As an active part of shipping items to foreign countries I like to throw their address into Google maps to see if it can make sense of what they’ve given us. The vast majority of the time it comes up with a simple point reference on a map and I can be assured that the address does indeed exist.
On occasion, when an order gets lost in the mail and the customer is demanding we re-ship the entire order I will return to google to verify their address again… then I’ll zoom down into street view and have a look around. Then, if they’re a particularly quarrelsome customer, I will have a little conversation in my head:
“Yes, sir, we did re-ship your order. Yes, we re-shipped it to the address you verified. And may I say it’s a lovely building you live in. Those archways are new, aren’t they? That red car out front, is that yours?
Yes, I know where you live.”
I don’t do that, of course, but the temptation is there. People are so much more polite in person, and even more so when they realize you know where they live.
Still more when they know what I look like. It has been suggested a number of times that invoices might get paid quicker if my photo was attached to each e-mail that was sent out.
“This sincere gentleman would like to remind you that your 30 day invoices have now come due. If payment has already been arranged please disregard this threatening expression.”
We’re having snow again here in Calgary. I keep forgetting that March is often our heaviest month for snow. It’s closest competitor is the long weekend in May. People love to go camping over the long weekend in May. Crazy people.
I took my motorcycle riding classes in March of ‘07. I got to learn to ride in the dark bundled up in layers with patches of ice. The first time I ever laid a bike down was because I took a turn too wide and hit a frozen puddle. At least it wasn’t my bike. After 20 hours of intense training in freezing conditions every other day of riding has been a joy. Three weeks later, in the middle of April, I rode my bike in to my motorcycle mechanics class. I was navigating through drifts of gravel at every major intersection. These lessons, rather than giving me an increased sense of security, gave me instead a heightened awareness of vulnerability. I was keenly aware of just how shifty my traction was on the road and I never forgot that slight feeling of terror.
I’m always just slightly “off” when it comes to interacting with the more masculine members of my gender. Having grown up without any significant or consistent male influence in my life I’ve grown up with a rather feminine attitude. This often confuses “real men” who try to strike up typical conversations with me, and learning how to ride and maintain my motorbike was no exception. I can’t provide exact examples of what I said that didn’t “work” for them, I can only remember their slightly confused or baffled expressions. I definitely wasn’t what they were expecting.
I also experienced a weird sort of counter-sexism. With the women in the class my mechanics instructor was very patient and detailed, going through things step-by-step. With me… it’s like he automatically assumed I’d already know the basics and just rattled off the steps in point form like I should be able to figure it out myself.
So it’s a damned good thing I own a bike that requires minimal maintenance, because that’s all I know.