May 30, 2015
(The clock on the wall says it’s science time. Secondhand SCIENCE time!
That’s not really an appropriate thing for a clock to say. I should probably get that fixed. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s scientific spectacular, all about Jeans instability. Keep it in yer pants, people. Science!)
I have a new time sink. It’s always been there at a low level, but lately it’s taking up much more of my time, and eventually I’ll have to make an adjustment. The issue?
LinkedIn requests from people I don’t recognize.
I don’t know why these things are suddenly streaming into my inbox, but the volume has gone way up in the last few weeks. Maybe because it’s summer. Maybe my company is in trouble, and no one’s telling me. Or maybe my boss is mad at me, and is telling everybody.
(Though that still wouldn’t explain why people would want to connect, out of the blue. Just to watch the eventual train wreck?
That ain’t right. Keep yer schadenfreude outta my employment status, munchos.)
“Why is the sky blue? What do birds dream about? And who’s this random goober in a lopsided tie in my inbox?”
Of course, the real problem is my cripplingly terrible memory. Every time I get an email that some new person wants to bump rolodexes, I put the name in one of two bins:
1. People I’ve worked with, talked to, emailed, hired, fired, interviewed, lived with and/or gotten drunk with in the past two months; or
2. STRANGER DANGER!
I have very little recall power for people. It’s not their fault. It’s almost certainly my fault, but I’m still going to take the hand-wavy hippie way out and say: it just is. Why is the sky blue? What do birds dream about? And who’s this random goober in a lopsided tie in my inbox?
These are unanswerable questions. Mysteries of nature, for true.
The fact remains: I’m bad with faces, and even worse with names. All my memory cells are busy, apparently, storing up old Simpsons quotes and lyrics to R.E.M. songs.
(Which are mostly gibberish, but if I can’t belt out Driver 8 in the shower on a Tuesday morning, then what the hell’s the point of getting up at all? Contributing to society? Preventing bedsores? Going to the office to see Whoshisface and Whatchamacallher, and that other guy who has the thing, like on his face, but not a mole, the other kind of thing?
And that’s the rub. If I knew these random requests really were random requests, I could ignore them. Just delete them, forget the emails ever darkened my inbox and get back to the more important things in life. Like the flashcards I made to learn who’s who in the lunch room.
But no. There’s always some scrap of a connection, some possible thread that makes me think that I know — no, that I should know — this person reaching out to me over the interwebs. Because it would be rude to ignore an old friend who might be looking for a job, or catching up with colleagues. And often, at first glance I can’t tell the difference.
And so I Google.
I’m no internet stalker. But I’ve gotten pretty damned good at finding information about miscellaneous people on the web — because I have to, because mostly-miscellaneous people on the web keep sending me LinkedIn requests. And I don’t just have to learn enough to decide that I know someone. No, no. That would be too easy. I have to learn enough about these people to be absolutely certain that I don’t know them, so I can safely trash their requests and get on with my feeble-brained absentminded life.
Did I forget we went to college together? Or maybe you worked three cubicles over at that company three jobs ago? Was I the third baseman on your softball team? Have you bailed me out of jail? ARE YOU MY DADDY?!
I have to answer all of these questions, and dozens more, all in the negative, before I’m satisfied that it’s just some basement-dwelling yahoo with too much time on his — or her — hands, who’s finally decided it’d be fun to ping every single person LinkedIn suggests they might know. A request from the third cousin of my boss’ neighbor’s barber, I can happily shitcan. Someone closer to home (if still out of mind) — not so much.
And just to twist the knife a smidgen deeper, I can’t gather intel from the one place that I know is likely to have detailed dirt on these people: LinkedIn. Because if I visit their LinkedIn page, LinkedIn will tell them I visited, and then they’ll know I got their request and that I’m actively deciding I don’t want to associate with them.
Which I don’t. And honestly, I’m pretty active about it.
But I don’t want them to know that. God. How embarrassing.
No. Much better that I should surreptitiously scour the internet for hours, searching every scrap of information I can find using the scant few clues provided in the LinkedIn email. That’s the proper way to handle these situations.
(Says the little voice in my head. Who I’m beginning to suspect is less “Miss Manners”, and more “Charlie Manson”.)
So. Random LinkedIn requests. Basically the sixth circle of hell for people with an internet connection, poor memory and whatever ridiculous social disorder I just described.
Kinda takes all the fun out of schlepping to an office every day, dunnit?
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