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One nail, right, pinky, chewed to the quick, and nail surface removed to cuticle. Vague sense of regret at having missed The Flying Dutchman. Wife, barfing into gallon double zip ™ zip closure type bag on train home from airport. Wife, having ASSumed we were on the same flight, barely makes her flight with five year old in tow. My flight delayed 1.5 hours on United ™ which used to set the standard for good airline service. Realization that I am fucked at work right now. All check. Time to dig out. All systems go. Confidence is high. Confidence Is High.
Last week was a welcome break from the endless circle I’ve been tracing from weekend to weekend, weekday to weekday, one commute to the next. I dislike writing or thinking of writing about the minor annoyances and pains in the ass of daily life and sometimes deciding not to write about them knowing I have done so before. Even annual vacation taken at the same times of year or under the same circumstances and sometimes to the same places, seem repetitive and in some ways, pathetic. Sometimes the familiarity is a plus – as with a pack worn many times before.
Looking back, writing forward a few days to catch up to today it is a bit depressing to think that the only real free time I took all week after returning from Chicago Saturday was to reply to a few e-mails. Sure, every night I read for 15 minutes or so before trying to sleep. And all week, sleep was elusive, even though I was very tired. So that is my excuse – too busy. I will see or think something and make a mental note, invariably drawing a blank when the time comes to write. Sometimes I jot it down.
I knew it was coming. I read a small article in the paper today about how the State is changing place names in my home county bearing the word “squaw” to another inoffensive Native American word. It pisses me off. I have a neighbor who is Native American. The word “squaw” does not irritate her. She views it as a part of our history. I grew up with Squaw Mountain, walked through Squaw Meadow, etc…. So we will have to live with the sanitized for your protection version of history as represented by place names. Heaven forbid anyone get offended.
We wasted 45 minutes watching a multimedia dog and pony show before we got down to work.
Their opening demand was 1.6. We responded with 250 as a showing of a good faith intention to get this matter resolved.
We knew what we needed to know and I was mildly frustrated with the BS media presentation. But you cannot say such and must appear sympathetic and kind, etc, as a matter of diplomacy. It was a waste of time. W
e finished up at 4:45, settled at $650,000, a little more than half the limits, and $150,000 less than the authority.
It makes me nervous. The desk with papers strewn about. Files mixed together a bit. My mail unopened for the day. Stacks of files with un-transcribed tapes atop them. And my calendar – not kept up to date except by me. It will be a relief when she comes back from maternity leave. Even though she is a drama queen who, when she talks, wants to talk only about herself. She demands way too much management time. But she kept the desk clear. She wasn’t perfect, but I was able to sleep at night. The temp smokes, and borders on incompetent.
The feral kid had spent the day before in the sun – it had been hot. But today it was mild and rainy. It had started raining at about two or three am – well before first light – and he had pulled the dirty tarp door shut on his lean to in order to keep the rain off his blanket and his shoes. Now, laying in his squalor, he could hear the river high and muddy. He hadn’t been to town in days and didn’t plan to go anytime soon. The beans he’d soaked overnight were heating in his pot with onion.
The angst can build up in a life lived with nothing but limits. None of the bumper stickers and inspirational posters framed and displayed on many a corporate cubicle and conference room wall are true. You will not go far. Hard work often goes unrewarded. The customer is, most of the time, wrong. Certainly, in any event, not right. I mean really, who knows more about what the customer needs – the person in the business of providing the good or service (and hence well versed) or the yokel, in some other line of business, who sometimes needs your product? Propaganda.
Drove down the night before. Hotel rooms seem seedy no matter how nice. I arrived late, lay on the bed in my shorts and watch Mythbusters. My dirty secret is cable TV when at relatives’ or in a hotel. I won’t have it in my house as I am too cheap and I am against the waste of time it represents. This morning I got up and went to find the meeting, stopping to get a 20 oz coffee from the ubiquitous 20something cute blonde she graciously offered to toast my bagel.
No really, a bagel, toasted. With cream cheese.
Such a long drive back to the city last evening but at least it was mostly during daylight and without the rain that had plagued me on the way down. When I worked nights in the mill and would be as tired as I was that night, I’d hallucinate. I really did see Gremlins. They didn’t take any real form, but I imagined them as small men, and sometimes rats. I was paranoid and nervous. When I took breaks to blow the dust blackened snot from my nose, I’d re-enter the mill from the break room carefully. I worked alone.
And I still work alone. I have staff, but I have trouble delegating the kind of work I am responsible for, to someone else. It wasn’t a problem a few years back when I had a guy working with me who was motivated, and competent. But the guy I have now, he is lame. He is always up to date on sports, the latest cars, and the latest movie trailers. He spends WAY too much time on my nickel looking at the internet. His wife is about to have a kid. I cannot fathom what thoughts justify this fucking around.
I read someone else’s 100 entry about how they’d reincarnated themselves to remediate the mistake of letting others know their 100words identity.
Only two people know mine, and I’ve let them both know that I trust them and expect them to keep my identity secret. Even with that, however, I am not as forthright as I otherwise might be and so I have toyed with the idea of assuming stealth mode.
The problem with doing so is they know me well enough to root me out here, even if cloaked by a fresh pseudonym.
Assuming they’d care enough to look!
So tomorrow I am going to go get lumber and start in on the fence. I am amazed the gate still swings, as parts of it have rotted so badly daylight shines through. It has only been there about six years, built by a contractor who was brining his son along int eh business. None of it was ever worth a damn, except the posts have held up well. Although, they are set in concrete, which I disapprove of, as it encourages rot. A gravel footing and tamped gravel, topped with dirt at the top of the hole is best.
Ironically, the section at the back of the yard, which I had carefully painted, was the only section to rot. Demolishing it with kicks and a chainsaw was cathartic. I diced it up and put it in the dumpster. Mr. Plywood supplied about $60 worth of cedar lumber. The contractors had used fir. I cut the 6 footers in half and used an old picket for a template. Then I used a jigsaw to cut the gothic arch points on the pickets. Then I laid out the gate, with the diagonal brace correct this time. It has been too long.
Today was assembly day. I stopped at the hardware store on the way home and bought some screws and some hardware for the hinges and latch. Last night I repainted the old hardware, intending to re-use it. I screwed the gate together, removing some of the nails I used to tack it together last night. Then my daughter and I hung the gate and set the latch. We built a jig to get all the pickets right, and she helped me cut the pickets to length. After we finished the fence, we made brownies together, and later I made dinner.
I’ve always had a problem with biting my nails. It was worse when I was a kid I’d chew them to the quick fueled by youthful energies and anxieties over school, the house, etc. As I’ve aged the problem has waxed and waned. I’ve gotten pretty good about it, and my other anxiety driven problems, like walking quickly everyplace I walk, have fallen away. But the other day, I devasted my right hand pinky fingernail. It is now gone. The nailbed is quite tender. I bite my nails when I am anxious, and I am anxious all of the time.
They can’t be stopped. They will keep coming. Like zombie hordes. The thieves of time and money, energies and inspirations and dreams. People in all forms, taking things from you and yours, and sometimes the enemy is us as our family causes us to give up on dreams or defer them, to never be taken up again. The trick is in learning to deal with it. To compromise and make the best of it. Do not let the fuckers get you down. Enemies. Customers. Bosses, friends, spouses family and neighbors. Be yourself, compromise and be happy. Don’t let them win.
In the elevator there are a few requirements.
If in company, do not make eye contact.
If alone, do obligatory fly check, especially if just arriving at the office in the AM.
Then, face the mirror and look for shaving nicks. Do a few squats. Practice your Silly Walks. Make faces. Practice your DeNiro impressions. Mouth “Fuck you mother fucker, I’ll kick your fucking ass!” while facing the mirror in order to get your confidence up before going off into the day during the passing of which, you may get your ass kicked.
Arriving at your floor, face front; exit.
What is it with these people with the little white stick figure decals of their family – mom, dad and the kids on the back window of their vehicles? Worse still, are the ones replacing the humanoid figures with sea turtles. Which, in turn, are exceeded in their self aggrandizing obnoxiousness, by those displaying (for all to see) parental worship of a sport playing kid identified by jersey number and team name. I don’t fucking care. At all. I prefer to think of the little stick figures as WWII fighter aircraft silhouettes. Like other stupid trends, this all started in California.
A unit of garden mulch only costs $120 but it is a helluva lot to distribute a wheelbarrow at a time, especially in the rain. The beds have been ignored for far too long and last year the yard was more or less ignored. This year will be different. We had the two big Elms out front pruned. I am overseeding the front lawn and topdressing it with mulch, and hoping for a better turnout of grass than we had last year. And I rebuilt the fence last weekend. I think the raised beds will make it through this year.
It is contrived and artificial but it is supposed to be. Part of the challenge is the 100 word limit.
Sometimes I write fiction and sometimes I write accounts of my day or of the weirdnesses we all see directly or from the corner of the eye during the work week or on the weekends.
I have written of petty frustrations and large problems.
Sometimes I make a conscious decision not to write about things like the incompetent temp who, yesterday, spilled a bottle of coke all over her desk, and my files.
I nearly fired her on the spot.
Damn I can squeeze off 100 quicker than anything. Sometimes I will do it on my laptop sitting on the sofa near the kitchen while my wife thinks I am working or checking email remotely. I suppose that the quality is somewhat lacking, as is sentence structure, organization of thought and subject matter. Oh, and creativity. Mustn’t forget creativity. The feral boy is about as close as I’ve come to being creative in any sustained way, and even that idea isn’t original. When I was a kid, there were stories of a Wild Man in the woods around my home.
The sense of impending doom I have is a feeling only people in certain professions can have. But I remind myself it is not money. I provide my evaluation, make recommendations and then do what I am asked to do after I have given my advice. It ain’t my money, it ain’t me, and it ain’t my family, so what should I care, deep down, after my professional interest and pride have been taken account of and set aside? Provided I do my best, why should I care of the outcome? I tell my son the same as to homework.
Slouching on the barstool he considered leaving but instead asked for another Ketel One and tonic. The fuckers have always had flat tonic water. He’d complained before but they never did anything about it, and on top of that the service sucked. The bar maids were cute, but that was small recompense. He’d go to another bar except for the fact that this one is right across the street from the office. He knew he’d have to wait at the curb for his son rather than go inside where the alcohol on his breath. He didn’t do this too often.
Belly dragging low scraping over the rocks and the thick grass, weeds and small saplings growing in the middle of the road I nevertheless continue the day.
What choice is there? Can I curl up in the middle of the floor or act all depressed like the guy down the hall? Can I stop taking work? “Take some personal time off?”
No. I do not have these options.
For I am The Man.
And I must keep going or I won’t get paid. That’s the difference between owning and being only an employee.
I can’t be a pussy.
Three culinary school students stand by the waterfront, smoking. Why is it that the cooking school types seemingly all smoke? What do they talk about? Whether to be a saucier or patissier? I think I’d go with the saucier. More room to move. A saucier, he’d have the chance to be manager within two years! Patissiers? Everyone knows they toil, anonymously. In any event, most restaurants buy their desserts rather than make them on site. So I figure the average patissier slaves away in a windowless concrete tilt up warehouse in some suburban hellhole. I almost went to cooking school
The man sat on the bus slouching without relaxing not wanting to rest too comfortably in the vaguely sticky, dirty environment. Riding public transit has a way of motivating hand washing later.
He was thinking about “tiny houses”, he’d seen online earlier, and how all he’d wanted all his life was enough, and a simple, quiet life.
But years earlier, he’d made decisions that got him here. Some decisions made by default, some made because he thought it was what he should do, or what others would approve of.
And now here he was, windows fogged, filth and diesel exhaust.
She’s gone this morning when I wake up. Last night we watched the fourth (or was it the third?) Planet of the Apes movie and started in on the fifth, or was it the fourth? I should have been doing other things, but when she’s gone I indulge myself and the kids by watching silly movies with them and generally doing things she wouldn’t approve of. Fight the power! I had misgivings about the smallest watching, but he had no bad dreams, and the movie didn’t upset him. I think the fact that the ape makeup was so bad helped.
We drove to the beach, and bought five ribeyes, the King of steaks.
We drank, talked and fired the barbecue. The kids played.
I noted the difference of her absence. The couple I visited, and rented the beach house, and we have known them for years.
But without my wife, there was a different atmosphere. Less fast female talking, and an easier pace. She talks too fast, too much, and has a need to control things.
It’s not as bad as it sounds, but I’m almost (but not) afraid I enjoyed her absence too much.
It was a good adventure.
We finally made the great leap forward to MS 2003 and I have to say I fucking hate macrohard that POS Standard Oil software company located up north. If there were any way I could do business without using their software, and have it be economical and easy, I’d do it in a heartbeat. The annoying crap they have in this office suite for “convenience” makes me want to kill. And of course, being newer software than what we were using, it is less reliable and crashes more. I accept that annoying as computers are, they make us more efficient.
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