I started my week super excited about a spur of the moment job interview. It was right up my alley and such a perfect situation that I could hardly contain myself. I’d missed the call on Friday so when I got back in touch on Monday, they asked if I could come that morning. It was a bit of a rat race but I managed to make it work. There was a mixup and we ended up missing each other but once it was all finally worked out, I met my contact and then another for my interview. I was conference called into another office and the interview started. By the time I left, I was making my way to the car while pulling out my cell phone from my tiny purse. The rule we have is to let each other know how things went. 🙂 if it went well. 😐 if it went so-so or if we’re not sure and 😦 if went poorly. I could feel the tears starting as I typed :(. I drove home in tears not knowing what to do next. I’m in some sort of limbo and I feel horrible. I can’t express the despair and loathing that I go through daily. I cried and cried. And then I stopped. I had to. I had a guest at the house. Corking my feelings turns me into an unbearable person to be around. I’m just miserable and make those around me miserable from my miserableness. But I trudged through.
Skip ahead to today, midweek. I get a call for a book signing. It’s a local thing – nothing huge but it’s a start and the person I spoke with was encouraging and understanding. I’m excited. I’m crying again writing this. I’m happy and afraid and confused about what it is I’m supposed to be doing. I guess that’s life.
Today I find myself wondering if each person most identifies with a particular decade. Is it the decade that they most grew up in. The one that was most comfortable to them? Is it true with everyone? I was a child in the ’70’s, a teenager in the ’80’s, a young adult in the ’90’s. I mostly associate with the ’80’s, however. I LOVE the 80’s. It’s not just how great the music was – don’t get me started because it was great, probably the best ever – but it was also the big hair and poofy clothes. If I still had some of my high-waisted pants, and could actually get my fat ass into them, I would certainly wear them today. I’d grab a billowy shirt to go along. It was such a great look. Tight at the waist but nowhere else. The padded shoulders were awesome too. So triangular. It’s crazy how the waists of pants have gone from being so high to being so low.
I remember in the ’70’s, I would wear my bell-bottoms to play in. We had play clothes so that we didn’t mess up our school clothes. I can’t count how many times I’d get those giant pants legs caught in my bicycle chain. They were so big that I could get off of my bike and sit next to it while I wound the pedal around to get myself unstuck only to hop back on and get it wound in the chain again just down the road. There was no way to roll them up and by the time I’d get home, they’d have chew marks and chain grease all over them. But that’s why we had play clothes. It didn’t matter if I got grease on them or grass stains from playing football.
Groovy ’70’s clothes weren’t for me though. A friend of mine reminds me all the time of the big wings I had in my hair in the ’70’s but it was nothing compared to the height I could get in the ’80’s. I would wind my curling brush through and through getting it higher and higher each time. And then to top it all off with half a can of hairspray to keep it there.
What makes us identify with a decade? I hear my Mama talk about Fats Domino and poodle skirts. Is it just when we were most happy, most comfortable, most aware of ourselves? I don’t really know. I know I prefer those loose, comfortable clothes more than I do the tight, clingy things that are today’s fashion. I miss the ’80’s but perhaps only the clothes. I couldn’t deal with how long it would take to do my hair now. And I still have the music available to me.
My partner and I were talking about the people of California the other day. It stemmed from the fact that it seems like everyone we come across here is out for their own gratification. I don’t think I’ve ever said “It’s all about you” more times in my life than during the past year that I’ve lived here. It sort of makes sense though as sick as that sounds. We’ve started down the road of needing to make a name for ourselves. If you’re not the standout candidate, the close to genius applicant, then you’re not going to get into the top tech companies that line the streets here. It’s just crazy. Every company (tech-wise) you can possibly imagine is here. It only makes sense that everyone come here to make their name, stake their claim in the golden state. But it also makes narcissistic assholes who learn, mostly at a very young age, that in order to get ahead, you have to step on the face of their competition. That’s what we’ve taught the kids turning to technology to make their stake in this world. I’ve never met an executive that’s not a complete asshole so that’s how we learn to get there. Unfortunately, I think, it’s why neither of us will ever make it past being a grunt worker. It’s just not in us. We do have the hope of changing the world, or at least one tech company, that being a leader doesn’t mean shitting on the little people.
With every techy flocking here, it means that no one here is from here. My partner argued that she’s from here. I disagreed saying that just because she was born here doesn’t mean she’s from here. We went round and round for a bit and decided to agree to disagree.
It made me wonder where the people that are actually from here – meaning, they were born, grew up and have roots here – go to since they’re no longer here. California is such a big state, maybe they just disperse to the other 49 states. I guess if you’re not a techy person, there’s not a strong reason to stay here with the huge nerd population.
It’s just sad that everyone is out only for themselves. It makes me angry which, ironically enough, makes me not as empathetic. Hmmm.
I’ll admit, I’m a hugger. I love hugging others and being hugged. It’s warm and comforting until you come across a non-hugger. Then it’s stiff and awkward. I guess not everyone has to like hugging but shouldn’t hugging be in the same category as hand-shakes? So much is read into a hand-shake. It determines your sincerity, your stance, your professionalism, your integrity. When you shake someone’s hand and it’s like grasping a dead fish, doesn’t it turn you off? It does me. I almost want to wipe my hand off on my shirt. It’s the same with a hug. When you get that lean in that doesn’t actually touch you and then a tap on the back, I feel almost embarrassed. On the flip side, it seems invasive when those that aren’t ok with hugging grab you with some force and practically slam your body into theirs with a pound on the back and then a push away. It’s almost violent and notably uncomfortable for both.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a loved one and embracing, however. It’s familiar, sometimes intimate, and overall welcoming. It allows me to share myself with those I love, those I connect with and those I feel for.
At every event I go to, I can’t help but think back to the days of elementary school when we were all taught to form a single line, standing perfectly straight behind the person in front us. Sometimes we got to stand against the wall but we weren’t allowed to put our backs on it, we just used it as a guide to line up our shoulders, using it as the example of how it should be when we didn’t have the luxury of the wall to help us. This procedure was taught early and we used it throughout our lives. That is, until we became adults. Now, when the airline folks continually repeat for the customers not line up until their row is called, it’s as if they’ve requested each person stand and move to the boarding area to wait for their row to be called. I understand being anxious about flying but the plane is not going to leave without you. And if you think about it, giving the pilots and airline staff a few extra minutes to go through their safety checks and make sure that your bags actually get onto the plane might not be such a bad thing. Then the next set of rows are called and each person pushes their way to the door having everything that we’ve learned over the years fall out of our heads. There is no line, no wall to use as a guide to line up against. So each person presses up against one another in a giant, filled in, V shape, scootching, scootching, uncomfortable, couples getting separated, scootching. I HATE IT! Why can’t we just get in line? Why is it so hard? I blame it on the men. Why? Because there’s always a line to the women’s restroom and THERE’S A LINE! We obviously know how to do it! Get in line!
It seems like everywhere I go these days, I’m being handed a reusable bag. Similar to plastic bags, I feel that I have to take every one I’m offered and store them away in the house only to go out and get more. So many places are starting to ban plastic bags which makes the production of reusable bags that much more addictive. Every company has them, every store, every festival passes them out like candy. I get the first reusable bag so that I can tote around the 12 other reusable bags I get while walking around. I have a stack of them in the car. Another stack in the closet in the house. They come in varying shapes and sizes, colors and textures. I was proud of myself yesterday however. I was at another said festival when I took one bag. I took it because a woman came up to me and offered it to me, explaining that there was a bottle of water in it along with some coupons. Who doesn’t want free bottled water and coupons? I smiled, thanked her and then looked at the bag. It was from a retailer I despise. Dilemma. I secretly wanted the bag because it had WATER IN IT AND COUPONS! I love coupons. Hmm, but they were probably coupons to the place I don’t like to shop at. I didn’t care. I put the bag up on my shoulder but turned it so that the company name was on the inside facing me. That way, the few hundred people that were also getting the same bag wouldn’t know that it was from THAT store. I carried it around all day. I did put other material in it but I refused all other bags!
Today, I saw that bag sitting on the counter loaded down with all the business cards, handouts, booklets, stickers and such that I’d accumulated all day yesterday. I lifted the handle to peer inside. I started pulling out the random items. A nice reusable water bottle that I disassembled and placed in the sink to wash later. A wind jacket from a software company – nice. I proceeded to make piles from the other stuff. Papers, pamphlets, business cards to the recycle bin, toys to the donation box, plastic things to the recycle bin.
Once I’d emptied the bag, I folded it and added it as well to the donation box. I don’t need it but I didn’t want to throw it away. Then I wondered how many of them end up in the landfill. It can’t be as many as plastic bags, right? I probably have 20 to 30 of the reusable bags in my possession. That’s probably a similar amount of plastic bags that I used to harbor. Makes me wonder.
So, with that chore being done, I decide to fix myself some lunch. No leftovers in the fridge from last night since I didn’t cook because we were at the festival. I poked my head in the freezer and found a frozen Lean Cuisine. I popped it in the microwave and grabbed a soda. It wasn’t bad. When I was done, I put my can in the recycle container and then looked for the recycle symbol on the bottom of the plastic container. It was there so I went to the sink to rinse it. I reached for the handle to turn on the water but stopped just before I reached it. If we’re in such a drought, should I use the water to rinse my recyclable? Another dilemma. What’s worse – no water or filled landfills? The exhaust from the recycleries must cause poor air quality, right? I think about these things. Do the right thing! Well, what the hell is the right thing? I cook on the grill so that I don’t heat my house so that I don’t waste electricity running the A/C and then my neighbor complains about that. Someone, somewhere, is getting their feelings hurt because I’m sitting on the sofa using electricity for my laptop to complain about god knows what. Ugh. I rinsed the plastic and tossed it into the recycle bin. Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
With the news of Robin Williams’ suicide, I’ve been pondering and reading all of the articles on depression, sharing them when I find a good one or one that makes me shake my head either from relating to it or from the shear irony of it all. As with most tragedies that affect a large group of people, the “experts” come around spouting on about what people “should” do or signs for loved ones to look out for. I understand the reasoning behind it and I see the benefit however I wonder what friends and family think of it all. The person that’s depressed is putting a lot of pressure on them. It’s not the responsibility of loved ones to take on the onus of finding and providing help for people that have found themselves in a bad way. I’m not trying to victimize the victim. Really. I guess I’m trying to say that loved ones hear. They see. They know. But perhaps they’re just as afraid. They don’t want to lose their loved one just as much as the person going through the mess wants to act upon it. The problem is not that people need to pay attention. They already know. They just don’t know what to do or how to help. I bet more than one person that reads this knows someone that is depressed. I also bet that more than one person that reads this knows someone that has thought about killing themselves. You can’t drag them to therapy. You can offer to listen but how many actually talk? They don’t. They smile and say they’re ok with tears in their eyes. I’ve also suggested therapy to relatives. It’s as easy getting someone to go see a counselor as it is getting an elderly person into a senior community. Wait, that’s a different discussion altogether!
My point, I suppose, is that none of it is easy. I mourn the loss of the kids from bullying. I mourn the loss of Robin and the countless others that succumb to the demons. I empathize with the partners, parents, spouses, family and friends of them all that couldn’t fix it for them.