Friday, February 16, 2007

The Problem:

I really, really hate my job. The main reason is that I don't know what my job is. The main reason for that is that my boss is a raving psychopath. One minute I'm helping with event planning for an enormous VIP-ridden event (I don't give a shit about VIPs, I've learned, unless they are Emmylou Harris), the next I'm making her foil (single process) appointment with Brad Pitt's stylist and calling the chef to tell him that she needs her crudite on a round plate rather than a rectangular one. Some days I stare at my computer all day and want to off myself. On other days I run around like a crazy person, trying my best to do what I'm asked with only 20-30% of the information I need. Often in heels.

Today I learned that one of my coworkers is quitting in two weeks, which will increase my workload, confusion, and general sense of unbalance that has been accelerating since I got this job about tenfold. I'm kind of in denial about how much it's really going to suck. Maybe I'm just in shock. I had an interview last week for a job I actually want, so maybe I'll get out of there soon.

But for this evening, anyway, I have a solution: 1. Weed. 2. The carpenter. Not necessarily in that order.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Note to Self: Alone

Today I was reading a submission to the major lit journal for which I am a minor reader, and I had a flashback. I'm not sure what unearthed this entirely forgotten memory, but I think it has something to do with the Midwest, isolation, and hermitly scholarship.

The submission came from a woman who lives in the northern midwest and teaches at a small college with a religious affiliation. Her poems were funny and strange and dense with weird imagery. They were kind of like the poetic equivalent of a taxidermist's workshop (I wish I could say I didn't know what one looked like). Having spent a good deal of time in the small city in which she resides, I immediately felt sorry for her, knowing that she probably felt lonely and misunderstood there. Then I had the flashback which kind of froze me for about a half and hour.

1981, maybe 1982. My family went to visit a colleague of my dad's in the northern midwest, close to the taxidermy poet's state. The woman must have been a research scientist of some kind, since she was a friend of my dad's. Or she could have been a lab technician--it doesn't really matter. She lived alone in a beautiful house that I think I've dreamed about in years since, though I haven't been able to identify the house until today. (I still need to ask my dad about this woman. She may not even exist.) The house was all on one floor, with beautiful pale wood floors in a region of the country that favored highly textured and food-colored wall-to-wall carpet. It was the barest house I'd ever seen: there was nothing in it she didn't absolutely need. She lived there alone and seemed unaware of the needs of children. Ordinarily my brother and sister and I would have complained to my parents of boredom, but I don't remember this happening. I remember eating dinner at a beautiful plain dining room table that was like a door. She had unapologetically prepared some kind of food that kids wouldn't like. She talked to all of us in the same way--as though we were all close friends, even though two of us were 7 years old and one was 4. The most resonate part of this flashback was how enamored of this woman I was. Without verbalizing this even internally, I realized she had the life I wanted. I saw how different she was than my parents: no loud TV, no toys and homework and briefcases and student papers scattered everywhere, no hairy pets, no noise, no churchy friends, no mainstream middleclass comfort. She seemed classless--her house was beautiful but small and empty. I had the overwhelming sense, though I wouldn't have had the language to say it, that she had the exact life she wanted. And the life she wanted had little more in it than herself. I think this is the life I saw for myself when I was small: there was no judgement around it, I just knew somehow that her life was the one waiting for me as an adult, and it gave me a huge amount of comfort to see it.

I think I thought about this woman and her house a lot when I was little. But something--the culture, my inherited religion, my parents' need for absolute conformity--buried it. Then I became boy crazy, began my path of serial monogamy, got married and yadda yadda yadda. And now I'm here, not living alone, but more alone than I've ever been...going on two years of aloneness, just blissful (sometimes) shrewness. And in all this time I never thought of this woman until today. I think I had glimpses of her when I would stare at For Rent signs in Swale, stare at them and fantasize of a space all mine, all alone. I loved helping friends look for their one-bedrooms, because I could imagine moving into those spaces too, just me and my things, and cut out the clingy apendage I had somehow grown without wanting it or asking for it. One of the saddest days of my life was when choad annouced that he was moving in with me. I felt my real life scurrying away as I dutifully accepted his massive media-heavy presence in my my my space, my life as a lone person, the life I was supposed to have.

I want to remember this when I'm in boymode (for lack of a better term). I can't tell if these longings are real or dictated by my hetero and coupled family and our relationship-obsessed country. I think there is a huge part of me that wants to be alone forever. It makes me so sad that a 7-year-old girl's greatest dream can't be to one day live alone, completely alone. I think that was my dream, and I erased it. I could blame it on many things, but I did it. And now I'm bringing it back.

Of course, that dream can't exist without its opposite. I need people. I love that I'm developing a loving cohabitation with my roommate, who is one of the neatest people I've ever met. I'm so happy I have so many funny and weird and smart and lovable women in my life. Part of me thinks that I may live with a woman for the rest of my life. Then on some days I think about how nice it is, how balancing it could be for me, to have a man in my life in that way. But mostly that thought just makes me very, very tired. I'm not saying I don't need to get laid because I really, really do. And it would be nice if that could happen with someone who doesn't suck completely. But he doesn't have to move in...there's no room for him anyway, both physically and otherwise.

That being said, I have a crush on a British carpenter who rides a motorcycle, has a daughter and never wants to shack up. Who will be known heretofore as The Carpenter, should further reports be necessary.

I'm just trying to stay balanced, folks.

PS--was disappointed to learn (via one of her poems) that the taxidermy poet is married