Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cranky again.

There are some very popular knitbloggers that I just don't read. I want to like them, because they are around my age and knit and write well, but I just can't like them, and I'm not the type to read stuff that annoys me (unless it's between 8 and 5, and then I do it all the damn time). I revisited one such blog this week and saw that she'd written a post about being a widow, so of course I had to go check it out.

Our experiences were so different, I couldn't identify. Nobody abandoned me after my husband died - I did have to gently extricate myself from the attention of his best friend and best friend's wife, because frankly, it got cloying pretty damn fast, and we had nothing in common but the husband who was no longer around. I had to distance myself from them so I could shape a new life for myself. I didn't lose any of my own friends, I picked up new friends, I strengthened relationships with the cousins. Exactly two "friends" dumped me a while after my husband died, and both had their own issues so I didn't take it too personally. It had nothing to do with my husband dying, they barely knew him. It happens.

Personally, I think divorce is worse, because then there are two living parties who don't like each other anymore, and friends have to take sides. But widowhood didn't leave me ostracized from anybody.

The issue that reminded me again why I rarely read this blog was that there is now a Catholic Knitters group on Yahoo, and this is somehow a personal affront to this person. I just don't see it - in fact, I haven't seen it, because I went and looked and can't even find the damn thing in the bazillion knit groups and knitalongs and such. I did get a laugh at the one Christian Knitters group that explicitly warns that you can't mention anything evil like astrology (list of other off-limits topics follow), but it's sort of nice that they have a place to gather and whine about the evils of the world, isn't it? They're not bothering anybody. So it struck me as a bother bitching about the mere concept of the formation of a Catholic knitting group. Apparently it struck several commenters the same way, because I saw the comments I'd have made: "So what?" I didn't post a comment. Why bother. But this was an Issue, and an issue worth arguing and mentioning again later, at that, because it is Wrong because she says it is. And that's the sort of "Why the hell do you actually CARE about this enough to argue about it?" nastiness that has driven me away every time I try to read it. But that's okay, because it's a big Internet. I'm sure people read this blog once and are bored or offended or whatever and don't come back, I just prefer to bore you with complaining about my job and really dull knitting. But there are cute dogs here.

Yesterday we had a departmental meeting about a personality profile test we were given. My results were truly accurate as to how I behave in the office, and that in itself troubled me, because it was not anything like how I am in the rest of life. I wonder how long I can spend 60 waking hours a week not being myself? At work I am conciliatory, quiet, self-effacing, and very controlled and detail oriented. (All very true, because in my office there is a herd of strong, outspoken personalities already, and in my job I have to be detail-oriented.) I am much more of a leader than my score indicated, but right now I feel no need to add to the toxins in the air by being myself, so I am managing things in the most gentle, low-key style I can muster.

(El Jefe already told me that Toxic Cupcake has come to him to bitch about me, and asked me what I did to her to make her that way. I pointed out that our jobs don't even intersect that much and she barely speaks to me anyway so I have no goddamn idea what's going on there, and I have been engaged in a strategy of Don't Make It Worse.)

We need the new boss, he spotted the team's issues within the first week and has a plan to reshape the dynamics, if he doesn't get fed up and quit.

I was not too surprised at how few detail-oriented scores we had in the group, and the validity of the test struck me when I realized that the guy with the other high detail-oriented score has been rapidly becoming my ally through a natural chain of interactions. The irony is rich, because in my real life I am far more creative and far less detail oriented, but I'm neurotically responsible and somebody has to be the logical, detailed thinker! I hate being that person, it is very hard for me and stressful, and it's why I come home with a headache every day.

I've suspected that the weird recent focus on knitting Simple Flat Things has been a result of work stress, but you know, it does make sense. I spend my days focusing on fixing things and changing things and calculating how things will work, long conference calls debating with our lawyer, drop-in visits and calls from division presidents, getting bossed around in between by Cupcakes who send me snippity, bossy emails asking me if I've done this or that, and we won't even talk about the local governmental "challenges." When I come home all I want to do is something flat, repetitive, and look, pretty colors!

I've been at this job a little over a year and it is still vaguely defined, stressful and full of drama. But the money's good. I am still thinking that the house goes on the market in the spring if things don't take a dramatic change for the better, and I just don't see that happening.

I ordered sock yarn, because as you all have told me over and over, sock yarn does not count. And Carla is the greatest - she emailed to say one of the colors I'd chosen wasn't in stock, and I tried to email her back from the office, but Webmail decided not to send. So I sent her another email from home at around 9 last night just to make sure it got through, and she responded at 9:40. Sheesh, that's customer service!

I'm reading Garrison Keillor's Homegrown Democrat. It is beyond wonderful. I want to give copies to every "Oh, I'm not really political, both parties are the same" types I know, as well as those who are still laboring under the delusion that the Republican party is still the party it was 40 years ago. I also get a kick out of the description of what he calls the "Minnesota values" he grew up with, because they are the same values I was raised on in suburban D.C. I think they are American values, or at least they used to be. I miss them.


Jane said...

I had the same thought about that blog post. So what? And why am I reading this?

So I decided to stop. I don't need it. I'm much more interested in your flat knitting, your dogs, and the Toxic Cupcake, anyway.

Amy in StL said...

I must not read that blog, but I read a wide a varied bunch of knitting blogs.I've quit reading some when they're not blogging often. I must say, although I think all you and I have in common is our love of dogs and knitting, I love reading your blog. I used to live in The South, so I love reading about hurricanes, humidity and such, too.

ellen said...

I tend to try to avoid negativity where I have a choice. As in all things webby: if you don't like it, go somewhere else. Current politicsnspire enough rage in me that I don't feel the need to absorb any irrelevant irritation. I do enjoy your blog, especially the adorable puppies.

Debi said...

I visit "that blog" once in a while just for aold times sake since she was one of the first blogs I found when I came back to knitting. The truth is she freely admits she rather mousy and non-confrontational in the real world so cleary she finds some sort of esteem from internet sniping. Personally I find religion based knitting a bit much but as long as it's innocuous, whatever blows theirs skirts up is ok by me :)

So what did ya buy?

Mac said...

I rarely read popular knitting blogs - I'd much rather read smaller, less well-read ones. They're infinitely more interesting and not quite so...snooty.

I'll have to pick up that Keillor book - it's one I haven't read.

Janet said...

OK, now I'm trying to figure out if I've read this person. Of course, being a knitter o'the Catholic persuasion myself, perhaps I ought not...

I scan some of the "big" blogs, but usually prefer the quirkier ones. :-)

ChelleC said...

I loved Homegrown Democrat as well. Wasn't it great? I'm now reading Clinton's MY LIFE> Wow. That's an amazing man. Both Clinton and Keilor put into words what I've always felt about my pride in being a Democrat. Although the fighting and partison politics is sad in the rift it creates - I have to say, there really are some BIG differences in the way we think. That tends to become an "us vs them" situation, but after reading these two books and seeing Gore's movie, I just shake my head in amazement that Bush won his first term, what's more his second. It just sickens me to the core. Chelle

Patricia said...

The drama of the corporate environment is why I love working for myself. We are 3 women and are not immune to drama but we have the luxury of tossing out the occasional curse, have an ample supply of chocolate and wine in the fridge, and have been known to leave the office on really bad days to go home to sit, decompress and knit a few rows. A luxury in today’s work environment, I know.
I enjoy reading the blogs of those who live in the approximate area of where I live. It makes the reading so much more meaningful for me.

Catherine said...

Chelle - it's a totally different mindset, and it's often revealed in casual ways. Former Boss was a Republican Boy, and extremely conflicted because he saw even his own good heart as weakness. A mutual co-worker and his wife spent their vacation in Central America a couple of years ago, working a medical mission program. (She's a nurse, he's a former cop turned lawyer.)

When former colleague lawyer told us all where they'd been, Former Boss said, all smart-alecky: "I didn't take you for a Do-Gooder." Do-Gooding is weakness to that mindset, something to mock. They consider themselves charitable, though. But going to charity fundraisers and eating shrimp is one thing, it is how To Be Charitable - write a check. The idea of an attorney going into the jungle to provide firsthand care is just too much. Other People do that.

He was taken aback that someone he liked and admired was one of those Other People. That small incident stuck in my mind and I'll never forget it. It's part of my shorthand description of the difference.

Catherine said...

Patricia - I love "meeting" local bloggers/readers, it's so cool!