Mistaken identity

Someone I know has created a fake facebook profile, selected a college and year of graduation for this phony person, and sent friend requests to other graduates of that school. In two days, this phony person, whom I’ll call Bob, has acquired 145 friends. I know, that’s way more friends than I have, and I’m an actual person. It's best if I don't think too hard about that.

When Bob posts a status update, it’s generic, like, “Long day today,” and some of his FB friends click, “like.” Of the 145 friends, five asked the question, “do I know you?” before approving the friend request. To which “Bob” answered, “Um, yeah, didn’t we have a class together with that whacky professor?” In each case, that was enough to recover the person’s memory, and they’d invariably respond with something like, “Oh, right! Professor L.! Yes, I was the T.A. for that, remember?” Every comment of Bobs is generic and ridiculously obvious. For example, one friend posted a picture of a knife. Bob commented, “Is that a knife?” The friend replied with a lengthy comment about the knife, and Bob responded, “thought so.”

I was wondering about all of this, trying to decide if FB is more theater than social network, and how it would be to get a friend request from someone who you not only don't know, but has no other friends. What was going through the mind of the first person who accepted the friend request?

I was doing this wondering while driving to a field meeting for work, which I wouldn’t write about or I could be fired: rule number one about blogging is don’t write about work or anyone you know. Which is why blogs can seem rather self-absorbed, leading to the comment, “NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAD FOR LUNCH” (two prawn tacos).

So anyway, without boring you with the sordid details of this field meeting, I’ll sketch it out. I was requested to attend by the developer, who is not named Bob, hereinafter referred to as NB. Also in attendance was the developer’s consultant, who is not named Joe, but we’ll call him that. Got it? Two people plus me. For you, the reader, that’s three people to keep track of, but for any of us at the meeting, that’s only two. Not a big number. If you’re the person who called the meeting, as was NB, it seems like you’d be able to keep it straight.

So this project has been dragging on literally for years. I was involved at the beginning, when NB first filled a wetland and cleared trees he wasn’t supposed to and did other illegal things like draining a wetland and dumping silty water into a salmon stream on a weekend. Oh, did I say that? No, I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure you didn’t hear that from me.

So there’s been the long drawn-out unpleasantness that happens: that wasn’t a wetland. Was too. No way. Yes way. You can’t make me. Can too. And so on. And then the person who was this close to getting resolution on the whole thing got laid off, handing it back to me. “He’s a bug under the glass,” she told me. “You just need to have this one meeting, and you can wrap it up.” Yes, she actually said that about the bug.

So we’re meeting, and going over all the negotiations that have gone down, and so far, so good. Then he mentions that he wants to cut back a steep slope that he created by excavating an area that he wasn’t supposed to mess with in the first place, but now it’s a big ugly scar on the land that he wants to remedy by further encroaching into the wetland buffer, and I tell him no, fix it by filling in the other way rather than cutting back further.

It got really nasty then, with him saying stuff like, “Well, that’s a deal-breaker. I’m walking.” Which is not unlike when R. told me he was leaving because I asked him to do the dishes. “Um, okay, go for it. Strike out on your own, young man, but if you need a roof over your head, a car to drive, money for fancy yo-yos, dinner, and so on, come on by and do the dishes.” It was not unlike that. I’m thinking, Um, okay, deal broken. I don’t really care, as the little zoombini guy used to say.

I stayed pretty cool, and suggested a few ways he could modify his design to meet both the code and his needs, and he gets all, “LOOK. I know what I’m doing. Just stick to your little wetland stuff, and leave me to develop the lot." I’m thinking, wait, I don't think he knows he’s the bug under the glass.

“Where are you getting all this stuff, that I can’t do that?” And I turn into code zombie, I’m all drone-y, per 21A.24. 045 D blah di blah blah. Yes, that’s an actual superpower, kind of like rainman but super boring. And he’s all incensed, and just says, STOP. I’ll call the shots here. Which again, just seemed freaky.

So I say wait, let’s review. We’re giving you this flexibility in these areas, and I begin to list them. I’m heading toward that part of the conversation of, right, fine, don’t do the dishes, your choice, but don’t expect to drive the car anytime soon, or hit me up for concert tickets, etc. But before I get there, he starts pointing his finger at me, and says, “Look, you’re workin’ for me now. I don’t want to hear all this, “we” stuff, as if you’re part of the county. You’re just one person, and you are on my team now, and you’re here to help me get this done.”

Which seems like the kind of conversation that would be accompanied by a bribe, don’t you think? The finger pointing and yelling, well, I dunno, it wasn’t all that effective. So I said some closure things, the way public servants do, all droney and acting like I wasn’t extremely irritated that I had to put up with this crap. I got in my car and was about to drive away when he knocked on my window.

“Hey, I owe you an apology.”

I thought, wow, indeed you do, but just said, “yes?”

And he said, “Um, I guess I was a little bit confused. I thought you were my consultant. So, when I said, “you aren’t working for the County, I was wrong. So I’m sorry for the mix up.”

Okay then. I was trying hard not to laugh, and the consultant was standing behind him also trying not to laugh, and I was thinking that of all his rude bullying behavior, the thing he has to apologize for is that he thought I was someone else?

Check back, because while I'm on this mistaken identity theme, I may write something about the drug sniffing dogs that were called out recently.


  1. I think Amy Poehler should play you in the docu-drama that is your life.


  2. I just got a request by someone who didn't have any other frieds. It WAS weird. I didn't accept.


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