Archive | January, 2007

Social ambush

24 Jan

Imported from MySpace blog

The other day, or week, or sometime in the past (my sense of time has never been spot on) the wife and I agreed to meet a cool coworker of mine for a quick cocktail at a so-called “hip” bar with a happy hour. As it had been a stressful week and I was just about to leave town, we were looking forward to a blessedly stress-free margarita.

We called for directions five minutes prior to arrival and were informed that two other work people from the periphery of the newsroom (and whom Avery had never met) had been invited. This upped the formality of the occasion and ruled out the usual casual chatter about personal crap that can be so cathartic among friends, but uncomfortable among strangers. Since we’d already agreed to attend, we still had to go out of pure social obligation.

After we got there we made the usual introductions, and found everyone had ordered without us. Charming. Avery, in an attempt to make the small talk that boring people find so fascinating, noticed a wedding ring on strange coworker #1’s finger and politely asked if she was married. #1 became visibly uncomfortable and squirmed away from strange coworker #2 (also a female) and said, “What? No, well, not to EACHOTHER.”

“Yeah, obviously,” said Avery (or something to that effect.)

Coworker #1 made an awkward recovery, and used the question about her marital state to launch into a lengthy narrative about her huge (HUGE, I tell you!) house with — get this — VAULTED CEILINGS. Just to make sure we’re listening, she told us about her new, state-of-the-art woodstove, and how the whole house (HUGE, we hear, and newly built!) could fill with smoke if she builds a fire incorrectly. But then, of course, their new, state-of-the-art sprinklers would come on. Saving the house, perhaps, but ruining their VERY NICE, 100% authentic Italian whatever furniture.

Later on, after we heard coworker #1 prattle on about wines, and how much she just adores whatever new, expensive wine that’s recently flooded the market, followed by a monologue on boutique whatever and pretentious this and expensive that, I attempt to steer the conversation toward middle ground — SOU, the alma mater that coworker #1 and I share.

The ever-skillful #1 used this as a chance to grill me about my capstone project and express general disdain for those of us who didn’t take part in the Mail Tribune’s publishing of seniors’ capstones. “The program fizzled after 2001,” she said. Then she asked me rather patronizingly if the Mail Tribune was “my very first job ever.”

At that point, I really should have just spit in her face. But, thankfully, coworker #1 and #2 (who didn’t participate much in the conversation) had to leave to return to work. (After more than what is an appropriate amount of wine for a lunch/dinner break, but whatever).

I wrestled with the implications of my newfound hatred for coworker #1 for a while, and I really tried (sincerely, believe it or not) to find a way to forgive her for being so callously, underhandedly slimy. People who go out of their way to make others feel bad about themselves usually (or so they say) have some sort of underlying insecurities.

“Maybe,” I thought to myself, “she comes from a very poor family, and recently came into money and is trying to prove herself in the wrong ways.”

My mother said she must’ve found something about me threatening; this is the theory I am most likely to believe, since coworker #1 had always expressed a calculated coldness toward me during our superficial and limited work interactions I didn’t see her use with others. All the same, I should have found it in my heart to turn the other cheek.

But after much hemming and hawing, I still can’t stand that bitch.

A dream I had once

9 Jan

Imported from MySpace blog

I’m on the floor of a room in a cheap townhouse apartment, upstairs. I’m with Avery, or someone, it doesn’t really matter. We’re lying there, on the colorless carpet, brown and worn down, looking at eachother with a sort of quiet acceptance. We know what’s coming. We’re not sad, we’re just resolute. We’re not angry, we’re just quietly wresting the last moments of our lives from eachother, trying, but not desperately, to find something worth remembering, something worth fighting for

The end comes in a flash of blinding light and unbelievable heat, and as the shock waves overtake us, our bodies twist and contort and melt and become unrecognizable. The image of both of us, from above, limbs arranged unnaturally, impossibly, is seared in my mind forever. We not only accept death, we embrace it. At the very least, we expect it.

But when the explosions end and all we’re left with is fallout, we’re still alive. We get up from the filthy floor, like our neighbors are doing all around us, and go outside to take in the new world. I light a cigarette because I know there is absolutely no point in preserving my health. We may be alive, but we are irreversibly damaged. Our hair is falling out. Our skin is flaking off. We are dying rather swiftly. But we still have to go on living. We still have to eat, or the last few days, weeks, or months of our lives will be even more unbearable. In that moment, on the stoop of our cheap apartment with strangers who will become witnesses to the end of our lives, we realize the futility we face: we still have to get up every day and cook breakfast, go to work and earn money, go to the grocery store and buy food, take care of the people around us. But we have to do it with no future and nothing to look forward to. We’ll never have children, there will be no future generations. We can no longer look forward to seeing the world we once dreamed of because it’s gone.

I found one

5 Jan

Imported from MySpace blog

I found a New Year’s resolution worth resolving for! After much tossing about in my head for a decent resolution, which I usually eschew entirely because they’re lame (hence the difficulty finding a decent one) I’ve decided to buy nothing new for the entire year of 2007.

Sadly, I didn’t think of it on my own. I was inspired by a news article in my very own distinguished newspaper about a group of yuppies in California who made a pact to do the same thing. They did, like I will, buy certain things new, which are impossible or just icky to get used, like undies, food and other comestibles, cleaning products for bath and home, and stuff like that. I will also refuse to purchase used clothing that has been sweated into heavily, like sweatpants and sports bras. Ewwwww.

Anyway, if you see me wavering in front of a shiny, shiny pair of new shoes or a spiffy something-or-other, slap me. Actually, don’t do that, because you’ll be physically harmed. But, if you think it’s a good idea and want to join me in my quest, let me know! We can trade stuff, or go Goodwilling together. Maybe we can start a revolution. Or just begin acting like self-righteous yuppie scum. Either way, fun will be had.

Side note: if anyone has any smallish padded envelopes, or knows where I can buy them used, that would be cool. I send mix CDs off once a month as part of the International Mixtape Project and I suspect I’ll be running low on packaging soon…




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