[conspire] Housekeeping, again
echerlin at gmail.com
Thu Feb 28 00:42:06 PST 2008
On Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> I find, to my distress and dismay, that I occasionally have to call to
> CABAL attendees' attention some basics of rudimentary courtesy inside
> people's homes. This is one such reminder.
> (In case newcomers might
> not know, for quite a few years since CABAL lost its SOMA meeting space,
> it has been meeting twice monthly in my suburban home in Menlo Park.)
> The key point to grasp is that, when attending CABAL, you are a guest
> inside a nice, well kept, hospitable family home. It's my father and
> mother's house, about which I care a great deal -- and also my own
> current family's personal domain. There is quality, highly valued,
> one-of-a-kind furniture, wood and tile floors, irreplaceable Oriental
> carpets, and so on.
> It is not a public meeting house. It is not your college dorm or
> cafeteria. To sum:
> A nice home. You: guest. Me: host.
[cross-culteral analysis snipped]
> 1. Over quite a few years, I've been rather appalled at most CABAL
> attendees' manners in using my dishes and flatware but never cleaning
> their own messes -- instead, dumping dirty dishes in my sink and on my
> counters (or, worse, just leaving them sitting around at random) -- and
> just watching blankly as I clean up after them.
> A couple of you, notably Kai and Denise finally noticed that this
> pattern is absurd, and asked if I didn't think it an imposition on my
> household. Asked that question so bluntly, I had little choice but to
> give an honest answer: _Naturally_ it was, actually, pretty outrageous
> for me, the host, to end up doing several dozen healthy computer geeks'
> dishes year and and year out -- but what could I do?
I find that the general principle for handling clueless geeks is to
Tell Them. Ahead of time, on-site, and at the point where they are
about to misbehave. Cluelessness is apparently part of the neurology.
So I appreciate Being Told.
> If my guests
> lacked the common courtesy to clean up their own messes, I couldn't
> exactly bark at them that they were being slobs and they should be
> ashamed of themselves: That would be shooting myself in the foot as a
> gracious host. So, I just quietly _think_, about such people, "You're
> behaving like jerks -- again", and cleaned up after them.
> As an experiment, at the last two CABAL meetings, as I saw several of
> the regulars dumping their dishes in the sink (directly in other
> people's way), I politely spoke up, for a change: "How about you
> washing that?" To you-all's credit, the four or five of you immediately
> if belatedly did the right thing (for a change) -- though your
> expressions suggested that being considerate and not being a burden to
> your host might have been something of a new thought in your respective
> 2. After seeing one of the regulars being appallingly stupid and
> inconsiderate by putting a lacquered wooden salad bowl in my microwave
> oven, and thereby ruining it (an error that boils off and blisters the
> lacquer finish), I finally created the ONE AND ONLY warning sign in my
> entire kitchen. This sign is black ink on a white-background sticker,
> smack-dab in people's faces on the microwave's black flat door:
> No wooden bowls.
> Last CABAL, a different regular put a different, not-yet-ruined wooden
> salad bowl into the microwave, and was starting to shut the door when I
> yanked his hand back, and directed his eyes to DIRECTLY IN FRONT, where
> the sign was. (He did not apologise. Nor did the other guy, who _did_
> ruin one of my salad bowls.)
> 3. As many may recall from prior go-arounds on Moen-household manners,
> I finally put my foot down a year ago and forbade people from eating
> food, especially but not limited to crumbly food -- in my house without
> plates -- after seeing a whole room full of CABAListas wandering around
> like barbarians dropping pizza toppings on my floors.
A sign would help a bit. Putting the rules on the CABAL
> Phase One of that was walking around to any offender and handing him/her
> a plate, with a very broad hint that the plate was NOT optional, and
> that I wasn't handing them out just because I adored handing out plates.
> When lightly wielding the cluebat didn't quite suffice, Phase Two
> entailed _not only_ handing the offender a plate but also making clear
> that the person's continued welcome relied on him/her using plates in
> the future similar circumstances.
> To my _utter_ astonishment, one CABAL attendee, who professes to have
> attended college at some football-farm outfit in New Haven that my
> college occasionallyencountered, expressed _indignation_ during such
> a third-time admonition at the most recent CABAL.
> That seems a bit slow on the uptake. Given that the gentleman had two
> ethical choices (comply with local standards of courtesy, or don't come),
> he somehow saw fit to find a third non-ethical one (stay, comply badly,
> and complain about it). What _did_ they teach you in New Haven?
> 4. I have said, time and again, that people's bags of gear must not be
> dumped onto the tables we use for computer installs. Instead, those
> should go out of the way, e.g., on the back porch. I keep seeing the
> same longtime CABAL members doing it, over and over. One of these
> occasions, the offender then shoved his bag sideways across the table,
> pushing off and breaking my irreplaceable 20-year-old WordPerfect coffee
> mug. The avoidance of such disasters having been, of course one of
> several reasons for the rule that the attendee violated and thereby
> destroyed my prized personal property.
> In summary: Act your goddamned age. Act like you're a guest. Act like
> you'd appreciate being welcome as a return guest.
> If these guidelines strike any of you as in any way unreasonable, please
> do feel free to be elsewhere -- any time.
>  Why is it always the women who have manners _first_? Guys, kindly
> stop letting down the XY team, OK?
>  I.e., not outside or in the garage.
> conspire mailing list
> conspire at linuxmafia.com
End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay
More information about the conspire