Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Arun versus The Mountain

Growing up in Alaska, it would be logical for one to think that I'm a real winter sports kind of guy. One might even assume that I am an avid skier who can carve his way down any mountain, big or small! After all, mountains were practically my backyard in Alaska.

One would be completely wrong.

It's not that I've never skied or anything. In fact, when I was a little kid, I took skiing and figure skating (yea yea, laugh it up) lessons. The problem is, that I haven't skied in probably 12 years.

So what did I decide to do? Well it only seemed logical that the best way to jump back into skiing was to tackle the biggest ski mountain in California. Mammoth definitely lives up to its name.

Saturday was clear and beautiful. It all came back to me pretty fast, and before long, I was carving my way down the bunny slopes! All was good until I encountered my first black diamond of the weekend.

My history with black diamonds is sketchy at best. The last time I went skiing, I took a black diamond at the bottom of the hill. I didn't really know how to carve at the time, so I'd pretty much just barrel my way down the hill.

So picture this. I'm flying down the hill, gathering speed with this big smile on my face. I enter the black diamond and now I'm really flying! "Whooo hooo!" As I finish the black diamond it suddenly occurs to me that I'm at the bottom of the hill, moving at an out-of-control speed. Then I realize that one of the skills that I'm not particularly proficient at is the art of stopping.


So here I am flying towards the ski rack in front of the lodge at the bottom of the hill. In my desperation to stop, I decide that falling is the only way to avoid colliding with the ski rack. In my haste, I fall backwards.

Let me explain to you why this was a bad idea. When you fall backwards with skis on, your back and head hit the ground, but because the skis are so long, your legs remain planted in the skis on the ground and you continue rocketing forward with your back and head absorbing the comfy terrain.

I managed to hit a mound of snow that sent me spinning, skis and poles flying off of me and I came to rest just in front of the ski rack. It would have been less painful to have just collided with the rack.

So on Saturday, I put this little incident out of my mind and start heading down. I'm carving really hard and am moderately controlling my speed. Yes! I own this black diamond!

About half way down I recall my previous incident and trying to carve a little harder to slow down. In doing this I lost my balance. I knew I was going to eat it, the only question was in which direction? Again remembering how pleasant it felt to fall backwards I, for reasons I will never understand, decide to fall forward.

Note to self...forward fall = high faceplant probability.

Yes I faceplanted, and to make things things worse, since the hill was so steep, I kept going with my heading leading the way down the hill.

Other than that incident, the day was pretty good, and I was superbly confident in my skills for Sunday! Well, Sunday brought one of the worst blizzards I've ever been in. More than half of the mountain was closed due to high winds and blizzard conditions.

Me being supremely confident in my near-professional level skiing abilities, I took the highest lift that was open. I could hardly move at the top. It was so windy that I had to anchor my poles into the ground to keep from getting blown around. Not to mention, it was FREAKING COLD up there!

Now I just wanted to get the hell down...not as easy as it sounds. It was total white-out conditions. Going down the mountain, all I could see was white. I couldn't tell up from down or right from left. I couldn't see five feet in front of me and had no clue how fast I was going.

At one point, I felt a bunch of snow hitting my face and thought I was just skiing really fast. It turned out I was falling, but I was so disoriented I had no idea. I managed to make it down the hill, and promptly decided that was enough for the day.

Success! I escaped the mountain without injury and only above average amounts of embarrassment! I OWN skiing!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The "Do Not Touch" List

I'm a fun-loving super social guy who loves giving high fives and making up new crazy handshakes with all of my friends. I am also well aware that people's hands carry more germs than almost anything else you can touch.

In general, I don't mind being exposed to moderate amounts of foreign germs. It seems logical that the more germs I am exposed to, the stronger my immune system will become as it adapts to each foreign particle introduced into my system. I hardly ever get sick, so this must be true to some extent right?

There is one exception to my germ exposure though. Anything coming from a bathroom is not welcome anywhere near me! I (as should any sensible person) have a tremendous aversion to anything emanating from the bathroom. As a result, one of my biggest pet peeves are the lazy sicko's who don't wash there hands after going to the bathroom!


My aversion to this has resulted in my personal "Do Not Touch" list. That's right. If I am in the bathroom and catch you exiting without a wash, you are automatically flagged on my mental list. In fact, once you're on this list, it's virtually impossible to get off this list for a few reasons.

1) If you are already a friend, you're automatically dropped at least two tiers by virtue of you're laziness for hygiene.
2) You are definitely not coming over to my house with the potential of contaminating my sterile possessions.
3) I'm not coming to your place knowing that everything I'm touching has potential remnants from your Johnson.
4) I don't make a habit of going to the bathroom in herds (a la every female I know) so I don't know if your lack of awareness is a one time slip or a repeated offense.

Bottom line, you will not be getting any type of a handshake or high five from me. I know what you're thinking. "But Arun, what if Joe Dirtyhands approaches with an open hand to give me a handshake or a high five? Am I just supposed to make things awkward by blowing off his attempt to be friendly???"

Don't worry, I have a solution to this dreaded situation! This is where we get to enjoy the glorious invention known as the "Knuckle Touch!" The knuckle touch is awesome because not only are you being hip AND friendly, but you are avoiding the highly contaminated finger/palm area! When they come at you with an open hand, just counter with a closed fist and they'll automatically go in for a friendly knuckle touch.

Disaster Averted!!!

A Couple of other gross bathroom observations:

Observation 1:

Why is it that guys have absolutely NO aim in public toilets? I mean, if you go in there on a busy night, its like a war zone in there with urine all over the floor and toilet seat.

I find myself peeing with my feet in like a karate stance positioned on the only two dry spots on the floor! When finished, I carefully balance on one foot, and judo kick the handle to flush. This is tricky because you have to judo kick around the raised seat (if it is indeed raised, because if it's not, there's no way I'm touching that seat to raise it) and balance on your one foot on the ground. Slipping is not an option!!!

Observation 2:

About a month ago a friend and I stopped by my favorite Irish Pub in San Diego, The Field, for a beer. I had to go to the bathroom pretty bad, and the guys was full, so I snuck into the girls bathroom which consisted of two stalls.

It became immediately clear when I was inside pissing away that I had company in the stall next to me. I had always wondered whether girls are capable of making the violent sounds I have heard in men's bathrooms. Well she answered this question for me with a resounding (and I mean RESOUNDING) yes! Without going into the disgusting details, she was absolutely DESTROYING the poor toilet next to me.

So I'm standing there peeing away and I realize that by the sound of the stream hitting the water, its pretty obvious that a guy is in the stall next to her. So, to preserve any embarrassment for her (and me) I frantically re-aim my stream so that it banks off the porcelain right above the water line, thus disguising the telling sound of male urination.

As I'm wrapping up, I notice that she is also by the sounds of the miles of toilet paper shes pulling off the dispenser. I REALLY don't want to see whoever this is or have any type encounter, so I'm trying as hard as I can to squeeze out the last few drops and get the hell out of there.

I run out of the stall, but there's no way I'm leaving without washing my hands. As I'm washing, I hear a flush. Time is running out, and there's no time for drying! I dash for the door, and just as I'm about to open it, it flies open as two girls are entering. The first girl exclaims "WHOA!!! Isn't this the GIRLS bathroom!"

Simultaneously, I here the stall door which my noisy neighbor was in, open and she gives a incredulous, "HUH!?!?!" Without looking back, I ran the hell out of not only the bathroom, but the bar as well. There was no way I was going to risk bumping into that girl.

After the battle that was going down with her porcelain throne, she better have washed her hands. Either way, she's still solidly on the "Do Not Touch" List.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Assumed Tip

One of the jobs that I've always wanted to do, is be a waiter at a nice restaurant. A waiter you ask? Yes, a waiter. I think it would be fun interacting and bantering with a plethora of different customers, knowing that I am largely in control of how much extra I'm getting.

I also think that I would be pretty good at it. I love interacting with people, and as a normal person who goes out to eat once or twice a week, I notice some who are not so grand at the "high end food service position."

Take last night for example. It's Aaron's birthday, so a bunch of us go to this pretty nice steak house. The ambiance is pretty good and we get seated right away. So far so good.

The Waitress comes by for drink orders and we order up...twenty minutes later our drinks arrive. So what the hell complicated drink order did we place that it took TWENTY minutes? Nine waters and a beer.

One slip up, no big deal.

I pleasantly alert the waitress that we are ready to order. Two of our friends had some car trouble and hadn't shown up yet, but since it was getting late, we agreed that I would order for them. The conversation between the waitress and I goes something like this:

Me: "Thanks, I think we're also ready to order"
Waitress: "Okay"
Me: "I'm actually gonna go ahead and order for my friends who are going to be late as well"
Waitress: "WHAT!?! You mean you're not even going to WAIT for them?! (rolls her eyes)
Me: "Well uh..."
Waitress: Let me go get my notepad."

She was completely serious! I mean a line like that would have been funny had there been some sarcasm behind it, but there was none! So it takes her another TWENTY-FIVE minutes to get her notepad so we can place our order. Conveniently, she gets her way because by the time she comes back, our other friends have arrived.

I won't bore you with the rest of the subpar service but lets just say I wasn't a real happy camper. What irked me even more was that a 15% gratuity was already added when we got the bill!

I am a firm believer that 15% is for good service (most of the time), 20% is for excellent service (rare), and less than 15% is reserved for things like waiting TWENTY MINUTES FOR WATER. I also wasn't too thrilled that she gave me attitude about ordering for my late friends. This was ridiculous though! I was FORCED to give her a tip for being "good!"

One thing that's interesting is that other people in the waitressing business either currently or formerly, always feel extra sympathetic for waitresses.

Sympathetic People: "Oh she's working hard!", "She's probably had a long day!", "Its really busy!" They seem to think its a given that they are going to get a tip.

Not my problem. I DO feel sympathetic if the waitress is extra appologetic and she legitimately seems to have been thrust with too many tables. But when they bring the 'tude, I bring El Cheapo.

Now you probably think I'm some sort of a demanding tyrant when I go out to eat, but there's nothing further from the truth. The last time (and only time) I sent food back was six years ago at Applebee's when my medium-well steak came back scorched on the outside, and mooing on the inside. I'll admit I'm also a shameless flirt in general with waitresses.

Other general restaurant observations:

-I hate the feeling of sitting down at your table, starving, before you've ordered, knowing that the kitchen hasn't even begun to think about cooking your food.

-I hate when the waitress is bringing out food, and you get all excited because you think it's yours, but at the last second she serves a table right next to you.

-I'm always worried when I get those little vibrating-flashy-light that I'm gonna some how miss it going off, or I'm going to be out of range and miss my table!

-About half the time I go out to eat and I give a name for a table, I give the hostess the name of someone I'm with, because if I give them my name, I have to listen for about six different pronounciations that people come up with.

-It's always fun to see someone get the birthday song from the restaurant staff, but after the first time, the novelty wears off big time!

-The think bartenders get far too many tips for what they do, especially if its just opening a bottle of bear or filling a cup from a tap. I still tip em' just so I can get service in the future, but its still stupid.

-I secretly worry when I get a waiter who doesn't feel the need to write anything down and goes by memory. Interestingly, these people are usually this why Asians are so smart?

-There used to be this Indian restaurant I'd take friends to in San Luis Obispo. Everytime I got the bill, I'd get a mystery 10% discount. This never happened to anybody else. This became known as "The countryman discount"...I wish I was Thai.

I know there are more, but I'd be interested to hear any of your restaurant observations/ramblings.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Tax-Man Saves The Day

Now that I have a full time job, a lot of financial responsibility has fallen onto my shoulders. Though I worked through college, I never realized how many expenses loans, scholarships, and some help from my parents were covering.

Enter the real world.

I was so excited to be getting paid the "big bucks!" Awaiting the end of college was a lavish lifestyle of fun and entertainment! So what was the first thing I realized when I started getting the bills?

Life is expensive.

That's right. Simply to live (especially in Southern California) you have to bring home a reasonable amount of dough! Here I am thinking I'd have a surplus of dough to play with, but instead I find myself making pizzas for property management, utility companies, and car dealers! And I'm not talking cheese pizza either. Property management is charging me for a freakin delux-combo with all the works and parmesan cheese on the side!

Suffice to say, I have to be frugal with some of my expenses to accomodate my savings rate (about 20%) and my addiction to fun, excitement, and adventures. I have actually been doing pretty well recently. I have been saving MORE than my goal, and have been having more fun and adventures than ever before!

Enter February. The month is half way done, and I am getting KILLED with expenses. Allow me to explain:

Unnexpected expense 1: I take my car in for an oil change and the guy tells me that my allignment is out o' wack, and my tires are bald because of it, thus putting me in a "real unsafe situation." Great. I shell out ludicrous amounts of cash to get this fixed. All good right? WRONG! I get my car back and I'm driving on the freeway when all of a sudden my car starts to kind of swerve within my lane! At first I thought it was just me getting used to the upgraded handling, but I soon realize that not only is my handling not upgraded, its completely gone!

I drive in this death trap for a week because I don't have time during the work-week to go back. When I take it back he tells me "We found the problem. Someone forgot to tighten XYZ bolt in the XYZ compartment causing the steering to wander." WHAT!?! So in my effort to get out of the "real unsafe situation," you guys create a killing machine for me to drive around in for a week because you forgot to tighten a bolt? Brilliant.

Unnexepected Expense 2: I just bought San Diego Chargers Season Tickets. Now let me make one thing clear. I HATE the Chargers. So it makes perfect logic that I buy season tickets right? Actually my plan is to go to the Chiefs (Greatest Team Ever) game and one other game, and then sell the rest. Tickets go for a pretty penny around here so I'll probably make some money. This is kind of an investment that won't pay off until next year, but its still a loaf from the bread bank.

Unnexpected Expense 3: Well this was only half-unnexpected, but a bunch of us are going to Mammoth next week for skiing. When you live in California, you generally don't have a lot of winter gear lying around, which means shopping spree time! Now I haven't skiied in probably ten years but luckily I have medical insurance which should cover my post ski trip expenses as well as the state-of-the-art turbo powered, breath controled wheelchair I plan to buy. There's like ten of us all staying in the same condo so there should be some stories and adventures from this trip.

Unnexpected Expense 4: UCSD has the most ridiculous parking policy. Essentially, unless you shell out for a parking pass, there is no time during the day that you can park there! It was only forty bucks but still, I was pissed for not only giving them forty bucks, but the way it happened. Four of us are playing tennis. One of our friends (B-Rye) and another girl are also there watching. B-Rye and girl go to Starbucks to get coffee. One hour later girl is back and sits on the side of our court watching tennis. Ten minutes later...

Us: "Where is B-Rye?"
Girl: "Oh he's moving his truck"
Us: "What? Why's he moving his truck?"
Girl:"Oh some lady is up there ticketing all the cars"
Us: "WHAT!!"

With that Aaron and dash up the hill to our cars and are each greeted with nicely placed $40 tickets. Yes, we were now playing an eighty dollar tennis match. Why this girl didn't think to say ANYTHING is beyond me.

I've been dreading having to do my taxes, but I finally sat down this weekend to bang em out and was greeted with a pleasant suprise. Not only am I getting money back, but I'm getting enough to cover all of the above expenses and to put some away! YES! I officially LOVE tax returns!

As a side note this was my first time doing taxes, but I HIGHLY recommmend Intuit Turbo Tax. It made everything super easy and straightforward, and helps you understand exactly which deductions you qualify for.

So if you haven't done your taxes yet, you might be in for a pleasant suprise and the Tax-Man might just save the day!

Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm Too Sexy For This Club?

You know I always thought I had potential to go into modeling. With my devilish good looks and charming personality, it seemed like the perfect career. Well, Saturday I got my chance to kick off my modeling career!

Saturday night, a big group of us decided to head out to Red Circle, an upscale lounge/nightclub located in the gaslamp district. This was our first time there, so we didn't really know what to expect.

The first thing I notice when we get in, is there's this temporary catwalk in the middle of the room with people and photographers surrounding it on either side. Apparently there is some sort of fashion show going on tonight.

Beautiful women are strolling up and down the catwalk showing off some local clothing line. The last girl does her thing, and they take a short break before the finale.

My mind starts scheming.

This is almost too good to be true. An open catwalk. A huge audience. But damn the security!

Next thing I know, Darren, Aaron, and Vanessa arrive, spot me, and stroll across the catwalk to my side of the room, not even realizing that it IS a catwalk!

Hmmm. Let me guide you through my stream of consciousness.

"Well, they got across relatively scott free, aside from a couple of funny looks from security. Maybe it's because they were oblivious? Let me do a test run to test the waters"

So I hopped on up, and pretended to just be trying to get to the other side of the room. Nothing happened. Security didn't come for me, but I also didn't get any hollers.

Back to my stream of consciousness.

"Ok, this time I'm putting on show! Now if security comes for me, I can hop over the security railing and "leg it" to avoid potential embarrassment."

I look over at my roommate Jeff, and discover he's thinking the same thing. Its time for a walk off! We get over to the front, a hop on up to the catwalk! This time we really put on a little show. I mean I was struttin my ass off. We got to the end and busted a couple of poses from which we got a couple of hollers.

I walked down the stairs thoroughly satisfied with my amazing performance and this big black security guard is just shaking his head at me...apparently he doesn't appreciate beauty of the male body...either that or he just wanted me to get my freelancing ass the hell off of his stage.

Yes, it was short, but it was oh so sweet! I suppose I should now add modeling to my resume, especially since I live in California. For any of you modeling agents out there, I have experience in runway modeling and will consider doing a gig for a nominal fee.

After all, 100% of my modeling gigs I've done for free, and a man's gotta eat right?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

How to Complain to Get What You Want

Three years ago, I decided to stay in San Luis Obispo for my first summer during college and become a California resident. Since I wasn't taking any classes, it seemed logical to get a job. I had formerly been a tennis instructor so working at the "Tennis Warehouse" seemed like a good job for me since I already knew a thing or two about tennis.

Before visiting the facility, I thought I would just be a racquet stringer, doing my thing in a little pro shop. I was planning on staying there for just the summer.

Ding Dong! You're Wrong!

The job was far more than just stringing racquets. The majority of my job was full on customer service, and I would string racquets in between calls. My job was to be a tennis and tennis product guru and to be able to help customers with anything!

The job worked out well for me and I became a supervisor in a little under a year. I'm very much a "people person," so I excelled at customer service. As a supervisor, one of the duties I was entirely responsible for was "new hire training." What was the biggest part of this training? Learning our system was some of it, but the majority was learning to provide EXEMPLARY customer service.

Working in customer service for two years really taught me a lot about business-consumer relationships. As a supervisor, I had to speak with anybody who had a complicated issue or complaint. I dealt with a whole hodge-podge of different people, and through these interactions, learned exactly what works, and what doesn't when complaining.

Since leaving that job, I've used what I've learned a few times with tremendous success! Ok, enough build up. Here it is:

1. Do not get angry! It's ok to be frustrated, and certainly I would encourage you to let the customer service representative (CSR) how you feel. When you get angry though, the CSR will immediately feel unjustly antagonized and naturally be less willing to optimally help you. The nicest, calmest ones are generally the people who CSR's feel sympathetic towards and will "go to bat" for you when requesting your compensation from a manager. I can't tell you how many times someone has called in yelling at a CSR (who is almost NEVER responsible for that customer's problem). Showing anger will only hurt your cause.

2. Expect a reasonable compensation. Have an idea of what is reasonable before you call. A reasonable expectation is more likely to be fulfilled by the business. If you call in demanding totally ridiculous compensation, you will likely get less than you would have had you requested appropriate compensation.

3. Demonstrate loyalty. If you have dealt with the business before, mention that you are a loyal customer. Repeat customers provide a huge percentage of business revenue both through their own purchases, and through their recommendations. This is the customer that a business HATES to lose and consequently they will try VERY hard to accommodate you. Also mention how pleasant your previous transactions have been, and that you'd hate your relationship to be soured from one incident! This is Gold!

4. Don't make threats. Most larger businesses are immune to: "I'm reporting you to the Better Business Bureau!" or "You'll here from my lawyer!" etc. This is silly and will probably do nothing but cause you extra heartache. Again, this will cause you to get on the bad side of whomever you are speaking with which is not in your best interest.

5. Say how you feel. Words like "frustrated" and "disappointed" are gold especially when said in a non-threatening or angry way. They elicit sympathy and compassion.

6. Make good assumptions. Mention things like "I know you strive to establish great business-consumer relationships but..." or "I understand you have a reputation for putting the customer first but I feel disappointed that..."

I'm smiling as I'm writing this because this is some great (and somewhat manipulative) stuff! Man I'm good...

Making positive assumptions about a business is a subtle way of twisting their arm into helping you! Once these things are said, they feel like they need to conform to the standards you have so nicely imposed on them! The social science term for this is "framing" where you use subtle language to make the other person conform to a certain behavior.

7. Be confident! Do not accept substandard compensation if you really do deserve more! Stand by your request and don't be a pushover!

If you adhere to these tips when making a complaint, any company worth their salt will cater to your requests! The bigger the business, the better these suggestions work! Why is this? Because usually a business cannot grow huge without providing exemplary customer service.

Happy complaining everyone!

UPDATE: I just released an ebook package entitled The Social Charmer It's a two book package, the second of which is a detailed guide to getting optimum customer service! If this article was useful to you, definitely check out The Social Charmer package as it is much more thorough than this post!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Moped Madness

One of the most exciting days I had in college, was the day my new moped was delivered to me from Germany. I was set to tear up the streets of San Luis Obispo with 50cc's of raw power!

Let me tell you, 50cc's is a hell of a lot of power considering I spent my first two years of college using my bicycle to go everywhere. Going to school was 3 miles of uphill riding everyday, so I always had to bring a change of clothes with me because I'd be a sweaty mess by the time I got there. No more! I'd now be cruising to school in style! (well...sort of)

The second day I had my moped, I was so excited to show it off to my friends. After class I cruised over to my friends Tara, Becca, and Jess's to show off my new toy and let them ride it around. Little did I know, I was about to learn of the true power of the 'ped.

So we go to this Church parking lot, and after they ride it around I'm demonstrating how to kick start the moped. The thing with mopeds is, there is no neutral, so when you start the engine and give it gas, the rear tire spins. Consequently, the moped has a special kick stand that holds the back tire up off the ground so the moped doesn't take off when you start it.

Apparently, this kick stand is a brilliant invention.

As I was demonstrating, I grew tired of repeatedly putting the moped back on the stand to start it. Big mistake. I kick back on the pedal, give a little gas and the moped bolts out from between my legs! The moped rears up on the back tire as I'm hanging onto the handlebars for dear life!

Now here's the problem with holding on. As the moped is rearing up and I'm clutching the bars, the throttle is naturally being twisted back even more thus giving more juice and throwing me around even more. By the time I let go, me and moped are on the ground. I look up and I see the of them just staring at me with their hands covering their mouths in disbelief. Suffice to say, the demonstration was over.

Not my smoothest moment.

Aside from that one incident, riding the moped for two years was a blast! Sure I looked a little awkward as a 6'2" 200 lb guy on a little motorized bike but I would routinely get hollers of approval riding that thing around the city.

There were however some issues with having a moped as my only means of transportation. I was screwed when it rained. This thing was like a death machine in water, but I had no choice but to ride it.

Imagine hydroplaning at 35 mph on the shoulder of a busy street. The disk breaks stop being effective in the rain and as cars pass by, you get a nice refreshing blast of street water. To top it off, you can hardly see because the rain is pelting your face and eyes. By the time I'd get to work, I'd be completely soaked through every layer of clothing.

In fact once, I got a flat tire in the rain. Super. And the problem with anything malfunctioning on the moped is that there is ONE shop in SLO that knows how to fix mopeds, so anytime anything went wrong, it became a project to get it repaired.

The helmet was also not most stylish thing ever. If you've ever seen the movie "Space Balls," the helmet is pretty much the same thing Vader's troops had on there heads.

I will say that it was a riot to ride though. If you took speed bumps at just the right angle, you could get some air! Also, I couldn't argue with getting 100 miles per gallon. I even attached a couple of collapsible baskets on the sides so I could get grocery!

So for those of you who want a cheap, ultra fun, and really but not really stylish way of cruising around town, get the 'ped!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

A Typical, Not so Typical, Day at the Office

Ah the Office. Everybody's is different and mine is no exception. One thing that separates my daily office experience from others is the fact that I take note of all of the quirks that most people are oblivious to. Quirks you ask? Yes, quirks...allow me to expound.

I generally VERY routine about certain things during the week. One thing that has been slipping however is the time I arrive to work. I'm always the first in my group to arrive and the first to leave. The problem with being the first to arrive, is that nobody really knows how long you've been there. You could've arrived 5 minutes before everyone or an hour! I've started realizing this and slowly (and unconciuosly) I've started coming in later and later.

One of the first things I do when I get to work, is make a pot of coffee. Caffein has no effect on me, so I generally make decaf just to avoid any unnecessary drugs.

Funny story time. So there's this lady that comes in a little after I do. Last week I was chatting with her at the coffee area and she was remarking, "Ah its so nice to have a pot of coffee already made every morning when I get in! I absolutely NEED the caffein to get going this early."

Caffein? I looked down at her mug and her cream and sugar were all stirred up. I COULDN't tell her that she's been drinking decaf all this time. So what did I say in reply?

"Me too! I don't know how other people go without it!" Yes I know...I'm a liar and phony...but she's better off not knowing right?

Around 10 o'clockish, I start to get the munchies. I usually head over to the microwave and make a bag of the free popcorn we have. I now have a reputation throughout the finance department (where the nearest microwave is) as the "funny popcorn guy." The smell carries throughout the whole area and the sound is unmistakable. People always come up to me, "so your the guy who always makes popcorn for breakfast!" at which point I correct them "No no, this is my midmorning snack."

Recently, I've been bringing fruit in for my midmorning snack. Would you believe that some other mysterious person has been popping popcorn between the tenth and eleventh hours? The Gall! Whoever this is, is stealing my reputation! I've asked the ladies in finance who it is, but nobody has spotted him/her. When I find out, we're gonna have to have a friendly chat about changing his popping time.

Every morning, I also have to alocate a little paper airplane time. My mom bought me this desk calendar for Christmas where each day has instructions to use the page from the previous day to make a new paper airplane. This has turned into amazing fun!

Usually I go out in the hall in near my managers office with another coworker and test the quality of the plain down a long hall. Occassionally, some of the "trick" plains make crazy turns into someones office, which is always fun retrieving. This week, I have folded a B-2 Bomber, F-16, Big-wing, and airliner A-300. Whoever made this calendar doesn't mess around!

Now here's something annoying. Every person I see, walk passed, or otherwise encounter, I always say "hi" or smile at the very least. Then there are those people who you walk passed who PURPOSELY don't look at, or even aknowledge you! I turn and smile only to see them looking straight ahead! I do not get these people. I mean, I'm sure they're nice enough to talk to normally, but they come off as unfriendly and rude when they don't even look.

I've noticed that the vast majority of these offenders are women. Could it be that I'm so good looking that my looks intimidate them to speechlessness??? That's the only explaination I can think of.

There are times when you should remain absolutely silent. That time is in the bathroom. No communication is to take place at the urinals. The only time talking is ok is during hand washing (which NEEDS to pet peeve is people who don't wash). The worst is if I'm heading to the bathroom, and I see like my manager heading in ahead of me...immediate diversion!

There's no way I want to be in there with him...especially if he forgoes the urinal for a stall. The no talking rule then becomes awkward when you actually know the other person in there. "Should I say hi? Am I being rude by not saying hi or am I being courtious by observing common bathroom ettiquette?"

I could go on, but I'll spare you. So next time you're at work, wherever that is, check out the silly little things that go on. I'm sure you'll start noticing a lot more now.