Sunday, May 15, 2011

Melancholy in Miami

May in Miami. Been awhile. Sorry!

We've been here for nine months now. I've taken a hiatus from writing for two reasons: I've been busy and if I didn't have anything nice to say about this place, I wasn't going to say anything at all.

Let's start with how I've been busy. Work had picked up in intensity. Being a secretary seems like an easy-peasy job, but it can be frustrating. Nothing I do is TECHNICALLY difficult, but the atmosphere and pressures tense my neck and back up and give me shooting migraines. I have quickly realized that being the first person who answers phones and being the first person you see when you walk in our offices often means that people feel it is okay to take out the pile of crap that's been making them grouchy to dump it straight on my head. Everyone unloads their problems on me. Some of their problems I can solve, or try to solve... but most are just beyond me. I've been yelled at by "customers" or the friends and family of "customers" and I've been yelled at by my "coworkers." Sometimes, the "customers" deserve the situations they're in and I feel no pity for them. You snooze, you loose. Consider the story of the grasshopper and the ant. It's always the grasshoppers who are calling me after it's too late and they realized they should have done at least a fourth of the work of the little ant. As for my colleagues, I am ASTONISHED at how many grown adults who are into or past middle age think that it is okay to drop swear words on me and accuse me of things I have no control over. But I'm the one who needs to answer the phones or I'm the one they see first when they come in, so they yell at me and calm down for whoever I direct them to after their "bitch-fest."

Now, if you don't know much about me and how I deal with these things... let me tell you. I am polite and friendlier than most of the people I work with. I genuinely care and I'll try my best to better your situation. If you are nice to me, I'll do the job in double-time. If you are rude, I drop the friendly demeanor, but stay polite. Anything and everything I say at work I would say to a supervisor or Human Resources. I DO get firm, however.  I do not let anyone walk all over me unless I've done something terribly wrong and it is my fault. I do not bend and break and I since I've moved down here from a fairly friendly state, it's only solidified my personal philosophy when working customer service with a bunch of Rude-y Mc Rudertons. I had one "customer" standing up, screaming at me, so I stood up, and said, "I am here to help you. I'd be happy to help you. But you are not helping yourself right now by making this scene. A positive attitude will get you farther than a negative one, so might a make a personal suggestion? Stay polite, stay positive, and we will be able to listen to your needs." He would not be stopped until he complained to me, two of my office mates, and two "high-profile" colleagues all who told him he was being unreasonable. He took it to the top and we've never heard from him again... I assume because the told saw what type of "customer" he was and how he was more of a grasshopper than an ant. Still, I got the brunt of it. Tensions have been running high between some people at work and I'm caught in the middle because, once-again, I'm literally in the middle of the office. I see and hear almost everything. The situation will be shortly resolved, but still. I cried one day on the way to work and wanted to puke because I didn't want to be near all of the drama. But two or three coworkers have pulled me aside or sent me e-mails to say that they appreciate my genuine smile or that I am doing good work. It is hard not to take things personally. And where I work, there are people with a lot riding on getting things done and getting things done properly. So, everyone's a bit cranky at times.

I was also busy cleaning and preparing for our guests: MY PARENTS AND LITTLE BROTHER! I've missed my family so much. It was very nice to see them. And subsequently, we've seen much more of Southern Florida because of their visit. We took them to the Fairchild Botanical Gardens, the Morikami Japanese Gardens and Museum, Deerfield Beach, Matheson Hammock Park for swimming, Biscayne Bay, we walked Miracle Mile and I saw Bill Murray (!!!), we went to the Food Trucks (new favorite: Goat Cheese and Proscuitto Grilled Cheese from Ms Cheezious), we went to Scotty's on the Water (fish'n'chips), and we drove around gawking at some of the expensive houses on Old Cutler Road. It was so nice to have them here. I wish they could have stayed longer. Or better, I wish they could have taken me home with them. J will get to go home in the near future, leaving me alone here with no friends to speak of. I'm dying to go back to Wisconsin, or at least to take a break from the rude people, bad drivers, and horrible heat... but I'm trying to save up my time off. I guess I could take time off without pay, but that's a little hard to do when you only make so much and have student loans.

I've also struggled with staying in touch with people from home. A couple of my friends will send me the random text or write on my Facebook page and we'll have a brief conversation... but for the most part, if I'm not reaching out to people then no one reaches out to me. It's exhausting to be the one to uphold the friendship. I know everyone is busy with their own lives, and perhaps, because they have friends where they live, they don't feel the need to reconnect with old ones as much. Either way, it stings and frustrates me. I've tried to make friends here, but to no avail. And quite frankly, many of these people and I probably wouldn't get along. There are some people near my age that I am friendly with at work, but that's about it. I figured I would throw myself into my hobbies, but I think people are too busy to preserve their youth (plastic surgery) that they don't have time to preserve memories (scrapbooking). I've been searching for scrapbooking stores in Miami-Dade and I'm going to have to go to Broward I guess. I haven't been to the art stores and quite frankly I'm afraid to go... I loved the art store in Madison on State Street and the Hobby Shop in Greenfield. I want to learn how to use my sewing machine, but the JoAnn's down here don't offer evening classes (or classes in English). And I'm not about to haul that beast around to a store to be rudely told they don't/can't help. I'm losing hope for humanity... I mean customer service down here. :)

At least it is raining today. It keeps down the heat. And I love the sound of it. For now I will keep myself busy with chores, work, and the countless books I read (now that J canceled cable, grr).