As I was sitting in my car at the lake today eating lunch, a car pulled up nearby and parked haphazardly. I looked over and saw a girl staring straight out at the lake with her engine still running and music blaring. Several minutes later, as the loud music continued to play and the engine continued to run, I wondered what she was doing there and I looked over. The girl in the car was crying and wiping her eyes with a napkin. It was very sad and I wanted to ask her what was wrong. I felt especially sympathetic because I myself have spent a few lunch breaks at that very same lake dealing with emotions of my own. I wanted to tell her, hey, I've been there. Haven't we all?
My next stop was the bank. I wanted to go to the ATM which, at most banks in my experience, is straight through the front door. This one was strangely absent however, so I walked around the building searching for it. In the back of the building I came upon a drive-thru ATM with a car pulled up to it. I felt a little silly as I stood waiting my turn behind the car and another one pulled up behind me.
Last of all, I went to get gas. I knew I had money since I had just walked through the drive-thru ATM, but as my gas was pumping I got to thinking what would happen if I didn't. What if someone got gas and then went to pay but their credit card was declined and they didn't have any cash? It's not like being at the grocery store or something where you can simply leave without your purchases. I mean, you can't take the gas back out of the car. So what happens? I once went through a toll that cost $1.25 and realized I had absolutely no money, not even change at the bottom of my pocketbook. I think the guy wrote down my license plate number and gave me a little form to fill out and send in to some address with a check for the $1.25. It was something ridiculous like that and it was a long time ago. There's a gas station in my town that only accepts cash and a bunch of really shady guys work there. I hate to imagine what kind of "deal" they'd work out if I were to find myself there without cash.
¶ 3:56 PM
Thursday, May 29, 2003
When I got home last night there was a sign on the door of the building that said, "Wet Floor - Do not walk in. Please use back stairs." Perplexed, I turned around, walked down the side alley to the back door, only to discover that it has no handle on the outside. There was no way to get in that way. I was starting to feel like I was involved in some kind of prank. I retraced my steps to the front door and boldly walked right in, past the sign instructing me not to. At the top of the stairs was another sign warning me to go no further due to the wet floor. I blatantly disregarded it and proceeded to walk across the completely non-wet floor. I noticed a similar sign at the top of the back stairs which means that they too would've been the incorrect point of entry. The whole thing made no sense. However, I sat in my apartment feeling like a fugitive. But at least I was in my apartment. When I'm trying to get home after a long day, nobody better try to stop me.
¶ 5:01 PM
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Last night my roommate and I were laughing hysterically together over a Dateline special about single people trying to find love. I guess it just happened to strike us as funny, even if it was a little sad. The thing is, it's not too often that my roommate and I have such fun together. Sometimes we just click and sometimes we just don't.
At times like that I start to miss my old roommate. Yes, she had severe manic-depression and that was hard to deal with at times, but she could also be a really good friend. She was endlessly patient with me and laid back about sharing anything of hers. If I wanted to sit up until 3am analyzing my life, she would sit up with me and listen. If I needed to escape (as I so often do these days), she and I would hop in the car and just drive. She always made me laugh so hard that I would forget whatever was bothering me for a little while and feel like I was escaping and not just attempting to. For example, I can remember one particularly humorous drive we took where we were singing that old name-game song but instead of using actual names of people, we were using names of venereal diseases. She never got tired of playing along with any crazy idea I happened to have. And I always knew that no matter how bad my problems were, hers would always be worse. That's really sad but it's true. Maybe I should give her a call sometime and see how she is.
Meanwhile, I long for the day when I am solvent enough to live in my own apartment and not need a roommate at all.
¶ 4:50 PM
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
As I was on my way through the courtyard to the cafeteria today, I ran into a coworker. He is in his sixties and has a bit of a stoic nature. I've never seen him express much emotion either positive or negative. In fact we've never really exchanged many words at all. He said hello to me and then suddenly said "Stop! There's a penny on the ground." I looked down and saw that there was indeed a penny on the ground. He said "which one of us will get to it first?" as though I was about to duke it out with him over a penny. I said, "that's o.k., you can have it." He picked it up explaining that he liked finding pennies because they brought him good luck. I saw another one a short distance away and pointed it out to him since I thought he would be happy to have double the luck. He picked it up and handed it to me. "Here, now you can have good luck too", he said. I thanked him and placed the penny in my pocket and continued on my way. I have long since stopped believing in the luck of a found penny or wishing on stars or placing hope in such little things. This man has seen a lot in his life, including the murder of a coworker right in front of him. But he still picks up pennies for luck.
¶ 3:41 PM
I thought Memorial Day is supposed to signify the unofficial beginning of summer. It has been barely 50 degrees and raining for a week. Today I'm wearing a sweater and my winter coat.
* * * * *
This weekend I saw "I am Sam" and was quite impressed. Sean Penn sure has come a long way from being Jeff Spicoli and ordering pizza in class.
¶ 8:46 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2003
I took the day off yesterday and went to see the new Matrix movie. My general impressions are that this one was a means by which to get to the third movie. It hit the ground running as far as having no recap of the story whatsoever, and personally, it's been a long time since I saw the first one. I would recommend to anyone planning on seeing it, that you rent the first one and watch that beforehand, just so you're up to date on what's going on. It took me most of the first half of the film just to get everything fresh in my mind. Not only that, but I'm sure that there were a lot of little things here and there that I didn't quite get as effectively as if I had remembered all the details. The symbolism was great though and I just love movies that make me dig for deeper meaning. The Matrix raises a lot of questions and can really make you think. I guess the freakiest and most important aspect of the Matrix is that it makes you question the nature of reality. I'm going to delve into this deeper in another entry but I think I need to formulate my thoughts first.
* * * * *
And speaking of freaky, last night, I was sleeping soundly, when I was awoken suddenly at 3am by the phone ringing. I jumped up to check the caller ID with my heart pounding since I was alone in the apartment and had no reason to expect a call at that hour. It turned out to be a number belonging to someone who I think is a friend of my roommate so I didn't answer. The caller did not leave a message and I drifted back to sleep. Ten minutes later I was startled again by the phone. This time I didn't even get up but I was getting angry. Again no message. Again I dozed off. Again another ten minutes went by and the phone rang. By this point I was really angry but too sleepy to pick up the phone and tell the person off. I took the phone off the hook and slept peacefully the rest of the night.
However, this middle-of-the-night disturbance has been on my mind all day. Why did this person call repeatedly and why didn't they leave a message? Was there some immediate urgency or were they just being drunk and stupid? Have you ever had a bad dream that you wake up from but then carry it around with you all day as if it's haunting you? That's how I feel. Someone for whatever reason, was obviously desperate to get through. At least I didn't hear a knock at the door or footsteps on the stairs (I don't have stairs in my apartment). Then I would've really felt like I was trapped in a horror movie.
¶ 4:21 PM
Everyone in my office is pregnant. O.K., maybe not everyone. Not the guys at least, and not myself, thank goodness. But just about everyone else is. There are currently four women walking around with large baby-filled bellies (o.k., that's not everyone but it feels like a lot.) I can't look up from my computer screen or walk down the hall without coming face to (face? foot? elbow?) with an unborn child. In addition, there are currently three women on maternity leave and four guys' wives have given birth since I started here in January.
This morning one of the maternity-leave women arrived, newborn in tow. What followed was an hour long gathering right in front of me of just about every woman in the office passing this poor child around, speaking in silly high-pitched tones, and asking questions of the mother regarding the most intimate details of feeding, changing, and indeed even burping this baby. I myself am not anti-baby, not by any means. I just find it a little hard to jump on this bandwagon, o.k.? I know that I sound cynical and I'm alright with that.
Anyway, what's amazing to me about the whole process, is that when this woman was pregnant, she had the hugest stomach I've ever seen on any pregnant woman. I thought at any moment a Volkswagon Beetle might burst forth from her womb as surely as any baby. I used to feel sorry for her, lugging that stomach around, dragging herself slowly in the door in the morning, and lumbering slowly down the hall. And because of when I started working here in relation to when she gave birth, I had never seen her not look this way. Imagine my surprise to see her, stomach-free, with a cute, tiny, round-headed thing, no bigger than a loaf of bread. So, the amazing part is thinking the last time I saw that baby, it was in the form of a giant stomach. The difference is as dramatic as a caterpiller turned to a butterfly. How is it even possible?
¶ 11:24 AM
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
I went for a walk and I bought a magazine and I went to a little park, plopped myself down on the grass and took off my shoes and socks. I actually started to feel a little too hot but after the winter we've had, I am definately not going to complain. Not one tiny bit. I hear they've just discovered that the planet Neptune has seasons. Because it takes 165 years to get just once around the sun, winter on Neptune lasts 40 years. I promise not to complain about heat this summer.
¶ 4:23 PM
Monday, May 19, 2003
So Friday night I went to see a band. It's been a long time since I've done that. But sure enough, it wasn't hard to slip back into rock-chick mode. It was enjoyable but somehow hard to muster up the old enthusiasm. I don't know, it felt sort of... different somehow. Maybe it was the earplugs (which I highly recommend - they made a world of difference!) or the fact that I was nursing the same drink all night.
A notable thing that I saw was a guitarist who's guitar strap had long silver spikes on it. From the back he looked like a dinosaur of some kind - the kind with spikes on their backs. It was bizarre and I kept wondering if he ever hurts himself or anyone else with that thing.
I also saw a couple who spent the entire night in the corner alternately gazing into each other's eyes and making out. It was quite obviously a new relationship. They had that look of couples who don't seem to care if anyone else exists in the world besides the two of them.
At the merchandise table, while accompanying my friend in purchasing a cd, I must've struck the fancy of the cd seller because when no one was looking, he slyly motioned for me to come over. Then he handed me a cd and said "shhhh". I wasn't sure what to do in response to being given a secret free cd, so I just thanked him and rejoined my friend. People do weird things sometimes. I wasn't sure if he was just being friendly or if he was trying to hit on me. It was perplexing, and therefore somehow uncomfortable, because I genuinely didn't know what the proper reaction would have been in that situation. And usually I'm so socially versatile.
* * * * *
Saturday night I saw this movie and was surprised by how much I liked it. It was one of those movies that was definately full of symbolism and deeper meaning so I'll probably have to watch it again just to get all that. I can't really tell you why I liked it. All I know is I was completely focused on it from beginning to end. I didn't get bored or wonder how much longer it would last, or anything. It's based on a book so I think I may just have to read it. That's always a weird thing. Generally if you read a book first, you are less likely to enjoy the movie (which happened to me with this one because for one thing, the writing was just so memorable and it was certainly lost in the filming) but if you see the movie first, you can usually enjoy the book just fine and maybe even understand it better (as was the case for me with this one) Just a thought.
¶ 4:42 PM
Here's an amusing little anecdote: I sent an email to my roommate to say that I was thinking of going grocery shopping this evening and wondering if she needed anything. Her reply was to ask if I wouldn't mind picking up "mushrooms and coke". I just found this so funny. Does anyone else get it?
¶ 12:48 PM
Did you ever have someone tell you something completely unexpected, which they must have just assumed you already know, and then you have to struggle to maintain your composure, so as not to make a big deal out of it? We have a facilities guy here who is actually an adorably sweet young boy. One day when going through some old files in my desk, I found a list of employees birthdates on it and was amused to discover he was born in 1980. 1980!! Ha ha! He's a baby! Anyway, he's just a very nice kid - always ready to lift a heavy box or remove a deceased fish from the tank. This morning, he and I were exchanging pleasantries and I asked him if he had done anything fun over the weekend. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when he said "Well yeah actually. I had my daughter this weekend and we went to the park." Um, what??? He has a daughter??? What a shocker that was.
¶ 10:44 AM
Friday, May 16, 2003
For some reason everyone wants to talk to me about drinking today. First there was someone's recounting of her visit last night to the "Pub". Then suddenly, I'm knee-deep in a discussion with this guy about how to make different drinks, particularly martinis. The mail man came in and asked me if my weekend was going to entail drinking. Then he quickly asked, "you are old enough to drink, right?" I know, I know, I look young, but I'm plenty old enough to drink, thank you very much. Anyway, what I'm wondering is, would this be considered a form of synchronicity? A sign that I should heed? Am I supposed to imbibe alcohol this evening? Or avoid it at all costs?
In all seriousness though, I've always thought that synchronicity is a weird phenomenon. I certainly do notice when suddenly something comes up multiple times at random in a short period. Then I read this book and it gave me chills.
Hmmm... perhaps I'll add more to this subject later... right now, I'm finally free to walk out into the light of day and make my way home from work!
¶ 5:23 PM
Thursday, May 15, 2003
If I haven't updated my blog today, it's because the relentless sticking of labels onto envelopes which has been my fate in life all afternoon, has robbed me of all creative energies and left me feeling apathetic and lethargic. In fact, this project is an example of tediousness, if I had to give one.
However, if there is one thought at the edge of my brain urging me back to the realm of zest for life, it is this: mango sangria!! My favorite Mexican restaurant is going to have an entire sangria menu starting next week!
Do I speak too dramatically sometimes? I'm afraid I say things during intensely emotional moments which in retrospect make me wonder what the heck I was talking about. Sometimes I feel like aliens have taken over my brain - or at least my vocal chords - and render me unable to think before speaking. If I have offended anyone this way, I hope they will accept my apologies. Crazy times breed crazy reactions, I guess. Maybe I'll just stick to apathy... back to labeling envelopes for me...
¶ 5:03 PM
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Oh my goodness. The worst picture of me ever in the whole world has just been circulated to the entire company. Apparently part of the orientation process is to get your picture taken so it can be emailed to everyone. I managed to escape this unfortunate obligation for the entire four months that I've been employed here. Today, I was not so lucky. The worst part is, while most of the people who are at this very moment, no doubt studying and critiquing this hideous example of photography, have already seen me in person and can probably vouch for my relative cuteness, some of the people receiving this picture via email are people who work in our satellite offices in different parts of the country and have never seen me face to face. I've spoken to them over the phone plenty of times and now, every time they call and reach me, they're going to be envisioning this horrible picture. Great.
¶ 5:23 PM
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
Last night I saw a commercial for Home Depot. They're featuring something called "Do It Herself: Workshops for Women". Um, what??? That's not just a little bit insulting or anything.
I also happened to be watching some of the unauthorized story of Three's Company. That Suzanne Somers - she got a big head and now where is she? Selling the Thigh Master or something? See, no one even knows.
Today I had to make a welcome sign for a visiting client. All that means is that I had to stick letters on the welcome board which reads "(my company name) welcomes". What's funny is, I always find myself thinking of dirty words or clever phrases I could be writing. I admit it, I am not above such juvenile pranks. If it weren't for the fact that I would quite obviously be the guilty party in that scenario, I might just do it.
¶ 12:10 PM
Monday, May 12, 2003
I'm so glad to have gotten through last week. When I am stressed out, even the most basic functions become difficult. Eating anything, like a bagel with strawberry cream cheese for example, becomes akin to how the people on Fear Factor must feel as they're trying to choke down raw sheep eyeballs. I'm happy to say that my appetite has returned and I now feel like eating just about anything. Anything that is, except for raw sheep eyeballs.
¶ 2:55 PM
Friday, May 09, 2003
I'm not proud to admit it, but every now and then I go to McDonald's. Yesterday I went for lunch because it was a drive-thru, nearby, and I was in a hurry. I ordered a happy meal as I always do because they're just the right size. The guy at the window asked me if it was for a girl or a boy. I said it was for a girl and then said "it's for me, actually". The guy started laughing and explained that they ask that so they know which toy to include. I didn't know whether to be offended or charmed.
In this day and age of political correctness I'm sure there has been a parent or two out there who cries sexism when they are asked if the happy meal they've ordered is for a girl or boy. To be honest, I found it kind of refreshing. I thought it was a nice gesture that McDonald's wants to ensure my satisfaction with my toy by giving me something gender appropriate. Hey, it's a free toy. I took my cardboard lunchbox, decorated in bright pinks and purples with pictures of little girly things on it, and drove off. Wasn't I disappointed to discover that I had ended up with some sort of army-green plastic tiger with a mean snarl?? They must've accidentally given me the wrong toy. Unless I'm missing something.
¶ 2:29 PM
Thursday, May 08, 2003
The few people who I do feel close enough to here at work to be truthful with as to the fact that I'm having a bad day today keep saying, "but there's an ice cream sundae party this afternoon". Ah, if only that were the answer to everything.
How much worse could I feel? The nice older woman who sits near me is upset because the last person who has been on leave since "the incident" has just resigned. She keeps coming by my desk to get candy from my bowl because she says, she eats a ton of candy when she's stressed and she tells me she feels guilty for that. I told her that heck, if all she does under stress is eat candy, then she's not doing so bad. My goodness, that's such a miniscule self-destructive tendency as far as these things go, and certainly nothing to feel guilty about.
¶ 10:59 AM
Here's a fair warning: this is not going to be a cheery entry. I found something out last night that felt like an emotional equivalent to a punch in the stomach. Or to be more specific, albeit dramatic, I feel like everything I've believed in has collapsed into nothingness.
I've always thought that everything happens for a reason. Maybe someday I'll look back on this with wisdom and be able to say that the experience taught me something valuable. Right now I don't know how that's possible. All I've really learned is that I'm the only one I can trust because I seem to know intuitively what's going on at all times. There are just some things that I'd really rather be wrong about.
All I know is, I have no idea how I'm supposed to get through the next few days at work when I can't even think straight. I have no idea how I'm supposed to smile and say "Fine thanks" when people politely ask how I am, when really, I'm fighting back tears. I feel like all I can do is pray for a sign to show me what in the world it is I'm supposed to do now, because I haven't a clue.
Oh, and to add insult to irony, there's going to be an ice cream sundae party at work this afternoon.
¶ 9:03 AM
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
Last night something weird happened. I was sitting at my kitchen table by the window talking on the phone. All of a sudden a flash of light from outside caught my eye. I looked out and saw someone skulking around on the roof of the building next door with a flashlight.
As a concerned citizen, I placed a call to my local police department to let them know there was a person (potential burgler? escaped convict? serial killer?) on the roof with a flashlight. They asked me if I had access to my roof. I'm not sure what that had to do with anything. Were they planning to apprehend the suspect via the roof of my building? Luckily, I didn't have to find out. They conferred with one another in the background and then came back on the phone and told me they were just getting some kids off the roof. I was momentarily relieved.
Then I started thinking, what were punk kids doing running around on roofs in the middle of the night? I mean, it's bad enough that every time I go outside I have to deal with the old pervy guy who owns the small restaurant next door. He sits in the street all day and either grins lecherously as I pass by or if I walk on the other side of the street to avoid him, starts whistling at me to get my attention. Now I also have to contend with kids on the roof? At least there are no abandoned shopping carts lying forlornly in my yard like at my old apartment where one just appeared one day. Now I don't have a yard.
¶ 3:50 PM
Saturday was quite a night. I realize that martinis are not my friend. Drinking them, though making one feel trendy and sophisticated, is so not worth the straight alcohol they're composed of. We all ended up back at my apartment and the girl who lives across the hall knocked on the door at 3am. Not because we were making a ruckus, but because she wanted to borrow, of all things, a cell phone charger. She proceeded to sit right down and join us and listening to her was very entertaining. Yesterday I felt awful all day. I'm getting old and that's depressing. I really wanted to talk to someone who I absolutely could not find. That was the worst of all.
But hey, happy Cinco De Mayo - a wonderful holiday dedicated to the consumption of my favorite kind of food, Mexican. I think I'll pass on the margaritas this evening, thanks.
¶ 11:55 AM
Friday, May 02, 2003
I just went to the bank to order some new checks. As I was sitting at the customer service desk, just seconds after the woman helping me pulled my information up on the computer, the power suddenly went out. The woman looked up sharply and said "Oh this is not good, this is not good." My panic-stricken mind immediately jumped to the conclusion of some kind of an elaborate bank heist. About one minute later the power came back on. However, the banks computers look like they haven't been upgraded since 1985. It took approximately half an hour for them to come back on and work the way they were supposed to.
Meanwhile, a long line of people was growing as the tellers were at a standstill. The tension in the air was palpable. Suddenly, a burly looking man with a bellowing voice said "Is there some kind of problem here?" and then stormed over to one of the other customer service desks. Already feeling quite jumpy by this point, I watched him apprehensively. I couldn't hear the conversation he and the woman had, but the next thing I knew, they were hugging! It was a completely unexpected occurance. I'm left to wonder if they knew each other from before, or if going through something as traumatic as the bank losing power just naturally brings people together.
¶ 2:52 PM
This morning on my way to work I saw something strange. I drove by a house that looked very worn - green paint chipping, screens falling off, weather-beaten American flag, broken down lawn chair... but here's the best part. In the front yard was a little stone gargoyle that looked like a miniature version of the ones that come to life in Ghostbusters. This little scary statue had one giant wing emerging from his back. This observation spawned a whole bunch of questions in my mind. Why only one wing? What happened to the other wing? And if your house was so delapidated, would you even bother to decorate your lawn with gargoyles? What's the deal with gargoyles as decorations anyway? Aren't they a bit frightening? I don't know, the house looked as though the owners had taken off in a hurry quite some time ago. "Oh no, we forgot to bring our one-winged gargoyle when we fled the premises." The whole thing just felt a little creepy to me.
¶ 9:23 AM
Thursday, May 01, 2003
I have a special friend who happens to be a fish. He lives in the tank in the lobby and every morning and evening it is my responsibility to see that he and his 5 fish colleagues are well fed. He is my friend because he's a bit of a loner in his tank and I tend to worry about him. He stays in one particular corner and doesn't socialize much. I think maybe he's sad because a friend of his passed on not too long ago. I read an article yesterday about a study confirming that fish do have feelings. Um... was there ever any doubt?
¶ 5:26 PM