Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<

Trillian McMillian
Trillian McMillian
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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?

"50 First Dates"

Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)



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11/17/13 12/1/13 - 12/8/13 12/15/13 - 12/22/13 12/29/13 - 1/5/14 6/29/14 - 7/6/14 9/14/14 - 9/21/14 9/21/14 - 9/28/14 10/12/14 - 10/19/14 11/23/14 - 11/30/14 12/7/14 - 12/14/14 12/28/14 - 1/4/15 1/25/15 - 2/1/15 2/8/15 - 2/15/15 2/22/15 - 3/1/15 3/8/15 - 3/15/15 3/15/15 - 3/22/15 3/22/15 - 3/29/15 4/12/15 - 4/19/15 4/19/15 - 4/26/15 5/3/15 - 5/10/15 5/17/15 - 5/24/15 5/24/15 - 5/31/15 6/14/15 - 6/21/15 6/28/15 - 7/5/15 7/5/15 - 7/12/15 7/19/15 - 7/26/15 8/16/15 - 8/23/15 11/6/16 - 11/13/16 6/24/18 - 7/1/18

Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue


It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations

Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"

Mail Trillian here

Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)


Alliance for the Great Lakes

Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras

The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.

Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.


Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto


Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.

Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

< chicago blogs >

Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Life(?) of Trillian

Thursday, September 16, 2004  
I don't know, she was fine one minute, and the next she went off all Kierkegaard on us!
Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do. He who does not understand irony and has no ear for its whispering lacks what might be called the absolute beginning of the personal life. He lacks what at moments is indispensable for the personal life, lacks both the regeneration and rejuvenation, the cleaning baptism of irony that redeems the soul from having its life in finitude though living boldly and energetically in finitude.

Which explains, among other things, why my blog has been the "Next Blog" to this one on several random occasions in the past few weeks. (Porn-o-phobes do not click that link.) Three completely unrelated people on two different continents have pointed this out to me, and I have now witnessed the phenomenon for myself. One random time is funny. Four apparently not so random times is painful. Nothing like kicking yourself when you're already splattered on the pavement. Apparently not only God and the Universe have a sick sense of ironic humor, but so does the blogger mainframe "random" Next Blog generator, as well.

Hal, I know you're in there and I'm sorry for the jokes I made about you. In the future, please "Next Blog" me to a miserable, bad poetry writing 16-year-old who plays Dungeons and Dragons and posts the weekly standings on his blog along with Gwar lyrics and photos of his Robot Wars entry. Thank you.

Hell is other people.

More irony in the Life of Trillian.

I know you're all just dying to hear about my lunch "date."

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

He is indeed tall. He is indeed an architect. He is indeed lonely. His haircut wasn't bad. Not good, but not bad. He does indeed like car racing.

As for anything else...well, I don't know. The rich thing was never a factor. The rugby thing wasn't a factor. The divorced thing wasn't a factor.

The car racing thing, though...

No. Not an issue because he doesn't spend every weekend watching or attending car races.

So cut to the chase, Trillian, what's wrong with this one?
Nothing, really, per se, I guess, you know, whatever...

So are you going to see him again?
No. Let's just say there wasn't a love connection. He's nice. Well. I thought he was nice. Yes. He is. I mean, he can be nice. But he has no sense of humor to call his own. And that's important to me. He laughs, he gets humor, he mentioned seeing a humorous movie (though he's never seen Clerks, knows nothing of the pending sequel, he seemed eager to see it after I filled him in on it, so yes, he's open to stuff and that's cool. I like that about him.) But he's not witty or funny or apparently much of an observer of the condition human. And if a guy's going to spend any time with me, he's going to have to get used to irony, embrace it and joke about it.

Maybe you should see him again before you write him off completely.
I'm not sure he's interested in me. And that's okay. I don't care. Which says everything that needs to be said.

But of course this is me, so there is more to be said. Much more. More to be said post-date than about the actual date.

There is post-date revelation which will prevent me from ever seeing him again.

One of two things happened: I was duped by him or by MAF, (or both working in concert) or, more likely, and the option I am choosing to believe because I trust MAF and think he would have told me about, well, you'll read it, is: Life is strange and weird and ironic and you have to laugh or you'll kill yourself.

We didn't need MAF to set us up. Lunch date pursued me back during the beginning of 50 First Dates.

Huh?! You mean MAF showed him your profile and didn't tell you?
That's what I wonder, too. But I don't think so. I think MAF would have told me. Besides, one thing I didn't tell you about MAF: He's a computer-phobe. He uses his partner's computer for email, but he'd rather pick up the phone. He has me do anything he needs beyond email. He certainly doesn't surf, and barely knows the major online dating sites. The chances of him finding my profile and bothering to forward it to Lunch Date are slim. Even slimmer that he wouldn't mention it to me. I think.

What I think is that by some weird fluke Lunch Date just happens to know MAF and months later MAF set us up. Chicago's not as big as it may seem. And dating here stinks. There's a very small pool of available, hetero men. Sooner or later this sort of thing is bound to happen.

How do you know it's the same guy?
I didn't. I didn't recognize him. I thought he looked familiar-ish but couldn't place him. The only reason I discovered this bizarro twist of irony is because during lunch we talked about how hard it is to meet people. We both admitted to trying internet dating sites. We talked about really awful profiles we've seen. (Hey, I did write the rules on this...) He offered his screen name on one dating site for me to look at and wanted me to offer suggestions.

A ha!
Right. He either has no clue it's me, or he wants me to know he knows. I'm not entirely sure which but am leaning toward the former because I don't want to deal with the implications of the latter.

Okay, so he gave you his screen name. Then what?
I checked out his profile. The second it loaded it all came flooding back. I recognized him instantly.

Okay, so what? Is this really such a big deal? Even if MAF and Lunch Date set it all up in an elaborate ploy to get you to have lunch with him?
Yes. Here's why:
Way back then, when I was an online dating trollop, he sent me two emails, the first of which was okay, interesting enough for me to look at his profile and his photos. Where I thought, "okay, nothing in common here, this guy won't like me and I don't think I'd like him."

I thought you were going out with anyone who asked?
Okay, okay. The real issue with him back then? In four of his ten (yes ten) photos posted he is shirtless and in one he appears to be wearing a swimsuit of the Speedo persuasion - in an "artfully" shot photo with private parts pixel blurred out like on network television. I took the "artfully" blurred Speedo shot to mean: he knows Speedos are a no no, but he loved the photo of his Speedo-ed body so much he couldn't resist sharing it with, you know, the world on a dating site and tried to hide the Speedo-like suit. Or maybe he's so largely hung the dating site blurred it because they think it's offensive. Whatever. I found it uncalled for and a huge window into his personality (monster sized ego) and decided "no." (Remember my policies on photos posted in dating profiles.)

I sent him a short, polite, thanks but no thanks email. I was very kind and encouraging, but the answer was no. And that's obviously all he read.

Because he replied in a not so short, polite manner. He was mean. Rude. Vulgar. Didn't take it well. Called me names. Mean names. And told me I'm "never going to find a man because I don't see a good one when he's right in front of me" and that "no man would want a bitch like me."

I blocked him and forgot about him, never gave him another thought.

And then, because this if Life of Trillian, because I am the laughing stock of the Universe, yesterday I had lunch with him.

Trillian, are you sure it's the same guy?
Oh yes.

How? Did you see him shirtless or "artfully" naked? Did he show up in a Speedo?
No. I pulled up the old emails, and yes, it's the same screen name, the same guy.

When I first saw him, when we first met, I thought he looked familiar, but he's one of those people who looks like a lot of other people, so I dismissed it.

Now I know why he looked familiar. And why I couldn't place where I'd met him. I wasn't used to seeing him wearing clothes. Or not swearing and calling me names.

Swut, Trillian, what are you going to do now?
Hopefully nothing. It's a bit of a dilemma, and one from which you can all learn. Be honest about your online dating. If you are set up with or otherwise meet someone who has rejected you online, admit it, try to be pleasant and joke about it, or do not let on that you've met, and certainly do not give out your screen name. If a relationship develops, play it cool and bring it up when the time feels right.

So now the dilemma.

MAF is certainly going to want to know details. He left a message last night, I was thankfully out when he rang. But I can't (and don't want to) avoid him.

I do have that built in excuse (and truth) that I am just not ready to date, that my heart's just not open to meeting someone new yet.

The real truth is: I'm a little scared of Lunch Date. If he knows it's me, if he knows I now know "it's him," what's his next plan of action? He's proven himself to have a quick and nasty temper. He likes car racing.

And there are those photos...

Post-it note: Yes, the possibility exists MAF is an unwitting pawn in all of this. What's the point in asking or telling him? For the sake of harmony in his home, for now I think I should err on the side of caution and not tell him. Remember, Lunch Date is MAF's partner's brother.

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11:23 AM

Wednesday, September 15, 2004  
Reality Wednesday
Knocked Up Smack Down

Contestants will attempt to fulfill their job responsibilities while dealing with three pregnant coworkers. Armed with doctors' orders in writing, federal maternity leave and care rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act, the pregnant coworkers will set up a series of challenges for their coworkers.

The contestants:
Ornery Curmudgeon (The OC). Status: Never married, no children. Job: Senior Editor.

Mother of Many (MOM) Status: Married, five children. Job: Executive Administrator

Divorced and Depressed (DAD) Status: Divorced, two children Job: Account Manager

Creative Driving Force of the Company (HUH?) Status: Never married, no children Job: Creative Driving Force of the Company

The Knocked Up:
Hippie Earth Mother (HEM): Status: Married, pregnant with second child Job: Writer Months Pregnant: Five

I'm Pregnant Dammit (IPD) Status: Married, pregnant with first child Job: General Counsel Months Pregnant: 9? 11? 20? She's been really pregnant a really long time...

Urban Mama (UM): Status: Never married, pregnant with third child. Job: Administrative Coordinator Months Pregnant: Seven.

Challenge One: Where'd She Go?
Urban Mama doesn't show up for work for two weeks. She does not call or email.

The OC lets two days pass before trying to contact UM. Everyone in the office is worried about UM.

MOM explains, “She is not the most punctual or reliable employee, but she is nice and generally well liked in the office. Everyone cuts her a lot of slack because she is a single mother of two young children. We were all very concerned about her and the baby.”

"UM isn't the brightest star shining in our sky, but she's very nice. Really nice. Oh yeah, she's real nice." A young coworker explains in the interview room. "She's very popular. What's that? Her job? (pauses) I'm not exactly sure what she does. Something with the editorial group I think. Yeah. Something like that. She works for The OC so probably she does something with the editors. (dismissing the question) We all look forward to seeing her. She's got a nice smile and an easy manner."

At the end of the first week UM leaves a voice mail stating she is not feeling well and "will try to get back into the office next week."

By mid-week of the second week UM has not appeared in the office. Nor has she contacted anyone in the office.

The OC contacts Human Resources to find out how he should proceed. Work is piling up on UM's desk, some of it growing urgent. Human Resources advises him that he should delegate the urgent work to other people in the department, meanwhile the HR coordinator will contact UM. They cannot hire a temp until she is officially on maternity leave.

The OC relays this conversation to HUH?, MOM and DAD. He is holding several folders. HUH?, MOM and DAD exchange knowing looks.

"Let’s get busy. What do we have?" MOM asks, reaching for one of the folders while pushing up her sleeves.

The OC begins going over the urgent tasks. Within a half an hour UM's work is divided into stacks to be doled out mainly to HUH?, DAD, and two administrators not present.

Challenge Two: Who's in the BLEEEEEEEEPING Handicapped Stall?
Cut to HUH? in the handicapped stall in the ladies room changing her clothes. She is naked to her undergear, standing on one leg removing her hose when the door to the ladies' room slams open and the sound of heels quickly scrapping across the floor can be heard. The sound of a body slamming into the stall door echoes around the bathroom. HUH? looks up confused and nearly topples over tripping on her half hosed leg.

The voice of IPD calls out from the other side of the stall door. "Who the BLEEEEEEP is using the BLEEEEPING handicapped stall? I'm BLEEEEEPING pregnant, I need the BLEEEPING handicapped stall. Get out or I'm going to BLEEEEEPING puke all over you."

HUH? is panic stricken. "I'm sorry! I'm changing my clothes, hang on just a second. I'm sorry! I'm sorry, omygosh, I'm sorry!" She is simultaneously trying to hop out of her hose and collect her belongings and open the stall door.

IPD raps on the door, "BLEEEEEPING hurry up! I'm BLEEEPING sick!"

HUH? tumbles out of the stall in her state of disrobe, "I'm so sorry, here! Go ahead! Can I get you anything?"

"Out of my BLEEEEPING way!" IPD yells as she lunges into the handicapped stall and commences being sick.

HUH? explains, "I ride my bike or walk to work so I change my clothes when I arrive and before I leave the office. I sometimes use the handicap stall. There's more space in there to do a complete change of clothes and shoes. This is not my normal way - I never use the handicapped stall in public restrooms. If I'm doing anything in there other than changing clothes, I would never, ever dream of using the handicapped stall. I do not park in handicapped parking spaces. I don't even use handicapped doors. Swut. Even when I was on crutches with a cast to my knee last year I didn't use handicapped stalls. To my knowledge there are no handicapped people on our floor. I arrive very early in the morning and leave late in the evenings. Nine times out of ten there is no one, least of all a handicapped person in the ladies' room. And lastly and most importantly, there are three other stalls, all of which were vacant at the time."

Challenge Three: Human Resources
HUH? arrives in her office a few days later and checks her voice mail. We overhear the voicemail in that crackly, echoey audio reserved for the CIA and scary stalkers. “Hi HUH?, it’s HR Guy. How’s it going in your new office? Getting settled in? Look, HUH?, I need you to come to a little meeting tomorrow. There’s been a complaint filed and you and several others were named in the complaint. This doesn’t sound like you and I want to get to the bottom of all this. I’m having a meeting with everyone named in the complaint at 10:00. Let me know if you can’t make it, otherwise I’ll see you at 10:00.”

HUH? looks pale and stunned. Even more than usual. “I didn’t know what it was about. I had a conference call scheduled, but I changed it because I didn’t want to miss this meeting.”

10:00 The Next Day
HUH?, The OC, MOM and DAD and three others have assembled in the HR office.

MOM is the first to speak. “Are you all here to meet with HR Guy at 10:00?”

Nods of agreement all around.

“Anyone know what it’s about?”

Shakes of heads all around.

HUH? offers: “I thought maybe it was over that IRA guy who was fired last March. But did any of you have problems with him?”

Shakes of heads all around.

They wait in silence. The clock ticks.

MOM asks DAD about his kids and how they are liking school so far. Doing well, Zara’s in junior high school this year. MOM groans. One of the others chimes in with “ugh. Junior high. My oldest started last year, I think it’s even worse than when we were that age.”

A conversation about school and “good” and “bad” ages ensues.

HR Guy emerges from his office and invites the group to a conference room.

He is cheerful and not the least bit foreboding.

The group settles into the lavishly appointed conference room.

Challenge Four: I'm Gonna Sue Your Sorry BLEEEEEEP
HR Guy addresses the group. “Thank you all for being here on such short notice. I am glad to have you all here at the same time to discuss a complaint which has been filed against The Company. There are several cites in the complaint, mostly aimed at The Company as a whole entity. However there are specific incidents and issues cited which include specific people. You. And I am stating, for the record, this is the biggest joke and embarrassing law suit which has ever come across my desk. The Company’s legal department is already addressing the larger concerns. But we want, I want, you to all know what is going on and that you have been mentioned in the complaint.”

Shocked and scared, the group looks at each other.

HR Guy continues. “The complaint is that The Company is not upholding the rights of pregnant workers...”

Shocked and scared, the group turns incredulous.

The OC is the first to speak. “I’ve got an administrator who hasn’t shown up for work in five weeks, she doesn’t call, we have no idea what’s going on, we can’t hire a temp, and she’s got the nerve to file a complaint against us?!”

“We completely changed our deadlines in our department to accommodate HEM’s pregnancy. She comes in late, leaves early and takes an hour nap in the afternoon! What more are we supposed to do for her?” another of the group asks.

DAD continues, “Yeah, HUH? and MOM and I have been doing UM’s work while UM is gone. Can we file a complaint?”

HR Guy patiently listens to several similar stories and then says, “The whole thing is ridiculous. Of all the people in The Company, I know each of you are the least likely to do anything less than accommodating for our pregnant colleagues. But IPD is a lawyer. A pregnant lawyer. And she got the other women to join the complaint. A few of their issues are valid and we’re addressing them. We’re going to designate a special room for nursing mothers. We’re going to offer reduced schedules without reduced salaries to pregnant women. We’re reviewing our paternity leave policy and will be adjusting the time allowed out prior to the birth of the child. We’re taking action and hoping these steps will be enough for IPD, HEM and UM to drop the complaint. Taken individually, the cites you have each been named in are not enough to provide just cause for a complaint. We’re confident once the complaint is dropped none of you will face personal complaints.

Challenge Five: And You Better Treat Me Right
“Now I have to say something, you know, for the record. You have each been named for specific incidents. I’m sure there were extenuating circumstances or very good reasons for what happened. But you need to be extra considerate to our pregnant colleagues.”

MOM stands up. “Are you kidding me? I’ve had five pregnancies. I know what it’s like. I go out of my way for pregnant women in this company. I didn’t get extra hours off, or a nursing room or extra consideration! Which is why I bend over backward for these women. I am not going to take this. I want to the the complaint. We have rights, too.”

Dad stands up and agrees, “I know a good lawyer. We can have him look at the complaint on our behalf.”

“There’s no need to get a lawyer. We’re confident the complaint will be dropped. I just thought you should all be aware this has happened. I’ll be sure you each get a copy of the complaint.” HR Guy says, not so cheerful now, trying to calm the group.

The OC says, “DAD’s right. Us individuals named in the complaint should have a lawyer at least read the complaint. After all, we could end up being defendants in a courtroom over this.”

“It’s not going to court,“ HR Guy insists, sweating now.

One of the others yells, “How can you be sure? IPD is a really good lawyer. She got The Company out of...”

HR Guy cuts her off, “I know she’s a good lawyer but that’s not the point and that other issue is not open for public comment.”

Silence falls over the room.

MOM, DAD, The OC and one other storm out of the room.

HUH? and the two remaining with HR Guy look at each other.

Challenge Six: This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record
HR Guy is the first to speak. “The worst that will happen is that you’ll get a written complaint in your HR file. That’s the WORST. And remember, I’m on your side here. And I’m head of HR. What goes in and our of your file goes through me.”

“Somehow that doesn’t reassure me.” one of the others says as he gets up and leaves the room.

And now there are three.
HUH? asks HR Guy, “Just tell me now. Am I being named because I’m doing UM’s work, or because of an incident in the bathroom a few weeks ago?”

“Both.” was his apologetic response.

“This is insane and you know it. I’m sympathetic to your position in this, HR Guy, but this is ridiculous. Is it our fault they’re pregnant? It’s bad enough there’s an unwritten, unspoken code that those of us without children get more work dumped on us than our child rearing counterparts, and we’re expected to work late and weekends when others have child responsibilities and can’t work past 4:30 or on weekends. And now this? Do you have any idea the hours two of us worked when DAD was going through the divorce and took off days at time to be with his kids? We were happy to help, but come on, when do the childless get a break? What about unmaternal rights?” HUH? states and leaves the room.

Challenge Six: You'll Be Hearing from Our Lawyer
The next day an ominous “confidential” package arrives for everyone named in the complaint.

It is a tome filled with pages of legalese and rhetoric.

MOM, DAD, The OC and HUH? clandestinely meet in a conference room on another floor to look at it together.

MOM proclaims, “None of us are even named until page 39!”

DAD adds, “It all reads very broad and general. Except for the specific complaints against us, HUH? that bathroom thing, what happened?!”

“I used the handicapped stall to change clothes! That’s it! I got out of there, half naked, as soon as she came busting in there puking. There are three other stalls in there she could have used.”

“But she’s pregnant and they’re too small.” MOM adds.

“I understand, but come on, does that really make me an abuser of pregnant women? I felt horrible about it, I felt really bad for her. What about the abuse she hurled at me? I offered to help and she swore at me.”

“Hormones’ll do that to you.” MOM sympathetically offers.

“So we’re supposed to happily suffer verbal abuse while she has nine months of PMS?” HUH? implores.

The OC and DAD flinch at the term PMS.

“It’s not, PMS guys. But if we’re going to make hormone excuses for bad behavior and not doing your job, why stop at pregnancy?” HUH? asks.

MOM dismisses the question and says, “DAD, did you really ask HEM about her breasts?”

“No! Not unsolicited! She was in the break room and I asked her how she was feeling. She said her breasts hurt. I was embarrassed, but it IS HEM, and I remember when my ex wife was pregnant she had a lot of problems with I told her my ex wife found wearing a sports bra helped.”

The other three break out in laughter.

MOM screams, “I’ve never seen HEM wear a bra!”

The men are blushing.

DAD quietly says, “I know, I didn’t think about that until after I said it. I was only trying to help. Now I’m wondering if she’s mad because she thinks I think she should wear a bra, you know, in general.”

“She should!” the other three reply in unison.

“Just wait til she starts breast feeding. She’s going to have those things out all over the place. Word of warning, I wouldn’t go into the break room without taking a good look first.” MOM advises.

“That’s the sort of thinking that got you in trouble, MOM.” HUH? says.

“I’ve had five babies. HEM asked me if I breast pumped at work. And that time with IPD, I mean, she’s the one who ran to catch the elevator. Her baby was bouncing all over the place. I was joking. How many times a day do you think she hears ‘still haven’t had that baby?’ or ‘I hope the elevator doesn’t get stuck again, you don’t want to have that baby in here!’ When is she due, anyway?”

“No kidding, hasn’t she been pregnant for a year or more?” HUH? asks.

The OC interjects. “I think we were singled out because we’re doing UM’s job while she’s out. IPD has obviously been working on this complaint against The Company a long time. Once she found out that we want to hire someone to do UM’s job, and then that we’re doing her job while UM’s gone, she asked HEM and UM about us specifically and turned the incidents to fit her purposes with the complaint.”

“I completely agree. If you ask anyone they’ll tell you IPD has been barking at everyone, and HEM’s been annoying everyone with details of water birthing and flapping those enormous boobs all over the place. We can’t be the only ones who’ve made innocent comments or jokes to them.” MOM offers.

“So what do we do? Is it stupid to get a lawyer? Or should we cover our behinds now before it goes any further?” HUH? asks.

“HR Guy didn’t call us all in and tell us about this just to be fair. I am certain it was a cloaked warning.” The OC says.

“I thought the very same thing.” agrees DAD.

“You really think so? Why are you certain?” HUH? asks.

“Because there’s no reason to mention it if it were all handled and dealt with ‘on a company’ level.” The OC conspiratorally responds.

DAD slams his hand on the table. “That’s it. I’m taking a copy to a lawyer.”

“I’ll pay part of the fee.” MOM offers.

“Me too.” The OC joins.

“Erm, how much do you think we’re talking about? What’s the fee for something like that?” HUH? asks.

“Probably a couple hundred to read it.” DAD guesses.

“Okay, if it’s a couple hundred I’m in. I can’t afford much more than that, though.” HUH? agrees.

To be continued...

3:54 PM

Tuesday, September 14, 2004  
Did everyone get their semiautomatic yesterday?

Continuing on the Friends theme...

I saw a friend, yes an at least 10 qualifying points friend, last week.

He is a musician (a real, regular gigs, talented, honest musician). He also happens to be the best makeup artist I've ever seen. His talent is nothing shy of special effects genius. At another job, in another life, when we were both younger, he was the make up guy my agency used exclusively.

If you’ve never been on a photo shoot, I can sum it up thusly: Huge pain in the rump.

Forget everything you've seen on television, in movies or magazines. It's not what you think it is. It's not what the televison, film and publishing industries would have you believe. They make the background stuff look and sound and seem cool or fun or glamorous because they need to feed their egos. With a few notable exceptions, the behind the scenes of photo shoots are tedious, boring, tiring, sagas filled with egos that make Zaphod look humble and down to Earth.

There are two groups of people at photo shoots: Those for whom it is a job, and those for whom it is an Ego on Display fest.

I think you can figure out in which category I fall, and I think you can figure out where my Makeup Artist Friend (MAF) falls.

I’m not makeup challenged, I experiment, I know what works, what doesn’t, what’s worth the money and time and what isn’t, and what’s appropriate for the situation and what is not. (I also have been known to spend entire weekends in no more than sheer gloss and mascara.)

MAF didn’t see me as a “before” or a challenge.

Here is one way to make a friend.

At one of the many long, hot, boring, tedious down times on the shoot when the model was being dressed and the photographer was having a hissy fit, MAF, whom I did not know at the time, and I were sitting on the floor of a dingey studio in a really bad part of town. Everyone else not involved with the dressing or hissy fit were chain smoking or stroking their egos. (Doesn't that sound fun and glamorous?) MAF and I sat there silently. After a really long time he looked up at me and deadpanned, “That Lancome Smoke looks great on you.” and continued on boredly looking at his knee.

And with that a friendship was launched.

When he was broke I’d buy him dinner, drinks, and talk him up to anyone I knew who might need an extraordinary makeup guru. When I had a date or a crisis of spirit, he’d magically appear with his cases of makeup and would give me the pre-release or only to the trade products which were right for me. When he needed a model to try a new technique or color or whatever, I obliged and brought food or alcohol or both.

When he went through a nasty break-up, the death of his mother and loss of a job (and work visa) all within five weeks, he stayed with me. He was miserable. He got through it. Barely.

Here is how friendships fade.

I took a different job. He moved to pursue his music full time. I moved. We kept in touch. He moved. I moved. We fell out of touch.

Here is how fate, destiny and friendship survives.

A few jobs and moves and countries later, I moved here.

We needed a makeup artist for a shoot.

I made the usual calls.

Everyone was busy or not interested, especially at the low rate we were offering.

A colleague said she knew a guy who’d been on tour with a band, just moved here and was looking for some day work to build his book and earn a reputation in this town. She claimed he was a miracle worker who at one of her recent shoots transformed the sunken eyed, drugged out model who showed up late and barely able to walk or speak into a fresh faced glowing girl next door. She gave me his name and number.

You guessed it: MAF.

Imagine the reunion.

It was swell.

We’d both just moved here. Neither of us knew many people here. We were both making changes in our careers and lives. I missed the friends I'd left behind in the move. So did he. We were good for each other at a time when we both really needed a good, local friend.

He very quickly established himself as The Guy to Call for makeup artistry. And got himself signed to regular bookings at a very cool club where he is the musician everyone goes to see.

I, well, I met HWNMNBS and had my job. Not as glamorous or cool as MAF, but still time consuming.

He’s busy. I’m busy.

We see each other every couple of months. Ish.

That's what friends are for.

Sometimes I go to his regular gig without telling him. I come in late, sit in the back and leave early. Just to see him, hear him, support his work without interfering. Sometimes I think he knows I'm there, other times he doesn't. I don't care. I'm there to see him perform, not to be all, "hey, look at me, I'm so cool, I know MAF." I watch and listen to the audience so I can later report to MAF how much they love him or what they didn't respond to well.

When I was showing at a gallery he'd do the same for me.

We used to be each other's date when we were not dating anyone. He owns a few tuxes and some "cool" clothes. I own some swanky dresses and can throw together a "cool" outfit if the issue is forced. Without trying, we act like and appear to be a couple. We both had/have jobs which dictate said attire and dates at certain functions. We're not going to embarrass each other, and we're not going to let the other embarrass themselves. And really, sometimes, that's what these functions come down to: Getting through the evening without embarrassing yourself . Or your company. Or your client. But since he met (his partner) and is all the cute, settled cozy couple he doesn't need me in that capacity as often as he used to. He'll still do it for me, but, well, you know how it is when your friends are coupled up. You could ask, they'd be happy to oblige, but you don't want to impose on their relationship or time with their boy/girlfriend/spouse. Besides, they're an established couple, regularly appearing together in photos in magazines and newspapers and websites. MAF being "seen" out with me at this point would just look like what it is: I couldn't get a date so he took pity on me and obliged to be my escort. Sure, he'd be happy to do it, but for the sake of his own reputatiion I don't ask.

He brings me great makeup and does my makeup for me. “You need to do something about that blush...” and out comes the brush and what I think is the perfect shade I would never have access to if it weren’t for him. (my blush is his life's work. His Cistine Chapel. He's never completely satisfied or happy with it) I allow him the comfort to be the sarcastic, morose, Dorito and cheap gin, goofball from the wrong side of town he is under all those expensive cool clothes and hair.

Friends tell you the thing you don’t want to hear but need to know.

Last week we went for drinks. I did my makeup, really did it, for the first time since The, Ahem, Little Situation. I mean, this was MAF after all. The only man I care about bothering with it all other than HWNMNBS. After a few drinks, a lot of tears, a lot of "why me, why do I have to be so ugly, I’m so sad and lonely and scared," MAF took my hand, looked deep and thoughtfully into my eyes, and said, “Trillian, I love you. You’re too good for him. He’s a fool. You’re beautiful. You shouldn’t change anything. Except....(pause, searching for the right tenderness...) Except your lipstick. It’s time to throw away the Capricious.”

“’s...” I stammered, stunned and confused by the suggestion.

“I know, I know,” he gently patted me, squeezed my hand tighter, “I know. Sweetie, I know. But it’s time to move on. You can still be friends. You can still wear it sometimes. But it’s time for something new as your regular, day to day color. We always say change is good, right? Well. Change is good, Trillian, and it’s time for you to change. Oh, and I want to fix you up with (his partner’s) brother. He’s tall, rich, an architect and lonely.”

“Whoa, hang on a minute, I’m in no shape for that. A date maybe, but new lip color? No way.”

“Trillian, I’ve been wanting to set you up with him for a long time. (MAF gets me and doesn't get all tripped up on my wit or sarcasm, unike a certain New Girl in the office who is not my friend) No one’s saying you’re both going to fall in love or get married, but I think you two might at least like each other. He’s been hurt, too, he had a nasty divorce a few years ago and took it really hard. I told him about you before, you know, back when you were dating anyone you could find. He was interested in meeting you then. I’ll tell him what you’re going through now so he can decide if he wants to deal with your baggage or not. Just be open to meeting him. Have lunch or drinks or take a walk.”

“Would you date him?” I asked.

“That’s not fair. Don't play that game.” he said way too defensively.

“A ha!” I pointed a suspicious finger at him.

“He’s (his partner’s) brother! He’s hetero! I don’t want to think of him like that!”

“But if he weren’t, if you just met him and he wasn’t (partner’s) brother, would you date him?”

(Sighs deeply) “He’s too butch for me, too much of a guy. He likes rugby and car racing and doesn’t always have a great haircut. But he’s nice and funny and smart and artsy sometimes, too.”


“Yes, sometimes. And sometimes you like baseball and hockey. Need I remind you?”

“Yeah, but not as a way of life.”

“Trillian. Just meet him.”

"I don't think so. I'm not ready.You see me, you've been listening to me for an hour and a half, you know this is a bad idea."

"I know you need to meet some new people. Single people with no kids who don't live in the suburbs."

"I can't argue that. Fine. Ask him. But tell him everything so he can make an informed decision."

Friends take control when you are not able.

Yesterday MAF gave me a totally new palette of makeup, the works. And the phone number of the tall, butch, rich, lonely architect with a bad haircut who likes rugby and who apparently doesn’t care that I am emotionally crippled and not interested in attempting a rebound.

When I got home, all hopped up high on my fabulous new fall look, I thought, “Okay. Fine. I’ll call the guy. I’ll try. I’ll make efforts. I know I’m not ready, I know this isn’t the time for me to be doing this. It’s just a phone call. No one says we have to even meet in person. It’s just a phone call. MAF told him about The, Ahem, Little Situation and he’s okay with it. He knows I’m as is, damaged goods, no warranty, past the sell-by date, a demo model, out of the package, no box and no instructions. Buyer beware.”

I called him. He wasn’t home. I left a message. He returned my call an hour later.

We talked about very surface stuff, very briefly.

We’re having lunch tomorrow.


Happy? I’m trying. Against my better judgment, I’m meeting a new guy, I’m getting out, I’m trying.

Because of a friend.

No More Capricious.
Painted on smile. Literally and figuratively.
(Print and carefully cut out around edges, tape or glue to your face when you need to paste on a smile, too! Or test my new lip color on yourself! If you like it, write for the recipe and how to!)

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4:43 AM

Monday, September 13, 2004  
Record Straightening, Seeking Redemption

I didn't mean to offend anyone or start a big controversy about "What is a friend?"

I realize there are people who go through life completely unscathed, without angst, sadness, job loss, children issues, parent issues, pet issues, partner issues, financial issues, orthodontics...they have friends and they are friends. Just because their lives and their friends' lives are one long prozac moment and they never need each other for anything other than companionship at the cookout or a teammate on the bowling league doesn't mean they're any less of a friend.

The point was: Would you, if the need arose, spring into friend action without thought or hesitation? Do you know someone who would do that for you? There's a difference between people you know casually and friends.

Friend is not a term which should be thrown around without thought of what it means. That's all I was trying to say.

And the bigger issue. I was remiss and I apologize to many of you. I am really, really sorry for what may have seemed like neglect of a very important facet of life: E friends and the blog community.

People belong to web rings, user groups, online forums, chat rooms...and are making connections and good friends there. Yes, most times they never meet face to face, but they're sharing a common interest or conversation or recipes or whatever and yes, yes, YES they're friends.

Many of you have been tremendously kind and supportive of me not only with the current HWNMNBS crisis, but with your funny, wise, insightful, inspired comments on my posts or completely unrelated subjects prior to That, Ahem, Little Situation.

If you take a look at the list of friend qualifiers many of you will realize that I can easily and without hesitation answer "Yes, I know someone who has done this for me" because of you.

E friends and blog people, well, that's a whole other blog. In the years I've been blogging I have been enriched and humored and educated and entertained by some incredible people I would have otherwise never met if it weren't for blogs. We have that instant "click" I was talking about.

And the people who read this, apart from the H8ers, well, I mean, you're all really swell and I would be honored to call you a friend. I would never presume to do as much, to take that liberty, (see yesterday's post for why) but you, and you know who you are (or are not) can call me a friend and call upon me for any of the mentioned friend qualifiers. It will be difficult for me to, you know, come to your aid with food, alcohol, medication, a really ugly dress and matching shoes or a shoulder to cry on, but I will be there in spirit. And honestly? If you really needed me, I would come to your aid with any of the aforementioned live, in person. Those are not just pretty words. As much as I keep things nice and anonymous so nobody gets hurt, I would break that Rule of the Blog for you. Yes. I do care about you and it would be fantastic if we could all get together and have some drinks (pop for the under 18's, I'm your friend but I'm not doing time, sorry). Maybe someday. Until then, yes, your friend, your pal, your can't get her swut together friend with an ironic (but artistic) black cloud following her around is thankful and appreciative for every one of you. (Even the H8ers in their own weird way.)

I hope that clears up any misconceptions, puts me back in good graces and serves as redemption for my friendly soul.

I'm in the mood for attempts at redemption today. No jeans, no sandals, no purple haze pedicure. Just nice stylish pumps, hose and a suit. Everything all nice and professional like.

9:07 PM

Friends. I've got some really good ones.

And I try to be a really good one.

They're important to me. I want to be important to them.

You get the idea. It's a basic concept. You probably have friends, too.

I don't have a lot of friends by some standards, but the friends I have are really, really good friends. People with whom I share a deep connection, understanding and bond. Without exception, my friends and I "clicked" instantly. It was friendship at first word. I have friends from all walks of life, from places scattered around the globe.

Next to HWNMNBS, my biggest disappointment in life is that the people I like, care about, yes, love, and want to spend time with are now thousands of miles away from me. That's how life is, now. People are traveling more and farther than ever. That's a good thing. But while we're out traveling the globe, taking jobs in far flung outposts and generally straying from our "homes," we're setting ourselves up for very painful goodbyes and loneliness when we eventually leave. I have had opportunities for extensive travel and have lived and worked in several countries. I don't regret one second of the time I've spent anywhere. I've had good times and bad times. I've met a lot of people and made some incredible friends.

Real, true friends.

Not acquaintances, not colleagues (though a few were colleagues), not people you know, not people thrown together by school, church or a volunteer project. Those situations can produce friends, but for me, the people in those situations are not friends. I'm friendly with them, they're friendly with me (usually) but they're not what I would consider friends.

I gauge it this way: When school, church, the volunteer project ends, will you see this person? Talk to them on the phone? Meet for coffee or drinks after work? Send them a card on their birthday? Go shoe shopping with them? A concert performance by your favorite band? Offer your spare bedroom when they have guests visiting from out of town? Give them money, food, shelter and clothing when they are downsized out of a job? If they were fired for a nasty scandal?

You're getting my point now, aren't you? There are certain people for whom you would do anything, no questions asked, no judgments made. And they'd do the same for you.

Everyone else falls into some other category, friendly, and maybe you even really like them, but they're not friends. They're people you know. Coworkers, co students, co parishoners, co volunteers. Acquaintances.

So what do you do when you realize someone considers you a friend and you don't consider them a friend?

New Girl at work (who's not so new anymore) referred to me as her friend.

I was stunned.

Don't get me wrong. I like New Girl. Even though she and (needs a new nickname) boss are very close in the office and out of it. Even though she has no clearly defined tasks or function in our office. Even though our paths rarely cross. Even though I don't think we have much in common.

I like her. She seems very nice. She's honest. There are signs of intelligent life living her office. She was the only one who understood and agreed with a few crucial points I made about a project from Hell.

I chat with her before and after meetings. I have learned she is trying to be a vegetarian, is very athletic and struggles with renting in this town, too.

She also cares about the Billboard Top 10, says "that's so funny" instead of actually laughing, and is barfly who at least one day a week shows up late (or not at all) due to a massive hangover.

That's pretty much all I know about her.

But I like her. As much as a person can like a coworker.

Coworker friendships are complex and potentially dangerous. I choose not to become very social with my coworkers. In my profession people "change jobs a lot." I've made some very, very good friends in previous jobs, only to be ripped far apart by lay offs, downsizings, corporate merges and life. You think you'll stay in touch, and you want to, you mean to, but in most cases you don't. Frankie was a coworker. Our friendship was destiny (star crossed, fated, meant to be) and survived three of those issues. Two other of my in it for the long haul friends were made in previous jobs. But in my current job I have made one friend who has long haul potential. And that's okay with me. I don't like these people and I don't seek or desire their affection beyond respect for our common goal of getting a job done.

I don't want to know details about their recent medical procedures, the argument they had with their mother/spouse/mechanic or that they had way too much to drink last night and can't make it into the office. I don't want to know intimate details of their lives. I have to work with them. I need to have as much professional respect as possible for them. It's important for the greater good. That goes for Sadie, which is why I got sick enough of the "maybe she's good in bed" comments to let my wicked imagination run wild, get it out of my system (and hopefully yours) and be done with ever thinking about Sadie's bedroom prowess. Boobjob and I have spent far too much time together outside of work for my liking. Of course I had to help her, defend her and otherwise deal with the repercussions of her implants, I mean, I'm not cruel, I would never let her suffer or be sexually harassed or leave her drunk in a public bathroom. But I'm not her friend. And she is not mine. When one of us quits our job we will say our good-byes and that will be the end of the relationship. Until then, yes, of course, if she needs help I'm here for her, and I assume she would do the same for me. Though what I would need her for I cannot say, nor can I honestly believe she would in fact, be there for me. I don't see a lot of personal integrity there. That's another blog.

But I don't care. She's not my friend. And therefore she is not capable of hurting me. Our strictly professional relationship was forced to endure some personal moments due to lack of judgment on her part. That's to be expected if you stick around a job long enough. But Boobjob and I didn't come through those personal moments with a deep understanding and compassion for each other. I did what I would hope anyone else would do for her and kept my mouth shut about it in the office. One woman, one human, helping another. Period. No love or friendship lost or gained.

Life at work goes on its regularly scheduled routine.

And then New Girl refers to me as her friend. In a non work capacity.

Here's what happened.

I was in exile Friday, working hard on a project and keeping a low profile. I needed a bunch of copies of a bunch of different documents. So I made a rare extended trip to the copier. New Girl's office is next to the copier. I passed by her office, ducked my head in and said, "Hi New Girl, how's it going?" in a very casual, don't really expect a detailed answer kind of way. She responded, "Hey! Okay! It's Friday! I'm going to see (a really horrid) concert tonight! I know, I'm lame, but I'm really excited!"

"You're not lame. You just have really bad taste in music." I said. Then added, jokingly, "There's a great show at (a small, rough, edgey club in her neighborhood) tomorrow night, you could expand your horizons and go see them."

"Really? You think I'd like them?"

(Pausing in reflection, imagining New Girl at a small, rough, edgey club listening to a live rock band.) "They do have three guitarists, and they don't really have any pop hooks in their songs, but if you want to get out of that plinky plink little pop world of yours, that's the place to go." I said in what I thought was an obvious sarcastic and friendly mocking tone.

"Maybe I'll get my friend to go with me."

(Now worried that she took me seriously, and wondering if she might in fact actually enjoy the band. realizing I needed to quickly qualify my earlier "joke.") "Welllll, it would be a big departure from (the really horrid) concert you are seeing tonight. I'm not kidding, they have three guitarists," was my parting shot, which I thought would drive the point home.

And off I went to make copies.

While assembling multiple reports, I heard the following conversation from New Girl's office.

New Girl: "Hey, Amy, my friend Trillian just told me about a show at (small club in my neighborhood) tomorrow night. Do you want to go?"

(me, thinking: "She's seriously considering going?" Then, "friend?!")

"I don't know, I've never heard of them, but my friend Trillian knows about them and she thinks I might like them."

(me, thinking: "Wow. I had no idea she'd take me so seriously." And "friend?!")

"I'm not sure, probably not til late." pauses, "Hey, Trill, what time do you think they'll start tomorrow?" she yelled from her office to me in the copy area.

(me, pulled from my reverie) "Who?"

"(really good band)."

"Oh, um, probably 10 or 11." And, thinking, "friend?!")

I gathered my copies and slunk back to exile in my office (oooooh, really good band name!)

"Friend?" "My friend Trillian?"

When did that happen?

Like I said, I like her, but I certainly don't consider her a friend. I certainly would not suggest that she go to the show with me, or utter "maybe I'll see you there" or that we're such friends that my opinion should play any role in her weekend plans.

I reviewed our interaction and conversations over the past few months. (Because I do nothing but introspect, about everything these days.)

At no time that I could recall did I ever give any signal that I might be anything more than a coworker. I'm sorry if she read more into it, but the bottom line, after much thought, is: No. We are not friends. We are friendly, but we are not friends.

The more I thought about this, the more I resented the liberties taken with our relationship and with my feelings for her. I resent that the liberties she's taking with my feelings toward her are causing me to feel guilty. Which means if a friendship were ever to develop between us, now, after this, I will question whether it's merely out of guilt because she thinks I'm her friend. I don't mind that she called me her friend, I guess, really, but I do mind if she thinks I will be extending friendship duties outside of the office. A more appropriate phrasing would have been, "This chick at work said there's a band at a small, rough, edgey club tomorrow night."

How did I reach this conclusion?

By reviewing the benchmarks in friendship and coming up dry.

Maybe you think you have friends. Maybe you do. I have some really swutting amazing friends. I'm lucky. I've never asked for proof or validation of their friendship, yet I've been given it repeatedly. This qualifies me to detail some friendship benchmarks.

Do You Have Friends?
Answer these questions yes or no to find out if you have friend or if you are a friend.

Have you or has anyone you know ever:
  • Stayed up all night in person or on the phone listening to minutia about a new boy/girlfriend, a breakup with said boy/girlfriend, an incident at work or family issues?

  • Refrained from making obvious comments about someone's boy/girlfriend/spouse who is a jerk/loser/emotional abuser or who has really horrid taste in music/clothing/television/hobbies?

  • Disliked someone, maybe even banished them to the hottest corner of Hell, based solely on something they did/said to someone you know?

  • Brought Entenmann's, ice cream, alcohol or medication (as the situation requires) to a person other than a blood relation?

  • Taken away Entenmann's, ice cream, alcohol or medication (as the situation requires) from a person other than a blood relation for their greater good?

  • Refrained from drinking alcohol because someone else is on a much needed bender and requires supervision?

  • Been on a much needed bender and had someone remain sober to supervise you?

  • Uttered the words, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this. You need new shoes/tools/music/sporting goods. I know where there's a sale. I'll pick you up in 30 minutes."?

  • Uttered the words, "Your bum looks great in those trousers/jeans." to someone other than a boy/girlfriend/spouse/potential sex partner?

  • Traveled long distances to "be there" for someone without thinking or caring about the time, money and hassle involved?

  • Given an honest, frank and probably difficult assessment of a situation, dilemma or article of clothing while maintaining sympathy, respect and appropriate sensitivity to the subject and only when asked? (Meaning, without a cutting remark or joke)

  • Helped someone move house? Without being asked or paid?

  • Gone with someone other than a blood relative or spouse to an emergency room, doctor's office, dentist's office or lawyer?

  • Been with someone other than a blood relative or spouse while they have their pet put to sleep?

  • Happily (attitude is the key here) allowed someone's dog to jump on/lick//drool on/sniff you? (Quadruple yes if you hate or are afraid of dogs.)

  • Happily (attitude is the key here) allowed someone's cat to kiss/rub on/pounce on/paw/snuggle/ignore you? (Quadruple yes if you hate or are afraid of cats.)

  • Happily (attitude is the key here) babysat children on a Saturday night so their mum/dad/parents could have a night out?

  • Listened, profoundly interested, to details of potty training, lost teeth, whatever "cute" thing someone else's children/pets did?

  • Given money or a night out or otherwise paid for something for someone else without any expectation or desire to be paid back or reciprocated?

  • Gone to a concert, play, movie, book signing, Star Trek convention with someone other than another big fan of the band, actor, author or fellow Trekkie?

  • Been asked to, and then happily (attitude is the key here) worn really horrid attire in public, maybe even in a church, at a wedding?

  • Happily (attitude is the key here) spent insane amounts of money on said horrid attire, accoutrements, gifts and travel to remote corners of the world to be in/at a wedding?

  • Done anything you would normally consider a sacrifice, pain in the bum, or stupid without thinking twice or considering it a sacrifice, pain the bum or stupid?

  • Laughed so hard liquid (milk, pop, wine, martini, salad dressing) comes out your nose?

  • Laughed so hard your knees go weak and your stomach aches?

  • Cried out of pain and empathy for what someone else is going through?

  • Held and cried with someone other than a blood relation or girl/boyfriend/spouse?

  • Not been able to sleep until you get the call or email someone other than a blood relation is home safely?

  • Shared a bed with someone other than a blood relative or sexual partner?

  • Been a professional reference for someone whom you do not know in a professional capacity?

  • Called just to say hi. Really just to say hi. Period.
If you answered "Yes, I've done that!" to at least 10 of the above, you are a friend. Good for you. Go to the head of the class. If you answered, "Yes, I know someone who's done that, for me!" to at least 10 of the above, congratulations, you have a friend. You are lucky. Be sure to thank and appreciate your friend(s). If you answered "no, I've never done that" to more than 10 of the above, you are not a friend. If you answered, "no one's ever done that for me" you do not have a friend. Get out there and cultivate a friendship. Do at least 10 of the above for one person you care about who is not your boy/girlfriend/spouse/blood relative. Someone outside of work. You and your new friend will be better, happier people. And do not make assumptions or take liberties with your co workers, co students, teammates, churchmates or that guy you doled out pretzels and toothbrushes with at the shelter three months ago. If they do not fall into the 10 or more group, they are not your friends and don't consider them as such. If you want to be friends with them, don't start the relationship by making assumptions and causing guilt. (To anyone just dying to know how inappropriate my Friday jeans and sandals were, see Saturday's Come Here! I Want to Show You Something! post. You can't really see the purple haze pedicure (I changed it Saturday, so Sunday's posts show off a cajun shrimp pedicure))


8:31 AM

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