Costco clientele

When I was young, I always looked forward to going to Costco. Because of all my fond memories going up and down the aisles, sampling food and drink, and discovering new interesting foods, as an adult now, I still love it and get excited about it. Today, I took Chris to Costco for the first time, and for the first time at Costco, I actually felt really annoyed. I felt like the clientele were being really rude. People were crashing into my cart, seeing that I was trying to get through and refusing to move. Kids were getting right in front of my cart as I was moving, as though they wanted me to run them over. Chris noticed that there was one guy who seemed to be there just to sample every sample station. He asked each person when their food would be ready so he’d come back. Those are the annoying Costco clientele, the ones who are just there to get the free bites and are nuisances to the workers. I asked one worker where the toilet paper was, and he pointed me to the randomly placed paper towel rolls and told me they were there (no, they actually weren’t; the toilet paper is all situated at the front of the warehouse where all the paper/disposable plates/cups are put).

It was my least enjoyable Costco trip. I wonder if it’s just because of this actual Costco. It’s always felt a little more hectic going to this one in Spanish Harlem than the one in Long Island City, and especially the ones in San Francisco and South San Francisco that my parents frequent. People always seemed a bit more respectful, like they actually disciplined their children, and the workers were more courteous when we asked where things were located.

Luke’s Lobster commentary

I’ve always loved crustaceans. I had a short period in my (teen) life when I declined eating it at Chinese restaurant dinner tables because I was too lazy to get down and dirty and pick the crab meat out of the shells I’d have to crack. But other than that, I love the sweet, juicy, fleshy meat of crabs and lobsters, and I feel sorry for people who cannot appreciate how good they are.

The way I have appreciated crustaceans has evolved. I grew up eating crab and lobster the Chinese way, which means either battered in salt and pepper or ginger and scallion and stir-fried. When I got older, and especially after I moved to the East Coast, I started appreciating Maine lobster, simply steamed, cracked, and dipped in some butter. I love lobster rolls Connecticut-style, meaning tossed in butter rather than mayonnaise (Maine-style) and served in a fluffy, toasted bun. I also realized how delicious Maryland blue crabs were after spending a Thanksgiving in Ocean City, Maine, and being completely spoiled with the easily and readily available, fresh, and cheap little crabs of the region.

So it’s been disappointing to me while living in New York when people get excited about Luke’s Lobster, one of the original chains that serves Maine lobster and semi-local crab rolls. The rolls are teeny tiny, even for me. A few bites, and your $16 crab roll and $19 lobster roll are finito. The lobster is mostly claw meat as opposed to tail meat (and we all know the lobster tail meat is really where it’s at). The crab meat is much sweeter than the lobster meat, and as someone who has a deeper love for crab meat, I get it. But then why pay more for the lobster roll, then? After a few years of avoiding it, I decided to use my lunch credit today to get a crab roll, and when I went to pick it up, I was immediately saddened looking down at my bag. The roll was in a skinny container the size of a hot dog bun. That’s all $15 on crab gets you here in New York.

This is another reason to travel — to get better and cheaper access to all the foods you love and can appreciate in different setting.

 

Appropriate usage of emojis?

The colleagues on my team here in our New York office get along really well. We have our own private Slack channel where we make comments on everything from work and personnel-related questions to the most ridiculous and random banter, complete with moving giphy images and borderline inappropriate commentary on people we know and life in general. We also take coffee break walks and sit around the lunch table when we don’t have lunch time meetings and talk about current events and things happening with us.

Most recently, the topic came up that in the age of the #MeToo movement, it’s as though dating and romantic relationships cannot really move forward the way they once did. When you go in for a kiss, do you actually have to ask permission before you do it, or can you just go in? Or is it possible that could be interpreted as sexual assault? Or, in the case of sending text messages to anyone from colleagues to friends to potential friends-to-life-partners, is it okay to send things like flower or heart emojis? Can those types of “expressions” be misinterpreted as flirtatious or romantic rather than simply being friendly? I was actually a bit thrown off when we started talking about emojis because I use emojis a lot over text and Slack communication, and then I started second guessing myself about how and when I was using my hearts and flowers.

Is this really the era we’re living in, where we aren’t sure when being “friendly” can be interpreted as too friendly?

 

“You’re going to get sick in India”

We’re leaving for India in a week, and since I have been sharing with friends, colleagues, and family that our trip is coming up, it’s inevitable that a handful of people will insist that I will get sick during this trip. And the people who are the most insistent are the Indian people, no less, whether it’s colleagues who have either traveled to or were born in India to even my own in-laws, who last night were warning me about eating and drinking in their motherland. India is one of those places that doesn’t seem to inspire much of a “wow” reaction when I tell people I am traveling there; rather, they ask if we are visiting relatives (yes), or they ask what my purpose is there.

I’ve only gotten bad food poisoning once, and that was during my trip to Vietnam over ten years ago. I was bed-ridden for about three to four days. Without getting into too much gory detail, I just needed to be near a toilet at all times. It was especially excruciating because everyone else around me got to eat delicious food, and all I was left with was plain watery rice porridge and ginger water. The water there was not clean to drink, nor will the water in India be, but I’m still excited to go to this seemingly exotic place and be on sensory overload. To even drink a cup of chai in India right now makes me feel excited and eager to start the trip this second, to be away from my everyday reality and all the annoyances that come with working in a politics-filled start-up.

“Somebody That I Used to Know”

My new manager is in town this week, and he took both the success and services teams based here in New York to dinner tonight. My parents-in-law also arrived just for the evening tonight since they are en route to Toronto this week for an event, and so I decided to leave the dinner a bit early to spend some time with them before bedtime.
Towards the end of the time at the dinner table, a colleague and I were discussing with our half of the table relationships in general and how we’ve each gotten together with our spouses. We left early together since he has a longer commute back to Long Island. He walked me to my train stop since it was en route for him to Penn Station, and we continued our romantic relationships discussion. He asked me about my relationship before Chris, how and why it ended, and if I still kept in touch with the guy.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to… he didn’t,” I said to my colleague. “He said it would be too awkward and painful,” especially since we almost got engaged. My colleague told me he had repeatedly tried to get in contact with his ex-girlfriends just to have a coffee or drink together, but they repeatedly refused. They want nothing to do with him.
I told him I get it, though. When you think about it, it’s a pretty painful situation. In almost every breakup, it’s usually one side that initiated the breakup, while the other side didn’t want it. In the time you were together, you probably knew each other intimately in both an emotional and physical way, and once you break up, all of that is also broken, as well. All the shared truths, the intimate details of each others’ lives, the vulnerabilities… it’s all wasted knowledge. All that time spent together is like a sunk cost. The time you spend with people, whether it’s platonic or romantic, in some way can be seen as an ‘investment’ into building a relationship of some sort. But once broken up, neither can do anything with that knowledge. It won’t bring you closer because you’ve broken up, never to return to that same intimate state ever again. You know each other and are aware of each others’ existence, but you are strangers once again. That person is just somebody you used to know. It’s just like that Gotye song that Christina Grimmie and Adam Levine covered for “The Voice.” It’s a bit tragic when you think about it — time spent, invested, that is ultimately wasted; a relationship that once had its glory moments that has essentially died, needing to be buried or cremated. You need to forget it to survive and move on.
“Somebody That I Used To Know” – Gotye
Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it’s an ache I still remember
You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
Like resignation to the end, always the end
So when we found that we could not make sense
Well you said that we would still be friends
But I’ll admit that I was glad it was over
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No, you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over
But had me believing it was always something that I’d done
But I don’t wanna live that way
Reading into every word you say
You said that you could let it go
And I wouldn’t catch you hung up on somebody that you used to know
But you didn’t have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don’t even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough
No, you didn’t have to stoop so low
Have your friends collect your records and then change your number
I guess that I don’t need that though
Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Somebody (I used to know)
(Somebody) Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
Somebody (I used to know)
(Somebody) Now you’re just somebody that I used to know
I used to know, that I used to know, I used to know somebody

“Dancing Toward Bethlehem”

In another sampling of “Yvonne remembers her dreams” again, last night, I dreamt that I was standing in a music studio with Brian Littrell, the lead (or who I considered the “lead”) singer of the Backstreet Boys, and we were discussing the poet Billy Collins’s poem “Dancing Toward Bethlehem.” I’ve recently started re-reading poems that I enjoyed back in high school and college for nostalgia’s sake, and also because I’ve been reading the more modern poetry of Rupi Kaur. This was a very odd discussion, though, because we were exploring how to dissect and potentially rearrange this poem to make it into a song. I have no ear for anything, but Brian was attempting to make certain lines of the poem into a chorus and hum tunes for what he thought was fitting, while I was trying to figure out which parts of the poem would be good for a chorus and/or a bridge.

The strangest part of this entire dialogue and exchange was that we never once took our eyes off each other’s eyes. It was as though we had the poem memorized, and the only place our eyes could look towards was each others’.

I don’t even know what that means.

If you were interested, this is the magical poem we were deliberating over:

Dancing Toward Bethlehem

by Billy Collins

If there is only enough time in the final
minutes of the twentieth century for one last dance
I would like to be dancing it slowly with you,

say, in the ballroom of a seaside hotel.
My palm would press into the small of your back
as the past hundred years collapsed into a pile
of mirrors or buttons or frivolous shoes,

just as the floor of the nineteenth century gave way
and disappeared in a red cloud of brick dust.
There will be no time to order another drink
or worry about what was never said,

not with the orchestra sliding into the sea
and all our attention devoted to humming
whatever it was they were playing.

Father’s Day dreams

I awoke this morning from a dream where I was in a large, eclectic market, one that is reminiscent of the beautiful markets we browsed and inhaled recently in Oaxaca. Only this time, instead of being with Chris, I was with my brother. I turned a corner into a brightly colored stall to see my brother sitting at a low, round table, painted pink. He had wax paper lining almost the entire table, and on top sat at least a dozen different Dominican pastries. Some were filled with guava. Other looked like rolls. A few others looked like cheese breads. But they all looked and smelled delectable. Ed peered up at me and asked me to sit down.

“Look at what I picked up from the market!” he exclaimed, clearly proud and joyful of his edible finds. Before I could even sit down and take a bite, though, our mother appeared out of nowhere and started yelling at him.

“Why did you buy all this junk?” she yelled. “We can’t eat all this. It’s not good for you. You should have asked before getting us this! What a waste!”

Ed’s face immediately soured, and I was put off, as well. It was like real life once upon a time all over again: Ed being happy about something, then immediately having all the happiness drained from the situation because our mother decides to ruin the situation and make everything negative. Then, my dad appeared out of nowhere and didn’t say a word. How typical.

It was like my reality but in another country. And well, it was a dream. Or was it?

And, a happy father’s day to you, too.

Interview candidates

Our team is hiring for a new counterpart of mine, so yesterday was my first day interviewing potential candidates to fill this new role on our team on the East Coast. When interviewing, I try to be friendly but also fairly expressionless to ensure that the candidate doesn’t know which way I am leaning. But honestly on Friday, I was so confused by the experience that I had that it took me a few hours to realize that I did not like this person at all.

The worst thing you can possibly do during an interview is not answer the questions that are asked of you. If I ask you about A, you need to answer about A. Don’t give me scenario B and then ramble on and on about how that made you look good. That’s basically what happened today. But because this candidate’s delivery was so confident, if I really weren’t listening to anything he was saying, he could easily have won me over with his level of confidence and delivery. But, I was listening, and he didn’t.

Last week during our team week, we had a “speak easy” public speaking session, where the presenter basically said that the most important part of public speaking is how you portray yourself; the content is secondary. Well, in an interview, you need to be really good at both; if your content sucks, then you suck, and we don’t want to hire you. We don’t need some arrogant bullshitter who wants to try to own the place getting hired.

When your colleague tells you that you’re dressed inappropriately

Since yesterday was party night, I figured I could wear something festive that I normally would not wear. I’m generally a bit conservative at work, more than I would be with friends or family given that, well, it IS work, and I want to be taken seriously. That’s why at my last job, when a number of women at various levels would come in wearing everything from tube tops, backless tops, to halters and extremely short skirts, I always did a double-take and wondered if they thought that way of “professional” dress was a smart idea. I’m all for wearing those things at non-work settings, but work settings require some level of modesty, don’t they?

So yesterday, I wore a pleated but festive pink midi-length skirt, heels, and a black spaghetti-strapped tank top with a built-in bra. I’m obviously small-chested, and though for many years, I had insecurities about it (since so many things I wanted to wear never fit me right there, and it used to enrage me), now I embrace it and love the fact that I have a small chest; I’ll never have to worry about sagging, back pain, or whether I am exposing too much cleavage. A female colleague, who had clearly had a bit too much to drink, came over to me to compliment me on my outfit. She then said, “You do realize that if you were a B, C, or D-cup that your top would be inappropriate for a work setting, right?”

I laughed and told her that I was extremely cognizant of my small breasts and embraced it, and figured I could get away with wearing this given it’s an after-work party for two people leaving.

She then went on to reveal to me that she was happy that I embraced my small chest, that she failed to do this when she was in her 20s, which then prompted her to get a boob job, hence her big chest now. She said she seriously regretted it, but given that it costs just as much to take them out as to put them in, she couldn’t be bothered to pay to get them removed anymore and just sucked it up.

So… that was not information I needed to know, but great. Now I know it whether I want to or not.

Propositioned

Tonight, I attended the going-away party of our sales leader and one of our most tenured sales account executives here in the New York City office. It was a bittersweet moment considering that I highly respected both of them, and I knew things would be different in our office moving forward with their absence. The going-away party also included many former employees, some of whom had voluntarily left, others who had gotten laid off during the big cut that happened last October in an attempt to bring our company into more of an enterprise-focused era. It was a really good time, one that I enjoyed.

The strangest thing that happened tonight was when one of my former colleagues who showed up was talking to my female colleague and me about how he’s 36 and just hasn’t found the right woman. He’s dated, had serious and non-serious relationships. He’s even had flings with married women and attached women. He asked about our dating statuses, and I shared I was married, and my colleague shared that she was living with her boyfriend. And he looks suggestively at us, “Well, if you’re ever interested or bored and want to hang out one night… I have your numbers, right?”

Did he seriously just proposition the both of us?