October 31, 2005

Fly, Little Birdie – Be Free!

Category: Social — Cranky @

“I just need some time to figure things out, baby,” says the confused man.

The reply comes… “I can’t handle this. If you’re going to break up with me, just do it! Just tell me you don’t want me. Don’t play games!”

The problem is, the guy wasn’t playing games. He’s probably telling the truth. Things aren’t clear, and he doesn’t know what to do.

There’s game-playing going on here, and it’s the woman who is doing it. Read it carefully, because it’s a masterful piece of psychology. She’s really saying, “Abandon the hope of actually keeping this relationship, AND hurt me in the process by saying you’ve lost your desire for me. Go on – I dare you.” It’s a preemptive strike. The idea is to force the issue in her favour, because by saying he needs time he’s admitted that he does care for her, and he isn’t ready to pitch out the relationship. At the same time, she thinks she’s giving him a choice – the opportunity to get away free and clear.

That care becomes her weapon, and she wields it with skill. After all, he won’t want to hurt her. Therefore he’s probably going to find his way to the response that reassures her – an act ingrained in men through years of repetitive reinforcement. “Oh honey, come here. I’m sorry. We’ll work things out.”

A non-confrontational reply might be, “Okay, take your time. Let’s get together again in a week and see where we’re at.” Funny how that’s not the one that usually gets airtime.

Game playing in relationships can be a chess match. And sometimes when you play your “check”, you find your opponent replying, “checkmate”. Instead of, “I’m sorry”, the reply comes back, “Fine.” Then a door is slammed with finality. The gameplayer sits back, realizes everything has blown up, possibly for good, and begins to regret backing their partner into a corner.

If I’m forced into a decision by somebody, and I’m not really ready to make it, I’ll often choose the one that runs contrary to the wishes of the person who is pushing the issue. It’s the equivalent of, “Oh yeah? Well what do you think of THIS?” followed by, “Screw you”.

Games come in many varieties.

Cranky

October 28, 2005

Solidarity!

Category: Current Events — Cranky @

The Telus labour dispute is reaching a decision point. By Sunday night, everybody will know whether the TWU members will have collectively accepted or rejected the offer that is before them.

There are a number of opposing pressures at work.

Christmas is coming, and most of the workers have been subsisting on picket pay that wouldn’t quite pay my rent, never mind utilities, food, insurance and car payment. Their financial situations must be deteriorating. Workers have crossed the line in significant numbers, hampering the unions power to force a resolution. Telus has deep pockets and thus far has kept things together. In fact, their service seems to be improving over an initial drop, rather than falling apart further.

However, by all accounts the new deal is a failure on the part of the union bargaining committee. While the committee has managed to come through on many small points, they seem to have utterly failed on the big ones – the ones the union was willing to fight an extended fight for. If this deal is ratified, it seems to represent the cave-in of the TWU in this dispute. They will not have any guarantee of job security. Indeed, there already seem to be guaranteed office closures no matter which way the vote goes.

I don’t really care. I have no love of unions, nor do I particularly like Telus. Telus has screwed up everything I ever asked them to do. I refuse to accept the inane, over-the-top language of the strikers. People who post, “Telus is evil!” on a bulletin board like the voices-for-change one don’t impress me… but the dozens of idiots who praise that post as “brilliant” and “insightful” make me sad for the future of mankind. It’s the worst kind of tunnel vision – so narrow that you don’t realize the light you’re examining is attached to the front of a train.

But what I want to know is… what happens if the vote is “Yes”?

If the agreement stands, all of the people who have been shouting “Solidarity!” since the strike began damn well better stand up, accept it, and shut the hell up. If they really believe in solidarity, then the final decision of the majority is the decision they must all accept and abide by.

Of course reintegrating a divided workforce is always loads of fun. Going forward you need cohesive teams. And if I were leading a team, and somebody was making waves because they refuse to work with a coworker who crossed the line, I’d fix the problem. And guess who would get fired?

Cranky

October 26, 2005

What Really Matters?

Category: Social — Cranky @

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein

In this world we have a great many distractions. Legions of people produce mountains of toys, miles of media, and acres of waste, solely to entertain us. Many of us buy and buy and buy… and buy… Often we don’t even use what we have bought.

Some of us want our kids to go to university so that they can have a life better than we had. But “better” is a subjective term. Perhaps a better life would involve building a log house on a cheap plot of land by a lake somewhere. Often what we envision is the dream of the materialist – a big house, two nice cars, and lots of money.

Except for the basics that are necessary to keep us alive, what can really be said to enrich our life? Certainly there are many intangibles that do so. Love is the Grand Poobah of the intangibles. You might not be able to put it in a box, or point to it, but few people deny its power. But when it comes to tangible goods, what counts?

Well as it happens, I have an opinion.

Oh don’t act surprised. You knew that was coming.

That which only serves to point out wealth doesn’t count. A Rolex watch has no other function than to say, “Hey – I’m wealthy. Shallow man seeks gold-digging woman for fun and games, and eventually for infidelity and divorce”. Why else buy a Rolex?

In order to really matter, something has to, in some way, advance or nurture the human spirit. Now that seems a bit nebulous, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s rather easy to explain.

A Gibson ES-355 is a beautiful guitar. B.B. King played one for 25 years. In the hands of the King, that guitar nurtures the human spirit. She’s priceless. When the day comes that the master is laid to rest, if some collector were to buy Lucille, and proceed to mount her under glass, she would become worthless. She would no longer matter. She would become a status symbol for the collector, and lose her relevance and beauty. She might as well be kindling.

A classic convertible restored, then put away and only shown at auto shows, doesn’t really matter. The same car driven by somebody with a passion for it, somebody who thoroughly enjoys it, uplifts the heart. A car built for the love of driving counts. A car that is simply an extension of a Rolex does not.

Music ALWAYS matters, no matter what the format, or the price.

A beautiful, comfortable couch is a wonderful thing. Comfort nurtures the spirit. A beautiful couch with a plastic cover that nobody can use is a frivolous, useless waste of space. Fine china that is put away, occasionally cleaned, and NEVER used, doesn’t matter.

We’re a society of consumption, perception, greed, and vanity… but we don’t have to be. If something doesn’t really matter, don’t buy it.

Cranky