Sunday, October 30, 2005

Why Job Interviews are Like Satan

Job interviews are like Satan because I think as a society we have unwittingly absorbed the national swagger of arrogance that the United States is projecting around the world: as in, I can have exactly what I want; I am not willing to think even one millimeter outside the box; I can play with individuals like a cat bandying a mouse around; I am not accountable. I can ask you questions (or interrogate and humiliate you with dogs and fake menstrual blood) and you must answer them, whether they are relevant or not.

If you would like to plunge your self-worth into the depths of a bottomless pit of boiling hot dead pig lava, then start looking for a new job. Try it! Seriously, it will be the most rewarding experience of your life.

You want to feel like you are groveling and pirouetting like Balzac’s dancing dog to the tune of the employment fiddler? Get that resume in gear, start slutting yourself ALL OVER THE PAGE, and be prepared to have 60 resumes: one for each mood of the Cerberus who interviews you.

Make sure you put A LOT of effort into it, because for each droplet of blood you extract from your soul to put on that resume, it will be met with even greater indifference and lack of attention.

It would not be possible for me to tell you how many times someone interviewing me has said, “You were in Peace Corps? What country?”

Hmmmm, I don’t know what country. Maybe the country where I was for FIVE YEARS of this résumé’s chronology?

How long is my resume? Two (2) pages. It is written in bite-sized little sound chomps so as not to tax the brains of anyone out there in haughty employment neverland.

“You were in Peace Corps…oh I see, in…Uzbekistan? Where IS that? Is that near…"[here’s where they stop because they don’t want to sound stupid].
“[Here’s where I answer] No. [Stupid]. It borders Afghanistan.”
“OH!" [Relief: I have heard of THAT!!!]

Here are some very special questions that people still (you will be relieved to know!) ask during interviews:

[Slow intro, making it seem like they are going to ask something original]:

“Where do you SEE yourself in five years?”

[Wrapping a rubber band around my upper arm, tying it with my teeth and injecting a vial of premium smack into my veins. Preferably on a small uninhabited island in the Gulf of Thailand].

BECAUSE the thing interviews reveal about human nature is as time-honored as a pledge having to swallow a live goldfish: I had to answer that dumbfuck question, so now you have to.

It makes things right with the spinning of the earth—it’s called “natural retribution.”

So as the goldfish flips onto my lower abdominus, my esophagus tickling from the rigid fins slithering down its path, I obligingly come up with some BULLSHIT like, “I see myself in a more managerial role…..bllllrrrrr, blllrrrr, blllrr.”

Here’s another one:

“What three adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”

That’s easy: [HOT HOT HOT!]

Here’s what I actually said, in what I thought was a positive storm of braininess:

“Smart, conscientious and reliable.”

What was I supposed to say? Neurotic, quasi-permanently depressed, paranoid, anti-social, bitter, vindictive, weird, abhorrent, angry, petulant? Huh?

I trot out ENVIABLE arrays of glossy, fabulous, socioeconomically, culturally sensitive publications that I have either written or edited, however I still don’t feel the love, the awe. What I tend to feel is: the yawn. The: make it sizzle. The: wow us factor.

And, since I was born and raised with this PECULIAR unfounded sense of royal entitlement, I feel resentful when I have to prove myself. I am not good at selling myself. I am not for sale. I am not good at self-promotion, wowing people or slavishly advertising my genius. As my mother said, “You were gently reared.” There you have it: I was gently reared and now I'm getting harshly reared.

Whatever it is, I am resentful of my gentility because it has left me CLAWLESS in this ruthless world. I can’t defend myself against the junkyard dogs and vicious alley cats. I’m waiting for my cream saturated bowl of milk and a diamond encrusted collar. A white glossy mansion to harbor me from this stinking plebian life spent in a tidy litter box.

But I don’t have the instinctual scrappy guts to see my way out of this mundane world.

True story, my senior high school thesis was called: The Temporal Versus the Mundane: The Tormented 20th Century Artist in the Novels of Hermann Hesse. You think I'm kidding. I didn't know I was writing my AUTOBIOGRAPHY back then.

So what if one of my interviewers saw this post. The Disney ending would be: She has such pluck! We have to hire this girl!

But the reality is, this post actually reveals things about me that are real. And, as we all know, that is not the point of the interview. The point of the interview is to stage a finely choreographed sham meant to make everyone, on both sides of the table, feel like they are engaging in a meaningful discourse that accurately reflects an individual's personality and reveals, in sunny improbablity, where that individual will be spending the majority of her days. It's an unavoidable pantomime, and in the end you get a receipt for your soul. Called a paycheck.

[Disclaimer: I wrote this whilst going thru the dreaded process, but vowed not to post it until I got a job. Superstitious as ever. I can happily and honestly say, I didn't experience any of this BS with the people that actually did hire me.]

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Transition Tango!!!!

Oh man--concept of new job, excellent--but we are still pounding out this stupid stuff here and the new place is sort of asking me to also "look" at things (read: start working on them) and, well, I just feel like CINDERELMO!

Remember how I said I love my colleagues? I do! But you know, you just know, I don't mean ALL of them, doncha? I have been diplomatic for the sake of...something, I don't know, Christianity or something, but lest you think I am a goody two shoes, I'm not. BECAUSE there is one person here that I loathe. And she just came down and chatted with me, in her churlish, no eye-contact way. Then she looked at my beloved ivy plant, that has flourished here during my tenure, giving me hope every day that something can actually thrive in this toxic environ.

And, she said, "Before you leave, give me a cutting from your ivy."

AS IF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doesn't that totally sound like some fairy tale bargain? Some kind of nefarious secret pact, some kind of voodoo, Rumplestiltskin, forest-dwelling, give-me-your first-born, kind of clause? I don't like it.

How can I conveniently "forget"?

My plant. My beloved plant. My Samson. Were I to cleave its lush curling tendril, would I sap the life out of it? To turn it over to The Undeserving One? Who has made my life a living HELL? Who is the primary reason for my frantic job search amid all this life chaos. She wants a PIECE OF ME!!!!!!!

It's vegetation cannibalism.

Do you think I am overreacting?

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Monday, October 24, 2005

My Little Girl Turns Two Today

After I went to have an early procedure to determine if my baby was OK and also what sex she would be, I went across the street to Sutton Place Gourmet for a sandwich before going back to work. Gladys Knight's "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" was streaming through the gourmet fast paced clutter.

(She's one of three best things that ever happened to me.)




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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I Got...

...A NEW JOB!


I know, I can’t believe it either. Although I should be able to believe it given all the interviews and internal strife. Of course ultimately it wasn’t that many interviews. I had five with one company—which includes two follow ups and one with my current company for a job back at the Mother Ship. And then the one in downtown DC where I wore some stupid 1980’s cologne and nearly asphyxiated everyone.

So, on Tuesday I went in for my 800th interview with this one company and things were different on the way in. The traffic was better, the weather was beautiful. I got to lovely downtown Bethesda and it all looked so promising all of a sudden. I met the owner and president of the company and…I liked her. I was impressed with her. She was sharp and genuinely professional. I mean, like, the real deal. Not one of these absurd poseurs or strident megalomaniacs who dress too young for their age and talk in shrill monosyllabic directives.

No, she was wearing probably the most tasteful jacket I have ever seen in my life. The kind of religiously classic “piece” that has undoubtedly been a functional part of her perfect wardrobe forever. The subtle pattern, the sinuous fabric, the elegant cut, the utter timelessness of it all. Ode to a Jacket, by Lisa. And I don’t even like jackets.

Then I met with the project director and then the vice president. During all these interviews the women asked me real and substantive questions that had relevance. Not “what kind of fucking tree would you be..” lameass questions. Don’t laugh, that’s the kind of crap I have been getting.

But the part that was dawning on me, as I was led from office to office to meet with these women was, they were excited about...me. And the whole time I kept thinking about my mother, saying through gritted teeth, “I just want you to work somewhere where they appreciate you!” That sort of thing. And you know, that’s “mother talk” and that’s how I partially dismissed it. Just like I used to dismiss it when she would assure me that I would find a wonderful man to share my life with. YEAH RIGHT. But she was right.

I have this thing about not living up to my potential and I realize that I, of course, am the biggest impediment in that process. I needed to believe that I was better than this—am I sounding like Stuart Smalley yet?—before something would happen.

The project director offered me the job on the spot and told the vice president and the president that she was offering it to me even though she hadn’t gone through all the correct channels with HR. And this made me happy. They were excited about my experience and what I could do and what I could bring to them. It wasn’t just the old soft shoe.

I left the building and walked out into the sun and my heart felt so light. I walked to the car and I smiled. I called MZA on my cell phone but he wasn’t there. I got to work and I sat in the car, holding onto the steering wheel with my head down, so happy, just letting it sink in. Because I don’t think you can really appreciate just exactly how miserable you have been until someone lifts the burden from your shoulders. Psychologically it is so difficult to make yourself realize that the situation you are in is THAT BAD. You protect yourself with a web of veiny little lies that keep you afloat—little false affirmations like, “Well, I’ll be fully vested in March!” “The commute sure isn’t too bad!” “There’s free hot chocolate! And popcorn!”

Right.

In the car, I turned on the radio because I am a big believer in Radio Symbolism. And, I kid you not, the lyrics just started:

Oh, this is the start of something good
Don't you agree?
I haven't felt like this in so many moons
You know what I mean?

How do you like THAT?

I was supposed to get The Phone Call with The Official Offer that day and I sat at my desk trying to be nonchalant, you know how that goes. Like when you are waiting for a boy to call and every other person in the entire universe calls instead. That’s what happened. My colleagues, who normally come to my office, all of a sudden started calling me saying, “I was too lazy to walk down, I decided to call..” Yeah, THANKS. No call. I left for the day and I wasn’t worried, per se, but when I looked in the rear view mirror, my eyebrows were all furrowed. So I turned on the radio again for a little guidance. Seriously, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Stones was on. It’s always been a good anthemic barometer for me. BECAUSE IF YOU TRY SOMETIMES YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED.

Oh, let’s hope so, shall we?

I got The Call that night during dinner. I’m not going to lie to you, I was giddy. Nick gave me a high five, MZA smiled and kissed me. The bambini were all excited and didn’t know why. Oh, look, Mommy seems to be happy! Yay!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A Place in the Sun

I came down this morning to make coffee before an 8:00 a.m. meeting and Nick took one look at me and said, “Mommy, you have really, REALLY big bags under your eyes!” Which corroborated what I noticed yesterday in that my eye sockets look like they have been lined with kohl. I thought I had smudged newspaper print on them, but then I realized that those hollowed-out black shells were the result of some kind of massive, epic fatigue wrought by Herculean stress, upheaval and stupid job detritus.

My family used to go away for Christmas and one year we went to a spit of an island in the Bahamas. We would ride our bikes to the beach and I would find one white slice of sand, elevated slightly above the rest, gently surrounded by pale turquoise water. I would lie on that finger of eyelet sand, just flat, in the sun, trying to burn everything out of me. I was a young professional DC gal, working for the Uber-Man, at the time. I wouldn’t even read. I would just lie there and become enveloped by the atmosphere. For a break I would walk, sun-blinded, to Mama and Papa T’s thatched roof enterprise for a Beck’s beer or a rum punch. There were always a couple of crusty old preppy dames playing cribbage at the bar.

The point of which is, I have come to the Slice of Sand moment. All I want in the entire universe right now is to lie on that one piece of sand, isolated under an unforgiving but ebullient sky, waiting for the poison to be baked out of me and replenished with poisons of my own choosing. Like rum punch. I want the sun to color the fish belly pallor of my skin and erase the weird black pirate smudges around my eyes.

Mostly, the rum punch. And the sand, and my own spot in the universe, salted, cool and remote.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Icarus Descending (More on Steve Almond's Salon Piece)

What bothers me so much about this piece, and there are so many things really, is how absolutely dishonest it is. He first trashes Sarvas and makes really puerile allusions about him sexually. When he sees him at a book festival he fantasizes saying, "Does anyone around here smell blog pussy?" Um. Gross? Then he ends the nasty piece with a high-handed morality play about forgiveness.

He did a reading at Sewanee from one of his short stories and I didn’t go, but my friends all loved it and thought it was funny. It was about an affair the narrator has with a lifeguard and when she has an orgasm, the whole pool comes out of her. Or something. But my reaction was just kind of, you know, ew. What else can I say? I'm not a prude. I'm really not. I mean, bring it on. But give us a little dimension to the sex--a little give--and not just a rude goose up the arse.

Something about his stuff just smacks of such juvenile, snickering, prurient, finger-sniffing immaturity. Like an adolescent metronome. To wit, from the end of the aforementioned story, My Life in Heavy Metal, "I was doing something even noble in the eyes of youth...Radical, kickass, seeking love on all fronts, transporting myself beyond the reach of loneliness and failure, into the blessed province of poontang."

Some guys just know how to do it, and you can detect this. And when they write about sex, you just know, you just know from what they are revealing, and what they are reveling in, and the details they notice, and how they express it, how they might be. And when I read Steve Almond’s stuff, I just come away with that cheeseball feeling you get from all the micro-dick losers sending in their cum stained fantasygrams to Penthouse.

I think the thing that gets people’s goat about him is that he’s a sham. He pulled one over on everyone. She orgasmed up a pool, man—we have to publish this dude! A pool! Dude! Like you made her cum up a whole POOL. Dude!

This also bothered me. In talking about blogs he writes, "It's a kind of Ponzi scheme in which the object is attention, and the shared illusion is one of relevance."

Oh really? Then what is the whole MFA, lit magazine, writer’s conference, plum university teaching job, dog and pony show? If that’s not a Ponzi scheme—or more accurately a Faustian scheme—I don’t know what is.

What pisses Steve Almond off is what pisses off every slobbering beast who’s finally made it to a perceived Valhalla—he doesn’t want anyone taking any short cuts to the booty ranch. No he doesn’t. And in his stuffy, condescending assessment of blogs, he reminds me of my crusty old theatre history professor who proclaimed, with creaky irrelevance, that Sam Shepard was merely a “flash in the pan.”

I think his failure, or refusal to accept new forms of art and expression reveals an incurious and frightened mind that doesn’t want anyone crashing the party he clawed his way into through all the “correct” channels.

Every writer with an ambition knows the ropes—beginning with publishing in literary magazines, and there is a strata there, to be sure. Steve Almond mentions that a lot too—he makes a point (not in this article) of saying that not only is he published, but he is published in ONLY THE FINEST literary journals. His status grubbing is pretty transparent. A diaphanous gown of pride. And, one would hope, pride goeth before a fall.

So you publish in journals, then you assemble the story collection, all the while completing the novel feverishly because, it is carved in the tablets, you MUST have a novel before you go to the agent. Novel first, short story collection chaser, and then it’s on to the teaching gig pot o’ gold. Those are the "correct channels" to achieve literary luminousness.

He says not many people read blogs. Well, one might ask, who the hell reads literary magazines? Even THE FINEST literary magazines? Hmm? Other writers, that’s who, if you’re lucky. It’s a Ponzi scheme unto itself. You can’t get published unless you have been published, and on and on. There are blogs with readerships that would make most literary magazines cry into their Wheaties every morning. So let’s not get all fusty and territorial about our hard won writerly pimpapalooza. And how nice of him to qualify his rants against the blogging stepchildren and single out Wendy McClure as a “real writer” among the chaff. A benediction from the Great One.

This last conceit really made me want to hurl: "It will have occurred to nearly all of you at this point that I have made a dream come true for Sarvas. He has officially made it into my world. But I'm also going to offer him something he wasn't bargaining for: my forgiveness."

If that is not the BIGGEST pair of wax wings headed for the sun, I don’t know what is. He has “made it into my world”? Someone PLEASE turn up the sun! Make those tragic bloated wings melt! Fall into the sea! Banish-ed. Be gone with you. And forgiveness? Really? Let me blog pussy you all over a national publication and humiliate you and lord my “real” writer self all over the page and then, at the end, like Jesus Christ himself, let me absolve thee of thy sins against me.

Please, someone, get the hook. Pluck him from the sky. I don't think any of us could survive the tidal surge his plunge would incite.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Like we needed any more proof Steve Almond is a Jerk

Remember what I said about things that give me pause? Steve Almond gave me pause the first time I saw him at Sewanee back in 2001. He is a fuzzy feral little man who talks a lot about his "craft" and how hard he works to "craft" his "craft," etc. In short, he is the most nauseating form of writer--the vain, falsely modest nebbish who, like the Computer Roulette Guy, uses his "talent" as a limp form of foreplay to entice the ladies.

The upshot is, Steve Almond is no Matt Klam. If you're a misogynistic vainglorious ego pimp, then you had better be a FUNNY vainglorious misogynistic ego pimp, and Steve Almond is about as funny (and talented) as a rubber chicken. Zzzz.

I'm in a rush, I could go on! But just read what he has to say in today's salon about blogs, specifically Mark Sarvas at the Elegant Variation, but mostly, and tirelessly, and as always, about himself.

Vileness.

Oh yes!! And there is a rebuttal. Time for the catnip, ladies!!

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Bury My Heart...Under My Desk

It's 7:00 a.m. and I'm at my desk, where I was at 7:00 p.m. last night. Impressed? Why not?

It's dark and rainy. And dark. I put my hand on Daisy's soft hair, as she lay in her crib this morning, and kissed Nick goodbye in the family room. Just in case I bit the dust in the rain on the Beltway on my way into work--they could always say, "My mother said goodbye to me before..." Pass me a hanky.

This has probably been the weirdest seven months of my life. Glad you came along! My job these past seven months has been like having finals week, senior year of college, six times in seven months. Seriously, that same clammy, caffeinated, artificial, buzzy nervous feeling ALL THE TIME. Coupled with a semi-permanent case of nausea. And it's not too easy to talk about, as I have found, BECAUSE if you say, "I'm busy," or "I've been working REALLY hard," people don't like it. You know why? Because they feel threatened by it BECAUSE it seems like you are implying that THEY don't work hard. Which is OK because NO ONE works hard. Trust me. But I do. Or, I have been. There, I'll leave it at that because I don't want you to feel threatened and defensive too.

It's been a rushed time of carefully encapsulated pleasures and disappointments. Cape Cod and Minnesota were the highlights, as were the dinner parties and the visitors and the parks and all of our wonderful friends. But it was far too "calibrated" for my spontaneous self. Out of necessity.

Then MZA lost his job, but we remained cool, then our beloved nanny quit. Last Friday. With no notice. And that sent me reeling. Because that constituted too many balls of uncertainty in the air.

At the same time, I was going on this relentless round of interviews, back and forth. Call backs and phone interviews and TESTS, for God's sake. I was just contacted by another place and they sent me two grueling tests that I am just looking at like, wha'? I told the woman I couldn't come in this week for an interview because I AM SO FUCKING BUSY (maybe she felt threatened?) and so she scheduled it for next week. AND THEN sent me these two tests that have to be completed by tomorrow. She said I could finish them "in a few hours." I'm thinking, lady, I don't have a "few hours" to call my own right now. I just don't. And the other thing that is giving me pause is that when she was setting it up with me she gave me the Downtown DC address of the office and she said, "Are you familiar with the Downtown DC grid?"

Yes, I am familiar with the "Downtown DC grid," in the sense that there is no logical "grid" in DC BECAUSE IT WAS DESIGNED BY A CURLICUED FRENCHMAN who believed in circles and diagonal lines.

So that question torqued me. Being as how it's the city of my birth and all. I should have said, "I've been throwing up in alleys in the 'Downtown DC grid' since before you were born, sister!" Do you think that would have gone over well? God help me if she Googles my name and finds these furtive ruminations...

The other hitch was that in the instructions on the "test," it says to re-write something to make it more compelling, "Be aggressive." Uh-oh. That gave me pause. And I'm not trying to be negative or anything, but usually when I am given pause by something, there is a damn good reason. Listen to your heart!

And remember to: NOTICE WHEN YOU'RE HAPPY!!!!!

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Please Notice When You're Happy

What I don't know about Kurt Vonnegut could fill a reservoir. I wasn't even going to read this article, but, as I balanced a salty lukewarm bowl of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup in one hand, I read this and I was so delighted and impressed. The only thing of Vonnegut's I know is his play "God Bless You Mr. Rosewater," which I saw at Arena Stage many moons ago. It is a blot on my internal literary canon, to be sure, that I have not read more of his stuff.

Beyond art, he says, he lives for what he calls "mini-epiphanies -- very nice events that last maybe 10 minutes."
Love it! And what a coincedence, that is what I live for as well. Mini-epiphanies. After all, that's all there is.

"Please notice when you're happy," Vonnegut has been advising audiences for years. It's a cheery notion that carries an unstated implication: Unhappiness will recapture your attention soon enough.


Unhappiness has my FULL attention right now, but I am going to be really ATTUNED to noticing when I am happy.

Today has been brought to me by Franz Kafka and Eugene Ionesco's love child. Oh yes! That must mean we had Computer Guy Roulette! The bureaucratic return of Mr. Nibby Nose! Who is very lucky that I was "raised well" because instead of saying, as I WANTED TO, "You're such an ASSHOLE," I merely said, "You are very EXASPERATING."

Oh, he of the cocked head, the obsequious questions, the gratuitous humor reserved for the pretty girl I have helping me. "Don't break this computer too, OK? Heh, heh," he says. That's computer nerd foreplay for ya.

Yeah, get lost Nibs.

Grrrrrrrrr.

Anyway, Kurt Vonnegut has always been a misanthrope too. Hooray! When I crawl out of this vice, I will read him forthwith.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Fugue

Oh kids, we are in a funk, a dirge, a deep blue fugue. This is the part of life when emails sit unreturned, when we need them most, phone calls hang in the balance, unanswered little spectral molecules hovering cruelly in the atmosphere. I feel entombed in a cottony hazy fluff--that gray silky cotton ballerinas stuff into their toe shoes. Which is apt since it's what they use to buffer the pain of their unnatural stances.

I shan't bore with all the mundane details. The rainy day is mirroring things well enough.

Let's think about summer vacation, that faraway land before everything shifted and turned weird.



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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tina Brown Slut Redux

I know, I am a Tina Brown slut, having referenced her article from two week's ago as well. It takes girlfriend a while to wind her way to her point, but when she lasers in, it's priceless. I loved every lip smackin' bit of this paragraph, even tho the rest of the article tends to meander:

"...maybe a Bush memoir will give us a road map at least to some of the mysterious gaps and silences of the past five years. What was really going on during the missing hours on 9/11 aboard Air Force One, or in the interlude after Election Day 2000 when he vanished from sight and then emerged talking as if he were already president? I want to know about that lazy hidden summer of 2001 when the Aug. 6 presidential daily briefing titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." moldered in his in box, and why the governor of Louisiana couldn't find him when Hurricane Katrina was devastating the Gulf Coast. I want chapter and verse on the incident with the invasive pretzel. I want to deduce from parsing the punctuation the precise moment in the war in Iraq when his mood changed from swaggering certainty to the suppressed panic that now hovers at the corners of his mouth every time he goes into the herky-jerky routine of The War! On Terror! I want to know when the president first knew that the Valerie Plame leak was going to cause the long arm of the law to reach into the heart of his inner circle."


Personally, I've been lying in wait for the real skinny on the "pretzel" choke as well. I'm guessing that's when the hooch-slips really began.

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Today Haiku

Hot, greasy, earache, hot, call building maintenance.

4th job interview in two months this morning, anticlimactic.

Current job situation*=insufferable.

Questioning of life direction: 106 times. And counting.

Theorize: is every project that I work on somehow doomed, weird?

Feeling...martyred, like I am the only person in the whole entire universe who shows up for work. Consistently. Waaaa.

Self pity: the opera!

Hair up in rubber band ponytail due to stagnant air. In new pink granite building.

Wonder again: is it me? Am I the common denominator?

Do I somehow choose projects that get bizarre and dysfunctional?

Determine that everyone is insensitive, selfish, noncaring, obtuse, cruel, indifferent, mean, callous--only to me.

Sort of a feeling of suffocation MAGNIFIED by the hot, stale, balmy air.

Wonder about the SYMBOLISM of all factors in the universe conspiring to become metaphors for my personal unhappiness.

Can inanimate objects conspire?

These feelings, as I know someone (callous, cruel, mean and insensitive) would be quick to tell me reveal: SELF-CENTEREDNESS.

I would argue they reveal a person wondering WHEN things are going to get a little bit better. Or cooler. Is the stale air a SIGN???????????

Must all external factors add up when one is feeling persecuted?

Ear: throbbing. Deserted by insensitive medical profession as well. Along with half the free world.

Time for a double dose of Advil.

Please say tomorrow will be better.

*I love and respect my colleagues, so I carefully distinguish between the situation and them.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

Rainmakers and Therapy Scarves

Was it a good weekend? I suppose, technically and certainly on paper. But there were other aspects too. Like my ongoing calculus with the outer limits of my sanity, that sort of thing.

MZA and the new character in our play called “Life,” Ray (aka The Rainmaker), put in a knotty pine ceiling in the family room. It was a Harry Homeowner project that left me saddled with the younguns for the whole day. Which almost resulted in Mommy Going to Live in the Nuthouse. I even said to Ian, the insanity perp, “Do you want Mommy to go live in the nuthouse?” Nick cleverly replied, “No Mommy, get Ian to go live in the nuthouse and you stay here!” Good thinking Nick!

Do you think it’s psychologically damaging to let your kids know that they are the reason you are insane?

We do a benefit walk, which courses through our neighborhood. Idyllic fall day. Nick’s wearing a thick fuzzy sweatshirt I made him wear but he can’t take it off because the zipper’s stuck and if we stop AGAIN (in addition to all the requests for sippies, snacks, Ian’s lost shoe, Ian climbing up onto someone’s lawn, etc.) we will be Lardass Last of the walkers and I just can’t face that. So Nick has sweat beads on his upper lip and keeps asking, “Mommy, why are you walking so fast?” BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE LARDASS LAST, that’s why!

We get to the final stretch and I think we're going to have to bail because the whining has reached epic levels. Daisy is crying pretty consistently; Ian wants to go home; Nick is sweaty. I say, “Nick we might have to bail.” He says, “No Mommy! We’re almost there! It’s for a good cause.” We persevere. We cross the finish line! We tell Ian he won the race! He is all modest/proud/bashful. He really believes he won the race. It is so cute I almost forgive him.

Go home, Nick changes into karate duds, we drop him off at karate class and head for Target to buy Halloween costumes. Nick is a ninja, Ian is Superman and Daisy is a fairy princess. It is the CUTEST costume EVER. It’s all flighty pink and yellow gossamer and comes with a magic wand. And she loves it. But in a really lovely way, not a nauseating little girl icky fancy way. I can’t explain it. Except to say that Daisy actually wanted the Elmo costume, which looked like a red scruffy bathroom rug. It took Mommy to carefully show her the other options to make her realize that a gauzy floaty fairy princess dress was the way to go. Isn’t Mommy clever?

Race out of the store to pick up Nick. Then come home, and this was the fun part. This was the part I really liked. All three kids put on their costumes. Ian’s Superman costume is too big, amazingly enough, since he is built like a Sherman tank. It has a padded muscle chest and so, from the side, it looks like he’s about a 36DD.

He put it on and was instantly transformed into a very strong badass superhero. He put his arm straight out and got this really serious look on his face. He took a nap in his costume. The only reason he took it off all weekend was because he peed in it. Yeah, that was fun. Seriously, maybe I watched Please Don’t Eat the Daisies one too many times and thusly made my life a movie-fulfilled prophesy. Maybe that’s it.

Whilst the li'l angels slept and Daddy turned into the Yankee Woodman, Mommy baked two cakes (one for work and one for the fall festival) and made a cauliflower potato pie. Broke a Cuisinart part. Did not panic. We had dinner. It was nice.

Sunday I had to sew the patches onto Nick’s Cub Scout uniform. Don’t adjust your monitor. It’s true. Suzie Homemaker was in full swing. Like, to the point that I really didn’t even know myself too well anymore, you know? I had to get out my mother’s sewing box—a quilted floral number stocked completely and lovingly with ALL sewing needs. That felt weird too. And then I sat in the living room and sewed on his patches.

MZA left at 11:00 a.m. to go man the SNACK SHACK for the Fall Festival. Yep, we’re getting weirder by the minute. I took the babies up to the festival. They wanted popsicles right away. Ian took one lick and didn’t want it; Daisy kept dropping it on the dry grass. I wiped off the dirt—ten second rule with a dirt/grass clause.

There was a mini choo-choo train. Hot line, sticky Daisy, whiny Ian—then that moment of: why isn’t this more fun? Will it ever be fun? I am doing all the right things—the beautiful day, the pumpkins, the chrysanthemums. Everything is Hollywood RIGHT and yet I am about to cry because I feel like I am leading these wild ponies around a dressage course, fer crying out loud.

Anyway, we get on the train and it’s great; then Ian goes down the moon bounce slide thing; then he and Daisy cry and wriggle pudgy hands out of my firm grip the whole way to the car; then we get home AND I GIVE THEM A BATH. At this point, I start fantasizing about being locked in a round rubber room. Slippery wild pony bath bodies. Off to bed.

Honestly, I sat on the couch, and I was catatonic. Like, crazy catatonic. Like, come back from the five and dime catatonic. So I got out my “therapy scarf” and starting knitting on the lunatic scarf I started knitting last winter. The newspaper lay next to me. I watched a Headliners and Legends episode about Oprah.

Some insane people weave baskets; I knit really long, lumpy, hole-ridden scarves with confused knit/purl juxtapositions.

MZA came home after a six hour (!) stint at the Shaque de Snaque, wearing a T-shirt that said, “I worked at the Snack Shack and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” Yes, my Uzbek husband, descendent of the nomadic traders of the famed Silk Road. That husband.

I made dinner. The sink clogged up. I had one tear falling out of my eye, like the Native American in the pollution commercial. MZA looked a little scared of me. He called Ray the Rainmaker and Ray came over, cheerfully, in his Colin Farrell way. He said, “You got a coffee mug with my name on it yet?” And came in and snaked the sink and made it all better.

THE END

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