it's my first day of work. bought new makeup and here i go...
as i begin this entry, it's 6:17 am, 6:18 now, and i can't sleep.
i'm restless and my eyes are sandy. i woke up nearly 2 hours ago, ate toast, drank some orange juice and have been sat here in front of the computer for awhile now. i've been tempted to properly journal, to write out loud the thoughts constantly whirring like the fan above my head. (just above my head.) but i can't seem to do it. can't seem to go to a place that is less than public. those doors are heavy and stuck this morning. it's probably the weather.
i can't quite explain this state i'm in, have been in, all week. it's one of less than contentment with my days. i am rereading annie dillard's writing life, and sometimes her words can sting. she says that "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives". and then she goes on to say, "there is no shortage of good days, but good lives are hard to come by" (i am paraphrasing, i think.)
i've spent a whole week now staring at the wall. or computer screen, blankly. i don't know why; this is my last week of freedom before the 8 to 5, and i should be writing, or at least leaving the house. but i'm frozen. i'm not afraid to start the job--i'm excited. monday seems a million miles away, however, and i'm sitting here frozen as time creeps forward.
i wish i could heave open those heavy doors, enter the rooms and tidy them up.
i lack mentorship here in austin, community. and i left nashville in a state of fragmented community: with unfinished conversations, hurried hugs goodbye. i can't say that i know what i'm doing with myself on a daily basis; vision is fragmented too. and vision, for me, has always been inextricably tied to community. i moved to nashville to live in it. i left nashville nostalgic for it.
i desperately want to go home. to feel at home in my skin.
oh but this is lent, isn't it? this is the wilderness time, the dust-in-your-eyes season. we are easter people, i remember. maybe it's ok to admit that i'm not quite resurrected yet.
a great way to combat the "staring at the wall" disorder is to stop staring at the wall.
if you take the dogs for a walk, however brief, you will feel better. enjoying a healthy dinner afterward helps too. and then, raid the chocolate.
today is quiet. i overslept, drank a hurried cup of (decaf!) coffee with helen before she headed out to work. and now? i'm sprawled out on the couch in pajamas at 1:30 pm; charley is curled up on one chair, lucy snoring on her back on another. tino is splashing around in his tank, and God only knows what the cats are doing. the constant whirring of the ceiling fan is the driving rhythm of the house.
i gave up alcohol for lent this year. i did it out of need: the need to think clearly, to strip everything down, to not have to will myself to surface in the morning from a night of fragmented thinking and loud laughing the night previous. it's not that i'm constantly drinking, it's just the fact that i hate that morning after funk.
i broke fast last night in the name of celebrating my new job. only 2 glasses of wine and a beer, but this morning--afternoon, right--i feel shitty and blah. funky.
ah yes, this is why i gave it up. i'm letting my day slip by me as i stare at the wall. this is no fun at all.
and i'm so hard on myself all the time. this is my last week of freedom before adapting to the 8-5 life again, and i should be writing. something. instead, i'm lying here on the couch, mindlessly. and i can promise you that i'll continue to do this for another hour or so before finally getting dressed, and--if i'm lucky--go to the post office.
and now, for my next trick, i will raid the cookies.
this morning, i woke up with the alarm at 7:30, and sat with catie couric over a cup of coffee in my pjs. she's such a firecracker, that catie.
and then it was off to interview number one at nine, way up north, for a customer service/sales position with a software company. the interview went well, was uneventful, and i was composed with freshly blowdried hair. very professional. i'd hire me.
at 1:00 i drove to my 2nd interview, at the energy, water, community services organization, and sat in the waiting area. the receptionist told me that my interviewer would be right down for me, and so i picked up a leaflet, and leafed through it mindlessly (like you do). ten minutes later, i was still waiting. after fifteen minutes, the receptionist told me that "they" were running behind a bit.
so i continued to sit, composed, in the leather seat, as interviewee after interviewee entered the building, signed in, and were escorted to their various interviews. i was a lone bananie, whose hair was beginning to wilt. soon, the receptionist went to lunch, and her replacement sat down at the switchboard. "it shouldn't be long now," the replacement told me at 1:45. i went to my car and fetched a book.
at 2:30, a security guard came to escort me to my interview. finally. i walked into a boardroom with a panoramic scene of the hills around lake austin. sat at the table were two guys in polo shirts: larry and jason. we shook hands. i sat down. we chatted about how i just relocated from nashville. "my dad wanted to move to nashville," jason said. "he used to play a mean guitar...till he cut off his finger and got his other hand smashed."
and then ken walked in, wearing his holster--with gun and club--and badge. larry and jason stood up to shake his hand, and i noticed that they were wearing guns as well. ken looked at me with a confused look, as he paged through applications, and finally said: "um, what position were you interviewing for? because, honestly, i didn't know i was interviewing any women today."
"what?" i said, realizing that i'd been waiting two hours for the wrong interview. "i could wear a gun just as well as any of you. it would look much sassier on me, anyway."
so. i was escorted to yet another building by jason and his gun, and immediately received profuse apologies from the hr department. thus commenced the correct interview. ten minutes later it was over, and i was free to have lunch across the street at lucy's boatyard.
two hours later, i got a phonecall: i got the job.
let me just say that one more time: i got the job.
blessed are the patient, for they get the job.
thursday afternoon at the hideout. with an upset belly, i'm carefully drinking a cup of white tea--which leads me to think of marlei, and the last time i saw her: two months ago, sitting on her couch with christmas carols playing quietly in the background. we told each other our stories as we always do, and i felt so safe in her company; i knew that no matter how far our lives take us away from each other, i can always find home in her friendship.
i am a wistful girl this afternoon, sad even. it's the hormones. it's the weather. it's my heart: missing friends and familiarity, as i daily try to settle here in texas. i wonder about the future in a very palpable way. i wonder if i'll be working next week.
i hate looking for work. there, i said it. underscored it, even.
let me tell you a bit of what's been like since i arrived in austin:
i worked a week at starbucks, after finding out i didn't get the job i was sure i had. and then there was the temping. thus far, it has only been the data entry job for the technology company, and the infamous colon survey. and there was the week at initech. in between, it's been nothing but interviews. i can't even remember them all now. there was the lab company, whose recruiter interrogated me for nearly an hour in the initial phone interview. i thought it would be a fair gesture to offer me monetary compensation for simply making it to the next round. i didn't get the job. obviously. and then there was the insurance company, who just told me, via the mail, that i didn't get the position.
i interviewed with the technology company, and didn't get that one either. the list goes on. seriously.
and now? until yesterday, i was convinced that the only companies really interested in me are, in reality, scams.
por ejemplo: i had two interviews set up this week. one was with vector marketing, who promised part time work for $15/hour. i applied, even though the ad was vague. after a bit of internet research, i found several articles like this one, which was a bit disheartening, not to mention frightening. if nothing else, i found out that this "part time work" would be selling knives. door to door. commission only.
interview number two was with a company called triple crown business solutions, inc, which boasts to provide marketing support to fortune 500 companies. again, part time work. excellent compensation. vague description. i researched them as well, and found out that they are a part of this parent company. my actual job description? selling office supplies to businesses door to door, unsolicited. commission only.
i did not attend either interview.
i did not cry.
yesterday, my precious temp agency called me to set up a job interview with an organization that is both legitimate and non-profit! on monday, i will drive my rented hyundai accent (b/c my tired cr-v is in the shop, her back end being reconstructed after my december "i done got rearended" accident) down lake austin blvd in business professional glory and wow them with my administrative abilities. and afterward i will, with all humility, offer several pleasepleaseplease prayers.
for now, i am trying not to berate myself for having all these days off with no pay, even though there are bills to pay. i will attempt to drink my white tea in peace. i will try to write. i will breathe deeply with gratitude for all i have, and stop worrying about that which i don't.
and i will read my friends' blogs.
saturday afternoons are nice things. and with this laidback few-day schedule, i could really become a prolific blogger again. today has gone like this: lazy morning with coffee and raisin nut bran followed by a trip to the library, where i not only got my own card, but checked out james baldwin's giovanni's room, and nora gallagher's practice resurrection. from there, i headed over to mozart's and sat outside awhile with not quite this view:
picture me at the far left table. unfortunately, the day is incredibly grey, with murmurs of thunder in the background, and they've drained a bit of the lake for a winter cleanup. so yeah. the boats were there. and some of the water too. but lots of mud. and birds. still lovely, though.
and now it is drizzly so i've packed up and come over to cozy little coffeeshop called the green muse near home. what yummy espresso they have! and outlets at nearly every table! (desk lamps too!)
i've got this time on my hands, and i'm not sure what to do with myself. though i could be carefully crafting some sort of something with words, i feel more inclined to be mindless. sad, isn't it? it's that proverbial and constant procrastination.
but i really can't think of anything else to say than this.
maybe more will come. i'll wait for it. and fark around awhile till it does.
ahhh, it's thursday afternoon--evening now, i suppose--and i am home, after the colon study was surprisingly ended at 4 pm today.
i can't say i'm sad to say goodbye to my little workstation, to the vending machines, or to the little parking space in the lot next door where i have hidden out on breaks. i am sad to say that i'm not sure when i'll be working again. i'm sure that my temp agency will be able to find another place for me to do something mindless for a week, but i'm really looking forward to something steady. something with, say, benefits. a cube to call my own.
my little dream of steadiness may just come by way of the insurance peoples. i've interviewed thrice for the company helen works for, and if i get the position, i'll be a (say it with me now, with wonder--) customer acquisition associate. i love corporate euphemisms. i especially love the mundane translation: call the 800 number for an insurance quote, and i will be the operator standing by, armed with a month's worth of training to convince you that our insurance is the best insurance. rah rah rah!
so, here's a wee survey for you (and it has nothing to do with the state of your colon, i promise. just keep it healthy). does your job have a corporate euphemism? and what's its translation? if you have no job title, make one up. it's fun. like, if you're a temp like me, you could be...say...um...a diversified and transitional administrative associate. or something.
go on, try it.
ooo, i want one of these:
helen has one, and i rode it around the block today (with a helmet on, mom). my ankle is slowly healing, and i think that with some practice, i'll be able to ride to such coffeeshops as flipnotics, where i'm at right now (and have been allllll day.)
ooo, and look at this bike--a nice vintage one with fantastic reflectors. i might just bid on ebay.
i think i may just have too much time on my hands.
friendees: can i get a witness? if you're reading this, near or far, will you please stand up and let your voice be heard? i just gots to know who my audience is anymore.
[i.e. bananie drinking a fat tire.]
it's friday night at bouldin creek, and i'm sitting here with my negra modelo (with lime, por supuesto...) and i'm awaiting my grilled cheese con hierbos. yum. it even comes with chips and salsa. all this to say, i'm here to work--to get some words down that are easily read and hopefully digested for a long time...
it's been quite a week since i last wrote. i've continued to take account of the state of texas' colons, and i'm finding that people in el paso don't like to talk to me, and people in dallas do. so there you go.
people don't like to be cold called, and it's amazing how many are running out the door when i want to talk with them. occasionally, i get a more interesting excuse. here are my top three, in no particular order:
1. i'm sorry, but i can't talk. i'm teaching a watercolor class.
2. i have an emergency! something on my stove has caught fire.
3. i'm 97, and i don't worry about cancer no more.
meanwhile, i'm getting to know vebbie on an intimate level. i've been giving her rides home every night, because the she has to take the bus for over an hour to get home. that's no fun at all. during our rides in rush hour traffic, she tells me about her family, her life, and what she'll make for dinner--if we ever get home.
she's from alabama, and has never been on an airplane. she's got a son named jude (good name, eh bandude?) and she's not quite sure the difference between manwiches and sloppy joes. her mama had a stroke recently, while they were on the phone. but she's doing better. slowly.
vebbie wasn't at her workstation behind me when i arrived today. "her brother died unexpectedly last night," our supervisor told me. "he'd had a stroke last year, but they thought he was doing better." we're all going to sign a card for her. poor woman--she's taking a greyhound all the way to alabama.
it's all so precarious, isn't it? just yesterday, we were talking grilled cheese and peach cobbler, and now her brother is dead.
it reminds me of christmas: houston. helen and i celebrated with her family, and i got to kiss on her wonderful grandmother, marguerite, who had just received the cosiest pink robe ever. "i'm just so happy," she told me twice. "it's nice to hear all the laughter coming from the kitchen, isn't it?"
three weeks later, we were all gathered around her hospital bed in ICU. her family loved on her with kisses and songs. and then she was gone; helen was a pallbearer.
i got to go home to erie this weekend. i surprised my mother for her birthday. after a day of delays (i missed my first flight), i arrived while peggy, drew, poppop, alaina and bobby, aunt mary helen, and mom were gathered around the dinner table. mom looked at me in pure confusion and exclaimed, "you're kidding!" and then she threw her arms around me and wept happy tears. we all sang happy birthday, and she blew out her candles. it was good to be home.
it's winter in pennsylvania, very much so. bob, alaina, and i played in the snow on sunday morning. we had a snowball fight, which i won (because they are 6 and 9, respectively). we threw each other down in the snow, and ran around like crazies. and afterward, i made hot cocoa, the real kind: hot milk simmering on the stove, baking cocoa and sugar. yum. my beloved niece and nephew spent the whole weekend arguing over who got to sit next to me on all occasions (i sat in the middle, peacemaker that i am).
how lucky am i to have had so many members of my family around me this weekend. i watched my mom have a birthday. i fostered the kind of memories the kids will store away in the youthful nostalgia drawer of their hearts. i played. and i kissed them all (except drew) on their heads.