Friday, December 30, 2005

I'll take a life boat, please

We're going under.

The ship I lovinly call the SDJ, my stupid day job for the unintiated, is starting to cause drowning.

Had I any doubts about just what kind of place I worked for, the behavior of my workplace during the strike squashed them.

The official memo basically stated that we were responsible for getting to work on our own. When I inquired about car pools, I was told they were full. No cab fair was offered, no mercey shown to those who were late. They provided coffee for those who made it in, and patted themselves on the back for being good employers. Meanwhile my various friends with SDJs were running around with taxi vouchers or hustling to meet the shuttles thier workplace had hired. I don't exactly work for a mom and pop operation. This is a very big, important SDJ, I wouldn't be breaking any banks by asking for cab fair. I even went so far as to offer to pay my way there if they picked up the cab fair home. The official decision was that I didn't have anything that important to do. My presence at work wasn't worth the costs to bring in me in. They are still deciding if I should get any pay for this lost day, seeing as though I had no vacation time to put towards it.

This SDJ is without a soul. My work load has doubled and people wonder why I make more mistakes and mis more details then I did before. People are activly seeking out other jobs and I feel this is a train I should jump on.

The advice I recived was wait till the rats jump ship.....the rats have jumped and I want the remaining life boat.

The resume has been written, the cover letter is in the works and I am fully prepared to apply for new jobs in the New Year. Fellow blog readers (that would be Synge, I think) keep your eyes peeled. I'm looking for a pay increase, something in the mid 30s to 40K range. Executive assistant, project manager, anything but shuffling papers for the heartless entity I currently work for.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Making Peace with the Past

I have finially made peace with the state of Arizona.

Its taken almost 20 years, since the plane landed in 1985, to the current Christmas vaction I have just returned from. I once ran from this state to the cold of Syracuse, NY. Looking for an escape from everything and everyone I had known. Trading in cacti for trees and dirt for green grass. I never wanted to see endless blue sky again.

But I no longer feel dispare and turmoil at the sight of that pale blue sky, the swaying palm trees or endless miles of freeway. I stepped off the plane and only felt....peace. I was tourist seeing it all for the first time. With new eyes. With New York eyes. I am settled in myself as a person and no amount of bad memories can shake that. I faced the ghosts of my childhood head on, and all they could say was "my god you look fabulous." I didn't need to loose weight or look super cool to show I had changed. I HAD changed, and the change was internal. Thanks, I do look fabulous. Its called "confidence."

Instead of trying to make Christmas into a Victorian, snowy, perfect family affiar, I made the best of what I had. My dad, his little retirement home in Mesa, and a tree bought the day before Christmas for $10.

I let go of the images we would never achieve and simply enjoyed his company. I soaked in the bright Arizona sun, ate Mexican food and stoped trying to hold my dad to expectations he would only fail. I don't have a large family, a family house, or tons of family friends. These are things I can not change.

I spent my evenings riding around the cities I grew up in with Carlita, my surviving childhood friend and got the dirt on all the people we knew. Who came out of the closet, who was in jail, who was in a mental hospital, who was pregnant, who worked at Circle K, who comitted armed robbery, the usual updates on people I had grown up with. I felt lucky to have survived my childhood. Carlita was lucky to have survived hers. I loved sitting back in her car, listening to bands she felt I should know and watching the desert cities pass by the window. She took me to old houses I had lived in, the middle school were we met and even our old high school. We got out of the car and walked on the campus that was the site of so much change, and so much termoil. It seemed a hundred years had passed since I had slinked through those halls, my head bowed, my back curved in a self inflicted shame. I was no longer that person.

The highways snaked bellow us and above us, the stucko houses with lights blending into one continous stream of color as we drove by, remembering and simply being in eachother's company. On Christmas Eve we tossed a couple of old friends in the car and toured the huge mansions of Arizona, the kingdoms that went out, not up and as my friend wisely stated "could employ an entire country" as the hired help. We counted lite up deer, plastic Santas and Baby Jesuses keeping track and screetching with victory everytime our chosen object was spotted. Carlita drove us up Camelback Mountain and stoped near the top, the gates of private masions looming above us. We got out of the car and stood at the edge of the cliff, looking at the tiny dots of lights illuminating the desert kingdom below. It was the first time I had ever looked at those lights, and felt full instead of empty. At last I could see the beauty in the place I had grown up.

My father and I opened presents on Christmas Day. Books we had regifted to eachother, CDs I had bought him. It was, as my dad would say, a "salvation army" Christmas. It didn't matter. My gift was the plane ticket back to Arizona and a stress free holiday. We watched movies, read the paper and simply talked.

There are still some ghosts I have not delt with. A stocking shoved hastily back in the box, a photo left in storage. A house that was once the residence of friends I lived with, but is now dark with a for sale sign. I can only climb one moutain at a time. Those are ghosts left for another Christmas.

I will be back, Arizona.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Stress Reaches its Peek, then I run into Humphrey

I thought I might die of a heartattack this morning. My car service that my work ordered was canceled without my knowlage this morning and at 6:45am myself and my houseguest found ourselves running for the train.

The slow downs make your heart rate shoot up, and the inability to plan for your commute is a maddening feeling.

I still completely support the TWU. But the deadline has been pushed back to Tuesday, 12:01am and so has my heartattack. The contingancy plan I have for myself is on hold, and I must confess it does not include walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. Synge was pretty upset by that plan and pointed out the hole in my thinking. Freezing rain.

The slow downs magically missed me this morning and I was able to enjoy breakfast with my house guest before she left to continue her gypsy waunderings. I wished her the best of luck, but I know she will be fine. This is the girl who lived in Japan for 5 months and has been on tour as a technition for Disney on Ice for 3 years. She is always fine.

My reason for rushing to work was a huge program with 150 attorneys who all want want WANT things from you, fast, effeciant and of course, personal attention to just them. With 3 of us working the sign in desk, it gets pretty stressful. My transit headache returned and the Office Poet was dogging me like a puppy.

This is were I start to get to the second half of my title.

I had previously discussed the OP with my house guest and Ms. Creative, who had very interesting advice on the subject. The House Guest thinks I should send flowers to myself and talk loudly about my huge, 6'2 boyfriend. "that'll get the point across" She said. I love my house guest. She also pointed out that the OP is "cockblocking" me from Llyod Dobler, probably unintentionally, focused on his own objectives. My obvservations has proven this to be true to a certain extent. Ms. Creative thinks I should do all womankind a favor and really lay it out on the table. She said I could potentially "fix the situation for future women" by explaining the reason I don't want to date him is due to lack of self esteem and his constant self put downs. She said being this blunt could be an eye opener for him or cause him to self destruct. Either way it might prevent the future cockblocking and dogging he has been doing.

I love these women. They tell me what I want to hear, rather than actual good advice, but I know this about them. This conversation took place at a bar last night, so my head was full of thier "advice" as I listened to the OP and watched Lloyd Dobler out of the corner of my eye.

Then I had a moment.

But first I should explain today's outfit.

I am wearing boots with heels today. Nothing unusual about this, except I never wear heels and can't really walk in them. I tend to march around like a kid playing dress up. My house guest things its enduring and Ms. Creative thinks its funny in a cute way. I have no perspective on this. I was wearing a skirt, so I hoped it upped the cuteness factor.

Back to my moment: I was marching by a some what narrow hallway to my lawyer's office when I spotted Lloyd Dobler doing what I can only describe as striking a pose. He was leaning on some boxes, one foot over the other proping himself up in what looked like a 1930s leeding man posture. He wore a long gray coat, dark pants, black shoes and was carrying a very nice umbrella with a long, wooden handle. He leaned on this umbrella like Fredistare about to do a little dance, or Gene Kelly about to burst into "Singing in the Rain" and placed a teasing smile on his face. I looked at him and thought "my god, Llyod Dobler has just turned into Humphry Bogart". He was dashing. I was astruck. I marched past in my boots tripped on my own feet and stared at the ground in what must have been a very OP way.

I am my own cockblocker

I have turned around and done the same thing to Lloyd Dobler that the Office Poet has done to me. I have made him into a character. Llyod Dobler, Humphrey Bogart...I make him totally unreachable and do things like trip over my own feet in his presence. Perhaps I am his OP?

It was a startling realization. I have stated this before, but I'll say it again. I don't actually function in the real world. I live out my life as though I was writing fiction and can only hope that my awarness of this has brought me one step closer to fixing it.

It gets lonley in the fictional world.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This is not how I wanted to meet...Brooklyn Bridge

I support the TWU's right to strike. I think the MTA is corupt and any surplus they had should have been spent on thier workers, not the bullshit holiday fares that I never even got to take advantage of. They were made of tourists, anyway. I don't think the MTA should remove conductors from trains, that's not safe. I agree with thier position and should the worst occure, I will not take alternative busses driven by scabs.

However, if the transit workers should strike Friday, my life will become absolute and total hell.

I live in Brooklyn and let me tell you, its pretty far from the Brooklyn Bridge and even farther from my stupid day job in Mid-Town. My office actually wants to pay for a car service to come get me and take me to work on Friday. I think that's very nice, but it would only be Friday because my presence is needed. On Monday, I'm on my own.

I have this feeling that me and the Brooklyn Bridge are going to meet under less then pleasant circumstances. This meeting may take place on Sunday, when I walk from my home to Hell's kitchen, in order to move in with my friend until Wendsday. I've been told to take a car service, and perhaps I should break down and spend the small fortune this will cost me. I hate this idea. Besides, I'm kind of wondering if I can actually do it. Could I, SL200, actually walk from my home deep in Brooklyn, over the Brooklyn Bridge to Hell's Kitchen? I have this feeling that I may actually die of exposure doing that. I keep thinking, "hey, I backpacked all over Ireland. I walked halfway over the Northern Ireland landscape. Why not Manhattan?" The diffrence is it wasn't 27 degrees in Northern Ireland. That may slow me down a bit.

I have this image of me wrapped up like a mummy, ear muffs, scarves, pants over pants, with a backpack; walking....the lone walker amongst cars, bikes, and people in cabs chanting "go, go, go" Can I do it? Will I have to do it? Am I being rediculous?

Stay posted to find out.

Friday, December 09, 2005

When Life Starts to look Ridiculous

Total and complete redicilousness. That is me. I might as well be Bridget Jones as pictured, as clique as that may seem, making a perpetual ass of myself at the company holiday party. Only its an internal kind of redicilousness.

My pervious blog was almost a self pitty party, which I wisely put the breaks on. I had just gotten done listing the things I am happy about, when I went to see Depeche Mode with the office poet. In my mind, the world of the redicilous, I was going to see a fun show with the nice guy I work with. A co-worker. We don't chat outside of the cubicle chatting, he's funny and keeps me sane at work. This is his role in my life. Perhaps I had entertained the thought that he may have a crush on me, but come on....I work with him....he sits in front of me. That's just office drama waiting to happen.

The concert didn't really feel like a causal outing with the co-worker. Mostly because he was so nervous I thought he might explode. If I had any doubts at all, they were corrected when shy office poet, in a very uncharacteristicly brave act, laid it all out on the table. There was no guess work needed here, he just flat out told me that he's liked me for sometime, he was glad I went, how much he wanted to go out was like he really needed to get it off his chest. The guy basically set off a bomb on the train (of the smokey variety, not the bad exploding people hurt kind) but of the I can't see I'm confused variety. He seemed relieved to have laid it all out on the table and I'm glad he did to a certian extent. I'm just unsure of what to do now.

Dating the guy who sits in front of you is a really bad idea. If anything goes wrong, there he is, every day, Monday-Friday 9am - 5pm. I'd like to give the nice guy a chance, but the stakes are high. He's very appologetic for exsisting, and doesn't even stand up straight. He's terrified of other people, doesn't drink, smoke anything, or like parties. I'm unsure of how or where we would interact socially. I feel like the cards are stacked against this. At the same time I wonder if I am trying to come up with reasons why this would not work. It looks like I have some thinking to do.

I've often wished that life would work as cleanly as a movie. A script is written and we really have no doubt that Bridget Jones will end up with the right guy in the end, no matter the bumps she encountred along the way. We laugh and cry and sympathize, but in the end, its not real. Life has no script and because of this is infinitly more interesting. The drama is real, because its my life. I suppose that's why reality TV is so popular as well.

Stay tuned for the next installment.....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Get By With a Little Help From my Friends

On the anniversery of John Lennon's death, I'm sitting here at the Stupid Day Job listening to the all day John Lennon marathon on the radio. I was just about to write another pitty pot blog when "A little help from my friends" comes on the radio.

I was full of self woes about my lack of love life and lack of interesting things to blog (unlike Synge, who's blog reads like a best seller)when I realized...."hey, I got friends." I could write a disertation on why my love life is all fucked up, but I really don't think anyone outside a perfessional therapist who charges $50/hr would really care. So I'll save the woe-is-mes and just list the things I am happy about in my life right now.

My good friend Synge
The Code Pink Women
My good friend Miss Artistic and her dysfunctional household
My sparked creativity for writing
The ability to pay my rent on my own
The heat in my apartment
My apartment
My cat
Miss Carlita, her life partner and family
My dad
The fact that I'm going to Arizona for Christmas (hello sunglasses and palm trees)
My recent retirement from stage management
The people who keep me sain at work
The knowlage that my job is not forever
The fact that I now have time to enjoy the above.

My life is a work in progress and everyday I need to remind myself that I determin what it should look like. If I am lacking in one area, its becaus I'm busy working on all the others. No more sappy, poor me blogs, its not doing anyone any good, least of all me.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The terrible horrible no good very bad week

I hated this past week. The days Monday thru Friday were completly, terribly, horrible.

My job sucked more than it usually does. I got daily phone calls from irate lawyers saying our CLE courses were too expensive. Which is true. What can I say to these people? "Your putting small practices out of business!" "Yes sir, I couldn't agree more...." They sputter when I leave them no were to go. Most angry people on the phone want a sense of accomplishment when they hang up like, "well I sure showed them." I've learned to be very quiet, sometimes putting the phone down or on speaker so the rest of the office can bear whitness to my terrible day. What it really comes down to, is I'm onboard a sinking ship and I have no intention of playing the violin while it goes down. I don't care. I want my damn life boat. The advice I've been given is to watch the rats. When the rats jump, its time to go. So I watch the office rats diligently and carefully plan my escape.

My grandmother isn't doing so well. She's in her mid 80s, this is not unusual for someone of her age, nor a suprise to anyone but my dad. I get daily updates on how unreasonable she's being and have no idea what to say to him. He's lived his entire life on reason. He can't communicate with unreasonable people. I find putting the phone down and walking away to eat an apple is a good tactic. "Poor dad, so sad, mama hung him in the closet and now he's feeling so bad," as my dad would say. I have a feeling the daily updates will continue into next week.

I had two days of terror over whether or not I would lose my apartment. I found out the faceless company that owns this little building is renting the apartment above me for $1250. Its a one bedroom. The apartment is kitty cornor to the ghetto, leans foward a bit, and has holes in the stairwell. I feel this is an unreasonable price. Then again, my week was all about dealing with unreasonable people. Suddenly I couldn't breath. $1250! I can't afforad $1 above what I pay now! I'm barley scrapping it together as it is. Oh god, am I going to half to move? I can't afoard to move, I don't have time. I had one day to give 60 days notice and was hyperventalating at work. I called my landlord, the go between for me and this faceless company. I think the terror in my quivering voice made an impression. He vowed to call and find out if it was going to be raised. I banged my head on the desk hoping the office wouldn't know the drama occuring my cubicle. He called back 10 minuets later saying he had asked the faceless company not to raise my rent. Apparently they think nothing of slapping an increase on rent for installing a new water heater. I might point out the current one is ready to explode. I was so releived I burst into tears. This caught the attention of the office, who congratulated me on not having my rent raised.

Friday was the iceing on the shit cake for me. First I must explain a little bit about my bullshit job. I work in the CLE department of the City Bar. We produce edjucational seminars for lawyers and create program books. The books are made of materials we get the "faculty" to provide, send to a printer, and if all goes well they magically appear on the front desk the next morning in time for the program. A lot of time and stress goes into creating these books. The Friday morning program was mine. I had choked, begged and yelled to get these materials from our premadonna faculty. I had rushed it to the printer and called him twice to make sure it would make it to the City Bar on time. I walk in at 8:00am. latte in hand and what do I see? A big empty space were the books should be. They are not there. I know I shouldn't care, and really I don't, but the lawyer I work for sure does. My fear came from having to tell her there were no books and fending off the angry lawyers who paid $455 for the all day program and didn't get thier books. To make a long story short a lot of phone calls were made, I told my lawyer who laughed like a mad woman, as though this information had broken her, and the books arrived an hour late. It was not a good way to start a Friday. Nor was nearly choking to death, which I did later in the day, calling my dad to borrow $2,000 for rent and bills, and noticing the hole in the sole of my shoe.

It was a Terrible, horrible week.

My boy trouble compounded. Or just got more intersting depending on how you look at it. The office poet asked me to see a concert on Thursday (indirectly, he sent out a department e-mail asking if anyone wanted to go. I can't imagine anyone but me wanting to see that band. Draw your own conclusions). I don't know how I feel about the office poet yet. The signs are there and like a silly monkey I second guess every thought that enters my head. Welcome to the messed up world of "me." I have an office crush I call Lloyd Dobbler (after the John Cussak charcter in "Say Anything"). Or LD for short. He's got the whole "I'm really a film maker" thing going on. I'm not having much luck inventing reasons to speak to him, because he comes in, works, and leaves. Any conversation not pretaining to his little job running the powerpoint for our programs would be "interupting." The day our laptop stopped working was the best day ever. I had a reason to talk to him, mostly about the laptop. Our conversations have not progressed. I seem doomed to maintain 10th grad level crushes on boys all through my adult life.

Theres a guy in my writing class....its another 10th grade situation. I helped him get caught up on homework, we comment on the class, but really, not unlike with DH, it just hasn't progressed. There are a lot of reasons for this, and its probably enough to be its own seperate entry.

Anyway, bad week. Bad luck with guys. I stomped around my apartment Friday night after wine with Synge. I saw a one act festival around the theme of "revenge" and drank more wine on Saturday. Hopefully I've perged the terrible no good very bad week from my system.