Office space 2

September 28, 2007 at 10:16 am (colleagues and friends)

I’m glad there are some people in my office who’re great to be with and some are better than others (read weird, quirky, hilariously funny). Just the other day a colleague was cleaning out his drawer. These are some of the things that came out of it:

  1. teabags (open)
  2. a whistle
  3. a tube of toothpaste
  4. a condom
  5. a kazoo
  6. an invitation to a 50th birthday party
  7. a toothbrush
  8. pumpkin seeds (loose)
  9. a chopstick (yes, one)

 Where else would you find people like this?

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Office space 1

September 25, 2007 at 10:18 am (annoying, colleagues and friends)

There’s a woman in my office who drives me nuts. She’s got that whole passive-aggressive thing down to a bloody fine art.

I don’t know why she feels the need to get on my nerves but she does. Not only does she have an irritating way of creeping up on a person, she has a snippy comment for everything. It’s not even so much what she says (ok, maybe it is) but also the way in which she says it. What have I done to her to make her hate me so?

For example, I got a lovely new desk which happened to be bigger than the normal desks. I hadn’t asked for it but was delighted with it anyway. And nobody really noticed how big it is until I turned it around and revealed its size.

Anyway, Madam comes in and makes a remark about me having such a big desk moments after I heard I had to move again, leaving the desk to someone else. I told her I’d be losing the desk and every single opportunity after that she’d come in to ask if I still had the desk.

Hello, of course I still have the desk if I’m sitting behind the goddamn thing!

I’ve decided to not let her get to me. I just wish she’d stay out of my way as I actively try to stay out of hers. It’s not even as if I disliked her from the word go – it’s just the more she said the more she irritated me.

I want her to leave me alone.

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No substitute

July 20, 2007 at 10:51 am (Cape Flats, colleagues and friends)

Technology is fantastic but there is really no substitute for the real deal, is there? Life without the internet, for example, sounds like it wouldn’t be worth living.
But there’s no way you’d be able to technologocise eating a gatsby in the middle of Cape Town’s CBD with some of the funniest people you’ll ever meet.
Watching the “gatsby virgins”, as one of them said, trying to negotiate the chips and steak between the roll…no, there’s no way you could do that online.
Some things are just better in real life.

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I smell a rat

June 7, 2007 at 12:16 pm (colleagues and friends)

I sometimes wonder about the folk with whom I work. They’re mostly funny, some wacky but all crazy in a cool way. You just can’t be normal if you want to work here, is what I’ve concluded. Fortunately I do a bit of crazy myself quite well so don’t really feel out of sorts.
But every so often one of them exceeds the boundaries of what I call civilised craziness. Like this morning…I sit quite close the kitchen and overheard this conversation:

Friendly lady: So, how do you feel about the rats being gone?
Rat lady: Oh (sniffing), I had to take them to the vet to be put down. They were suffering too much and I didn’t know how to help them anymore.
FL: Oh no, that’s too bad. I’m so sorry.
RL: Yes, I’m going to miss seeing their little faces; every time I go into the kitchen I look around for them and realise they’re not there.
FL: (sympathetic noises) Aww, you could always get some more.
RL: No, no, I couldn’t do that. It’s simply too hard…those little faces…I miss them running on me and, and… (sniffing too much to talk).

At this point I tried not to listen because the thought of rats in my kitchen would make me flip. If it was dogs or cats, I’d understand. Really, I have nothing against pets.
And it’s not that I have anything against rats…ok, I’m lying, I do actually have something against rats.
I would die if I had any – even if they were pets. Gross people. Gross. This is not quirky crazy. It’s just madness.

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Dilemmas of the face

May 17, 2007 at 8:59 am (colleagues and friends)

Three invitations to join Facebook in two weeks. But what to do? I don’t know if I can juggle that as well as all the other stuff going on in Tobyland. Yet I don’t know how I can not join as I don’t want to hurt the people’s feelings and have them feel rejected like Shaun Okes . Help!
Ok, the thing is this – I have tried Orkut but never really got into it enough to update and plough myself in there. So I know I’m not good with the social network thing. With this blog I write in my own time and the only commitment I have is to produce words (which I should be good at considering it’s my job!).
But if I sign up for Facebook I have to commit to messages and pictures and…well, stuff – and I’m just not sure I can do it. So what do I do? Do I:
a) sign up knowing I may not be able to keep it up but do it not to hurt people’s feelings?
b) not sign up because it’s worse to not keep up to date on the site?
c) hope the people who sent the invitation won’t feel bad because it’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t know if I can do it?
d) not worry about it and rather focus on world peace?
This is a dilemma for me indeed. I actually feel very bad for not having done anything about the invitations so far. I’ve tried to figure out a way to negotiate this dilemma on my own but failed dismally. Hence asking you, lovely reader, for some advice.

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Which mask am I wearing today?

April 26, 2007 at 8:02 am (brain, colleagues and friends, ego, private personal space)

So I got my MTBI test results. Interesting stuff but mostly things I knew. Like the fact that I’m a bit of a procrastinator or as they call it, “pressure-prompted”; not very social; prefer concepts instead of concrete little details…you know, all the obvious stuff . What I didn’t see coming was the fact that I can appear cold to those who don’t know me. Geez, really? And here I thought I was a likeable person… 

But it got me thinking: how do we know we’re presenting the selves we want others to see? Yes, we all wear masks and change them according to where we are and who we’re with, but generally, we want people to see us in a certain way, right? 

So what else do I think I’m showing to the world that is seen in a completely different way to that which I intended? If I didn’t know that I can appear cold/unemotional/tough to those who don’t know me really well, what else is there about me that I don’t get (and that hasn’t been answered in this test)?

I mean, do I truly come across as the person I am? Personal experience says not always, except to the people who bother to get to know me (according to the test, I’m also very private and it’s hard to share my emotions. Ahem,  shock, um, horror).

I chatted to a colleague about this thing of how we see ourselves and what others see us to be and she mentioned a few examples of people who have no idea others are terrified of them/think they’re funny/think they’re weak/think they’re dramatic, etc. Funnily, to me, there wasn’t a question that that’s exactly how the people she mentioned comes across. But she insists they have no idea of that facet of their personalities which makes me think I am missing out a lot on the person that is myself.

But now what does that mean? I suppose I should ask people what they really think of me and how they perceive me. Might not like all of what they have to say but probably insightful to hear it anyway.
And it would be a good thing to talk to others and practice chit-chat because, apparently, I hate small talk and will only participate in deep, meaningful conversations…now why would they think that?

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Just working it

April 18, 2007 at 9:42 pm (colleagues and friends, wellbeing)

It’s almost 10pm and I’m still at work. Ja, true. But I’m surrounded by the coolest people so it’s not that bad. Sally has the sharpest sense of humour and had me rolling on the ground (plus she brought in some delicious chocolate cake which helped us survive the night); Jerry Clyde is talking about some bra from Lavender Hill who he thinks is a loser; I’m arguing about the strengths and weaknesses of pictures that we’re seeing…it’s not a normal night but I’m loving it.
I can’t wait to go home though. My bed is calling my name and I’m longing to succumb…

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Getting to know your friends

April 18, 2007 at 9:21 pm (colleagues and friends, family)

1.      Beach, mountains or city? Beach and mountains
2.      If you could have one super power, what would it be? Reading minds – I’m quite curious.
3.      The last CD you bought? Lots of jazz greats for my dad
4.      What’s under your bed? Nothing
5.      If you could have any job you wanted what would it be? I already have the best job – magazine journalist.
6.      First thing you think of in the morning? It’s too dark, there must be some mistake.
7.      Worst feeling in the world? Knowing you’ve hurt someone and not knowing how to make up for it.
8.      Favourite magazine? Local: Marie Claire; International: Vanity Fair, New Scientist
9.      Technology or art? Technology (this is a blog after all…)
10.  What’s your favourite kitchen item? Anything that makes coffee.
11.  What is your favorite colour? What does it mean/symbolise to you? Black – it’s just so right.
12.  Future child’s name? Kids? Ha, ha. Riiiiggggghhhht.
13.  What words do you like the sound of or the way they are spelled? Lekka, blêrrie, dêmmit and the way my partner says my name (all sounds).
14.  What was the first pop concert you went to? Never been. Does a school concert count?
15.  What do you think of Bob Dylan? He’s ultra cool and most of the people I care about like him. Plus Cate Blanchett could play him convincingly – he clearly has a female touch.
16.  What characteristics do you think you’ve inherited from your parents?My dad’s mad driving skills and stubbornness; my mom’s generosity, empathy and sensitivity.
17.  Which actor/actress would you have play yourself in a film? Sophia Loren – have you seen her age 70+?
18.  What do you never leave home without? Smokes, gum, wallet, cellphone, keys, tissues
19.  Who would you most like to meet?Roald Dahl
20.  What music would you like to have played at your funeral? Something that will make people cry even more because they better be missing the great Toby Hanks.
21.  When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Yes, except when I have invaders on my face which is fortunately limited to once in a while.
22.  Who is the person from your past you wish you could go back and talk to? I don’t want to talk to anyone in my past that I’m no longer talking to now; I’ve only encouraged the relationships that mean something to me. I think.
23.  What is your greatest weakness? I never forget a slight.
24.  What is your greatest ambition? To be the best person I can be.
25.  Ever dated someone you met online? Nope.

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Waves of relief

April 18, 2007 at 8:50 am (colleagues and friends, family)

The operation was a success. *ridiculously giddy laughter as relief settles in* Thank whatever powers there are for that. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I spoke to my friend’s dad last night and he says everything went well; he’s in ICU for now but he’s going to be just fine.I won’t reveal all the details – it’s for him to decide if he wants to share – but his dad has asked me to spread the word and let everyone know he’s ok (he’s not answering his phone yet so it’s mass communication for now). He still has to be checked out and recover (brain surgery can do that to you) but *smiling with joy* He is OK. He may look slightly different when you next see him. In physical dimensions his name won’t match his size. But inside, he’ll always be our big-hearted Blou Bul Beer…

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Regrets and other vague memories

April 17, 2007 at 9:04 am (colleagues and friends, family, friends)

My friend has gone in for his op today. I tried calling him but he’s on his way already. I should’ve called him two days ago, I know, but waited until it’s too late. Sigh. Just another thing to regret. In that spirit I’m listing five things I’ve regretted doing this year. But also five things I have absolutely no regrets about.

1. That I didn’t phone my friend sooner.
2. Not spending enough time with my family and friends.
3. Keeping quiet about things that made me unhappy.
4. Not reading enough books.
5. Not taking more holidays and planning overseas trips.

No regrets:
1. Applying for a new job then declining even when I got it because it wasn’t the right thing at the right time.
2. Only spending time with the people I love and/or care about.
3. Not eating any more pies.
4. Weeding out undesirables from my life.
5. Starting this blog.

 I very seldom reflect on things I’ve done – whether right or wrong, but sometimes it helps to get a little push in the right direction. Sometimes we just need to think about the things we’ve done and where we’re going.
Tell someone you love them today still.

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