Gleam of a Paua Shell

I’ve just watched a video of a spoken word poet who writes and recites and lives out a story of unwanted touch.

I, for my part, am trying to re-understand what it is now for me.  What it is to have your touch and not, to want it and not and want it again and not be able to get it because of inescapable truths about both of us.   That you suffer.  That I suffer to wait.

So strange to be walking this path and really have no idea where we’re going.  I have an idea of what I want to happen, but I can’t just go and buy a ticket and do it.  It has to be the right time and moods and time zones and availabilities have to collide and in the absence of that collision – I still feel a bit…frustrated.  But then he’ll talk about maybe me visiting him.  In a roundabout, adorable sort of way that doesn’t bear a sudden prod of, “Oh, should I pull out my calendar and look up flights?”  It’s this fragile ghost of an intention.  And then I remember that he’s not six months away from his divorce.  That life is complicated.  And I have no doubt of his feelings.

I am just selfishly desirous of a world in which we’re physically together.  One I don’t even know if I could handle especially on top of everything else happening now.

I have just completed all of the paperwork – all done digitally now – for the new job.  The new job that will lift me out of poverty and into a corporate universe.  A universe that I either will sink or swim in.  As part of the corporate onboarding (a term I’ll use now because that’s the kind of person I am aiming to be), there’s a website and as an aside on this website, a video of corporate values.  I wonder if, after today, I will mention work or what I will mention or where or if some additional layer of secrecy will be demanded upon my venting.  I have resources, but this is…home for all of that.  It’s just, maybe someday, some measure of the meat on the massive bones of this place will become known and attached to me and if there would be trouble if I’m ever anything other than utterly pleased.

Right now, there’s no reason to be anything other than utterly pleased.  It’s all done without a phone call.  I’ve passed the tests and all I have to do is agree not to act as though other people’s business is my own and to write out exactly how I’d like my pecuniary dispensation sent to me. But there is a video of the people who work at the company.  A very nice video, and I am pondering, how I cannot imagine being show in this video.

But then I imagine these techs, these corporate-looking bodies draped in suitedness, all of them go home and have their own weird lives and circumstances.  And I start to see myself, suited. Sitting at the same desks surrounded by the same dry-erase white boards and speaking in legalese as though I know anything.  I won’t know, but I can see myself capable of faking it until maybe the faking isn’t everything.  I can let myself visualize myself taking this on as a role, and not suddenly mutating into some sort of corporate husk.  Or, necessarily, falling on my face because I’m such an obscure and esoteric free spirit.

It is, in the end, just marketing.

The video, shot in the summer, where everything looks green and clean and enormous, has no words, but an obvious subtext: you will be happy here.  I want to fight against that, as I lay in bed, feeling the pudding in my brain.

But who is to say that I won’t?

And now I begin to think of losing weight.   With a pizza party tomorrow to celebrate the job, I’m wondering about how I gather the reins.  I am wondering how vital it is to break the chain Day One or if I’m setting myself up for failure.

Tomorrow, looking forward to getting some order around here.

 

The Heartsick

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It is of note…if this blog is useful for anything, it must be useful for noting a happenstance when it happens…that despite my wooly and overgrown driving fears right now, I took to the roads today and did not die.  Despite trying a single time to finagle a ride from my father who was going to the same spot, albeit two hours later, I did not cry and sob and shake myself into a far greater sense of woe.  Instead, I got out there and started it and started swiping as far as my little arms would allow to get off as much snow as I could reach.  Then, once that was done, I had no real excuse not to try and go.  So, go I went, down the backest back roads to avoid the pressure of honking drivers from whom I could never get any compassion even if I could pull over and talk to them about the whole panic situation.  Instead of thinking about the thing, I did the thing. I did not slide.  I did not speed.  I did not risk or hurry to appease the drivers behind me.  I did not do anything reasonable or unreasonable and I parted the waves of the White Sea and made my way to the Frozen Babylon of the little shop.

Where people did come out, even at 2 degrees above zero, to buy presents at a far greater rate than I would have anticipated.  I had thought in my mind that somehow, a cold day, a foot of snow, people would just lay off shopping for a while.  But no.  I stayed busy all the way up until the evening’s end when the kind co-worker who lives within walking distance sent me home.

And from there, we did it again, slowly picking my way across the landscape, going very slow, but not allowing the panic to rise to any sort of noteworthy level.  It was a bit like being in a trance, driving through the foothills in the dark, watching the road that seemed clear but was actually just snow-packed, not thinking that at any moment I might fishtail to my doom, but just being aware of it needing to take care.  So after an hour of this fugue state, I got to the parking lot, and ended up taking a left turn and bringing myself to Old Chicago.

It was odd.  There’s something validating to me about being in public alone, something that re-affirms and defines the fact that if I am single and/or alone, I can be fearless about it.  Or at least, it’s nothing that requires fear.  It felt like I didnt want the magic of self-sufficiency to die on the frozen vine.

But now, quite loaded with calzone for bear, I am giddy for the fact that the morning will bring with it no demands for travel.  I can stay warm and play video games and plot presents (some of which I actually have bought now.)  I can, briefly, think that there is a holiday coming with something other than considerable blankness.

This is a good night.

Reminders

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Snow misery is setting in.  I just escaped it this evening, but it has dumped.  And for the first time, the eminently flexible shop job is not so flexible.  There will be 4 of us staring at one another tomorrow providing I can get myself in a vehicle and arrive there at 10a.m., to wait until such time as it no longer is tenable to wait and then drive home.  This is fine.  I can’t bear to sit about worrying on it when there are links to click and much preferable and quite insane little mental trails to skip down.

It was a very quiet day – they seem to be more often than not on days when I am at the shop.  It’s just easy, simple work.  Using the massive ceramic hand to tie ribbon rosettes and wrap packages, sitting on the chair as though it were some sort of chaise longue in some sort of French salon and watching customers through narrowed eyes, amusing myself with their stories and gauging how much longer it would be before the sun went down.  I forgot my phone and that only added to the perception of silence today.  We weren’t overloaded with customers, just a steady flow of people looking for cards and scarves and those “last-minute” gifts as they say.  There just isn’t a story to share, however, there was a nice moment.

I popped out for lunch to the chic-ish restaurant a door down from ours, the tavern where they’re open for lunch, but nobody’s figured that out yet but me and five or six far chic-er people than I.   I was hungry, distracted without my phone for the conventional form of distraction, and with no interest in losing my parking spot, so even though the food is somewhat more expensive than is necessary in these trying financial times of mine, I went there.

And there, with my notebook, I sat and ordered the hot dog of the day from the server there who looks, I have to say, like a much butcher, way less forced Lance Bass.  Cute, in a way, that probably clashes significantly with the image I just put in your head.  I don’t know why.  It sounded good at the time, rather than another french dip.  But firstly, as soon as I sat down, he smiled warmly, like he was happy to see me and said, wait, I have a present for you!

Now, believe me when I tell you that I completely understand that there’s a basket or something in back that has these packages prepared en masse for every customer (even if as I furtively glanced around, I didn’t see anyone else with one) and it was nothing to do with me at all.  But, it was oddly warm with the light pouring in as it does through the amber glass and being set next to a Christmas tree, a little package of trail mix, felt completely charming and…dare I say it, special.

Then, he was quite kind and nice to me, after I asked for his pen as I walk around this world with everything in my Mary Poppins bag save a writing implement.  And then, as never, ever, happens and only, I’m sure, happened out of good ol’ customer service, I caught him looking at me as I left.

So.  That was the day.  Dinner.  Computing, and writing this to you before the clock strikes twelve.

In Triplicate

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It is nice to be mouthless.  Something I could never have reckoned with as a girl who wanted Hello Kitty to be free to speak her Hello Kitty thoughts.  But it is nice not to have to tell you stories of distemper and distaste, not to have to show up and look weak, not to have to…

Sometimes I sit still and I feel as though I have got the whole nation, the whole world’s despair not only over their choice (willing or otherwise) of leader, but of every last little discomfort in their lives.  Every last thing going wrong shuffling about in your head, oh cripes, it’s here in mine. It’s not right.  It’s killing us.  It’s too much.

It’s not yours, something like the Faithful Light will remind me, you only have that slag heap over there.  That’s it.  All the rest of it is not yours.  But, I think, I see it.  I know that it exists – hungry babies, pissed-off fathers, the snow in the morning, this grinding in my skull, that any day something horrible will happen – it will, it’s unavoidable – the inevitable brokenness of every last thing. I have just been ignoring it for a while, but it’s true.  It’s true how terrible it is.

But.  I sit longer and it is also true that I have ice in the freezer which makes the water better to drink and which makes me feel full.  I have a mentor who texts me to come in later, to feel better, to get my spunk back.  I have a mind that reads spunk and still laughs.  I have a mother sleeping soundly in her bed surrounded by my father who loves her and a dog that believes she is the closest thing there is to God.  I have kind friends who multiply the thin wisps of kindness I deign to blow hither and thither.  I have a dear maniac and a dear brick of a cat.  I am not so terribly sick as I might be.

I also had my card today so I was able to buy gas and lunch.  That felt entirely luxurious.  That and despite the panic attacks, the ones that keep ramping up because I feel so down about my ability to quash them and the insurance shit and the money shit and the other shit, I was able to get home before the snow fell.   That’s good.

I did a few things today.  I did what I was asked and a sliver more.

…..

So I am going to run off and try and write a few things before this computer crumbles beneath my fingertips.  There’s always Fallen London and some DAI to chase around.  I am okay.  A few hours here and I feel better even if I’m having the neck/shoulders/teeth grinding thing which upsets everything terribly.  I am alright.  Eventually, maybe we’ll stretch our legs and try and climb up to that next rung on the ladder.  But tonight, alright’s alright, alright?

Historical Footnote

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It is impossible for me to finish this post without first writing one hundred words.  It is impossible for me to call it done without first beginning it.  So I am here, ill and in bed, with a sore jaw and headache and a body that aches for succor of all stripes, writing to you.

I should get in the bath and try and sleep, but I don’t expect it to happen so easily as that.

Chinese Food Picnic…my coworkers sent me home early today, or my boss, I suppose at the shop.  I have caught the great whatever, a sickness that has worn me down, and I was so relieved to be able to drive home in the light of day and not the dark of night, but before all that my co-worker bought me egg drop soup and we ate at a table in the middle of the store, just for fun.  She also made me a jar of baileys and vodka and chocolate something and I forgot it in a mad rush to get home and cry on the couch.

The I Don’t Want A Christmas Tree I Can Trip On Christmas…my mother doesn’t want me to put up the big Christmas tree.  And if I love her, I will hear her and not do it.  But I do want to put up the big Christmas tree.  Not necessarily there, not necessarily the family one, but mine, dotted with ornaments that have the meaning of the life I would be celebrating.  My own stars and little birds and apples and stained glass Seven Swans a’Swimming and my own stories.  I wish I had an easy way to do that.

Crying in the dark…today, I sat on the couch and cried in the dark. The little kitten came up and swirled around on my lap, disturbed and restless about it.  I didn’t mind.

The Handmaid’s Tale…I am intrigued by the adaptation that Hulu’s putting out.  That book is, of course, a hugely relevant consideration of a dystopian direction that nobody can say we’re NOT pushing as a country right now.  I remember reading it in a Women’s Lit class (oh, you know damn well I took Women’s Lit classes, honestly) and I found it so striking, so blood-curdling, so horrific.  But also, naturally, just scifi.  Just out there in terms of anything that I believed the government would allow to happen.  Now, I don’t believe it will happen, but I don’t believe some aspects of it won’t subtly encroach further and deeper than any sane and rational person would allow if they knew they were coming down the pike.  I hope it is a conversation starter.  I hope it is so revolting and horrifying that people pay some sort of attention.

Pizza Terminator…oh, why couldn’t Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese had a few years together raising their crazy Skynet-destroying son together before he got hit, inexplicably and tragically by a car or a falling computer or something.  It would be so much more ironic.  But, alas, that’s probably not what they were going for.  It just makes sense to me.

That is postmodernism for you, though.

Fever…do I have one?  Can we tell if we touch our forehead with a feverish hand?  Probably not.   I did take the one baby aspirin so I do feel covered.  I just have to sleep.  I will, at some point, probably at gunpoint, make that happen.

Life…this is how it’s looking these days.

Circus of Values

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7 hours on your feet can pass by extraordinarily quickly when you are surrounded by happy, busy people.  That I have less than forty-five minutes to try and make this day about much more than that feels as though I am facing a wall of eternity with just the tiniest sustenance.

It was fine.  Fun.  It was good.  I felt alright with hair done up and my shopsmall pin on my lapel and women surging through the door like blind little truffle pigs sniffing out sales.  Please! Please do come here and rifle through our drawers, perhaps you, you lucky soul will find an item of extraordinary value amongst them.  We welcome you and your half-drunk lady friends to cackle and eat cookies.  We welcome you to peruse our jewelry and tap on our glass cases.  We welcome you.

Nearly all of the staff was there, and only one register, so I stood in the center of the massive place and just guided people to the sales room.  Hardly the end of the world.  Hardly grueling in the way that it might be.  It was a successful day.

Speaking, as were were once, of sustenance: that did come today in the form of tacos.

We have a new Torchy’s Tacos that has arrived in the neighborhood – which I am given to understand is an Austin-based chain restaurant.  I can hardly care where they come from beyond the fact that any and all southwestern or Mexican-style food that I have ever had from the Midwest on out to the East coast has been miserable.  So afraid of flavor and pepper and spice that it tastes like boiled meat wrapped in a lugubrious layer of sour cream and spackled with tasteless green glop they profane to call guacamole.  Recently, another taco shop opened up nearby which hailed from Minnesota of all places.  Now, not that I intend to give a full review to all tacos I ever try, I did  want to state I gave them a fair shake, but as close as they are, I’ve yet to return.  Blah.

Torchy’s is neither blah, nor from a place where they don’t understand the nature of the taco. Torchy’s is a place where I ordered the Democrat and it was, deeply, deeply satisfying.  So much so that there are not-at-all secret plans to return tomorrow under the guise of putting tacos before our parents’ faces before we burst under the force of sheer evangelic fervor.  It’s rare, for me, to go to a restaurant and eat yourself until you’re dancing around the painful edge of full when you’re so satisfied and done in that you are not entirely sure if you are capable of standing up on two legs and making your way to the car, or if you will, in fact, have to pick up sticks and just live on your restaurant stool from now on.  It’s rarer yet to finally exit the restaurant, drive the 3 minutes it takes to return home and think about when is the next time I can get my mouth around one of those tacos?  I could go for another one right about now.

 

Battle Wounds

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I have been publicly interviewed and I don’t know what this means.   I don’t know if my life is going to be turned inside out and upside down and improved and frustrated or not.  We have a week and a half to sit and contemplate.

After driving a way that was tolerable to me, but is coming from a different direction than I would go in the future, I was not wigged out, which I half-expected of myself.   Nerves, of course, but not of the leaping out of my skin sort.

There were four women in the room.  They had the look of hardworking admin people: slightly beady-eyed, slightly exhausted, not mad at anyone, just irritated that they were forced to start shifting energies when they may not be precisely ready to do that.  Nothing I said felt like the wrong answer, but nothing felt like I had won them over.  One noted my resume had her alma mater on it to herself with a little cheer  – something I knew from my terse LinkedIn research – but didn’t ask me about it.  Another knew about the town I spent so much time in growing up and that felt like a click.  They nodded and smiled a bit, laughed a bit, but were otherwise really straight-forward and straitlaced the rest of the forty-five minutes.  I definitely felt like I was having to cut my way through the underbrush here, there wasn’t any sort of trail made by a colleague or friend who had suggested me.  There wasn’t this sense of the power of nepotism laying down a bead of KY on this as I’ve been able to have in the past.  They didn’t dislike me, but I was a stranger asking for a significant chunk of change to supposedly make their lives easier and to not fuck up the status quo they enjoy – they couldn’t get this wrong.  There were others to interview after me.

They were, in essence, professionals.

They weren’t people who could empathize, I didn’t feel, with working in an office where people still used floppy disks.   With being the only person who knew what the internet was.  They mentioned the lack of micromanagement.  If I were to get this job, I have to fall into line fast.  I have to click with them before they have to click with me in.

But I felt that I did the absolute best I could do.   Shirt tucked in, red lipstick, soul gem necklace, a demeanor that tried to reach for what they were asking for without betraying the fact that I’m quieter, less invasive, gentle.

Then, they showed me around the busy, windowless office space I would share with these other people.  The half-eaten cake from some Dead Like Me style office party, white boards, quotes framed on the bright blue walls and I was done.  I drove home a longer, more comfortable way and it was fine.  I felt emboldened, I suppose, by having done this.

It was odd after my boss, despite straits being no less dire than before, wanting to offer us a fancy high tea outing in town as a thanks.  Because we’re all working so hard.  It was hard and awkward to proceed with calling about reservations, knowing I might not be there, more than that, we might be an utter shambles at that point, and I don’t know how I feel about any of it.

Yet, they easily could pick someone else, and my ass would be out there in the wind as little Miss Jobseeker.  Not that it isn’t completely acceptable, completely understandable.  It’s just that slight quality of mutiny that goes against my grain.  Has to be done, can’t not be done, money doesn’t just appear no matter the number of candles lit.  Someone, somewhere had to plant that seed, water that sapling, defend that tree before the magic dollars could be harvested.

It’s been a real time, today.  It was also N7 Day.  I have Chinese to eat and I don’t know what else to say.