Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seriously, I have a mental illness...

For those of you who might not know, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a little over a year ago. I'm currently taking a writing class at my local university. My current assignment is to write a personal essay. It was a no-brainer to write my paper on bipolar disorder, being that it's something that constantly affects me and those who love me.

I'm not about to say that I know everything there is to know about this illness just because I have it, and there is really no such thing as too much information (well, reliable information). This morning, I went to the bookstore to find a couple of books on the subject. I immediately headed to the "Health/Medicine" section. Most of the books were "Look Like Me!" by Sally Celebrity, or "Crazy Fad Diet" by Dr. Quack.

I asked the woman at the counter were I could find a book on bipolar disorder. She directed me to the "Self Help" section. For someone with bipolar disorder, this was like a slap in the face. It's like telling me that my illness isn't legitimate, or that it's my fault I'm sick.

So, a book titled "Bikini Bootcamp: Two Weeks to Your Ultimate Beach Body" is in the Health and Medicine section and books relating to mental illness are in the Self Help section.

Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Be Nicer, Damn It...

Common courtesy is a large part of what makes us civilized people. Unfortunately, it seems to me that it is becoming less and less common. Working in a customer service position, some people's behavior can drive me insane. It boggles my mind that so many people seem to think that they're better than me because I sell ice cream out of a truck (trust me, it's a lot less creepy than it sounds).

Whenever I'm dealing with a less than ideal customer, I repeat a simple mantra over and over inside my head: “Smile and and and nod...” It works for most of them, but some of these customers really get under my skin. That's why I have a I can bitch to all of you about them.

Don't get me wrong...there are still some decent human beings out there. I love hearing the words “please” and “thank you,” especially out of the mouths of children. Being polite is not a difficult thing to do, particularly if you make a habit out of it. Then you won't even realize you're doing it. Unfortunately, these good customers are heavily outnumbered by the butt-nuggets (excuse my language).

I've decided to spend this time to discuss some principles of basic human interaction. Apparently, some people out there need a refresher course on how to be human. I am discussing these principles in the customer/employee context, but they can also apply to just about any interaction between two people.

When I'm working, I greet every customer the same way: “Hi there! How are you doing today?” The rule states that there are only a select few appropriate answers to this question. They all include a vague, yet positive adjective (good, fine, well, etc.) followed by the reciprocation “and you?” At this point, I would even be content to drop the “and you?” entirely and just get and answer to the question.

Here are some of my favorite inappropriate responses to the question “How are you doing today?”

-Silence: Not only does it make you look rude, it makes you look like an idiot.

-Chocolate!: (Again, I sell ice cream.) The mere fact that I have acknowledged your presence does not give you the go ahead to yell your order at me.

-Gassy: I don't really care how you're doing. I was only being polite, expecting the same in return. How silly of me.