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January 3rd, 2008

You know it by now:  I love me some Prudie...

Dear Prudie,

I'm a woman in my 20s who has worked hard to learn several languages. Being a linguist has a distinct downside; often I've picked up on "private" conversations that are no longer private. The most troubling example is at work. My building also houses a Japanese firm. Several times, I have been in an elevator with others speaking about me in Japanese, unaware that I understand every word!

This also happens in the cafeteria and mail room. It's embarrassing and can make me feel a range of emotions, from objectified to self-conscious. I have an urge to turn around and say something in Japanese, but I realize that this wouldn't be polite, as they probably assume I'm in the dark. Is there a way to make it known that I understand what they are saying in a professional manner?

—No Domo Arigato

Dear No,

I'm trying to understand the downside here. Your linguistic skills give you the ability of a superhero—you don't have to be invisible to know what everyone is saying about you in "private."

If you're in an elevator and a bunch of guys are discussing in Japanese how hot your outfit makes you look, I'm not sure why it's impolite for you to answer back in Japanese, "Thanks, I'm so glad I wore it today. I do understand you didn't like the pants I had on last week."

Please, when you do this, have your cell phone ready to get a picture of the looks on their faces.

—Prudie




Today was my first day back to IBM after being on vacation since December 10th. I did manage to remember all of my passwords, miracle of miracles. :-)

I actually had a very productive day—getting through all of my mail including taking care of action items within individual e-mails, and getting my 2007 PBC results recorded.



Kathryn, my next door neighbor, stopped over to borrow some printer paper, and we had a nice little chat about:

  1. updating my will

  2. updating our trash can recycle bins with our unit numbers by tomorrow

  3. getting towed for parking between the lines in your own parking spaces, and

  4. getting engaged some time this year! (Not me and her, silly—her and her boyfriend.)

I rescheduled my dentist appointment from New Year's Eve, to next Wednesday, and paid my bill over the phone.

I scheduled an afternoon Financial Planning meeting with Nathan for a week Friday, the same day I scheduled lunch with bluglass. Looking forward to both.



Late in the day, it was already dark, the UPS man arrived with my cell phone charger sent from my sister and her husband. Inside was a little surprise—a Black & Decker Home One-Touch Chopper! Sweet!



After dinner, I ran to K-Mart to get 4 fours, 4 threes, 4 twos, 2 fives, and two 7s.  I need to put one 4325 on my trash bin and one on my recycle bin. My neighbor needs to put one 4327 on her trash can and one on her recycle bin. I was shopping for both of us.



They were out of fours. Everyone on our street must have gone there to get their numbers.

I looked at a lot of the Christmas stuff that was marked 50% off and decided on a plastic bag container that holds rolls of holiday wrapping paper. It was marked down to $15.99.

I'm not even going to get into one of the most irritating shopping experiences I've had in a long time. Let's just say it involved something not ringing up at the advertised sale price, waiting in line at the customer service desk to return it while an employee returned over 12 holiday items she'd bought, for which each price code (about 12 digits) had to be typed in on the cash register's numerical keypad because the scanner was broken.

If I'd've had an extra blood pressure pill with me, I probably would have taken it. Either that, or beaned someone in the head with it. Or maybe poke an eye out with it!



On the way from K-Mart to Helios, I passed the Jiffy Lube, where the last time I saw its sign out front (on 12/29) it said, "NC Inspection—You have two more days left."—but today said, "Boss said to change sign so I did."



Helios was jam-packed with people, and I have to say it was the highest laptops-to-people ratio that I've ever seen in there—almost everyone had one.

Shortly after arriving, Rob (robthephotog) joined my table as he waited for a friend to arrive. After "Billy" arrived, they got coffee, went outside where it was biting cold, and a few minutes later, they were back at my table.

Young, young, young. Change the world conversation. Ah youth. Fighting windmills. All in their own time; all in their own time.

I had a short, albeit very interesting conversation with Brad about PhDs, and he shared with me a book that he's recently completed. He's going to send it to me for a review.



It's 11:41 now, and I'm leaving Helios to go to Trailer Park Prize Night, which I will no doubt regret in the morning.

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