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The Day In Pettiness - The Literary Exhibitionist
The Day In Pettiness

-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --

479 words is a pretty short note by my standards, but for a work email? That's pretty long. Especially when it's coming from a West Seattle store staff member, sent to four different West Seattle store group email aliases, two company-wide email aliases, and two central-office group email aliases. The "All Office" alias is why I received it: every staff member who works at the office received it. We're talking hundreds of people receiving this email, which had the subject line "many thanks," and then went on to detail how the staff at that store felt unheard and unvalued in the wake of the announcement of that store's temporary closure -- this is the store that had its final day of business two weeks ago. In the email, multiple times the person stressed how much she loves her job and this company, and then immediately followed it up with complaints, in a context as though she were speaking for the entire store staff. Choice excerpt: "The professional climate that emerged upon notification last July was chaotic and in many ways left a lot of people feeling unsupported." Also: "With the rapid and systematic corporatization of the company, the experience with the store closure really solidified our concern with the potential future."

I forwarded it to Scott and Noah with my own note: Whatever legitimate concerns there may very well be -- am I wrong, or is this one of the most passive-aggressive things I have ever seen?

I rather liked Scott's reply: I thought I was bitchy…. I’m mary fucking sunshine :)

At first I was thinking this email came from someone at the store who had been in some kind of management position, because that's where these mass-recipient emails usually come from. But, nope: I hovered my cursor over the name and it just said "Deli Cook."

Our CEO did a reply-all that was effectively short, to the point, and diplomatic, inviting this staff member to connect with her directly regarding her concerns. This is why she is CEO and I am not. It's also why I do not even want so much as to be anyone's supervisor. I talked to Laney about this last night. Leadership is a double-edged sword: we need leaders who step up and deliberately set themselves apart as leaders, but there is inevitably a mitigating level of ego involved there -- especially the higher and more significant the position goes (like, say, President of the United States). I prefer simply to lead by example: I try to just be the standard I think all people should aspire to. I don’t really want to actively sell myself to people as their leader. But, we do need such people.

In any case, I was a little astonished by that email. I have long felt that this company really takes care of its employees and genuinely cares about them. I know that not everyone feels the same way. I had a conversation this morning, though, about how the people who feel their specific concerns are not adequately addressed easily fall into the trap of feeling the entire, much large group of which they are a part are somehow obliged to cater to their individual needs. The bigger the group of people, the more there are some who just have to suck it up and deal with some sacrifices.

The email literally included the phrase "suck it up," by the way, clearly resenting the perceived message that that's what they had to do. Well, that's true: we actually had no control over the building on that site being redeveloped; in the big picture it's a lucky break that we managed to negotiate retaining the location so we could re-open with a much larger store when the new building is finished; all staff there were offered positions at other stores in the meantime. Okay, so no other store is particularly close to there. Sometimes life isn't fair, right? For Christ's sake, at least the situation is temporary -- we had similar complaints from office staff members who felt the new location was untenable to their commutes, which has actually resulted in several people choosing to move on or retire. And the office move is permanent. (Full disclosure, I'm one of the few office staff members for whom this move was a vast improvement on nearly all fronts, including being a mile closer to my home.)

Anyway, the whole thing reminds me of single-issue voters. The sense of entitlement people have never ceases to amaze me: one thing they feel is unacceptable somehow means we should disallow the country from moving forward in any broader sense until this one issue is resolved. People are so stupid. How I wish I could say to them, "You can't please everyone all of the time, and unfortunately today is one of the days where you're one of the people we can't please."

-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --

Speaking of this kind of pettiness, it seems the organizers of the Capitol Hill Pride Festival have been denied their permit for the festival by the city, thanks to their violating city permit rules last weekend. Now I understand why I didn't see any of their event on Broadway that day -- they likely got shut down. They had been denied a permit for that day, and then tried to set things up anyway. I love this part of the KOMO article, which shows the city perhaps attempting to stoop to their level:

The city contends the organizers were told three times leading up to the event that street parking reservations and street closures for tables, vendor booths, portable toilets among other event items, were not granted as part of the permits issued for the June 10 and 11 free speech event "in which 4 people participated" the city said.

"In which 4 people participated." Ha!

Now I'm wondering what the CHPF people will try to pull off on Saturday the 24th. I've actually always enjoyed their festival, and have never understood why it couldn't just peacefully coexist with Seattle Pride, without the stupid baggage of their continued resentment of Pride being moved downtown -- in fucking 2006! Their behavior almost makes me want to avoid their events just on principle. But, the vendors themselves aren't to be blamed for their bullshit. I have no idea why kind of likelihood there is of this, but apparently the city is encouraging someone else to apply for the Capitol Hill festival permit and step in as new organizers, for which they say they'll expedite the permit process. I'd actually love to see the festival still happen. I guess we'll see.

Since writing the above, the Seattle Gay Scene website has a more detailed news item about this, and the Capitol Hill Blog's official Twitter account posted a pretty interesting thread about the history behind all this. Honestly, it sounds like we should just leave the downtown and Capitol Hill Pride events to the Seattle Pride organizers -- who have had an increasing presence with their own Capitol Hill Pride events anyway.

-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --


-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --

So . . . what else? Oh, Danielle actually managed to sneak in an impromptu Social Review point yesterday. Around 4:00 she texted me she was on a field trip with Morgan's 6th grade class -- they had returned from Blake Island, and were hanging out at the Olympic Sculpture Park. I can see your building, she said.

The kids were using the bathroom a the visitor building at the park and would be heading back to their school bus soon. They were still there when I left work at 4:30, and I barely managed to catch them: I walked with her as she walked with her group of 6th graders from the park down to Western Avenue where their school bus was. Danielle was volunteering as a parent chaperone. She pointed out Morgan's teacher, and he looked like a kid to me. "How old is he?" I asked. "He just turned 30," Danielle said. Jesus Christ.

Even Ivan is 32 now -- he turned 29 the week he first moved in, in 2014. Still, he uses all manner of anti-aging creams and face masks, and I think he's a little obsessed. Which is ridiculous because his face is flawless, but whatever. I still once told him, "One of these days you're just going to have to come to grips with the fact that you are getting older."

Now consider my face. As long as I'm not smiling too big, I still don't look much aged from even 15 years ago. Commenting on the photos I posted to Facebook of Shobhit and me in both 2004 (the year we met) and in 2013 (when we got married), Jill kind of delighted me when she wrote, I am starting to suspect you two have a Picture of Dorian Gray sort of thing going on to account for your lack of visible ageing. Happy anniversary.

Danielle took a picture of herself with me and Morgan just before they boarded the bus. I'm rather smiley and that brings these huge crow's feet I now have, that stretch out from the outer corner of my eyes and bend down into my cheeks. Sometimes when I see that I'm slightly unsettled by it, but whatever, I suppose I should just get used to it. I'm sure as shit never getting Botox or anything like that.

Morgan actually came up to say hi and ask how I was doing when I first arrived at the park. She was a lot for Danielle to handle when she was little and was often a very difficult child, but I feel like she's turning into a pretty damn great human person. I quite like her. It's weird also that she was born in 2004, I literally videotaped her birth, and now she's about to turn 13 in July. Shobhit had come by the hospital that day, complete with little gift for Morgan in hand, and that was the first time he met Danielle.

-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --

I walked from there up Western for a bit, and took the stairs on Lenora up to Elliott Avenue, walked up through Pike Place Market and to Target. I found out confirmation emails had gone to my junk folder at Hotmail and so my time to pick up the Pride shirt I had ordered actually expired. So, I had to order it again. Hopefully it arrives before Pride next weekend. I put the domain on my safe-senders list so hopefully this doesn't happen again. I kept wondering why I didn't get any notification of the shirt being ready for me to come get, and that would be why.

I took the bus the rest of the way home from there. Had the lentils and rice Shobhit made for dinner. Shobhit watched the Congressional baseball game -- the one that had the shooting at yesterday, so now they had record attendance double what they usually have, and even President Fuckwit was there. The Democrats clobbered the Republicans 11-2 and that's all I care about. Otherwise it was just as boring as any baseball game.

So then I went to meet Laney at Light Rail, and we went downtown to see the movie Megan Leavey, which was about as good as either of us expected -- though less of a tear-jerker than we expected. I never would have gone to it, but Laney, a huge dog lover, asked if I'd see it with her and so I did. It was a pleasant time out with Laney as always, in any case. It was past 10:00 by the time I got back home (the showing had been at 7:30) so then it was time to get ready for bed.

-- चार हजार एक सौ चार --


positive energy please