funny : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

“In the fight between you and the world, back the world.” **

So without going into specifics (because it’s the internet and who knows what people do with facts anymore) the job I do every day is, essentially, a customer service gig. We don’t support the general public, but support the operations of my employer. We serve all of my coworkers as customers. Confusing enough?

Anyhow, since we have a focus on customer service and have standard corporate performance measurements to maintain, on a regular basis we send surveys to our customers to ask how we did so they can grade us and provide feedback.

Fairly standard stuff. If the surveys for my team come in good, then fabulous. It’s logged and reported and so forth. If a survey comes in bad, then a member of the team that collates responses will discreetly make a copy and slide it onto my desk. This usually happens when I am off in a meeting or something so they don’t have to make eye contact. It’s all very clandestine.

Bad surveys happen. It’s normal. I usually review them, see what the beef is about and move on.

Except for yesterday. Yesterday gave me pause. I returned to my office to find the dreaded folded sheet of paper on my desk. “Ugh” was my first thought as I unfolded and read the survey.

It was a good time. Suffice to say, my team was blamed for everything wrong in this person’s life, including (and I’m not kidding) the reason the person is leaving our institution to go work somewhere else. All our fault.

The words “byzantine” and “Kafkaesque” were used. And after looking up what those words meant, I was really offended.

Just kidding, I wasn’t offended. To be honest if bureaucratic, surreal and nightmarish processes aren’t your bag, then working anywhere that receives federal funding is not going to be a fun time.

This unhappy person did wrap up by saying they thought my employee that they worked with lovely, but the processes were ugly.

Fair enough.

To be honest, I appreciate this customer for giving me the first good laugh I’ve ever had over a bad survey response.

And the search for just the right image for this post was also a nice distraction from my byzantine day.

I think I nailed it:

**An actual Franz Kafka quote that just supremely fit this post

From The Department Of Not Sly

On Saturday the sun shone down so brightly on the Bay Area that it was too hard to stay inside. Roaming and marauding were the order of the day.

Yes, I know as a Californian I am supposed to feel Very Guilty about these sunny winter days we are having. I get it.

But instead of guilt, The Good Man and I went outside and basked in the sun. We decided to wander not our own neighborhood but the one just one city over.

It’s a really fun and funky block of shops and restaurants.

They day started with some chilaquilas that were rated as acceptable to me. You see, I grade Mexican food on a very tight scale. Sadly, most Californian Mexican food fails.

Once we were full to overfilled with good eats, we moved on to a really awesome bookstore that I had never been to before.

I do love bookstores. Especially local bookstores with both new and used books on the shelves. You really get a feel for a town by what is stocked on those used shelves.

As I often do in a bookstore, I wandered over to the art section. I am looking for a used copy of a particular Henri Toulouse-Lautrec book. Hope springs eternal.

This particular art book section was more eclectic than I usually find, which was great. A lot of things I hadn’t seen before.

While perusing, I found one very small section of books under the heading of “Wild, Wacky and Wonderful.”

Boy, this small collection lived up to the billing.

There were just five titles. I can’t quite remember them all. One was Toilets of the World. I recall that. Quite an interesting tome, may I add. One was the Pipe Handbook. One was the Diary of a Sword Swallower or something like that. I can’t seem to recall the other two.

As I browsed I kept walking back to that section and laughing. It was *too* perfect. Just too.

So then I decided to take an iPhone photo so I could remember what five titles were there. But how to snap a photo without incurring the wrath of the storeowners? They are sick, I’m sure, of people finding something in their store then buying it on Amazon. Snap click is a means to that end.

My intentions were good but I didn’t want to be a pain in that charming store.

Then I remembered, oh yes, that you can use the volume buttons on the iPhone to fire the shutter. I decided that I could hold the camera at about waist level and take a surreptitious snap.

I went over to the side of an aisle and thought, “Ok, I better give this a try to make sure I know how it works.”

I pushed the button and then loudly echoing through the store was the shutter sound that iPhone so helpfully adds to camera app.

You see, I always, always, always have the sound off on my phone. Always. I mean seriously, always.

Except on Friday afternoon when I was expecting (and didn’t want to miss) a call from my boss. After the call I then forgot to switch sound back off.

The shutter sound caused three people around me to snap their heads up and give me “grrrr” eyes.

Busted. Flat busted.

So there you go. I have no photo of the crazy fun titles, only my hazy memory.

And this piece of photographic art of the wrong shelves. *sigh*


Copyright © 2014 Karen Fayeth

Photo Copyright © 2014, Karen Fayeth, and subject to the Creative Commons License in the right column of this page. Taken with an iPhone5, the onboard camera app, and not a lot of guile.

The View From Under Here

This is what I’m doing today. To clarify, this photo depicts what my world looks like as I find myself squashed up under my desk at work.

Multiple choice:

Why is Karen under her desk at work?

1) Huddled up waiting for the Congressional sh*tstorm to pass

2) Hiding from her boss

3) Sleeping

4) Drunk again

5) Participating in an earthquake preparedness drill.

If you picked one through four, you are probably correct.

If you picked five you are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

Today my employer required our mandatory participation in a worldwide earthquake preparedness event.

Humorously, my employer called it a “drop, cover and hold” event, which of course made me think of those fun Cold War duck and cover school drills.

Growing up during the Cold War and living in a town with a Nuclear Research Facility, I used to wonder how that little ol’ pressed wood school desk was going to save anyone’s butt from nuclear fallout.

But whatever.

The theory behind shimmying under my desk while on the clock is the somewhat disputed “triangle of life” that says if you can get under something solid with a bit of room and the ceiling falls, it creates a triangle of open breathable space.

The funny thing is that my desk is cheap modular cubicle furniture and the building is a quite old converted warehouse. The very high ceiling is made of what appears to be solid oak beams.

I question if pressboard beats solid oak in the race against gravity, but I put that aside and complied with the mandatory event by smushing under my desk.

We held for 20 seconds to simulate a earthquake of that duration. Out of curiosity I looked up the Loma Prieta earthquake from 1989 and it was estimated to last between 10 to 15 seconds. Such a short amount of time for such a terrible thing.

By the way, today is the 24th anniversary of that little ol’ 6.9 shaker.

I felt a little silly under my desk and while we all under our respective desks we found the acoustics are awesome. We might have to hold staff meetings that way from now on. Then we evacuated the building and had about twenty minutes outside on a warm Autumn day.

So while we all giggled and cracked jokes about the end to end exercise, I also felt grateful.

It’s always nice to have a plan.

May I never have to use it.

First image, from under my desk, is Copyright 2013, Karen Fayeth, and taken with an iPhone5, the Camera+ app, and humor.

The second image, a black and white photo of children under their schooldesks was found here.

The Irony Is Not Lost

These days I live in a fairly urban area and I also live near a major university, so this means driving around here proves to be quite a challenge.

I see a lot of people both young and old riding the roads on their bicycles or scooters and of course walking. There is even the occasional Segway. Though the most popular mode of transport by far seems to be bicycles.

Fundamentally, I don’t have an issue with people riding their bicycles. It’s exercise, it’s efficient, and it’s environmental. Plus it leaves more parking spots for me. Great!

The issue I do have, however, is some bicyclist’s complete and flagrant disregard for traffic laws. You know, running stop signs, not yielding to a yield sign, flowing with cars when they feel like and acting like pedestrians when they feel like.

My commute to and from work is pretty short, but can be frustrating as I traverse many busy streets with lots of crosswalks and stop signs and long lights. In addition to bicycles, I often have to tangle with students walking around with eyes glued to their smartphones darting out from between parked cars.

I really hate it most when I have the green light and as I start to roll a bicyclist runs the red light the other way and sails through the intersection with nary a care in the world.

The other day that big wheel of karma ticked about two and a half degrees to the right and I saw something so ironic it made me laugh and shake my head.

Ok, here’s the scenario:

I am driving up a busy two lane and mostly residential street. Traffic is moving, albeit at a fairly slow pace. I’d estimate I was doing something like 25mph.

I was hugging the yellow line because to my right were two guys decked out in stretchy shorts and tip-tap-clompy biking shoes riding on very fancy bicycles.

We were all cool. I saw them, they saw me. I made space and we traveled casually along, moving straight ahead on the road.

As we three came to an intersection some hipster chick on a pink bicycle with a plastic basket on the front does not slow for the stop sign on the cross street. She glides at full speed right into the intersection.

This causes the car coming the opposite way to screech to a halt. I slammed on my brakes too and the two bicycle guys next to me just kept going.

Because I guess bicyclists do that. When everyone around is braking, they just keep rolling because why not.

One of the guys finally saw Miss Hipster and locked up his very expensive racing bicycle brakes. The other wasn’t as quick on the brakes. As he came to a stop he ended up tapping her back wheel.

Hipster chick was totally oblivious. She wobbled a bit and just kept rolling on through.

Now dos Stretchy Pants are mad. They start shouting and screaming and arm waving at her about obeying stop signs and right of way and what the bleep was she doing.

So indignant these bicyclists got about obeying traffic laws. So, so righteous.

Hmm. Interesting.

Ironically so.

Image found here.

Whoa Fair

Ah yes, another one for the “don’t it make me proud to be a New Mexican” files. This one comes courtesy of The Good Man.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A New Mexico man faces multiple charges after police say he was having sex with a woman while driving drunk and crashed, ejecting the woman from the vehicle.

The Albuquerque Journal reports 25-year-old Luis Briones was found with one shoe on and his shorts on inside-out Monday night after he wrecked his Ford Explorer in Albuquerque.

Police say Briones’ female passenger was found naked outside the SUV after being ejected. She had deep cuts to her face and head.

Authorities allege Briones tried to drive away after the crash and leave his passenger behind, but a witness grabbed his keys from the ignition. He also allegedly tried to hide from responding officers behind a cactus.

Briones is charged with aggravated DWI, reckless driving and evading police.


Now, in all of things that are really bad about this story, driving drunk, attempting to leave your injured girl behind, reckless driving, the one thing that jumped out at me, the ONE thing that I focused on was…..

“Briones was found with one shoe on and his shorts on inside-out…He also allegedly tried to hide from responding officers behind a cactus…”

Ouchie. Really, when you ain’t got no pants or shoes on, hiding near, around or behind a cactus doesn’t seem to be the wisest move.

Then again, wisdom didn’t really seem to play a role in this whole circus of events.

Oh Fair New Mexico, I really do love you love you so. You know how to keep a native entertained.


Image found here.

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