't currently busy enough for me to do anything, so I got the day off and it still counts as having made up my missed shift. I'm not sure if that means I'm still getting paid, but I'm so happy I don't even care. Now here is how I was going to continue this post:
The environment definitely takes some getting used to, as it's far more structured than my old job, where sometimes even the boss would stop me just to chat about casual stuff for fifteen minutes. I didn't even have a set schedule, and just came in whenever I wanted and worked for however long I wanted. It was quite chill. This company bills other companies by the hour, so it has very strict rules, for example, about how many breaks one can take, and when, and for how long, and the secretary has to be notified about them. I think once I'm acclimated to that, and move on to a better project, things will be better. I may also get transferred to a different position because I can type ninety plus words a minute. I usually don't, with this blog or with my novel or anything, because my brain doesn't even work that fast. But this would just be copying what other people say. Fingers crossed.
Last week I compared job searching to dating, which was not meant as a compliment to either of them, but I ought to have mentioned in fairness that there are at least a few key differences. For example, in job searching it is usually illegal to discriminate based on disabilities. For that reason I considered listing autism on my resume, in case it prompted potential employers to worry about being sued if they rejected me for not having interpersonal skills. Fortunately that wasn't necessary this time. In dating, by contrast, people make no attempt to hide their discrimination against disabled people, especially blind people. I hear it all the time; some girl says "I hate blind dates" and all the other girls agree with her. This job is also similar to dating, actually, not just in vague terms of rejection and futility but in many of the actual words used. "I'm not interested." "I'm too busy." "Take me off your list." And so on. The difference is that in the job we're supposed to persist whenever possible and it isn't considered harassment. Not by us, anyway.
There were a few highlights though -
Having donuts in the break room on Thursday and commiserating with a couple coworkers. One offered this philosophy for dealing with the current project: "I just try not to complain even though it sucks beyond belief."
The coworker who, when next to me, occasionally comments to me between calls, and I just smile back because I'm afraid of getting in trouble.
When Jill [pseudonym] muttered a barrage of profanity as soon as she got off the phone.
The Walt Disney receptionist who told me to "Have a magical day!"
The State Farm receptionist who was so absurdly friendly that I regret not getting her name and telling her supervisor she deserves a raise.
When Jill happily sang "I can't wait to go on vacation" as soon as she got off the phone.
The female receptionist named Tyler. From 1993 to 2015 I never met a female named Tyler, and now in the first half of 2016 I've met two. I thought the first one just had "creative" parents.
I realized that if I made a paradigm shift and pretended it was my job to annoy people, I would become satisfied when they were rude to me instead of feeling sad. It worked.
When Jill flipped out as soon as she got off the phone: "People act like I'm stalking them when I ask for their name for verification. I'm not gonna keep calling you. I'm not gonna come to your house. I'm not gonna take you for a long walk on the beach."
On the one survey that I completed one day, the lady said she needed to get back to work and I was doing my best to hurry along. So as soon as we completed the last question I was about to tell her we had completed the last question, but before I could she said with palpable happiness, "Now ask us how many years we've been in business." And I asked, "How many years have you been in business?" And she said, "Thirty-seven years!" And I said, sincerely, "Wow, congratulations, I hope you remain in business for many years to come!" And she said, "My daughter and my granddaughter work here with me." And then I had to steer us back on course and tell her the survey was over, but wow, that was a great human connection.
"Thank you for calling Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum." Ohmygosh, it was like meeting my favorite comedian.
When Jill took the Lord's name in vain while she was still on the phone, because a very close thunderclap startled her.
USU graduation was today and, for the first time in my five years here, I bothered to go because Bracelets was graduating. I wanted to see her for possibly the last time ever, but the occasion was pretty much ruined by the presence of her serial adulterer father. I met a guy once who I knew abused his wife and daughter, and my fantasies about rearranging his face with a crowbar ran into some cognitive dissonance when he turned out to be charming, witty, likable, and outwardly spiritual even. This time was not like that. The moment I looked at this man I felt that he was just a piece of scum through and through. The whole thing was just awkward, and I felt like the whole rest of the family was uncomfortable too and I felt really bad that Bracelets had this kind of a damper on her special day on top of all the other life-ruining crap from him. And I don't know what else to say about that but I just wanted to bring it up because it's weighing on my mind.
Also at graduation, I noticed this girl who looked vaguely familiar and I was trying to figure out who she was, and when they announced her name I remembered that she made me a True Aggie my first week of college. I just showed up to True Aggie Night, now knowing anyone, and she was like "Did you go to Such-and-Such High School?" and I was like "No. Want to kiss me?" and she was like "Sure." What a strange, out of character fluke that was for my life. I was really curious whether she remembered me but I didn't know if her husband would appreciate me bringing it up.
So, poetry has never really been my thing, and I'm actually less skilled than I used to be because I can no longer rhyme without supreme effort, but I've dabbled in it a bit and I took a class on it last semester and I threw this "masterpiece" together in about two minutes after it was inspired by real-life events. Through the magic of double standards, this poem is charming if its subject likes me and creepy if she doesn't. In other words, it's creepy. But I'm not gonna keep calling her. I'm not gonna come to her house. I'm not gonna take her for a long walk on the beach.
That dress she's wearing now, that floor-length blue dress with the pink roses –
That's the dress she was wearing when I first saw her.
That's the dress she was wearing when I thought, "Wow, she’s beautiful."
That's the dress she was wearing when her eyes caught mine like tractor beams and refused to let go.
That's the dress she was wearing when she revealed herself to be one of the most interesting people I've ever talked to.
That's the dress she was wearing when I couldn't believe something was going well for a change, and figured I should quit while I was ahead.
That's the dress she was wearing when she said "Got to go" and left me to think about her all night.
Now she's wearing it again.
"That’s a very pretty dress," I say.
"Thanks," she says, beaming. "I like your tie."
The Mormon Section
As I was wondering whether getting this job was a catastrophic mistake or I just needed to persevere and rise to the challenge, I sought the Lord's will. And the Lord was like, "I have confidence in you to make your own decisions regarding jobs and career paths to do what you want with your life." And I was like, "You have confidence in me? Have you seen me try to do stuff? Maybe you have me confused with Christopher Robert Nicholson. He's married and black and lives in a different part of Utah." Of course that was somewhat facetious but yes, my faith is weak. I believe in God but I often don't believe Him. I feel as though He has made a grave error in judgment by placing this confidence in me.
That's the thing, isn't it, that sometimes God really doesn't care what you do. Another reason why the notion that He has every minute detail of your life planned out is absurd. But the primary reason I wanted His assistance in making this decision was because I don't have foreknowledge. I may be able to evaluate the pros and cons of any particular choice, but there are so many things I can't even guess at. I don't know who I would meet or what experiences I would have at any particular job that could send my life in wildly divergent directions. Apparently that doesn't matter, though, at least in my case. So that's cool, I guess.
F-777 - Dance of the Violins
I discovered this and liked it. While in the realm of non-sleep, non-wakingness, in between the phone voices in my head, it played occasionally.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.