Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TwinSpeak: When accidents happen

Have you ever made a social etiquette faux pas only to realise too little too late that it's happened? We've all had accidents before and those instances where we could have been more courteous in a social situation. What do you do about it when you realise?

Bella: Today I was on my way to work and realised that I could do with some fuel. I wasn't exactly running late but I like to be on time or a few minutes early. I pulled into a petrol station on the way to work and noticed a car pulling away from the pumps in the direction of the exit. I pulled in to the pump furthest to the front so that another car could get in behind me.

I started pumping my fuel and while doing so noticed that a lady in station wagon was yelling something out her window in the direction of everyone pumping fuel. It looked like she was actually yelling something at me and it also looked quite aggressive. It was only then it dawned on me what happened and what she was saying. The lady the I thought had been pulling out was actually trying to turn her car around and drive in the opposite way so she could fill up on the right side? She was yelling out something about wanting to turn around and pull in. In my one minded focus to get in and get fuel, I didn't realise what this lady was trying to do. I don't think she even managed to even start turning her car around because I pulled straight in. At first I thought, how stupid...what did she think was going to happen? She didn't have her indicator on, plus the petrol hoses aren't long enough to reach right to the other side??? Of course next, I felt pretty bad because had it been me in the same situation I would also be pissed.

I did consider apologising to this lady when we were within talking distance. Either I could go over to her or wait for her to come to me. I mean, I had technically pushed in front of someone who had been there before me to get fuel. But then I also felt a little defiant because I kept reasoning she was the one who pulled out? In the end my decision was made for a few reasons, One; this lady looked rather....rough. She was dishevelled, angry and had a load of screaming kids in the back seat. I didn't think she would be all to receptive to my apology. Two; By the time I had paid for my fuel and walked back to my car to leave she was still busy pumping fuel and completely preoccupied. I reasoned if she was that angry about it, maybe she would be looking out for me waiting for an apology or explanation? Either way, I drove away without another thought.

Frankie:Yes, I am sure we've all been guilty of some sort of little accident or slip up like this. I am sure you didn't mean it and I think sometimes people need to have some understanding in times like these.

I remember when I had accidentally cut someone off while merging into traffic. It was purely accidental and the person had to swerve suddenly to miss me. I was so apologetic and clearly mistaken in my actions, but of course I didn't do it on purpose. Who would?? Why would I want another car to plow right into me. I tried to convey how sorry I was for the bad judgement in my driving but the driver was so enraged they were screaming expletives at me out their window, sped up, then cut me off as revenge and to top it off, pulled up right next to me while we were at the lights and insisted that I get out of my car while she was flipping the bird and screaming "F*#k you" at me???? Yeah ok???

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twin Speak...Social Networking Etiquette

With the explosion of all these social networking sights, with the accessibility of knowing how your friends are and know what they are doing almost at any given time, I have began to question..."What is the appropriate social networking etiquette?"

Frankie: I like having the conveniences of modern technology but lately I have began to find it somewhat inconvenient. I have facebook, myspace and most recently twitter. Most of my friends and workmates are all added on facebook and when I log onto facebook I find that I have close to 20 friends at any given time also logged on. What is the polite thing to do?? Do I say 'Hi' to all these 20 friends.

In the real world, if we saw our friends strolling down the street, of course you would say Hello to them. However, now with all these conveniences and friends at reach at the tap of a key, should you say 'Hello' to your online friends also?? Isn't it rude not to acknowledge someone when they are within your 'virtual' space?? Has it become acceptable to pick the people you feel like talking to?? Has this virtual snubbing become the same thing as when you see a friend in public and casually turn the opposite direction to avoid saying Hello?? And lets not lie...we've all done it :)

I still struggle to ignore friends online and sometimes find myself spending close to an hour chatting to people when all I wanted to do was check my messages. It's gotten to the point now that I sometimes leave myself logged off, just so I don't feel the guilt of social snubbing??

Has the social networking conveniences changed the way we interact with friends and acquaintances so much that we've become complacent of our friends?? What is the etiquette here??

Thursday, April 16, 2009

TwinSpeak: How can you be considerately inconsiderate?

Well when it rains it pours! Today's post is dedicated yet again to another work gripe and my question today is how can I be considerately inconsiderate.

Bella: We have a coffee machine at work but occasionally I will feel like having a 'real' coffee made so I'll stop off at the local cafe down the road from work. When I do this, I'll always text my other colleagues if they'd like one as well. My boss and I are really good where I'll get the coffees one time and then he'll get it the next. We don't need to keep tabs and it always works out fair.

There is also a third colleague who is included in our coffee run. Whenever either my boss or myself text guaranteed each and every time this colleague would like a coffee as well. The problem is....he rarely (I'm not going to say never because that's not true but it's closer to never than it is rarely) shares the turn and picks up the tab. At first I didn't think much about it but now it is getting really really annoying.

You see, BC (Before CoffeeMachine), we used to do a coffee run each morning and we had set days. Now that we have a coffee machine the cafe shop coffee run is more of a sporadic thing and when we just feel like splurging. There are no set days. What bugs me is that this third colleague never seems to think 'Hey, I haven't got coffees in awhile and maybe everyone will feel like one, it's my shout'. No he never makes the suggestion but just waits until one of us texts and then sure enough he's on board.

Take Easter for another example. On the Thursday before Easter break I went to a bakery to get fresh hot cross buns. I then text the group and said 'Hey I got buns who wants to do a coffee run? :)'. The reply from our colleague came back 'I'm nearly in the office...did you want me to get coffee'. Uhhh well...what do you think??!?!? In the end, I didn't answer because I thought well if he needs to be told to do something then he obviously doesn't want to do it. So I brought in hot cross buns, my boss got us all chocolate Easter bunnies and third colleague...well he brought nothing!

I think what annoys me the most is that how come I have to be considerate for my other colleague when he is obviously not very considerate for me? Would it be rude for me to just rock up with my coffee for the day and maybe my boss' too but not his? Do you think he'd notice?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TwinSpeak: Work Woes

It's been a week or so since our last blog post. We've been on hiatus, trying to keep on top of work, life, love and then a much needed break over the crazy silly Easter season.

Bella: I'm back in the swing of things after stuffing myself and almost overdosing on chocolate...if that's possible. I can't tell you how nice it was to have a 4 day week last week and then a 4 day week this week and lucky me, I actually have a 4 day week next week as well. I took next Monday off for an annual leave day. My husband is surprising me and taking me on a short trip to Melbourne!

Yet even with all these short weeks, I'm finding my patience being tested and ready to snap. It's not work or clients so much but one person I work with that seems to be really eating away at me. I went for months being able to work alongside this person no worries. But now, in the last week, I'm finding that I'm being driven insane!

It's not that I don't like this person....just that we have such different work ethics and styles. I feel like whenever I go to work, I'm also babysitting and this person is only a few years younger than me...yet we are so far apart in where we are in life. They take no initiative in anything they do at work and are constantly asking questions on what to do, how to do it, if they can go to the toilet and this person has been here for nearly a year now!

Today...I had to take many deep breaths and count to ten many times just to stop from saying something I might regret later. My favourite part of the day, my morning coffee ritual was spoilt by this little turn of events.

Colleague- Um..I think you need more coffee beans
Me- Oh well look at that..yes we do.

So my colleague knows about it and tells me about it but what do they do about it...a big FAT NOTHING!!!

Colleague- Uhhh...the coffee machine just came up with a message ‘empty grounds container’....ughghh...I don’t know...ugghhh what do I do (having mini panic attack)
Me- Ahhh gee...I think that would mean ‘Empty the FUCKIN grounds container’ retard!!!

Colleague- The drip tray is full to the brim with water. What should I do.
Me- Gee and here I thought we were in drought!! Well save it of course!!

Obviously I didn't say all those things...but I was thinking them :)

Frankie: Well I said to Bella that she should maybe use this as an experiment to try and master her lack of 'patience'. As they say, 'Patience is a virtue' and maybe this dim witted kid has presented himself as a challenge in order for Bella to master the act of acquiring 'Patience'.

Bella I think you should coach and master your fellow colleague in the daily life lessons that he finds so challenging. Nurture him, guide him and provide him with supportive and constructive feedback into what he's doing wrong/right etc.

Helpful Hints:

- Count to ten or maybe 20 before speaking in his presence

- If a more than normal challenge presents itself and you find yourself on the brink of snapping again, ask yourself, "How would I feel if my colleague called me a dim-witted retard when all I need is help switching on the coffee machine"

- Next, write down some pre-determined compliments and words of encouragement, in order to be ready and quick off the mark when he does something, anything right????

- When giving feedback avoid using words such as; idiot, loser, degenerate moron, juvenile freak, retarded pin head and any other like minded terms.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

TwinSpeak...April Fools Prank!!

So being in the April Fools spirit...I decided to prank my boyfriend.

Frankie: An oldie but a goodie, I called him up at work and carefully broke the news to him that I was pregnant. After an extended pause his reply was, "Is it possible". My reply, "Ahh, yes, I assure you, it is biologically possible ;)" Silence.... His reply, "But how is this possible, are you sure??" My reply, "yes, pregnancy tests are 99.9% accurate, but we can always go to a family planning clinic to make sure"...Hehe, I had to fess up after that because I could hear the car door slamming and screeching tire sounds :)

Well, I have a feeling that from now on, my forgetful boyfriend will be taking more notice in the passing of days and their allocated dates and connotations...April Fools!!!

Bella: LOL!! I was going to do the exact same prank! But I didn't want to give my poor darl a heart attack so I thought the better of it. No pranks pulled by myself I'm sad to say. I'm just not the prankster kind.

I'd love to hear what others did to their friends and loved ones though?

TwinSpeak: Loss, grieving and the funeral...

Unfortunately at the beginning of the week we had some bad news that a close family member for a mutual friend of ours had passed away.

Bella & Frankie:
Our friend and her family has been known to both of us since primary, many, many years. We felt a great loss and sadness for both the family and ourselves. The funeral was held yesterday and we both attended out of respect and love for our friend.

The family are part of a very close and tight knit cultural community of family and friends. Many people attended the service and it was quite an overwhelming experience. We felt more comfortable just to stand back from the crowd and observe, paying our respects silently amongst ourselves.

We couldn't help but notice and observe certain things throughout the service. It became obvious to us that everyone grieves differently and in their own way. We also noticed that a funeral is one event where you just can't be prepared for everything and things usually don't go to plan.

The service was arranged by the professional services of one large and local company. We have to say though we were less than impressed and would not be using them myself if god forbid it was ever required. One of the selling points of this particular company is that it is run solely by females. They claim to show sincerity and compassion in all they do while still offering a complete funeral service. However they just weren't on top of it. During the private viewing with the family only, other people were just wandering in behind the curtain to have a look! We couldn't believe it because it could be heard by all sitting down that the family was obviously grieving at that particular time. There was no one at the door to guide people where to sit, so the first two rows reserved for family were all taken by the time the family came to sit. It was embarrassing for them. Whenever the ladies of the company spoke to a family member it was in the most cheerful and happy voice that would have been suitable for speaking to a child at a carnival! It was so patronising and false. It actually angered us whenever they spoke. We can understand the need to speak to people grieving in a manner to try and lighten the mood but these ladies were so cheery and happy we thought they were on happy drugs! The clincher for us was when the coffin was to be carried out. The funeral company asked the family if they had any strong men to carry the coffin out. This was supposed to be a service offered by the company so the family questioned this. They were then jovially informed, "Yes, but this is White Lady Funerals" with emphasis put on the Lady!?!?!?! As in they couldn't possibly carry out the coffin. We were was gobsmacked.

After the service we both offered help to carry the abundance of flower arrangements to the burial site. While we were doing this, some people came up to us and other people carrying flowers to grab the arrangements off us. They told us that they bought the flowers and we shouldn't take them?! Again we were only trying to help but I guess we managed to offend some people.

Other things happened throughout the service and the gathering after. The family were doing OK but certain things did anger them. We tried to reassure our friend, saying that you just can't possibly plan for everything and that grieving can bring out unexpected behaviour from people. We can understand how they felt though. Going through such a hard and sad time, the last thing you want to worry about are things going wrong. Being that there was a strong cultural element to the service as well, there was a lot of obligation and protocol that went with it that just added more stress for the family involved. They were more than relieved when the time came that they could just kick off their shoes and grieve together amongst their closest friends and family.

Overall, it was a sincere service from the family and good to see them all come together during this time. Our friend has had some tough times and family differences in the last year and it was good to see them supporting each other.

We realised after yesterday that, you can never stop learning from a person or situation...even after death or during a time of greatest loss. There will always be an opportunity to be open minded and view things so completely foreign to your norm and appreciate the change of perspective.