Hello, and good morning, and good night.



leftovers & links
March 18, 2023

I'm getting settled in at Haugen & Dahl, and not yet hating it.

It's only slightly sad. I'd wanted to escape 45 years of office work, so I tried and failed as a bus driver and a postal worker, and applied for other, more adventurous jobs that I didn't get.

A fat boy's gotta eat, though, and office work is the only work I know, so there I am on Millionaires' Island, Monday-Friday, doing office work again.

It's a decent place to work. I'm not ashamed of what the company does, and nobody there has (much) gotten on my nerves yet. I'm catching on to the work fast enough, which I oughta — it's the same work I've done for most of my adult life.

The layout of the place is unusual — instead of the ordinary grouping where people doing the same work sit together, they have everyone jumbled together. Like, there's an IT Department, with three nerdy people like you'd expect, but one of them works by the elevator, another's down the hall by the restrooms, and the third works upstairs. 

In the cubicle to my left, a woman answers questions on the customer call line, which isn't my job. She knows my job, though, used to do it and still helps out with my 'team' sometimes, and she's the one mostly training me. And it's astounding to eavesdrop as she fields customer service calls — she's resolves almost every caller's problems, and quickly, and gives a damn. Every call she takes sounds better than any customer service call I've dialed in my life.

In the cubicle on my right, there's a woman who seems to be Lily Tomlin, working Accounts Receivable. She fields calls from bureaucrats and people who owe the company money, and her phone conversations are comically obtuse. Everything this lady says she says slowly, and repeats a minute later, (intentionally?) making the day difficult for everyone she talks to.

So on my left, amazing competence, and on my right, a fountainhead of frustration.

The cubicle in front of me and the cubicle in front and to the right are both stuffed with storage boxes.

The cubicle in front and to my left has a temp in it, doing some other department's work. He's black, and very shy. He doesn't say good morning, doesn't answer when anyone else says it, and never has anything to say to anyone unless it's work-related. Kinda reminds me of younger me, but with a crazy stylized afro — tall on top, stubble on the back and sides. From behind him, where I sit, he kinda looks like a whisk broom.

And there's no cubicle behind me — I'm right in front of a window. Yeah, at this place the new hire gets a seat with a view. Nice view, too. Being at a window, though, the chill shivers me on cold mornings.

My day starts at 8AM. The lady who's training me starts at 10. The office layout has no bosses within earshot, so most mornings I work alone, overhearing other workers as they arrive and talk — about people and policies they hate, how awful Mr Rizzo is, and how Shan and Kelly think nobody knows they're sleeping together.

Well, now the newbie knows.

It's been a few weeks since I started, so I'm getting to know the people there, something I never quite know how to do. People confuse me, and always have. 

Hello, I say, and good morning, and good night, and we converse lightly as required, about work and the weather, maybe about weekend plans.

It's tricky, though, because if someone tells me what they're doing on the weekend, there's a danger they might ask what I'm doing this weekend, which is nothing, and also nobody's business, and I don't want to talk about it.

I'm simply not looking for friendships at the office. Not looking in life either. I'm just trying to do my work at Haugen & Dahl, which doesn't include making pals.

I am quite content with hello, and good morning, and good night, and anyone who expects more from me is going to be disappointed.

There are two women from work who ride the same morning bus to the island and the evening bus back to the city, and we wait at the same bus stop.

And I say nothing. If I say hello to them at the bus stop, I'll be obliged to say hello every time I see them, and goodbye when we get off the bus, and maybe sit with them during the ride, and eventually we'll trade names and they'll tell me about their husbands and children and lives, and they'll want to know about my cat and dead wife and — I simply don't wanna.

During my first week, I worked near a woman named Sheri but spelled wrong — Scheireigh or something. She's fascinated by the color purple — her hair is purple, her cubicle was decorated with a hundred purple knickknacks, and she'd even replaced her standard-issue keyboard with a purple keyboard she'd brought from home.

We didn't talk much because I don't talk much to anyone, but she gave me a desk-size purple mousepad, and I like it. It really ties the cubicle together.

Then she got moved to a different part of the office, but she came back to visit me a few days later, which is simply strange. We'd spoken perhaps a dozen sentences to each other in my first week, and despite her gifting the giant mousepad, I wouldn't have thought we were anything more than slight office buddies.

But when she popped in, she spoke at me for about five jovial minutes, telling me all about her new position, and the puppies her dog had last week, and other adventures in dog breeding, and her husband, and her daughter (named Lavender).

I ain't slamming Scheireigh, by the way. Nice lady, and I like her purple aura. It's just that she's every bit as extroverted as I'm introverted.

"That's a nice green shirt you're wearing for St Patty's Day," the assistant boss said to me on Friday. 

And I must be getting comfortable in that office, because I replied honestly. "It's an accident. I have five shirts unstained enough to be work appropriate, one for each day of the work week. You'll see me in green every Friday."

He thought that was hilarious, and was still giggling as he walked away. As if I'd been joking.

News you need,
whether you know it or not

US banks launch $30bn rescue of First Republic to stem spiraling crisis 

The money and motivation here is beyond any ordinary person's understanding, but understand this: First Republic is a villainous bank catering almost exclusively to rich bastards, and much more is going on here than what's reported here.

After spending his life deporting illegal immigrants, man discovers he's an illegal immigrant

I have zero sympathy for this schmuck — no, less than zero. His plight is hilarious to me.

Private Christian college pays $14-million but admits no wrongdoing in athlete's heat stroke death after being denied water 

Axios fired a reporter for calling propaganda propaganda

"The smell is next level": millions of dead fish spanning kilometers of Darling-Baaka river begin to rot 

"Endless, brutal heat": Argentina's late-season heatwave has "no similarities in history" 

Global fresh water demand will outstrip supply by 40% by 2030, say experts 

California town races for survival after levees fail: "It destroyed everything" 

Younger generations will be 'damned' without climate change action, says Biden right after approving another giant oil pipeline project 

Climate change increases skin infections 

7 Virginia deputies charged with murder in death of man who prosecutors say was 'smothered' at hospital 

Judge rejects plea deal for child rapist cop

If someone's having a "mental health crisis," do not, do not, do not call the police 

City to pay $75K to 2020 protester rammed by NYPD vehicle 

Missouri sheriff, 2 deputies face criminal street gang activity and conspiracy charges alleging they tried to help a man kidnap his daughter 

Utah bans abortion clinics in wave of post-Roe restrictions 

Kentucky Republicans break public meetings law to pass anti-trans bill targeting kids 

Wyoming becomes first state to outlaw abortion pills 

Florida textbook publisher removes mention of Rosa Parks's race from section about the Black civil rights icon 

Russia disinformation looks to US far right to weaken Ukraine support 

Wisconsin conservatives reward a Trump coup plotter 

More than a quarter of Republicans approve of Capitol attack, poll shows 

Florida lawmaker wants to ban kids from talking to a teacher when they get their period 

Mystery links
There's no knowing where you're going






My browser history
without the porn

A relentless wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is threatening trans people's right to exist. 

Prices at the supermarket keep rising. Is it really inflation? Or something else? 

The slowest train journey in India 

I don't want to log in to your website. 

•  Lessons from My Lai on drawing the line 

The guy who made Wikipedia suckier is mighty proud of his work 

PLATO: How an educational computer system from the ’60s shaped the future

♫♬  It don't mean a thing  ♫
if it don't have that swing

Another Brick in the Wall — Luther Wright and the Wrongs 

The Future — Leonard Cohen 

It's a Knock Off — Sparks 

One is the Loneliest Number — Harry Nilsson 

The Story in Your Eyes — The Moody Blues 

Eventually, everyone
leaves the building

Mira Bellwether 

Bobby Caldwell 

David Dunn 

John Jakes 

David Lindley 

Suzy McKee Charnas 

Charles Pernasilice 



Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.  

Tip 'o the hat to ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, CaptCreate's Log, Katameme, Looking for My Perfect Sandwich, One Finger Medical, Two Finger Magical, Miss Miriam's Mirror, Nebulously Burnished, RanPrieur.com, Voenix Rising, and anywhere else I've stolen links, illustrations, or inspiration. 

Special thanks to Linden Arden, Becky Jo, Wynn Bruce, Joey Jo Jo, John the Basket, Dave S, Name Withheld, and always extra special thanks to my lovely late Stephanie, who gave me 21 years and proved that the world isn't always shitty.

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