I guess some of you racists are working today, so I thought I’d pen something for you while you fly your Confederate flag or whatever.
Hi! What’s new? I have today off, although I volunteered to help if they need help, as one part of work is screamingly busy at the moment. And I realize it’s not, you know, water torture, but it kind of cockblocks relaxing when you’re nervous about getting a “Come here, Watson, I need you” kind of email or call or I don’t even know how they’re gonna tell me if they need help. If there’s an emergency copy editor situation.
Last week in the break room, where we’ve finally got coffee again (for a few years they just had Keurigs and we all brought our own earth-unfriendly pods), I was talking to a print person about my impossible deadline, and I said, “I think people think I just read.”
“You don’t?” asked the print person, who careful readers will remember as Vilhelm Oyster, one of the very first people I befriended at work.
Every time I call Vilhelm Oyster “the print person” I picture him in a loud Charles Nelson Reilly shirt. So far I’ve called him that twice, so I’m not phoning a crisis line about my repetitive thoughts.
Oooo, but that reminds me. I need your help. Sort of. I need your help only if you’re good at the following.
I recently found this website, and please don’t ask me what it is. Like, I enjoy using it and I kind of want to enjoy using it without being in the middle of it and getting, “JOOON? Is that YOU?” Go find your own fun website.
Anyway, I found a website recently where you get on there completely anonymously, and you can be the venter or the listener. Then you either tell or listen to woes.
I’ve been the listener for several nights now. And sometimes I’ve helped, but one time this person rejected all possible solutions and eventually said, “This isn’t helping.”
One person just had an unusual sex fantasy and eventually left of his own accord.
But anyway, my question to you is, how do you help someone with their problems? Do you just listen or do you offer advice? Because you know how I hate–HATE–unsolicited advice. I think everyone does. But if you’re logging onto a tell-your-troubles website, don’t you expect more than, “Um-hmm.” “Ohhhh.” “Wow, that’s rough.” Don’t you expect more than that?
When I was first getting divorced, the person who helped me most was Emily Freeman, who at the time was a blogger who was just slightly more popular than me, and now she’s like Mrs. Famous Pants. I remember us going shopping one Saturday and proudly saying that I had 400 readers a day.
“That’s great!” she enthused.
“…So, are, you, like, using Sitemeter? Do you know how many you have?” I asked.
“Well, yes.” She hesitated.
I think at the time, she had, like 1,200 readers a day or something, and I was all, HOW DOES ONE GET THAT MANY and I think the key may be ambition, which I have never had not even for one second. Mostly, as you know, my goal is to be able to get into my pajamas. It’s not to accomplish great things or go beyond or whatever. It’s not to challenge myself and learn new things. I just want to pay the bills and be able to get into my pajamas. Mostly I want to be able to afford new pajamas.
Is that so bad?
THE POINT IS, Emily P. Freeman, whose podcast I love even though it’s Jesus-y–but GOOD Jesus-y, not “God hates f*gs” Jesus-y–got frozen custard with me soon after I was separated. I wasn’t even dating yet. Which, let’s face it, I didn’t take long to do. Marvin left at the end of March and I got on Match.com over Memorial Day weekend. However, he had a date the night he moved out. So.
THE POINT IS, and now you’re all sick of me, is that what I remember is sitting at that frozen custard table and her just listening. She didn’t ask the kinds of questions that were “I just want the guff” questions. If she asked any, they were to encourage me, somehow. She didn’t offer advice. She was just exactly perfect.
But how do you do that online in a chat room? Is what I wonder. Are any of you good at this sort of thing? Because if I’m going to continue trying to help, I’d like to actually help.
And why do people sign into such a thing if they’re going to reject all your suggestions? I’m asking that legitimately and not complaining-ly.
So that is my quandary for today. Please let me know your pithy thoughts.