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ATM: whether to play the ball in the court

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.15.18

A commenter writes:
Dear Mineshaft:

At a recent company retreat, late at night and with everyone intoxicated, a married professional colleague propositioned me. We kissed briefly before both coming to our senses. (Colleague was actually the one to end the scene. I had reservations but would have continued.) When I met them the next day to discuss, I fully expected us both to acknowledge mutual attraction (which we had both suspected for a while) but to agree that the previous night had been a mistake, given that we're professional colleagues, and the fact that they're married. (Either of those independently seems like a disqualifying issue. Together they make the idea of a relationship seem completely insane.) But to my surprise, when I expressed that view, my colleague made clear that they didn't consider any of it a mistake, said that after reflection they feel good about all of it, and said they are very much interested in pursuing an affair. They said "the ball is in your court" to decide--and there's no hard feelings and we'll still be good friends if I decide I'm uncomfortable with the situation. This message was repeated again the following day.

This seems like a terrible idea, but I'm having a hard time convincing myself of that with enough conviction to make me think I'm not actually going to say 'yes'. Sitting here writing this ATM, I'm leaning towards yes. Despite thinking that is very, very stupid.

Additional details that seem relevant: this is a close professional colleague that I work with almost every day, and with whom I'm good friends (at work, not outside of the office). This is the person whose professional advice I rely on more than any other individual. I would be extremely unhappy to lose that professional friendship and constructive working relationship. Neither of us supervises the other but it's not impossible that one of us could supervise the other at some point in the future. I've never met their spouse, but based on many confessional lunches I know it's been a very unhappy marriage for years (at least for my colleague, and, based on the stories, I think for both partners). Colleague says they've never had or ever seriously considered an affair before, and honestly expected to feel a tremendous amount of guilt for even considering the idea, but has felt zero.

I don't think either of us expect that an affair, if it happened, would lead to any new happily-ever-after relationship. It's just something that we both obviously want. I think my colleague expects that an affair might help clarify a lot about the marriage, and provide motivation to either get serious about fixing things or (more likely) end things. For me, I would mostly just be looking to enjoy the experience, whatever the outcome (assuming that a disastrous outcome could be avoided, which admittedly seems like a not-very-safe assumption in this scenario). This is a person I enjoy spending time with. They assured me that we can remain friends and amicable colleagues regardless of what ultimately happens, but I'm not sure how much I can trust that to necessarily be true. (I do however feel like it's true for me. I believe I could have no hard feelings and continue the professional friendship and working relationship no matter what happens.)

Also, I really don't want to be put in a position where I might have to lie -- to colleagues or anyone else. (I probably wouldn't even be willing to lie.) I raised that point, and they dismissed it with assurance that no one would possibly find out, which seems delusional. They assured me that they would unhesitatingly lie to keep it a secret, as if that alone were somehow assurance that I wouldn't ever also need to lie. That's a point that worries me.

Someone please either convince me not to say 'yes', or convince me that I'm being a worrywart and should just go for it.

Updated to add: Ok this ATM possibly just became more urgent.... we now have plans for the colleague to come to my house for dinner Tuesday night

Heebie's take: Ok, first of all, this:

When I met them the next day to discuss

is not what people do when they really regret it and wish they could undo the terrible mistake. So that was vaguely amusing to me and foreshadowed what was to come.

Is it a terrible idea? Yes! But. It's the kind of terrible idea that people do all the time, and sometimes it makes the workplace horrendously tense when it's over, and sometimes it leads to something that gets someone fired, and other times nothing much comes of it and both people enjoyed the romps in the hay and could handle their emotions. So it's just a big gamble.

Does your HR dept have an explicit policy here?

Are you friends indepedently with the spouse or is the betrayal entirely on your colleague? I am mostly of the opinion that the blame for an affair is the business of the person in the relationship. A third party shouldn't try to tempt a monogamous person into cheating, but the third party also doesn't really have any obligation to preserve the monogamy of the marriage if one person is intending to cheat.

Probably the most likely outcome, unfortunately, is that you'd lose them as a friend. But that might be lost already, by virtue of them coming onto you this way.

Finally, it's hard to imagine how this goes where you're not called on to lie at least a little bit.



 

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Friday two-fer

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.14.18

1. Anything that you look up on Latino-American values will follow roughly this form, that Latino-Americans value families and groups and hierarchy much less than individualism and personal glory and competitiveness. What I don't really know is what are the nuances to family life that instill these values, and what I do that's inconsistent.

It's something I wonder about with Pokey, who is hyper-competitive, has a chronically racing mind and can't tolerate when others are slower about thinking through something, and is very quick to take any contribution by his peers in the classroom as detracting from his own worth and value.

First of all, I wonder if his teachers are particularly flummoxed by him because of a culture gap, and that teachers elsewhere might be more attuned to how he calculates situations. We have been told by more than one teacher how they've never dealt with something like this in ten years, or whatever, and I honestly don't think he'd be that out of place in an obnoxious, white, upscale environment of highly ambitious parents. (Please note: Jammies and I are pleased to say that we aren't upscale or ambitious.)

But just because he might be conflict-free in a peer group of mini-class-strivers doesn't mean that that's best for him - perhaps these teachers will be really great and provide some balance in his life, long term. Perhaps he seems like more of a problem-child than he would in a different context, but maybe he'll chill out if he adopts some of the values of groups and so on.

However, wrapping back to the beginning, I really don't know what I'm doing that is more on the individualism side and less on Latino-American values side, to help him bridge this gap. I understand why Pokey does the things he does in the classroom, but I don't know why the other students with similar temperaments are doing things differently.

Cultural differences are extremely difficult to discuss, especially given the entire lack of Latino commenters, but I wish I had concrete examples of how these values manifest differently.

2. I really enjoyed the book An American Marriage. Very early on, he's sent to prison for a rape he didn't commit, and I was worried it would be a grueling slog to get through it, but it deals with extremely difficult periods by sampling via letters they write, and time passes briskly when need be, and it's not a slog at all. The story line is very well constructed - I had the feeling that it had to go the way it did.


 

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Gross

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.13.18

Les Fucking Moonves, jesus christ. Everyone is the worst.

I think her story is really important because it's the kind of situation where you just don't know if you're being discriminated against or not. I have way more of this kind of experience than of the overt sexual harassment kind. "Why are all the other grad students better friends with the charming outgoing professor than I am? I can't really pinpoint what's going on for sure" or "Why have I been here so long and yet X hasn't happened for me yet?" or whatever.


 

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Detention facilities

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.13.18

Jesus christ. 12,800 children in detention facilities, and ICE siphoning off $200 million from other agencies. These fucking sadistic monsters.


 

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ATM: New Car Smell Edition

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.12.18

Sir Kraab writes: Speak to me, please, of hybrids vs. plug-ins vs. all electric. Speak to me also of leasing a new one vs. buying a used one. I've read plenty of stuff online, but I imagine people here will have Useful Thoughts.

The precipitating event is that my beloved Vibe was totaled Saturday when a drunk or high driver slammed into me. I'm fine (and pretty lucky, all things considered) but the extremely reliable, low-maintenance, 14-year-old car I'd been planning to drive for another 5+ years is toast.

So far, a plug-in hybrid seems like the best combo of low emissions + decent range. Most of my driving is in the city, so I'd be on electric power much of the time.

Leasing (generally a huge ripoff) seems like a possibly good idea in this case, the thinking is that the technology is evolving so rapidly that in 2 or 3 years there'll be much better options. Then again, I was perfectly happy with my very low-tech car.

Final note: I'll only drive a unionmade car, which means a Bolt, Volt, or Focus.

Heebie's take: That's so scary! I'm glad you're okay.

One consideration I'd have is how much highway driving you do. I know you said that you stay in the city, but between Mopac, 35, 71, 290, and 183, there could still be a decent amount of dangerous driving. (Or a decent amount of sitting still and idling.) (I'm a bit terrified of the highways, and want something that won't crumple at high impact. Why don't grown-ups have the option of a 5 point harness, anyway?)

People here have made the case that buying a used car is better for the environment than buying any form of new car. Is buying union-made about displaying support? Or does that priority become less important if it's a used car? Here's a list of union-made cars, for the commentariat. I assume Sir Kraab has this memorized but didn't link because she didn't want to condescend.

All this is to say: I have no idea. I haven't bought a car since hybrids became a thing. Help a driver out, commentariat!


 

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Reality TV

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.11.18

JRoth! Guess what! This house is going to be FAMOUS!

We're being interviewed and filmed tomorrow for a FEMA outreach video to help community leaders make good choices regarding flood mitigation. Number three of an eight part series, baby.


 

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Salazar

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.11.18

Lurid Keyaki writes: A post on Julia Salazar - there are many starting points, but this latest strike against her summarizes most of what came before.

Briefly: Julia Salazar is a DSA-endorsed candidate running for New York State Senate, representing North Brooklyn. A couple of journalists at Tablet have claimed that she's misrepresenting her past and her identity for political gain, having begun college as a pro-life devout Christian (who was also pro-Israel) and then embraced a Jewish, leftist, immigrant, working-class identity. This latest piece also claims that she tried to sue the plaintiff for defamation after an arrest in order to whitewash her reputation. (That is, she definitely filed suit; the claim is that she did it for cynical reasons.)

I find it a strangely fascinating portrait. We've all encountered this opportunistic type, right? Would/will any of you vote for her despite all this dirt? I go back and forth between "not for dogcatcher" and "well, hmmm, is the knee-jerk reaction always right...?" I'm also a tiny bit curious to see whether she'll revert to the right-wing Christian identity if she loses; I'm 100% sure she could make that one work.

Now, though, I wonder if I'm taking a media vendetta at face value when I shouldn't be. A couple of counterpoints. (I guess the term for the former is "thinkpiece," but I liked it.)

Heebie's take: i gotta run! no time to take a take!


 

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Guest Post - Xinjiang

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 09.10.18

Mossy Character writes: It keeps bubbling up in comments, but worth its own thread. From the AP:

The campaign has been led by Chen Quanguo, a Chinese Communist Party official, who was promoted in 2016 to head Xinjiang after subduing another restive region -- Tibet.
[...]
A memo published online by the Xinjiang human resources office described cities, including Korla, beginning "free, completely closed-off, militarized" training sessions in March that last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. Uighurs study "Mandarin, law, ethnic unity, de-radicalization, patriotism" and abide by the "five togethers" -- live, do drills, study, eat and sleep together.
[...]
"Xinjiang has very likely exceeded the level of police density seen in East Germany just before its collapse," Zenz said. "What we've seen in the last 12 to 14 months is unprecedented."
[...]
Uighur residents [...] being graded on a 100-point scale. Those of Uighur ethnicity are automatically docked 10 points. Being aged between 15 and 55, praying daily, or having a religious education, all result in 10 point deductions. In the final columns, each Uighur resident's score is tabulated and checked "trusted," ″ordinary," or "not trusted." Activists say they anecdotally hear about Uighurs with low scores being sent to indoctrination.
China's mass indoctrination camps evoke Cultural Revolution:
between several hundreds of thousands and just over 1 million [prisoners].
[...]
In four-hour sessions, instructors lectured about the dangers of Islam and drilled internees with quizzes that they had to answer correctly or be sent to stand near a wall for hours on end. "Do you obey Chinese law or Sharia?" instructors asked. "Do you understand why religion is dangerous?" One by one, internees would stand up before 60 of their classmates to present self-criticisms of their religious history, Bekali said. The detainees would also have to criticize and be criticized by their peers.
Where does Chinese Islamophobia come from?:
"There is still a fundamental tension between Marxist-Leninism and religion, and that affects policies toward minorities," says Leibold, adding that many "assimilationists" in government, those who downplay or disdain ethnic differences, wish to continue down the road to secularization.
[...]
And if the notional divide between the religious and the secular is not as clear as most assume, the distinction that these textbooks later make between "normal" religion and "feudal superstition" is completely arbitrary.
[...]
Xi Jinping, like many of his recent predecessors, has few qualms about supporting the Taoist Tao Te Ching, the Analects of Confucius, and traditional Chinese medicine, all of which arguably defer to the kind of transcendent phenomena and principles commonly associated with "religion." The main difference is that these philosophies and practices are perceived as essentially Chinese, not Western or Middle Eastern.

Heebie's take: Tens of thousands of Uighurs have disappeared already. I know so little about this, like: was there a break in the tension between when the Uighurs made the news maybe twenty years ago? Or has this been a continuous reign of control? Are people being killed, and if so, on what scale? Probably that last one maybe isn't known.


 

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Don't Tell Anyone

Posted by Ogged
on 09.09.18

Do you want your reverse-chronological Twitter back? Here you go.

You can also put filter:follows -nonsenselkajsfd in the search field, and then choose to view Latest.

YOU'RE WELCOME.


 

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Ramosed

Posted by Ogged
on 09.09.18

Boy, that call on Serena was some bullshit. What she said.

Here's where the call happened.


And some of the fallout.




 

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