Filed under: Life

I Don’t Speak Dutch

Wednesday, January 7th, 2004 • 1 Comment on I Don’t Speak Dutch

I despise splitting the bill when I go out to eat.  I hate dividing things up and figuring out who pays what based on who had the club sandwich and who had the cheeseburger.  Worse even than splitting the bill is separate checks.  Why not just sit at separate tables while you’re at it?  Or even separate restaurants?  Tell you what, don’t call me, I’ll call you.

When I eat out, I don’t want to worry about how the bill is going to get paid.  Such practicalities take away from the pleasure of the meal.  I eat out as a way of socializing—hell, eating


socializing for me.  When I’m home alone, I don’t eat meals, I graze (case in point, my dinner tonight: Cheez Doodles and Pepperidge Farm cookies).  There is joy in sharing a meal that should not be compromised by nitpicky details such as how the bill is going to be divided.

If I’m eating out with someone I like (and I try to avoid eating out with jerks, though there are rare occasions when I get stuck sitting across from someone I can’t stand), I will happily pay the tab and expect them to return the favor next time.  I’d much rather pick up the bill than sit there trying to figure out who owes what.  As I rarely have cash on me, I’m going to either have to ask the server for a seperate check or put the entire thing on my credit card and take cash from my friend, which seems wrong.  Honestly, I’ve probably paid for more than fifty-percent of the meals I’ve eaten in restaurants and that is okay with me.  If I like you, I’m more than willing to pay for your meal in exchange for the pleasure of your company.

I once had lunch with an acquaintance (who was on her way to at least being a casual friend) who pulled out a CALCULATOR in order to figure out her half of the bill.  Now, keep in mind that we ordered

the exact same entree

, but she had water and a side salad and I had an iced tea.  We split dessert.  She still felt the need to use a calculator to tally the exact amount of her tab.  This was not a pricey restaurant, it was Ruby Tuesday’s.  We’re talking a difference of maybe two bucks in what we each owed, if that.  I was horribly embarrassed.  I spent time with her after this mortifying event, but I never went to a restaurant with her again.

The other thing about taking turns paying the bill is that it becomes a promise for a future meal spent together.  I get it this time, you get it next time.  If I like you enough to share a meal with you (excluding the aforementioned occasional jerk), I will want to see you again.  If I

ever offer to split the bill with you… well, don’t expect me to be calling any time soon.  If you

suggest splitting the bill, I may be slightly offended whether that’s your intention or not.  Splitting the bill feels like you don’t like me and want to be done with me.  That’s hardly a way to end a pleasant meal.

Oh, and the woman with the calculator?  Despite her obsessive/compulsive need to make sure we each paid our fair share, she stuck me with the tax and only tipped ten-percent.

Posted by Kristina in Essays, Life

Why I’ll Never Rule the World

Monday, January 5th, 2004 • 4 Comments on Why I’ll Never Rule the World

I was once a twenty-one year old boss.  I had employees.  I made schedules.  I had a budget.  I spent the company’s money.  I dealt with angry, cursing morons—all with a smile.  I hired people.  I fired people.  I was young, I was naive and I was in charge.  I took care of the people who worked for me because that’s what I thought a good boss should do.  I figured I had nothing to lose by doing things my way and there was rarely anyone looking over my shoulder to tell me otherwise.  My work ethic was less “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean” and more “get the work done, then goof off.” 

My work ethic hasn’t changed much in fifteen years.  I am not lazy so much as I am rebellious.  I don’t like rules.  I don’t deal well with authority, especially if the authority in question is an idiot.  I don’t like policy and procedure manuals, I prefer to handle things on a case by case basis.  I don’t like black and white, I prefer shades of gray and blue and purple.  I don’t like being told what to do, nor do I like giving orders.  I prefer a looser style of management.  Smart employees know what to do and will get the job done.  Dumb employees should be taken out back and smacked around.  Simple.

I believe vacation days are for vacation and sick days are for whatever you want them to be.  I think the best thing you can give an employee—besides a hefty raise—is respect and the acknowledgment of work well done, even if it’s the work they’re supposed to do.  I believe in positive reinforcement and chocolate rewards; when a raise isn’t in the budget, I believe in commiseration and drinks on the house.  I believe in fraternizing and getting to know the people who work for you.  I believe everyone is entitled to have a bad day and everyone deserves a second, and even a third, chance.  I believe

most people want to do a good job most

of the time.  That should be enough for any boss.

I believe in looking out for your employees and giving them credit where credit is due—and even when it isn’t.  It’s no real hardship to let someone stand in the spotlight for a few minutes and it makes a world of difference in how they feel about themselves… and their job.  I believe in staff meetings that include doughnuts and coffee.  I believe in pizza parties on me because we’ve had a good, productive week.  I believe in looking the other way when lunch stretches to an hour and a half once in awhile.  I believe as long as ONE person is on time, everyone else can be a few minutes late occasionally.  I don’t believe in evaluations, I believe in heart-to-hearts when the need arises.  I believe work can—and should—be


All of this just goes to show why I will never be a boss again.  Not that I want to be—the hours suck and, oddly enough, no one seems to think I should be in charge.  Imagine that. 

Things would be better if I ruled the world.  Trust me.

Posted by Kristina in Essays, Life

The Year in Review:Or, More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About How I Spend My Time

Thursday, January 1st, 2004 • No Comments on The Year in Review:Or, More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About How I Spend My Time

2003 wasn’t my favorite year.  I can’t even say it was in the top five.  It’s hard to remember the good stuff when the bad stuff is so glaring, but there was good stuff.  A lot of good stuff. 

Highlights of the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly:

Snow days, a pajama party for the lovely Dr. Shmoo, hockey games with Robbie, Nick and Sharon’s wedding shower, followed by their Vegas wedding which I couldn’t attend, but I watched thanks to the wonders of the internet.

A baby shower for Gigi, more hockey with Robbie, and lots and lots of planning for the London trip with Sheri!

An Art Therapy fundraiser at Cora, more hockey, LONDON, which included two trips to the theater to see The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Les Miserables, and more theater when I got home to see The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife.

Jay’s birthday, Second City, a wedding, a memorable trip to the Farmer’s Market (but not to the central library), Easter dinner with Robbie, Ashleigh and Denis.

BIRTHDAY WEEK and many, many festivities for said occasion including a legendary cookout, a theater trip to see the amazing one-man show Foley, a movie marathon that went a little too long, the Trinity Irish Dancers and the Pungo Strawberry Festival.

The Neville Brothers at the Bayou Boogaloo and another fun-filled, vomit-inducing cookout which turned out to be my last drunken hurrah of the year.

Orville died, I rescued a dog, I gave her away, Jae abandoned us for Virginia Beach, Jay deployed, the a/c broke during the hottest part of the year, baseball games, my first (and hopefully only) attempt at being a class speaker (thanks, Rose), Nick’s birthday week and the unbelievably short Chris Isaak.

Tea for Rose’s birthday, the a/c broke again, more baseball and Jae’s birthday party.

Nick moved, Hurricane Isabel visited, I locked myself out of the house, the power was out for days, I finally took the GRE and Jay came home!

A trip to Tom and Amy’s, fun in Baltimore, thirteen years of wedded bliss, IKEA!!, Lord of the Dance and and the Stockley Gardens Art Festival.

The ill-fated NaNoWriMo, the beginning of The Highly Selective Book Club With Only Two Members(TM), I applied to grad school (application incomplete, still), the symphony, Elton John, Rent, Sheri, Thanksgiving joy and happiness with special guest Brian, a book club meeting, a pizza party and brunch in Richmond.

A surprise party for Robbie, a crowd for hockey, a work Christmas party to plan, a Hail and Farewell, a lovely Christmas eve dinner and a fun Christmas morning, another book to read for the book club and another deployment, but the last for awhile.

And scattered throughout the year, the events that made life worth living:
Many trips to Wild Wing, Panera and Starbucks, lots of movies and lunches and laughter and love and some fights and a few tears and good friends and drinking and shopping and Bubba Chryst touring plans and road trip talk and plots to overthrow the library administration and some job hunting and grad school planning and some writing sales and much (sporadic) writing and some reading, too.

Posted by Kristina in Life, Musings

I'm a writer, editor, blogger, mama, wife and coffee lover.