One year after I enrolled in Linkedin. Linkedin didn’t help me find a job. But it did help me waste a lot of time, including for finding 347 friends.
What I tend to find particularly weird is the news feed. Among the revolutionary “X is celebrating 3 years with X firm », which is always being politely liked by 10 people, it’s a real banquet of bad slogans. I guess that being friend with their boss, or their bosses boss, petrifies all my linkedin friends. But the phrases they like or create look exactly like a bad corporate brochure.
Examples (excerpts from today’s newsfeed):
“you want to win? promote more women”
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, just what does an empty desk mean?” by super-likable Einstein
Last spring, I started noticing babies wearing weird head protection that basically resembled rugby helmets. At first I got really scared, because it made the babies look like they had just been hit by a bus and had to deal with a bad skull fracture. I felt awful for the moms and babies, and thus deliberately avoided the subject because moms usually hate the “oh god, what happened to Kevin?” conversation.
A few days later, I went to the girls’ pediatrician and noticed ads for cranialtech, “reshaping children’s life”. Once again, I had it all wrong.
It is just an efficient solution to reshape your baby’s head. I guess that originally, that thing had been designed for kids suffering plagiocephaly (I am copy-pasting the website but you’ll have to admit that the word “plagiocephaly” is really chic). But the market of moms wanting to produce a Gattaca offspring being juicy, why limit yourself?
My husband and I go to the bank.
First annoying thing. The banker shakes my husband’s hand with a warm “hi”. I get neither the hi, nor the handshake. After a second of hesitation, I coldly reach out to shake his hand. He immediately shakes it with a sorry smile.
Second annoying thing: my husband and I both get the typical semi-paranoid questionnaire. But when I am being asked the question “who are you working for”, the banker immediately answers “so you’re unemployed”. Nothing allows him to make such an assertion. Not our conversation, and not the information previously given to the bank. This nerves me so much that I aggressively reply that no, I am self-employed, which is a half-lie.
We finish the questionnaire and leave macho-bank. My husband gently lectures me, having noticed the half-lie. Hon, you shouldn’t be so passive-agressive about not working, it’s all right. I explain why I have been annoyed twice. He had not noticed anything. Worse, HE DOES NOT SEEM TO UNDERSTAND.
My current micro-depression finds its deep roots in the loss of my social status. I exist only through him, and through our children. I do not know how to explain this without yelling. So instead I forward him the link to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s amazing talk.
How could I survive two pregnancies without a babypod?
For those who don’t get the concept (it took me a while to figure out) here is the explanation. For 134.81 dollars you get both a vibrator and the insurance that your foetus maximises his chances to become Mozart. Can’t believe you are still hesitating.
Yes, Americans are better at selling basically any product. Their campaigns are funnier, their actors are cuter, and Don Draper is fucking Don Draper.
But sometimes, they fail. Here is my personal subjective top three but you might as well disagree.
1. Condoms, brand “Trojan”. Apparently it’s well-known. The packaging presents an angry warrior. I do get the idea of the warrior stopping the sperm. But come on, the trojans were all slaughtered because a giant horse full of little men broke, and the little men infested the city. When applying the horse metaphor to the condom, well Houston, there’s a problem.
So here is a summary of what I learned in terms of behavioural rules (yes, I am thinking shifting to sociology, that bores the hell out of my husband)
So THE thing that puzzled me the most is the “hi how are you”. According to the European rules, this is supposed to be a purely rhetorical question: unless you just lost your mother and you are talking to your best friend, you simply answer “fine, thanks”. Well, not exactly.
Example 1. In the elevator. It is 8:24 precisely. I am fighting with Charlotte so she finally accepts to put her shoes on. Concomitantly I yell at Nayla who just pressed all the buttons. A neighbour (whom I have never met) enters the elevator.
Me (focused on the shoes): hi, how are you?
Her: my dad just died in a car accident in Florida. I have to leave to Florida.
Me (nervous laughter): Oh shit ! ben euh, sorry.
At the beginning, I thought it was just a close encounter of the third kind, with no relationship at all to the US.
After several unwanted stories about miscarriages and disgusting sicknesses, I thought that maybe I looked so nice that people would confide anything to my kind ears.
Turns out people just like to talk to strangers.
I guess I must sound slightly superior, like the typical French who thinks the idea is absurd, but I often find it cool. For example, it allows you to acknowledge that your tiny problems are universal (always more rewarding than simply reading it in Vanity Fair). Plus you also can let off steam. I only done it once: I told one neighbour at the park that I sometimes hated my kids. She seemed to have the same problem. It felt good.
I identified two possible kinds of answers, because sometimes, at 8:24 AM, you have to be straightforward.
Answer 1:hugging. It took me a year, but I have become a master in hugging. Free hug whenever you want.
Answer 2: The “No. Me too!!” rule. Which obviously works better when it is plausible, but honestly, it often is (my kid had a bronchiolitis and I was scared/ my boyfriend is a stupid macho / I also have money-job-couple issues).
Unfortunately, sometimes none of those answers is practicable.
Example 2 (yesterday). An impressive and nice black guy, on the street. “oh you have two girls! how cute! I have four”.
Me (nicely): oh yeah?
Him: yep. But it’s too late to have a boy. You know, I am a Vietnam war veteran. I got all kinds of diseases there, I am heavily handicapped and I suffer diabetes. And of course, I am too old.
Me (nervous laughter): Oh shit ! ben euh, sorry.
It is 11:07 PM, I’m going to bed, and my computer lies on my fat belly, stuffed with (i) kettle-cooked-lighly-salted-chips, and (ii) a baby.
Living life to the fullest.
chubby / fluffy / chunky / chucky
So my neighbour made it clear. You shouldn’t say: “what a pretty chucky baby”. Chucky is the puppet. Chunky is for cookies, or for your baby’s arms. Chubby is a synonym. They both mean “fat”, but not greasy. Nice fat.
sassy / savvy / sexy
I still haven’t figured which one is positive and which one is negative. But that as long as I cannot pronounce properly “sassy” and “sexy”, I should avoid using them, especially when talking about my 3 year old-daughter.
– The Dog Market (capital letters required): dog psychic, dog coats, and little shoes. Dogdates, dogs playgrounds, serious conversations about dogs, presents for dogs (seen in a catalog: little doggie diapers)
– Available free bibles everywhere
– the fact that everyone calls you “mommy” (and no-one calls your husband “daddy”)
– the fact that trucks look like children’s toys. They seem to be used just like children’s toys too. Flashing lights and fire alarms everywhere. If only Charlotte could drive and use flashlights, she would behave exactly like this.
– your own stupidity of woman who hasn’t used her brain for way too long. When exactly have you become that socially awkward weirdo who makes disgusting sex jokes to someone she barely knows?
Your phone stops working for one whole week. When at last, you manage to get it fixed, you are super-excited because somebody might have called to set up an interview.
Turns out there is a sole message that says “hi, X Daycare speaking. Everything is fine, but Charlotte needs diapers, she ran out of them”.