Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dead Letter Office

In the past two days, I've gotten two returned Christmas cards, one from 2003 and one from 2004, addressed to a friend of mine. He's someone I communicate with mostly via phone or email, so it's not too odd that I don't have his most current mailing address (which was a post office box, since he moved around a lot.)

The strange thing is that they both arrived now - one is 6 months old, one 18 months. Almost eerie - I just emailed him about it, and if I don't get an answer or find out something has happened to him, I'll freak.

I also have sent him postcards over the past year, with no return address, so I imagine the postal workers in zip code 10011 have read them all. Hopefully I wrote nothing too risque.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I hate living near bakeries. And, not it's not the sweet temptation of their window displays. It's the horrible burnt sugar smell that blows into my apartment when all I want is a nice breeze. It gives me headaches, and it happens every single day without fail.


After several days of a miserable mental state, I am now miserable with pain. Gee, wonder if there is a connection? My back hurts so much I can't get comfortable enough to sleep. Last night I managed to doze off at about midnight and some asshole kids started setting off firecrackers right outside my window. The rest of the night was just hell. It hurts to sit here at the computer, but it hurts to lie in bed any more, and I don't know what else to do. I think I should get up and shower and get dressed and go somewhere - standing and walking seem the best - but where? I'm too tired to just wander the streets but I also don't think I have the strength to lift my laundry bag, which I what I really need to do today.

Friday, June 24, 2005

I Don't Know The Korean For "I'm Sorry"

The local nail salon has three Korean woman, who do manicures and waxing, and two young Latina girls who do pedicures. Two of the manicurists have been there for years, and get the "regulars" and the heavy-duty wrap/fake nail customers. (One of these is the manager - for all I know the owner.) The third is usually there for about 6 months or so before disappearing and being replaced with another. Sometimes I learn why; one had a baby, another went back to Korea to care for her sick mother. Other times they are just gone.

A recent #3 was a very friendly, chatty older woman who unfortunately wasn't a very good waxer. Every time I got her, she would give up ("hairs too short") and send me out with a half-assed job. (Not literally. We're not talking nether regions here - eyebrow, lip only.) I don't usually complain - I don't send food back if it sucks, I am too meek to make a fuss. Usually. But one Saturday I had been sitting waiting for over an hour, carefully watching the rotation of people before me to see who would be available when it was my turn. I probably would have just left if it weren't clear that it was J, the owner. But when #3 finished her customer and said, "who's next?" the chick who'd gotten there before me said, "You go, I'm waiting for J." Which just pissed me off, although really, it wasn't the customer's fault that she was more assertive about her wants than I was. But as I followed #3 back to the waxing room, I suddenly just said, "You know, I'll just do the manicure today." And came back out and told J. that I preferred that she or #2 do my waxing. #3 came out and started my manicure and J. told her something in Korean and her attitude changed; I could tell her feelings were hurt. But as soon as she was done, #2 did my waxing.

That's me in a nutshell - too afraid to hurt someone's feelings that I wind up with stray hairs on my upper lip. I mean, other customers are always picky about who works on them - why is it I felt weird about it for weeks? I'd walk by (everyday - this place is literally on my block) and #3 would just stare out the window without her usual smile or wave.

Therefore it was with relief that last week I saw a new #3 sitting in the third chair. I was in for a pedicure, and another customer came in and asked for the previous #3. She said she had a present for her; #3 had admired her bookmark one day so she'd bought her an identical one as a gift.

"Oh, she's not here anymore," said J, and explained that she had been having headaches and had some kind of aneurysm and went blind. She said that she would see her at church the next day, and would give her the bookmark. The customer said she would pray for her as well, and for a brief moment, I wished I prayed, too.


I haven't posted anything lately because my brain has been filled with job-related stress and frustration, and I don't really want this to turn into a bitch-log. Yeah, I hate my job, it sucks more and more every day, and I am drowning without much of a game plan of how to change it. Not sure that is very interesting.

But I haven't really been talking about it very much with family and friends because I'm sure they are tired of it. They probably think by now that it's something fundamentally wrong with me, when the reality is that I left one bad situation only to be smack in the middle of a worse one. Trouble was that I had a bad feeling about this from the very start; I got the call offering me the position (not permanent, but as a temp consultant to start) and was trying to figure out how to turn it down because it just felt wrong. But people, and my dwindling bank account, convinced me to give it a shot, esp as it wasn't a permanent commitment. That second offer took 8 months, and by then things were pretty decent, although it still wasn't a slam dunk "yes" on my part. Within months, everything changed - new top management, new organization, new team manager, new role - almost all of that for the worst. And I feel stuck - I don't want to just give up, as it was hard enough to find this job. What if I can't find another? Yet, I can't really look clearly when I'm in this kind of situation - it makes me very depressed and negative which I fear colors my ability to positively market myself. Maybe knowing that will help me overcome it. I don't know.

Yesterday hit one of the lowest points. Wednesday night (after an industry cocktail party where I drank two drinks in a freakishly crowded and hot room) I sat next to a young woman on the subway who was writing in her journal in big, easy-to-read cursive. "Today was the worst day of work ever." Yup.

My back hurt at the end of the day so I skipped the gym and just came home. I slept really badly - kept waking up unable to get comfy. Considered calling in sick but there were some things I needed to do, including an early morning team meeting with the new CEO. In the shower I felt better, walking around dressing quite normal, walking the 17 blocks to work, not so bad. Sitting in the hard conference room chairs for 90 minutes? Excruciating. Really, if it weren't the CEO speaking I would have left. (Not just because it would look bad, but because he's, frankly, an ass, and would have used my exit as joke fodder, and considering it would have been a slow, stooped, awkward, painful near-crawl to the door, I'd have been forced to hear it.) After that I finished drafting a document, sent a few emails, cancelled a few meetings, and came home.

Slept for two hours. I've been lying around since - still can't sit (my desk chair is a torture device today) and lying/reclining is not perfect, either. I am currently on the couch with the laptop on my raised knees, still feeling like there is a bag of heavy sand being slammed repeatedly into the right side of my lower back. But I am so bored I need my computer.

I'm miserable.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Half Hairy

This morning, I shaved my right leg and then forgot to shave my left. I didn't notice until late afternoon. Luckily I had decided at the last minute to wear pants.

The heat is frying my brain. But what is so special about it? Isn't this just summer? Why are we all bitching and moaning? Do we whine like this for two and a half months and then forget about it until next year?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Crash...into Me

One of my favorite Dave Matthews songs is "Crush," which I will sometimes get confused with his album "Crash," which contains the song "Crash into Me" (because there isn't a song called "Crash.")

I had to share that. Really.

But I finally saw the movie "Crash" this weekend, and feel like I'm late to the party even talking about it. But it's one of those movies you want to talk about. After, I listened to the writer/director Paul Haggis on Elvis Mitchells' "The Treatment" (go podcasts! I was able to download it when it aired but save it to listen to until after I saw the film.) He said he likes leaving stuff out of movies, that wrapping everything up in a tight bow is unsatisfying for himself,and ultimately, for the audience. When the studio told him he needed to create a scene in "Million Dollar Baby" to explain what had happened between Clint Eastwood's character and his daughter, he said, "No, I don't." He also mentioned how much he loved that he saw "Mullholland Drive" in a group of 6 friends, because after the film they went out to eat and discuss the movie and it took 6 of them to figure out what had happened!

So that's how I feel now - where are my five friends to discuss this with! (I saw it on a sunny Saturday afternoon a month after it opened, and there were actually only 5 of us in the theater, but we didn't bond. One guy hit me in the head when he was coming in late, though.) It is a very thought-provoking film, or actually a very dialog-provoking film, and I haven't had the chance to talk about it with anyone!

It's intense, with emotion, thought, and violence - though not long scary blood-filled screens of pummeling or anything like that - realistic violence (car accidents) and suspenseful violence - but that kind bothers me more. I was also, early on, not sure if I could sit through the whole thing, so intense was some of the things that were happening re: racial tensions and racist behaviors. Most disturbing was how much of this came from characters who were not evil villians, but multi-faceted people. The movie places them in situations where they have to act, and often they act in a way not consistent with how you viewed them when they first appeared.

It's definitely worth seeing. The acting is superb - Don Cheadle is wonderful, as is, surprisingly, Sandra Bullock in a serious (and somewhat unsympathetic) role. And Terrence Howard - who looks so damn familiar, but hasn't been in anything I would know, based on his imdb profile.) Go see it, if you haven't!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Bongo Man

He lives in the building across from me, on the third floor, so his window is just eye level with mine from the vantage point of my desk chair. He has a computer right next to the window, and can be seen sitting there much of the time – weekend, weekday, sometimes evenings. He also has a tall narrow drum (don’t know if it’s really a bongo) on his windowsill, and a full bookcase on the opposite wall. I don’t think he can see me as clearly as I see him, as my desk is on the wall furthest from the window – but maybe, which makes me very self-conscious about walking around naked in my bedroom. Sometimes he pulls his blinds in the middle of the day and I don’t know if that means he’s taking a nap or doing something more nefarious.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I need to develop better writing habits. That sounds so lame. But I just don't have a regular writing routine. Once again, I am working on a short story only because I promised I'd be the next to circulate something for my writing group. I've written almost nothing since my online class ended.

And I call myself a writer.
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