Po' Smedley's Life And Brain Drippings
Published on August 20, 2008 By PoSmedley In Blogging

I'm not good with people..face to face. I always say the wrong thing at the wrong time. I'm not a very good listener. I'm a better 'story-teller', but I can get annoying and overwhelming. I guess I have seen and done too much over the years and have too much to say. At my job, all of this can be problematic. A majority of my job is customer service. Combine that with the fact that a lot of the contact I have with my customers revolves around complaints or 'issues' and what I become is a walking tic with turret syndrome. Let's not forget to add in the fact that I am a born and raised Yankee from Philadelphia recently transplanted to the south. Slingblade would get more respect than I would if we were hanging out down at Floyd's barbershop. Forest Gump could tell knock-knock jokes all day and be funnier. Barney Fife could go on for hours about why he's only allowed to carry one bullet and be more interesting. Get the point?

I find that I constantly have to second guess myself. Unfortunately, it's usually after I have run my mouth. Some folks have tried to helpful. A few Yankees like myself, who married into the south, have told me I just have to perfect the accent. They have. Some so well, I was surprised to find out they were Yankees. For me, trying to perfect the accent is very sad indeed. I either sound like Gump, Boss Hogg, or if I get irritated enough, I will purposely go into a dead on Slingblade voice. It doesn't help but it tends to end the conversations very quickly. I don't do Slingblade at work though. I need my job.

At work, I am sometimes left 'out of the loop' on certain things. It's either because I just don't quite fit or because I am a Yankee. You should understand that being a 'Yankee' is not as simple as just having the label. There is  lot that come with the title. We are loud. We aren't generally afraid to 'air our laundry' or 'speak our minds'. We don't generally pretend to be one way when we feel another. If we have a problem with someone, we say it. Two Yankees could be eating lunch at a nice restaurant and have a disagreement. One could say 'Fuck you!' and by the end of the meal, they are still friends and either one would still be willing to pick up the check for both. On the other hand, if we intensely dislike someone, we don't generally socialize with that person and put on a show for everyone as if that person is our best friend. (Unless you're Italian and you have a friend who has a friend who is willing to take care of said person in exchange for a small favor.) So, I hear a lot of things from people. Things like, "You're over reacting.", "You shouldn't say that." , and my favorite.."We don't discuss that. "

Of course there is the often heard "It will smooth itself over." As a Yankee, I tend to want to get my hands into the problem, up to my elbows if I have to, and fix it right away.  That doesn't always go over well. If the problem is more than a problem, something requiring immediate and physical action, such as running across a person in desperate need of an enema from a size 12 boot, they prefer to say "I'll see you later." As a Yankee, I would prefer to 'see you now'. Right fucking now. But down here, you can actually offend someone for wanting to see them now and then they won't want to see you at all. I have been left with no one to see a few times and it's quite frustrating. The problem is, I haven't figured out when later is.

The one things I have in common with folks down hear is 'smoke blowing'. I have to give it to southerners. They have taken the art of blowing smoke up someone's ass to a whole new level. I think it has to do with the inherent southern trait not to rush anything. Yankees tend to be fast talkers. Southerners don't do anything in a hurry. ("see you later' for example) Not being in a hurry, they have time to put on a smile, stir up a twinkle in their eye, and give you a couple pats on the shoulder as they lay it on. And they can lay it on thick. Most Yankees will pride themselves on their ability to detect when someone is blowing smoke up their ass.  This may be because so many Yankees do it. Not all have perfected it, but most do it. We'll call each other on it and even laugh over it. Try and call a southerner on it and they look at you as if you just insulted their family tree. I don't think you're supposed to call them on it. This goes back to a southern philosophy of not 'airing your laundry'.  In other words, 'I just blew smoke up your ass and you dare to imply that I did?! I'll see you later!' This is because you have brought up something distasteful (That would be you're feelings) , you have called them a liar (It doesn't matter if they are or not), and are 'forcing' a confrontation. Bad Yankee, baaaad yankee.

I have learned to keep my mouth shut more than not, though still not enough as I should. (I'm writing this, right?) I have also learned to take a lot of compliments with a grain of salt. This makes my job particularly difficult. When my boss praises me, my first instinct is to ignore it. I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes. A few times, I have actually had to slam my palms into my eyes because they were rolling involuntarily. This has led to dark circles under my eyes and several migraines. So, you can imagine the scene that played out when I went to my boss for a raise.

It's rare I get the nerve up to ask for a raise. At my current job and position, of which I have been at for 3 years, things have gotten very hairy and lately very unenjoyable. I used to like the challenges that faced me each day. Now they are out of control and compounded by circumstances no one should have to tolerate. It's a situation that I am constantly being told 'will smooth itself over'. No. No it won't. It really won't and they know it. At best, they are hoping it goes away. While it remains, my workload has increased and there are 'factors' that are beyond 'my' control that make what I have to do everyday extremely stressful and sometimes frustrating beyond words I can use here. I have been dealing with it all rather well and holding up my end better than I would have thought possible. But I don't get to see the family as much. I am working weekends. I am tired and border line depressed over the whole thing as well as overworked. So, I decided to ask for a raise.

I sat down with my boss and started. "I don't do this very often....yadda, yadda...I would like a raise...yadda, yadda...I have taken on more responsibility...safety coordinator, inventory, workers comp, the warehouse...yadda, yadda..I have employees who make more than I do..."

and he stopped me mid sentence.

"You don't have to sing your accolades to me. I appreciate the job you do here. The entire company does. You have been a tremendous asset to us. For the region, you have been a breath of fresh air. A much needed breath of fresh air and I appreciate you." He was smiling. he explained the new company policy on raises, how they are frozen at this percentage, etc. How he felt I deserved a raise and he would see what he could do and get with this person and see if this or that could be juggled to get a higher percentage...yadda, yadda. As I listened and heard my own inner voice questioning all I was hearing..as I slammed my palms into my eyes at least four times (Are yo okay? Gettin' a headache? Why do you keep doing that? Do you need some aspirin?) I asked myself, "Have I really become so jaded? That much of a pessimist? Am I starting to 'hate' my job?" As I searched for the answer, he dropped the big one on me. Smoke would soon be coming out of my ears for lack of any other way out.

"I feel that you have been a voice of sanity for this district. A much needed voice of sanity."

I drifted out of the office on a cloud of thick, billowy smoke that rested under my ass. I heard him say "I'll get back with you ereal soon on this." as I drifted out. I muttered in my best Slingblade "Put some mustard on it."

"Excuse me?"

"I'm looking forward to it." I smiled back at him.

Now, if you don't know me from the forums or blogs or whatever (I can't say face to face. Besides I'm bad with people face to face...) I will try to put simply what is wrong with all of this. I told my wife what he said. I had to repeat it three times. "He said I was a voice of sanity."

When her spleen shot through her nose and across the office I had dialed 911 before it hit the floor. The EMT said he had never seen that happen from a 'fit of laughter' before. Because they only had a limited supply of Thorazine on the ambulance, they called in a copter when one of kidney's blew out her left ear.

Both organs are back where they should be and my wife has a new experimantal inhaler filled with Thorazine as the laughing attacks have been slow to subside.

If you do know me...I know what you're thinking...and I'll see you later.

on Aug 20, 2008

This was hilarious...and I hate to say I TOTALLY know what you are talking about....I even wrote a similar article from a Yankee woman's perspective....


One thing you DO NOT want to do...fake the accent.  It makes you look like you're trying too hard.  And frankly, who really WANTS to talk like that? 

I don't have the accent, and my husband has lost his.  And you know what?  He gets a "Yankee Pass" (read my article to understand) more often than not because of it.  (Which really pisses him off.  heh)

This sounds trite, but after 21 years I can honestly say the best way to conduct yourself is ..drumroll please.....


Yankee accent and all.

You will grow accustomed to the laid back slow way things are handled.  Just remember rushing and doing things quickly is considered rude and operate from there.

See ya later!

on Aug 20, 2008

Thanks Tova!