Monday, May 21, 2012

Really Random Thoughts

For the first time in more than a month, I did not bring my work laptop home and work. I probably should have but I have grown tired of pulling long shifts at work and then having to do more work at home each night (and weekend). Less than two weeks to go and then this project should be done and I can move onto other (less pressing) deadlines. Woohoo!

And now I feel inclined to write a little bit tonight while I have some free time. I could have gone to exercise tonight but decided against it as the urge to just relax was more important to me this evening. So instead, I'm currently listening to "I'm With Stupid" by the Pet Shop Boys on Spotify. And while I'm at it, I think I'll intersperse my musical selections (via the randomizer with Spotify) as I write up this blog post. Apparently, this is going to be a really random post. :-)

It's a cliche that you can get a better insight by seeing how people interact with others who are in the service industry (such as waiters/waitresses, clerks at the market, etc.).

(Next song is "You think you know her" by Cause & Effect)

I like to think another good way to see a person is by observing what they when they think no one is watching or when they think there will be no repercussions. So, while standing outside a local market while my better half shopped, I watched as more than 20 people brought their purchases out to their cars in shopping carts. And I watched as more than 20 people then either left their carts in an open space nearby (ensuring that no one could park there without first removing the cart) or, in the case of one 30ish woman, proceeded to actually push her cart to a nearby curb which was actually farther away from the store but out of the way of someone who might want to park their car in a parking spot.

("Everything You Know is Wrong" by Weird Al Yankovic)

So, in short, not one person actually attempted to return the cart to the store or to the designated repository of the store for all shopping carts. Which, I suppose, only goes to reinforce the belief by some that people generally only do right if they think they will be held to account. And, for the record, you'd better believe that after I unloaded all of our groceries that I then took my cart all the way back to the store. And I was parked a lot further away than most of the people I'd observed.

("Voulez-vous Danser" by Ace of Base)

This is a good time to point out that I've recently become a user of Evernote. I think it's a good way for me to keep track of things that I see and want to comment upon but may not have time to devote to doing so at the given moment. So far, I have about 8 different things that have popped up on my radar that I've listed on my notebook that I want to address when I have time (and apparently, that time is not now). But I like the fact I can be at any of my computers and simply bring up the application (or the website itself) and write up a quick note for later or I can even run it off my phone and leave a voice note for myself (I've done that several times when I'm not near my computer).

("Der Kommissar" by Falco)

It's also a great resource for listing off ideas for the book I have in my head (read: not yet actually written). Sure, it's been around for a while and I'm probably a total dork for not having utilized it before but it's not my fault that my techie self ignored it for so long. *sigh*

("Stay Beautiful" by Taylor Swift)

And it's just now dawned on me that this would be a great time to maybe spend 30 minutes working on the Chinese classic "The Monkey King" which I found a simplified version of in a shop in Flushing, NY, a little while back. (Did I write about that trip and the things I enjoyed? Nope. Ok, something else to add to Evernote to write about later.) Though, that does bring to mind another good story from this past weekend. Went to dinner at a Chinese/Japanese/American style buffet. While there, I asked one of the waitresses for chopsticks. She asked me how many and I told her 三双.

("She Wolf" by Shakira)

I honestly wasn't thinking about what I was saying but I'd heard her talking earlier to another waiter in Chinese so it was just habit, I suppose. Of course, I can't say that I look all that Chinese so she just stared at me for a second and asked "三双?" So I repeated it and she fumbled around for three pair and handed it to me while looking at me rather quizzically. Later, when my better half had stepped away, she stopped by and asked me "你是中国人吗?" (Are you Chinese?)

("Tik Tok" by Ke$sha)

I told her "No." She followed up, "美国的?" (Are you American?) I smiled politely and told her yes. Now, normally when I surprise someone by using Chinese (and I don't try to do it on purpose but it just sort of slips or they realize that I understand a conversation), they are very surprised and ask me pointedly if I speak Chinese. But I think this is the first time someone has asked me if I was Chinese. And, believe me, I may look like someone from Xinjiang (if you have some imagination) but not really Chinese in any way.

("The Diary of Jane" by Breaking Benjamin)

I have to admit that I was taken by surprise to be confused as Chinese - are there really that few foreigners who speak the language with any degree of proficiency (and let me assure I am can carry on a conversation but wouldn't consider myself to be proficient to any degree)? Sure, I've been taken as Iranian, Mexican, Norwegian and a few others but Chinese was probably stretching it. On the other hand, it was a good chuckle - even my better half found it a little amusing. The waitress was very nice, though, and I did leave her a nice tip - which I didn't have to do but maybe that says something about me? Who knows?

("Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John)

And, on that note (I'm wondering what my musical selections thus far say about me so feel free to chime in with whatever analysis you'd like), I am off to practice my Chinese a bit more...  :-)

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