At my side job today, I was pretending as much as I possibly could at the whole customer “service” thing. I wasn’t successful even a little.

I wasn’t outright calling people stupid but I came pretty close. Anyone who has worked in any customer service position knows what I’m talking about. Some days you can’t even fake it.

I’ve always held the belief that most people just want to be heard. Not even necessarily listened to, just heard. People need to speak their frustrations out loud and have someone say, “yes, that is frustrating. I understand.” Regardless of the fact that we don’t understand and most likely couldn’t care less. Most people feel better having said their piece. They can dispose of their frustrations by spewing it out there and leave for others to clean up.

Look, I said I believe in that philosophical idea. I didn’t say I practice it. After many too many hours of listening to bullshit, I couldn’t care less how heard anyone felt. By then, the tissue-thin facade I barely put on, in the guise of professionalism, falls off usually around hour 6 of an 8-hour shift.

Today, it was the middle-aged brats trying to get more of something they were already lucky to get considering how busy we were. They weren’t busy so it didn’t affect them. It didn’t affect them, so it didn’t exist. As usual.

Regretfully, because I’m a flawed human, I didn’t put them in their place where they would twist in guilt, reevaluate every action they’ve ever taken, atone for every interaction they were responsible for turning badly, and throw themselves on their knees to beg forgiveness. They just whined and demanded special treatment for the amount of money they paid that was exactly the same amount everyone else had paid.

They didn’t even thank me for using all my failing strength on not hurling myself over the counter and strangling, at least, the one smacking her gum, with the white foamy bits in the corners of her lips, and the record-scratching laugh. It was tempting as no jury would convict me. Nope, no thank you. Just a resentful, disappointed walk out the door to resume their stoic woe-is-me; that they’d have to bear this cruel burden on their own like the martyrs they are. You know, just like Jesus.

Bratty like Jesus.

I actually could’ve worked some really shifty magic to get them what they wanted but I didn’t. It was against policy, it could’ve gotten me in trouble, and I didn’t like them. So I went as far as to pretend to look at possibilities, while putting the red five on the black six and those two on the red seven, and told them it was impossible and shot glares at the foamy gum-smacking one.

They left and I didn’t strangle anyone. What I did do was take it out on the next jovial person unfortunate enough to come to me for “support”.

Said gentleman was chatting on and on as I was doing my thing, as quickly as I could just to get him out of my face, when he started in with the questions. Cutting me off to clarify answers I was in the middle of answering, talking about “Judy” and “Samson” or whoever-the-fuck was coming who needed this or that. I don’t know you, pal. At all. Much less who Judy and Samson are. Stop asking me if they’re already here because I don’t know who the fuck any of you are! I’m not even on that screen, I’m clearly trying to extract information from you that is necessary to get you away from me but you won’t stop talking about people I don’t know, and your happiness and excitement is clearly making me feel even shittier.

—Oh, here’s a little tip. If anyone ever starts with, “Quick question,…”, walk away. Don’t grab your things, just go. If you do stay, as they are rolling around to hour 2 in their “quick question”, grab some Alka Seltzer, take a calming walk (don’t worry, you’ll have time,) cancel your plans for the week, and say good bye to your loved ones because someone is going to wish they were dead by the time the “quick question” even rolls around to getting asked.—

Finally, the questioner took a pause long enough for me to understand that it was finally my turn. I just sighed and said, “Yeah, I don’t care.”

He looked at me, looked at my exhausted posture and unflinchingly unamused expression, and broke out in hilarious laughter.

He turned red with sweet, innocent embarrassment. He said, “I’m sorry. I know I can go on, thanks for being so patient. I bet you’re tired of all the chit-chat. What were you saying?”

I cracked a genuine smile for the first time all day, “I guess I am tired. Sorry about that. It’s been a long day. Do you have AAA? I can give you a 10% discount. You know what? Screw it, I’ll just give you an upgrade…on me.” So I did. Day made.

Let this be a lesson, dear readers. Customer service people aren’t automatons. We don’t live and die by your happiness. We don’t give a fuck about your happiness. We care about getting through the day, have our own aches and pains to wade through, and still have to listen to your shit and pretend to care.

We also have the ability to give, or withhold, a lot more than we ever let on. There’s no telling how far we’ll go for you when you remember how human all of us are.

He made my day, I made his, and together we plotted sinister revenge against the gum-smacker and her ilk.

But that part was just for fun.


You Need Our Dark


I’m not called an asshole on accident.

It’s because I’m often being one. I can come across as a little…rough.

-Stop laughing–

My “assholeness”, you may have figured out by now, concerned reader, comes from a darker place. But that’s just me. Not everyone’s outlooks are made up of cherries and groovy disco, you know.

That’s just the way it is. Always has been. Always will be.

Some of you are born with a view of life filled with fairies flying through rainbows handing out pure cocaine.

Others of us are born simply grateful to have quieted a little of the distracting, blaring, off-tune polka bands in our heads while we scratch at our prickly insulation suits.

It can make one grouchy. It’s not just because I can hear you when you chew.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not a feel-sorry-for-me diatribe. I have nothing for anyone to feel sorry for; I’m quite blessed.

The problem lies with those fairy-type people telling me to turn my, “frown upside down! Life is great up here on top of the rainbow!”

I don’t have time for your advice when the accordion just hit a flat F on my way to pick up my re-prickled suit.

Just because we’re frowning doesn’t mean we’re unhappy, We’re just uncomfortable.

We don’t need your help. We need you to stop.

There’s a prevailing idea that seeing things on the brighter side is necessary for a full life. We see it. We just can’t find our sunglasses and our eyes are sensitive. Just give us a second—they’re around here somewhere, hold on, found ‘em, cracked? shit!— and we’ll squint, see what you’re so adamantly beaming your huge smiles at and nod, “yes, it is bright.” Now let us Gollum back to our caves; it’s sweaty out here in the sun and we’re getting hives.

Because, for us, it sounds tiring to be doing all those cartwheels off fluffy clouds and we have other things to do. Your insistence we change is fucking with our schedule.

And, it’s not as bad as you think. There are benefits to living in the darkness.

We’re more sensitive. We pick up on the tiny changes in the atmosphere, subtle shifts in the force. We know when there is pain because we feel it, too. When it’s dark much of the time, we must feel, not see, what we’re facing. With all the uncomfortability, polka bands constantly tuning up or finding a comfortable way to sit, we can always sympathize. We can empathize with embarrassment, pain, and awkwardness. There’s little we can’t understand. And if we can’t, we will help you learn to laugh at yourself because we’re usually laughing at ourselves already.

We’re funny. Because after a while, it just gets funny. It has to be.

We’re hearty. The caves where we creep are littered with holes in the ground, twisting our ankles; stalagmites rising up to break our toes; stalactites smacking our heads. Having to navigate around with broken toes, itchy suits, and being always a little dizzy, while leading around this fucking ten-piece polka band is tiring. Yet, we carry on. It takes endurance to continue every day; an inherent toughness to reset our own bones in the dark.

We’re realistic. Because shit happens. A lot. We’ve seen it all.  And we’re never blind to the consequences.

And why we’re so important to you who live in the clouds.

Because without us you’d fly into the sun. It would be the brightest yet last thing you ever saw, Icarus…without us tethering you to the ground.

So, the next time you feel the need to tell one of us to, “turn that frown upside down,” without knowing what we are, rethink. Understand that the polka never stops but we’re ignoring it right now for you. We’re the great listeners who’ll be there for when you need us, anyway, (and maybe a little happy just to sit down for a minute.) Just don’t tell us how to be.

Honor the darkness that follows us around, wrinkling our brows and breaking our toes, because that’s what makes us who we are…

And you need us. Be grateful for the balance.

The Bitchin Scale

portrait-828398_1920Despite what the  “melancholy”, “artistic”, and “deep” aura this photo is trying to convey, these girls walking on the “train tracks” at “dusk”  says quite a bit more than what’s on the page….something like… that I typed in “friends” on a royalty-free pic site and got this.

Hence all the quotation marks. I’m not buying into this photographer’s ultimate mood but it somehow met my goals which makes this photographer even more successful than he or she ever intended. Good for you, Mr. or Ms. Trying-too-hard! I wish I could aim so high. Seriously. I’m aiming at about sea-level at this point so this grasping at something is better than my just grasping. They will probably never know it but I just bumped up their awesome one tiny notch on the “right on!” scale.

There is too such a scale. It’s called something else, or I just made it up, but we all already know what it is. It’s that level to where no matter how lame that thing is you’re trying to do, you’re doing it/attempting it/going forth with a vision yet unforeseen and you’re gonna do it come Hell or high water. And for that, and even just for that, you totally deserve a medal. I’m being honest. I love that Mr./Ms. Trying will go for it, in the face of everyone telling them they shouldn’t. I wish I could pat them on the back and tell them how awesome they are for trying. In a world so rife with anti’s, I love anyone that will power through and go pro.

So if there isn’t a scale yet, I’m starting one and calling it, The Bitchin Scale.

If you’ve ever tried and failed, had someone call you an idiot, been told that “it” would never work, that you need to do what we tell you to do, told to focus on something real, had your dreams crushed before 8am even though you woke up at 7:50, had someone laugh when you finally opened your heart and told them what you wanted in life…but proudly thought/tried/wanted to with a passion anyway? You’re a 8.534 on the Bitchin Scale.

Which is pretty high. It’s awesome. I’m just so bad at math that it’s really hard to follow my logic. Just know it’s a good score.

I’m proud of you. I’m proud of Mr./Ms. Two-girls-walking-all-melancholy-down-train-tracks photographer, right the fuck on.

Now, what the hell was I going to rant about?

Suddenly stoked,

-the NTZ






How to Deal

turn-730511_1280Here’s something I rarely do…rant.

Just kidding.

Anyway, I was talking to, seeking advice from actually, a good friend of mine about her success in her relationship. She then sought advice from me about Depression/Anxiety/whatnot. Especially, what to do about thoughts that just won’t go away. Ruminating, Obsessing, Freaking out, Mo’s normal Tuesday, whatever you call those thoughts that haunt you in your waking and sleeping hours. Those. They’re terrible and horrible when they’re benign, they’re downright menacing when they’re not.

Considering my obnoxious list of things that bother me, afflictions, excuses, fucking-pick-one, I have become somewhat of an expert in the art of un-fucking my mind. I mean, c’mon, no one else is going to do it for me. Especially not one. single. therapist. who has ever lived a life. So, I’ve adapted.

And here’s what I found that has helped:

For those thoughts that are raging, when you feel down, when you feel downed-upon, when you feel angry, when you don’t feel angry enough, and if you don’t mind some incredibly loud cursing, then this is what you do:

Play Rage Against the Machine’s ,”Killing in the Name of” as loud as you can stand it in your car, preferably somewhere safe, when Zach de la Rocha starts in on, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.” sixteen times… you scream along until your voice hurts, capillaries burst, and your voice hurts more. Finally, he hits, “Motherfucker!” and you scream it as hard as you can.

Don’t feel better? Don’t like cursing? Don’t like the loud music? Then stop. Wait. Yep.

Now, try it again. Do it until you just feel stupid doing it any longer. If you’re like me, you’ll start to laugh. If not? Do it again. And this time, scream it like you mean it.

Works every time.

But, wait, there’s more…..

Some ruminating thoughts aren’t always angry and need this kind of violent…dispatch. Some are heartbreaking and sad. Some, you don’t necessarily want to get rid of. Some just suck… but you just can’t stop “the loop”.

I don’t have to explain the loop. If you know, you know.

For those, there’s this song…

Now wait, don’t skip ahead and think, “I know this song. It gets stuck in my head worse than anything ever!”

For some reason, it doesn’t get stuck in my head but I may be lucky that way. What it does do for the people I’ve experimented on in a non-creepy way–don’t bother asking, you don’t want to know about the creepy experiments–is amazing. They should prescribe it along with Well-Butrin.

Again, for those who know, you know…

This you’ll either love me for or…well, it works for me.

Now, hear me out! Listen to this all the way through. If you’re thinking of anything else other than who this Centerfold chick is…listen again. Then, come talk to me. I got way more up my sleeve.

Enjoy, my fellow-ruminators.

–Mo @ NTZ