Ah, Racism!

One thing you don't appreciate about America before you leave is how well people actually get along with other cultures. Ever since our inception, we've had to get along with other people, and while we haven't exactly done it well, we still have a lot of experience at it. Dealing with some other countries here, it's like the equivalent of comparing a kid with a big family who grew up squabbling over bathroom time to an only child who's never so much as folded his own laundry who now lives with 5 roommates. Some of these other cultures just cannot get along for shit!

Seriously, it's like part of the small talk: "Hi, what's your name, where're you from, what do you do... oh, and what other ethnicities do you hate?" I'm like "so... the weather? We haven't talked about the weather yet. I'm finding the summers rather warm, personally. And how about that sports team?"

And it's not just a white vs. not-white either. People hate the shit out of the British here. (in all fairness, Dubai!British can be a special breed of annoying) Still, in America, some people may have... views on certain cultures/colors/ethnicities, but it's understood that such things should not be discussed in polite company. When it comes to your personal racisms, and who you can talk to about it, they're right up there with the more specific details of your sex life: personal. Seriously, in the USA, if I don't know which hole you and your significant other prefer, I don't know what races you dislike, and that is as it should be.

... fucking Dubai-ans and their goddamn racism TMI. No one cares that you hate Sri Lankans! Shut up and talk about the fucking World Cup or something.

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Every day, my office reminds me more of Archer. The boss, her office favorite who's a jackass to everyone else, the bitchy gay party animal, the nerdy glasses geek, the weird bearded research guy, even a Woodhouse. I'm... oddly ok with it. Probably because I've come to terms with the fact that I'm more Cheryl/Carol than Lana. I mean, I'm good at what I do here, but I don't get bothered by crazy. Also, I've already set something on fire in the office, so yeah, Cheryl/Carol.

In other news, we have so many goddman hot clients! It's like this constant crop of gorgeous, fit, powerful, intelligent venture capitalist types who are very bad men and women. Constant sploosh.

Day 2.

Day 2 on the job, the boss shows up to our open-space workroom and just starts in on this rant of "I don't know what your problem is, I don't know if it's a cultural thing, but no, in America you're supposed to be polite to people so you all have no excuse, I can't believe this, it's a small firm, no reason not to..." at all of us. Now, I'm pretty good at tuning out and skimming when people start being annoying, so I'm like "blah blah blah something about bad manners, yadda yadda... she wants us to say hi to everyone when we come in and 'bye' when we leave? That's it?" Apparently, this entire dressing down of the lawyers was that we hadn't said 'good morning' to the admin and one of the paralegals as we walked in this morning. Then, once she's done scolding us all like children, she storms into her office with the admin where they start laughing and giggling about shit.

Now, hey, if she wants us to do that, okay, no problem. I don't think anyone objects to walking a few meters out of the way to make the rounds, if it's something the others feel strongly about. But a simple mention of 'so, I'd like you to...' at the afternoon meeting, or, if you want to get all fancy-diplomatic about it, a private mention to us individually, that this was something the admin felt really strongly about, would have been more than sufficient. No one was pulling any weird passive-aggressive shit, people just weren't saying 'good morning' to each other. It's the fucking morning and no one's happy about it - we're not going to spontaneously start a Disney musical number and gleefully bid a glorious start of the day to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker! If she asks us to, we will, but it's not the sort of thing people are just going to up and do on their own, and certainly not the sort of thing you publicly scold your entire team for before heading back to your office for a loud giggle-fest.

The other new hire basically took this as a "yup, bitch is crazy - there's no way I'm staying here once my contract's up - or even before then." I personally will tolerate a lot of crazy in my work life, but I'm starting to think he's got the right of it. At least, I definitely can understand why she's having a problem retaining people. Most people take offense when you blow up at them for shit you could have just had a reasonable conversation about, and she doesn't pay top-dollar either. But nooo, she's convinced that she just has the world's worst luck, and everyone she's hired was just out to use her like a stepping stone. *sigh* Well, we'll see. Like I said, I can let a lot of crazy roll off my back, and this is a very interesting job. I guess in a year or two, we'll see how it's gone.

Common Element Found

After I got the job, the administrative assistant contacted me with a list of questions, necessary paperwork, documents, etc. My responses to her emails were usually something along the lines of "Dear X, attached are the completed and signed documents you asked for. Best, Molly." After a few of these interactions, she wrote me a note saying that she (well, she was using the royal 'we' but I figured it was just her) was surprised at the "curt and impersonal" tone in my emails. She considers it unprofessional, blahblahblah, whinypants.

I'm like "bitch, you're the admin. 'Professional' is my politely getting you the shit you asked for ASAP and not grabbing your ass. But there's no way to win this fight, and if you want to play this stupid power trip game of yours, fine. I'll indulge you." So I write back a very gracious "sorry, didn't mean to offend, thank you for reminding me to always be nice, blabbity, empty bullshit." I figure that's the end of it.

Then on my first day I show up with flowers for the admin, making sure I get in on the right side of this. She's happy and gives me the tour. While talking about herself she laughs about how some people find her hard to deal with, but if she ever seems harsh, just talk to her about it. See, she's German, and that makes her a curt and blunt person, who gets misunderstood. Personally, I felt that someone who got shitty with me for being "curt and impersonal" when answering a "please scan your passport and send it to me" email had some very non-German problems, but I forebore to mention this thought.

Final Dubai Interview

Had my final interview for the Dubai job today. 6:00am my time, on skype. The senior partner grilled me for an hour about whether I was really dedicated to staying at their firm. Like, angry, aggressive grilling. It would seem that lots of people leave after working there for about a year, and another just left. So, on the one hand, they'll probably hire me because they need people, but on the other... I'm starting to wonder just why so many lawyers put in the minimum honorable time and then get the fuck out of dodge. And not leaving Dubai, just leaving her firm. Makes a person think, yanno? What's the common element here?


I just had a discussion about Game of Thrones with someone online. Choice comments of theirs included "where are the gay guys?" and "anyone who's anyone is tall." They then got very angry with me when I suggested they hadn't actually watched the series or read the books, just because they apparently missed the fact that a main character is a Little Person and there's a gay male couple (that has some pretty raunchy sex scenes) in the story.

Some people...


At a birthday party for an extended family member, another extended family member said "I have an announcement to make: [husband] and I are going to start trying to have a baby!" WTF? I... just... WTF? Where to start? Did no one teach you manners, woman? I know for damn sure your father's polite; how'd you end up like this?

Manners Rule #1 That You Apparently Missed: A birthday party is for the birthday person. Do not take attention away from the guest of honor by announcing your own shit. That goes double now that we have facebook and you don't have to wait for get-togethers to make announcements.

Manners Rule #2: It is impolite to say something that the listener must later pretend not to have heard: Yes, I'm sure you want applause and congrats and well-wishes now, but what am I supposed to say next time I see you? "Got knocked up yet?" "Is your womb still empty?" The minute I leave this party I will have to never again mention your efforts to get pregnant to you, and I certainly can't ask about how it's going. So why would you tell me? You're sure as hell going to tell everybody when if you get pregnant, so since we can't say another word to you on the subject before that point, why wouldn't you just bring it up then?

Manner Rule #3 - and most important manners lesson you seem to have missed: By definition, when you say you're 'trying' to get pregnant, you are bringing up your sex life, you and your partner's fertility status, and your bodily functions. Do I (or anyone else present) usually discuss those matters with you? No? Are we intimate enough with each other that conversation includes how, when, where, or how often you and your husband have sex? Your periods? The temperature of your vaginal mucus? Do we discuss whether or not you can bear children? No? Then why would we start now? What am I supposed to say: "well, I hear if you fuck with your ankles behind your head and a pillow under your hips, it aids conception - are you going to try that? Maybe just the pillow?" There is practically no part of the conception process that we can make appropriate conversation about, so why bring it up?

Seriously, people. Unless we already have the sort of relationship where we discuss your sex life, or something as intimate as whether or not you can have children, it is not appropriate you mention your efforts to make a baby. Once you're knocked up, I will listen to you moan about your feet, sore tits, moods, unusual discharge, nausea, etc. and make appropriately sympathetic noises. Until then, keep it to yourself.
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Dubai Job Back On!

Huzzah! After being dragged around for months, the job is back on and I crushed the last interview. Didn't even get a "so, we'll call you." Got a "right, so you're awesome, and I'm setting up the meeting with the senior partners now."

I've not wanted to get my hopes up, but it seems I'd be really damn good at this, and I want it - very much.

Story Time!

My Father flips and remodels houses. A while ago he hired some workers off craigslist to clear out some blackberries and powerwash the driveway of a place he was working on. They did a great job the first day, but then they snuck in later and stole his (+$1,000) pressure washer.

After some time had passed, he gave me their number and asked me to get in contact with them. I called, left a message saying I'd seen their number a long time ago and I had some work for them. Story is that I have an older relative that's trying to sell her house that she doesn't live in anymore, and I, being the dutiful kid that mowed lawns and such in my youth, am helping her out with a bit of fix-up. We agreed to meet at a foreclosed house that my dad knew of (my brother and I), and I talked to him about how we wanted the steps and patio powerwashed so it'd look better for pictures. He goes:

Him: "Do you want it just ok, or really good?"
Me: "Well, what's the difference?"
Him: "I've got a decent powerwasher, but I've also got a really nice one. It'll cost you a bit more per hour, but it does a great job!"
Me: *sparkle* *impressed* "You don't say! What kind?"
Him: *modest male preening* "Honda, 4000 psi. Cleans like nothing you've ever seen."
Me: "No kidding!"

Gentle reader, I'll give you 3 guesses as to what, exactly, he stole from my father. Now, at this point we're happy, because we really didn't want to have to drag the cops into it. We chose the location of the house, in part, because it's in the jurisdiction of the police district my mom works in (divorced from Dad, but amicable) because when you call the cops it helps if you already have the right relationship with them. Really, you would not believe how helpful cops can be when you're family of one of "theirs" (provided of course, the help you want isn't getting your cop spouse to not beat or kill you, but hey, nothing's perfect.) Still, it's paperwork and delay and Dad needs to use the washer for work. Also, Dad was very disappointed that an otherwise good worker turned out to be a thief, and there's something about stealing it for your business, to continue to earn an honest living with it, that's better than pawning it for hookers and booze.

So we agree to meet up later at the house with his worker and the washer and brother and I will help hook it up to the neighbor's water supply (no water at the house, and we need a reason to be there). So, he gives us the call, we call Dad and his business partner, and show up to stall them. They've already raked clean the patio - very industrious when they aren't stealing - just goes to show that people can surprise you. Brother brings a long hose, and takes time unraveling it, fiddling around, getting it hooked up to the neighbor, and I talk to the guy. "Shame I'm not in the market for a house now, I'd snap this one up - did you see the outdoor fireplace?" "You must get a lot of work in this area?" and so forth. Funny thing was, I was completely at ease for the conversation. I do fake very well - it's trying to be genuine that's tricky. Dad drives up.

Dad: "Great, you brought my washer back."
Him: "What, no! This belongs to a friend."
Dad: "Oh I'm your friend now?" [this is followed by a very familiarly-toned "I'm disappointed in you" speech where Dad goes on about how he thought the kid was a good worker and would have been happy to have lent or rented the washer to him when needed, had he just asked.]

So anyway, Father's happy and has his pressure washer back, and I am left to contemplate my nature. I think I should start being more mentally predatory in job interviews. Going to the 'I'm tricking you, you don't get it, you tool, but I'm screwing you over," mental state gives me more sparkle and smoothness than trying to "be myself."