Thursday, March 20, 2008

Binary People

From my cubicle I’ve managed to observe the human animal in its unnatural habitat for several years. I’ve seen mating rituals, struggles to become the alpha brownnose, and the ubiquitous search for food that doesn’t suck or get stuck in the vending machine causing one to buy it twice, but more than anything else I’ve observed many instances of dumbassery. I’m sure I’ve posted before on the people who have trouble getting into the building because they can’t swipe their card AND open the door without stopping to think for so long that the buzzing stops, forcing them to repeat several times (you think I’m kidding), but today I thought I’d share the custom category I created for many coworkers – the binary type. Don’t make the mistake of thinking I mean some type of brainy geek who knows computer code – that would be me. I’m talking about people I’ve learned can only answer questions one at a time, and even then limited to just yes or no answers. Again, you may think I’m kidding, but I swear I’ve had e-mails like this.

Me: We have a meeting scheduled. The notes say it’s like this and this and we need to pay this, but the computer system says it’s like that and that and we need to pay that. Can you tell me which statements are correct, if any?
Them (by which I mean a process owner who is paid far more than me): Yes, that’s right.

Realizing that I’m dealing with the binary type, I then switch to the following series of e-mails to get the information:

Me: Regarding the meeting – is it a teleconference?
Them: No.
Me: Is it in an auditorium?
Them: No.
Me: Is it in a meeting room?
Them: Yes.
Me: Is it in a company owned location?
Them: No.
Me: Is it at a partner’s location or a third party?
Them: Yes.
Me (internally): Damnit! Binary only!
Me: Is it at a partner’s location?
Them: Yes.
Me: Can you tell me which partner?
Them: Yes.
Me: Okay, which partner?
Them: Yes.

Okay, the last bit is just wishful thinking, but the rest is typical of some of the people I have to deal with. I mention this today because I’ve been trying to schedule more 日本語 lessons, but have been unable to determine all the details. My 日本語の先生 (J-teacher) is dangerously close to going on the binary list. In her defense, I know it’s partly because she’s better with spoken than written English, and contrary to my preferences she likes the phone better than e-mail. Still, it’s taken several exchanges to learn which book to buy and some possible class times. Unfortunately I’ve been unable to determine which chapter the class is studying. Looks like it’s time to go binary again. “Is it chapter one? No? Chapter two?” Grrr.

If anyone knows how to say “Just answer the fecking question or I’ll kill you in the name of Satan” in Japanese please let me know. All those lessons and they have yet to teach us that, or how to hit on Japanese women (女の人). Maybe I should demand a refund.


Joe said...

I'm not sure what the opposite of a binary person would be, but we have many of those here. Each yes/no question gets answered with a 1,000 word dissertation.

Maybe we could begin some sort of exchange program.

SSC said...

Ha I laughed so hard that was funny. Sorry that they couldn't just tell you. But people are crazy!!!!

Patti said...

People are dumbasses... bonafide dumbasses.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Well, I have no idea how it's pronounced but it's :「単にfecking している質問か私がサタンの名においてあなたを殺すと答えてください.」

See, this is why I (used to) only hit on english speaking guys...Americans, Brits and the like. I get my wires crossed all the damn time anyway...MUCH LESS throw a whole different language in there. Forget it.

グラント said...

joe - that's why it's important to stick to e-mail, even for people sitting next to you. You can ignore them at will.

ssc - crazy people are good. It's stupid that should be cleansed from the gene pool.

patti - and yet our so-called Congress won't pass laws allowing us to kill them on sight.

pq - unfortunately, the Japanese way pronounces Satan as "sah - tahn", and they identify him as a foreign concept. We need to work on that.

Kira said...

Since I've met your Japanese teacher, I think I'll refrain from comment. At least you don't have to worry about that with me. My emails are certainly not binary. I may get paid shit for being an English lecturer, but at least it gives me written skills.