Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Ultimate Cubicle Question

Sometimes I really wonder why I am here. No really – why am I here?

I’m sitting at a client site waiting for what we in the industry refer to as a SME – pronounced “SMEE” – which is a Subject Matter Expert – to get back to me with information I require to do my job.

All is quiet, as there isn’t anyone around – yet it is almost 9:30am! Everyone claims to come in around 7:00am to justify their early departures around 3:00pm – but on the training team, there is just me and one other person – out of a team of 12.

So, I sit here, typing out a blog, wondering why I am here?

I can’t do my work without the information from the SME, and I have done all the other work which I had too up to this point. So, I’m literally sitting idle, twiddling my thumbs, wondering what to do next?

At least I look busy while writing a blog – makes me appear to have something important to do. And appearances – especially in this place – are important. People don’t seem to understand that real talent is displayed in the end product – the work completed on a project.

Instead, they grant privilege and access to those who appear to be talented in their tasks, when in fact they too, are probably sitting idle. And we have all heard that saying about idle hands . . .

Makes me wonder how many people throughout all the offices around the world, are sitting idle, with nothing to do. Imagine how much money is wasted on salaries, consultant fees, even supplies for these people, who have nothing to do.

Well, at least I am paid big bucks in my consultant role, regardless of what I have or haven’t got to do. Though I have been a good consultant, and provided countless suggestions, and things they could best spend their money on me, while they have me on contract. I’ve consulted with them – providing them with ways to utilize me as a resource, exploit my talents, abilities, skills, knowledge and expertise.

They took a look at my reports, but because they promote those who appear to be in the know, rather than those who really are in the know, they just glossed over it, placed it on a shelf, and let it collect dust.

Meanwhile, here I sit, idling like a car, waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Is it five o’clock yet?

Damn – only 9:35am – only killed a handful of minutes writing this blog. I hate being a writer sometimes, because the words just come too easily and don’t kill the time I need to kill.

Maybe I’ll start taking longer coffee breaks – too bad I don’t like coffee.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Home Isn't a Playground

I live in a very posh, high-rise – and I enjoy being here. The property management firm does an excellent job of maintaining the public areas, and there are security cameras every, making it a secure place to call home.

There is always a building superintendent on-call and available when ever something goes wrong, and by and large, they are nice people.

Recently, a new superintendent joined the team, and they brought their whole family. Not uncommon to have a family, but their kids run around the whole building, as if it were their playground.

They are always running up and down the halls, riding the elevators, and hanging around the property management offices. At first I didn’t mind, but now it has become somewhat of an annoyance.

I almost lost a whole armful of stuff, as I was walking into the building, and one of these little tykes came careening down the corridor.

I live high up, so they don’t often run around up on my floor. But I’ve heard people complaining on the lower floors that they make a lot of noise when they run around outside people’s homes.

This isn’t a playground and they shouldn’t be running all through the halls. There are parks just a five-minute walk (if that) down the road, and the building has a great pool – they should hang out there.

I suppose if enough people complain, then eventually something will be done – probably the property management office will tell the new “supers” to better manage their children.

Though it shouldn’t come to that – parents be – well – parents. All too often I see parents doing things which just don’t make a lot of sense.

I saw one young mom letting her infant child sip some of her Red Bull energy drink. That’s not healthy for adults, let alone what it can do to a baby.

When I come home late at night, after a night on the town, say midnight or even later, I see parents with their kids – or sometimes just kids out on their own. When I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t let me be out past sundown – let alone some of these kids are up long enough to see the sun rise.

I don’t have any kids, so I can’t tell someone how to be a good parent. But you don’t need to have a bunch of letters after your name to recognize poor parenting when you see it.

Getting back to the kids running around my building – that’s just lazy parenting. Sure their parents work in the building, and are around for their kids. But letting their kids ride up and down the elevators, run down the halls screaming, and constantly talking to just anyone that happens to come in, that’s definitely not a good way to parent a child.

It puts an awkward onus on us residents to essentially look out for these kids – and ensure they don’t get themselves into any real trouble. And it is an even more awkward thing to have to complain to those who you one day may need to depend on, to get your water to run again, or other such building issue.

Hopefully, the property management firm will take the right corrective course of action, and things will return to normal soon. Otherwise, I’ll just practice my form of parenting – duct tape.

Duct tape?

Hey, I told ya, I don’t have any kids, so what do I know? But duct tape seems to work on most difficult problems . . .

Where’d I put that roll of duct tape?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Talking Hoo-Hoos

Using some cheesy pick up line to get someone’s attention is as old a trick as any. Probably long before cavemen walked the earth, dinosaurs had something similar to lure a potential mate. It was all in the growl.

I was on the subway the other day, and as often happens, those who get on first get a seat, the rest stand. I had the luxury of a seat, while two young women – probably in their mid-twenties – ended up standing in front of me.

They were obviously trying to get my attention, talking loud, and smiling my way anytime I happened to look up to see where we were.

But I suppose that just wasn’t good enough, they had to try something more brazen.

One of the women, said to her friend: “I just got my hoo-hoo pierced,” she giggled.

Her friend said: “no way! You mean the area down there?” as she pointed to her most private of areas.

Then they both smiled upon me, knowing I’d look up if I happened to hear the nature of their explicit conversation.

Explicit conversations aren’t uncommon among consenting adults, but usually take place in less public gatherings. In some jurisdictions, even uttering a swear word can land you in jail.

I smiled back, and they perked up – at last, they thought – victory! We got his attention.

Too bad for them, my stop was next, and I made a quick exit.

It’s always flattering to be hit on, and it happens from time to time. It makes me feel not as old as I do sometimes, and it is always a turn on when someone else finds you attractive.

But what ever became of the pick-up line? Is it necessary to talk about what we do to our private parts in public, to get someone’s attention? Does that sort of talk work?

When I was much younger, I remember attempting an awkward pick-up line here and there. They never worked, I found good old fashioned honesty works best when trying to ask someone out.

Sometimes you just have to start a conversation with someone, about anything – the weather, a local sports team, traffic – though I suppose one sure way to get someone’s attention is by talking about your hoo-hoo.

But talking about hoo-hoos and other body parts might not get you the attention you were hoping for.

Although I was flattered to be the object of two women’s desires, I was tired from a long day at work, and didn’t really know what to say had I somehow jumped into the conversation. What can you say about some stranger’s hoo-hoo, without getting slapped silly?

Though if they are open enough to mention their hoo-hoo, I guess anything is fair game. Which makes me wonder, what they would have started talking about next, had I stayed longer?

Monday, July 28, 2008

The “I” In Team

One of my current consulting client’s contracts is drawing to a close, and I am ever so thankful.

They have mastered the art of placing the “I” in “team.”

Well, they haven’t really mastered the art, what they do is refer to their “group” as opposed to their “team.”

It is an interesting distinction, and it shows how exclusivity can still occur in today’s “team” centered workplace.

When we think of a “team” we often think about sports teams – elite athletes, working together towards the same common goal – to win the game. The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team wants to do what all professional baseball teams do – win.

A group is a completely different concept – groups can oppose each other, work towards totally opposite goals and means. When we think of a “group” we often think about labour disputes or protestors. The Teamsters – despite their name – is a group, a labour union which represents the exclusive interests of it’s group members.

At this client, very rarely do I hear the word “team.” Usually when a gathering of minds is required to complete a task, it is referred to as “group.”

And let me tell you, although their may be a group of people together as one – the soci-political atmosphere is so divided, that just about everyone in that group is their own “group.”

Everyone is fending for him or herself – even when working as a collective group! None of the various groups work towards the same goal – though ultimately, they need to appear to do so.

When decisions need to be made, it is like walking into a tense labour dispute on the eleventh-hour, just before a strike vote. Everyone has their back to the wall, and everyone is tense, angry, and frustrated.

This makes it very difficult to really get anything done – because no matter how reasonable a request may be, there is always – ALWAYS – someone opposing it. A natural occurrence, when everyone is more concerned about what’s best for themselves, instead of what is best for the project, the organization, or the team.

Oh yeah – team – they don’t have any.

What’s even more disconcerting, is all of the problems within the organization stem from issues that could quickly and easily be addressed, if only they worked as a team, instead of as a group.

If they got rid of all the “I’s” – which would mean axing all the management because they create this atmosphere of anxiety – then they could bring about real, positive change.

But that’s unlikely to occur, as the group dynamic just doesn’t have any team spirit.

Go Team! Go Team! Ra-ra-ra . . . well, maybe my next client will be more team-driven, and we’ll be able to do some real work for a change!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Facebook Layout A Winner

I’m not a big fan of social networking sites. For those who read my blog often, you’ll know how those so-called “friends” you add, but never really talk to again, really aren’t your friends.

A friend is someone you can call on a whim, and go to the movies with. A friend is someone who is there when you need them. A friend is . . .

Well, I’ve gone there already – this blog isn’t about social networking. It is about one social networking site – Facebook.

I have a Facebook site. Yes, I admit it, I do! I like to keep up with the goings on in other peoples lives, because my life is just so damn boring. NOT!

Actually, I do enjoy keeping up with people that at one point and time actually meant something to me and I hopefully to them. It isn’t like Myspace, or Twitter, or most of the other social networking sites, where people just add each other randomly, never actually having really known each other.

Recently, Facebook did a major makeover, and I like it!

They have redesigned the whole interface, making it easier to navigate through. They added a tab-bar at the top, where you can add buttons to frequently used features. And they took away the clutter that forms, if you add many applications, games, message walls and other things.

I really like the new look, but my one complaint is the configuration takes for ever! The previous interface allowed you to drag-and-drop sections and applications to your liking. The new interface, allows you to position most items where you want, but you have to actually go to that item’s page, and then select the options for displaying that item.

I have 14 applications on my Facebook, and so I had to go through all 14 applications, one-by-one, to set their display options. Very time consuming and not very user-friendly. Often I had to go back to other applications I had already set display options for, because one of the other applications I had set was “crushing” that previously set application.

Still, I am pleased with the Facebook team for their hard work on this new interface. Although it isn’t easy to set, once it is configured, it is crisper, cleaner and quicker to navigate through.

They still don’t allow much customization – it would be nice to be able to go wild in Dreamweaver and design my own HTML/JAVA-based design. But I suppose there are technical and practical reasons for that.

I like the chat module they have on Facebook as well, it works well, and doesn’t take up as much screen-space as MSN Live. Though it lacks a lot of the options MSN Live, or any of the dedicated instant messaging programs offers. But for a stand-alone Java-applet, it does the job and that’s all one can really ask.

Though my biggest peeve with Facebook, isn’t really with Facebook, it’s more to do with manners, and social conscious I suppose.

Here’s my big beef – after adding someone, usually from my past, I’ll get a nice thank-you for adding me message, always ending with “how are you?”

So, naturally, I write back, saying how things are and maybe a Cliff’s Notes version of what’s new and interesting in my life, and I always ask back – “how are you?”

Then I never hear hide nor head from that person again!

Grrrr – fake friends, just adding people to increase their friend numbers.

But that’s another blog, for another day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Microsloth’s Never-Ending Bridge of Despair

When Bill Gates started Microsoft back before the world new about the computer revolution, he was really on the ball.

He had just been turned down by IBM to create their operating system for their new line of home PC’s – the original IBM PC – and decided to go out on his own to see what he could do.

Saying Bill Gates did quite well for himself is a supreme understatement – the man was until recently, the richest person on the planet.

Microsoft’s operating system spread like the wind, and is the most commonly used software globally. When you go out and buy a new computer, you rarely have a choice in what makes it run. Usually, it comes pre-installed with some version of Windows – unless of course you go a completely different route, and get an Apple.

Because of Microsoft’s domination of the operating system market, we’ve come to accept it as it is – bugs and all.

When Microsoft releases software, it really isn’t street-ready – it is often still in the developmental stages. Oh, it will do what it is supposed to, for the most part. Though you may have to curse and swear, as you fiddle with awkward, undocumented settings, or wait until a Windows Update resolves the issue with a “Security Update.”

Most Windows Security Updates include bug fixes, to commonly reported errors in the software. We the customer, provide free quality assurance support to the world’s largest software company. How nice we are!

Which brings me to the point of this rant – I discovered one of those non-documented bugs recently.

I was playing around with my network settings, trying to increase the speed of the network. Through Miscrosoft’s own documentation, I learned you can create a network bridge, between and among different network locations, to combine the bandwidth and in turn increase data flow.

Increased data flow, in theory, should increase the speed of the network. Meaning when I download all those movies I’m supposed to watch in theatres, I’ll actually get the movies faster.

The data flow did increase, and some network activities did speed up. But then I noticed some network activities stopped working altogether.

No longer could I keep my network private and safe from hackers, as network discovery had to be on. And the biggest problem, MSN Live Messenger would load, but couldn’t access the network. So, I couldn’t chat live with my buddies.

I couldn’t figure out why MSN Live Messenger had stopped working. I did what any computer geek does when something that once worked, but now doesn’t – I looked up the error code on Microsoft’s own database.

The error code told me either my Live ID or password were wrong. So, I tried entering both again – several times in fact – but nothing worked. So, I uninstalled the whole MSN Live bundle, and re-installed it from scratch. That’s the true computer geek solution – when all else fails, wipe it clean and re-install.

As soon as MSN Live had re-installed, I was eager to try it – thinking I solved the problem.

Nope – exact same error code, minus a few stressed out hairs on my scalp.

So, I disabled my newly created network bridge – volia – MSN Live Messenger worked once again.

I did a search again in the MSN Live Messenger help system, and on Microsoft’s extensive database – but nothing turned up!

Thanks to me, it’ll probably be resolved in the next Windows Update – but do I get anything for all my trouble. Nadda, nothing, no way!

No wonder Bill Gates is so stinkin’ rich.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Crap from the Third-World

When you go into a dollar store, you just know you’ll be surrounded by crap. It may be interesting crap, but anything for a dollar or less these days, can’t be very good.

I used to like going to Home Hardware, a truly Canadian store, with lots of great things for the household. Then Home Hardware – or at least the ones near me – all started selling crap. They still sell hardware – though it is hard to find among all the cheap made in The Peoples’ Republic of Congo, Mongolia, or China. Essentially, they turned a great Canadian hardware store into a dollar store.

You can get good deals on paper, and occasionally you can find great prices on chocolate. But read the label – some of those chocolates are about to expire, and those that aren’t were made in some third-world country, and don’t taste very good!

There is an influx of cheap crap coming in from third-rate – I mean third-world – no, check that – third-rate – countries. That’s why there are so many dollar stores popping up all over the land.

I’ve seen people line up early in the morning to get into the dollar store. Reminds me of that famous quote from someone wise – “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

Yes, you can buy light bulbs, batteries and clock radios at the dollar store. But chances are, the light bulbs will burn out within a matter of hours, the batteries will die almost as fast as you paid for them, and the clock radio may tell time, but it’ll either be way too fast or way too slow.

Things bought al-a-cheap just don’t last, and why people continue to pay for crap is beyond me.

I was downtown the other day, and I saw a “Made In China” store – no joke. It is located between an adult novelty store, and a strip club – go figure.

Stuff made in China isn’t only cheap, it has proven to be quite dangerous too. Pet food and children’s toys made over there are constantly being recalled by the government because of toxins. Toxins which in some circumstances have actually killed people’s pets.

So far, we’ve been lucky – barely – and no human being as actually died from these shoddy discounted products. But with stores continuously pumping this crap, and morons continuously paying for it, sooner or later, we’ll hear about people dying from their cheap thrills.

Maybe once the “Made In China” bodies start hitting the news, people will wake up and stop buying that crap.

Then again, a sucker is born every minute.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Cray in Every Home

When I was a teenager, computers weren’t all that common. Most people were considered celebrities just for having a working VCR, let alone having a computer at home.

We’re talking the 1980’s, when Atari, Apple and Commodore were the big names in home computing. This is back in the days, when the most complicated thing a home computer could reasonably be expected to do, was let you do a mail merge.

Times have certainly changed – I recently saw one of the big box electronic stores selling home entertainment servers. Yes servers – not just a standard computer – a server for someone with a home network.

WOW! It used to be that only companies had servers – a dedicated computer to maintain a complex filing system of data and/or programs.

To think that servers are now becoming common enough in the home, that people can go to their local computer store and just pick one off the shelf, is revolutionary.

It isn’t uncommon for people to have their own home network – as people continuously buy new computers, they keep their old ones and give them to their kids. So an older computer may be handed down to a son or daughter. Using wireless routers, all of these computers can easily be given access to the same Internet connection, creating a small local network.

So the next logical step is to have a server in the home, one where everyone sharing the network, can access the same files, without having to copy those files to their own machines.

Still, the concept is amazing for me to see, as I remember the old days, when you went to someone’s home and saw an Atari ST or Atari SE and said – WOW, you have a COMPUTER!!!

These days, if someone doesn’t have a computer, you wonder how on earth the survive. Who can live without email, instant messaging, and constant access to pointless videos on YouTube?

It’s almost as if we’ve all graduated from the old days of the IBM PCjr (my first computer) and now have Cray’s in our homes. The Cray was the world’s first super computer – it filled an entire room, took several nuclear generators worth of electric power to run, and made lots of noise.

With servers now becoming common in the home, we have in a sense all graduated to having our own super computers at home. Only – thankfully – they don’t fill an entire room, cause the lights to go dim when flipped on, and rarely make too much noise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Social Networking and “Friends”

I’m not a big fan of these so-called “social networking” websites, I find they take people out of the real world and into fantasy worlds for too long.

People on these sites, such as Myspace and Facebook, accumulate hundreds of “friends” most of whom they know almost nothing about. Yet for many, those “friends” are often thought to be real, and actual, when in fact, if you haven’t ever actually spent time with someone in real-time, you really don’t know that person.

But there are some pretty cool things on these social networking sites – like their trivia games.

I’m a huge fan of the TV show The Simpson’s, and I’ve been playing The Simpson’s trivia game on Facebook for sometime now. I’ve got a very high score, and I enjoy answering questions about something I actually know something about.

It is really quite addictive – so much so, that I’ll try and pop online at least once a day to answer some questions. Recently, I’ve even begun formulating my own questions, which I have uploaded and added to the trivia game.

What a rush it is, to not only answer questions, but to be part of the game. This is true social networking – where you can join an environment of people who share your passion for something, and share that passion.

I don’t think each and every other person playing the trivia game as my friend – nor do I socialize with them. I know they too, are just interested in the fun from the game. But, I think that’s where social networking comes into play.

If you happen on someone that wants to add you as their “friend” you should really take the time to get to know that person and become their friend – minus the quotes.

Don’t just add anyone as a friend – add people you actually can get to know – go out for drinks, talk with on the phone, spend real-time in real-time with these people.

People that just add “friends” and never take the time to really get to know them, aren’t really adding “friends” they are adding strangers.

Think about it – would you open up your home to a stranger?

Of course not – that’s just asking for trouble. But, if you go out with someone, talk, and really get to know someone, now that’s a person I’d be happy to call a friend on my social networking site.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Disappearance of Open Green Grassy Spaces

Recently I went back to my old university campus. They have an annual tennis tournament there, and I took in the event with my dad.

I’m not much of a tennis fan, I don’t even play the game. But I was excited to be going to an event I hadn’t been to before, and to see my old university again.

I go to most of the alumni events for my old school, and I hear about all the wonderful things going on. New buildings, new faculties, more research projects.

As we approached my old school, I grew all the more excited. I had spent some of my most memorable and enjoyable years on that campus. I grew-up on that campus, from a kid fresh out of high school, to a young adult, ready to tackle the world.

But all was new again. Sure, much of the buildings were there – but there was so much that wasn’t there before. There were even whole streets that hadn’t existed when I was a student.

It was like coming home, but not home. I recognized some of my old hang-outs, but then there were all these new funky places in the way.

I am proud and pleased to see my alma-matter grow. But in some ways, it was somewhat sad too – because much of my memory was no longer real.

Also, with new buildings, means fewer open green grassy spaces. Although my minor was environmental science, I’m not going to launch into a tree-hugging rant.

I’m merely thinking in terms of university life. When I was a kid on campus, part of the ritual, the routine, the right-of-passage, was to fill those open green grassy spaces with riddles, debates, philosophical thoughts, and concrete ones too. After lectures, I’d go with my fellow classmates (and occasionally the professor would join in) to the pub, grab a couple of drinks, and then wander over to one of the many open green grassy spaces to sit under some tall tree, and debate the issues of the day. It is an event not all that uncommon on university campuses around the globe – that’s why so many universities have green grassy spaces, lined with trees, benches and backpacks.

Ah, the sign of student life – the backpack. I remember everyone everywhere had one when I was on campus. Filled with textbooks, papers, pens, and that student agenda freely given to students by the student association, but never really used.

Backpacks would dot the open green grassy spaces, indicating that this space was taken. It’s like the “Occupied” sign on the bathroom door in an airplane, alerting you to take up another spot.

Taking up another spot wasn’t all that hard, there used to be many open green grassy spaces.

But with all the new buildings which went up, all those open green grassy spaces have started to disappear. So finding your own spot of green to discuss and debate may become a huge task.

Which is sad, because student life shouldn’t be about find a spot to be – it should be about finding people to discuss and debate – because that’s where great leaders come from. Those willing to discuss and debate under the open, freedoms which universities encourage, take those debated ideas, and upon graduation have a whole new way of making our world work.

By taking away those big open green grassy spaces, you limit the potential of our future generations, and in the end, destroy more than just a green space.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Too Many Managers and Not Enough Worker Bees

My latest client isn’t a shabby deal – when I first showed up, they had recently moved into nice posh digs. All the furniture is brand new – I even had to unwrap my chair. First time in all the years I’ve been working that I had to do that!

Problem though, everyone wants to run the world, and few want to do the work. Sure, being “the boss” sounds all impressive – but it requires hard work, dedication and know-how just like being a non-manager-type. The boss may make more, but they are supposed to know more about managing people, projects, and resources. That’s why they are given more responsibilities and in turn, more money.

People that want to be the boss but aren’t the boss are pulsating sores, just waiting to pop in the work world. Not only do they alienate and offend those they order around without reason, but they don’t take on the responsibilities which a real manager would. And, when they finally do get up off their lazy butt and do some real work, it isn’t very good, because they don’t really know how to do the work in the first place.

At my latest contract site, there are far too many wanna-be bosses and not enough worker bees. This creates a very hostile and unpleasant environment, where everyone wants to have it their way, and there is very little give and take. In fact, I don’t seem to get much work done, unless the rest of the “team” is away.

I say “team” because it really isn’t a team. If everyone wants to be the boss, then no one is working together in a team environment. So, you end up with a bunch of individuals, all wanting things done exactly their own way. When all these individuals get together, they spend more time butting heads, arguing for their own individual positions, and in many cases taking things way too personally for a professional workplace, all while the project fails to get completed.

That’s why I don’t get much done unless they aren’t around. When I do attempt to do anything, someone always comes by to “check-up” on me, and tell me to do it another way. After about 10-people telling me to do the same thing 10 different ways, I eventually just stop working, and in many cases just goof off.

What else can one do?

There isn’t any point to trying to do anything, because as soon as I get started, I’m being told to do it a different way.

Funny thing, as a consultant, I’m supposed to be “the expert” and regarded as knowing how to do my job. But when everyone wants to be the boss, it doesn’t matter how much of an expert I am, there will always be someone around to criticize and tell me how to do my job. And trust me, these people aren’t experts – when I tell them that’s not the professionally accepted standard used ‘round the world, they give me a hairy-eyeball stare challenging my point of view. Then they pause, and make up some excuse for not doing it my way – despite my way being the way it is done everywhere else.

I’ve just begun this contract, and already I’m looking forward to it’s conclusion!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Too Close for Comfort

I was on the subway the other day – it is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get around the downtown core. Parking is always expensive – if you can even find a spot to park in.

I’ve noticed more people are taking public transit these days – can’t blame them with the constant gauging of the big oil companies. The subways have always been busy during rush hour, and unfortunately, that always makes for a very tight squeeze on the trains.

We all have our comfort zones, especially when in the proximity of strangers. Some of us, don’t mind people within inches of our face, but for the most part, we like to keep some distance between us and them.

We all are experts in body language too – those unspoken vibes we give off through a combination of facial expressions and body positioning.

Typically, if someone gets too close for our comfort zone, we’ll give them the right signals which usually causes the offender to back off. These signals may be us moving away, a quick jerking away of our bodies, and many more common signals.

While I was on the subway, a couple of teenage girls, probably in their late teens or early twenties, got on and stood next too me. At first they kept a safe distance, which I liked. Then, the one closest too me invaded my comfort zone. She was literally brushing up against me.

The subway was overcrowded, as per usual during rush hour, but still, there was no reason this person had for coming that close. I moved off a couple of times, looked her way in disgust and even took a wider stance, to say “this is my space.”

She either didn’t get the message, or more likely, got the message, and decided she just wanted to play a game – what that game was, I wasn’t sure.

Maybe she was trying to get my attention out of some attraction? Maybe she just was a mean perverse kid, trying to see how far she could push a complete stranger? Maybe she just wanted more space?

Who knows? But I wasn’t amused – and my body language was doing a lot of yelling at this point – others around me were giving me far more space than they were before, so much so, they were cramping on the space of those around them.

Still, this young girl kept getting closer. I stepped on her feet a couple of times – sometimes accidentally, sometimes not, in the hopes she’d realize there just wasn’t enough space for the both of us.

Eventually, my stop came and I took some sweet revenge. Usually, I’ll be polite and excuse myself through the crowd. This time, I just pushed her out of the way with my umbrella, and left the train. I heard her yell “hey!” but I didn’t care. The doors to the train closed, and she and the train took off down the tracks.

Rude people suck – but I think those others treat with rudeness and disrespect often bring this onto themselves. Normally I’m not rude – but this kid caused me to lose my patience, and in the end, treating her badly.

But she’s one of zillions of blurred faces whizzing past on a subway train. She’ll probably never see me again – and I certainly could care less if I saw her again.

I’m just thankful I brought my umbrella that day!