I can understand why employment applications ask where you went to college and what you studied. I can even understand why they ask the same of your high school alma mater. But why would they possibly need you to divulge the name of your elementary school and what you studied there? And if elementary school is so important, why is there a blatant lack or regard for where you went to junior high/middle school? Is it because no one can agree on whether it is called "junior high" or "middle school" and they don't want to risk offending anyone? Because personally, I happen to feel that my junior high/middle school years have greatly shaped the type of employee I am today. At least as much as elementary school did. Where, by the way, I studied recess.
¶ 4:53 PM
The other night I had a weird dream. It involved a new job I didn't like, a huge sale on sheets and nightgowns, a stalker, a large wad of cash including some strange foreign currency, a big creepy spider, a missed lunch date, and a swat team. I swear I don't make this stuff up.
¶ 11:49 AM
Friday, June 27, 2003
When I worked in the administrative office of a school for kids with emotional and behavioral problems, our little community celebrated National Reading Week (please don't ask me when it is because I couldn't tell you) by having "guest readers" in the classrooms. The guest readers were staff members who usually didn't get to interact with the kids.
Some of these kids had real issues, but some had just had really hard lives. I was the guest reader in the 9 and 10 year old classroom. I don't remember what I read but I will never forget one particular little girl. After I had finished reading, I got up to leave. Suddenly this adorable girl looked at me and mournfully said, "Don't go, I was just starting to know you!" Her little plea was heartbreaking and I was very moved by her unselfconscious honesty and expression of vulnerability. I wanted to take her home with me and read her a thousand books.
But the truth was I couldn't do anything for her and that fact haunted me for a long time. I feel a little sad when I think of her still. I smiled and told her maybe we'd see each other again another time. I knew that it was unlikely, though I tried. I got involved with the staff's big brother and sister program and requested to be matched with this girl. However I was told there were needier children. I ended up with another wonderful little girl who I spent time with every week for three years.
But every now and then I think of the little girl from Reading Week, especially when someone is leaving my life and I know that it's most likely for good. That's what is happening today. Today is the last day for a coworker who I haven't had much opportunity to interact with but have only started to grow closer to over the last couple of weeks. I will miss her stories and her sarcastic wit. She is moving away and I know we will not be in touch. Our friendship is still in that middle stage where it is unlikely to survive without common ground.
I don't want her to leave. I know that my life would be more enriched through knowing her. I know that she could make work more fun. But at the end of the day today I will say goodbye and wish her luck and maybe even tell her to keep in touch. And deep down I know that it's unlikely our paths will ever cross again. There's a part of me that really wants to say, "Don't go, I was just starting to know you."
¶ 2:13 PM
Thursday, June 26, 2003
This very small, very cute, and very cool digital camera was found last night in the parking garage and is now sitting on my desk waiting to be claimed. So here's what I'm thinking. I take some random pictures with it like... the fish tank... or... um... a Krispy Kreme donut... maybe... someone's shoe. And then when the rightful owner is reunited with it, I act real casual, like, "oh, what is that anyway, a camera?" and giggle mischeviously to myself as they walk away.
¶ 12:52 PM
This morning the mailman arrived wearing one of those hard white hats that can only be described as a safari hat. I realized how truly appropriate this was when I picked up the mail he left for us and it was steamy hot. Inside our climate-controlled office, the outdoors may as well be a tropical rainforest, exotic jungle, or another planet.
As I sit here now, I know intellectually that we are in the grips of a heatwave. I know how it is 90 degrees out and how in typical New England fashion, we have jumped directly from winter into summer. But in here I sit comfortably, in fact blissfully ignorant of the outside air. To me this is somewhat surreal.
I enjoy summer and I prefer hot sticky humidity to blustery biting cold any day. But yesterday afternoon, thanks to the office ac, I was actually so chilly at one point that I had my jacket on. It's not a winter jacket - more of a light springtime jacket, but a jacket all the same. I was getting strange looks from delivery people coming in from outside. But really, is seeing someone wearing a jacket during a heatwave actually any stranger than a mailman in a safari hat?
¶ 12:25 PM
Some wonderful person went to the new Krispy Kreme this morning and brought in four dozen donuts. This morning everyone's raving about Krispy Kreme. Seriously, it's like, all anyone's talking about around here. It's kind of bizarre how everyone is obsessed. Well, I have to go now... a warm glazed donut awaits me.
¶ 8:59 AM
For all who are wondering, I did indeed get up and make it to work on time this morning. Perhaps I have finally outsmarted myself.
I got something in the mail today that made me happy. There's nothing cheerier than opening a box to discover toys and surprises from a fun, thoughtful friend.
¶ 12:22 PM
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
Universal forces seem to be conspiring to make me late for work. The only thing worse than looking at the clock and realizing you've overslept is looking at the clock and seeing that it's devoid of numbers. That's exactly what happened to me this morning. I staggered out of my room in a panic and saw my roommate who calmly said, "the power is out". "Yes, but what time is it?" I asked urgently. For all I knew it was 11am but to my relief it was only 6:42.
My roommate had already been up and out for a walk so she was in no danger of returning to bed and promised to wake me up before she left for work. Instead, she woke me up a mere 20 minutes later to say the power was back on. I promptly reset my alarm and proceeded to sleep straight through it and wake up at 8:03.
After another frantic drive to work, I am determined to put an end to the madness. I can't live like this! I went out on my lunch break and purchased another alarm clock - one with a battery in case the power goes out. Hopefully the addition of a new sound in my room will be enough to jar me into consciousness in the morning. I guess we'll see.
¶ 3:23 PM
Here's how I started my week: I somehow managed to sleep through my alarm until 8:10. It takes me at best 15 minutes to get to work and I have to be here at 8:30. I threw on the first clothes I saw, grabbed my makeup bag and out the door I went. Driving at close to the speed of light and applying makeup as I went, I arrived in the parking garage at 8:31, ran inside, and turned the phones on at 8:32. I didn't have time to get coffee and I have been nonstop busy ever since I got here.
There's nothing worse than that feeling when you drowsily roll over, look at the clock and realize with shock that you've overslept. It's awful having no transition between blissful unconsciousness and frantic racing around. Plus, if it had been any later... I shudder to think.
I am famous for sleeping straight through anything. In college the girls next door would be banging on the walls before I would reach the point of awareness where I realized my alarm had been going off for a solid hour. Once I had a job I hated complete with a mean boss. I had to be at work by 9 but one morning I slept until 10:30. Yikes.
My tendancy to ignore my alarm has led me to set more than one. I currently have two but in the past have had as many as 5. It does no good. I live in constant fear of sleeping on indefinately and shirking all obligations to the point of disasterous results. My ability to sleep like the dead really scares me. Like, what's wrong with me? Where do I go during that time? How can my brain block out all attempts to rouse me from slumber? Yet it's this same ability that enables me to sleep with the window open in the center of town and ignore traffic, motorcycles, sirens, construction, war protesters, etc.
I feel like I can never entirely relax and often sit straight up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering what time it is. I recently read about alarm clocks for deaf people. Apparently you put them under your pillow and instead of making noise, they vibrate like the pagers they give you at restaurants. It's an interesting idea, but that probably wouldn't work for me up either. They should make alarm clocks for people who are specifically immune to waking up. Now that's something I would buy.
¶ 2:35 PM
I just want to share that someone found this site by doing a search for "hugest pregnant stomach ever".
¶ 9:50 AM
Saturday, June 21, 2003
If you've ever seen that skit on Saturday Night Live where the older couple is at a school singing popular hits in a ridiculous way then you can imagine what I'm listening to right now. Apparently there is some kind of fair going on around the corner and all I can hear through my window are these singers who happen to be butchering songs which are not very good to begin with. I don't know if it's karaoke or what but I can't imagine these are professionals who are actually being paid for these horrible renditions. As I sit here at my computer I find that I am unwittingly tapping my foot along with the music and that the songs are seeping into my brain where I'm sure they will remain for the rest of the day.
¶ 1:35 PM
Friday, June 20, 2003
You know how someone can say one little thing and it can totally throw you? Just now someone on their way out told me to have a nice weekend and almost as an after thought to "stay out of trouble". I know, it's just something people say sometimes. But I really haven't heard that one in a while. Like, not since I was going out and partying all the time and there was a need to be forewarned about trouble and the need to stay out of it. Now I am old and my ideal weekend is time spent in bed with a good movie or a good book. Why would someone suggest I stay out of trouble? What kind of trouble exactly? Do I give off the appearance of someone who might need a little reminder to stay out of trouble? And if I was going to get into some sort of trouble would I hesitate and remember that someone told me not to and rethink the whole thing?
And that's just one example of someone saying something today that totally threw me. In other words, if I could truly cultivate no expectations then I suppose none of it would matter but then I'd be giving up wouldn't I? And I don't want to give up. I guess that in and of itself throws me. So there. But I'll be sure and stay out of trouble.
¶ 5:00 PM
Suggestion is a powerful thing. When I was 14 and I worked as a grocery store cashier, I once decided I couldn't stand being there that day and was preparing to say I was sick and needed to go home. What I didn't realize was that as I was ringing in orders and mentally rehearsing what I would say to my manager when I saw her ("I'm not feeling well..." "I have a terrible headache..." "I've never felt so awful in my life..." etc.) I was actually convincing myself that I was sick and by the time I left work, I truly wasn't feeling well at all.
It's funny how the mind works. Supposedly you can use this sort of self suggestion in a positive way too. All I know is, it's strange what you find yourself saying if you actually stop and listen.
¶ 3:14 PM
Thursday, June 19, 2003
Yesterday I got home and found a Hallmark card waiting in the mail with my name on it. I eagerly ripped it open only to find that it was from... my "friends" at Discover card. Apparently if you are late with your payments or miss one or twelve, instead of sending a mean letter threatening you with legal action and nasty collections tactics, they send a deep, heartfelt card about how times are tough and a new day is a new opportunity for a fresh start. There was actually a handwritten note expressing fond sentiments and a desire to help.
I'm not sure what to think but it was certainly a nice change. All credit card companies should be so caring and considerate. Usually if you miss a couple payments you get a letter demanding the entire amount due in full. This has never made sense to me. Um, I'm having trouble paying the minimum balance but it should be no problem for me to send the entire amount that I owe immediately! The check's in the mail, I swear!
¶ 1:35 PM
Wednesday, June 18, 2003
Apparently a mouse ran through the office this morning, right past my desk. I didn't see it, but two onlookers described it as "really big - bigger than a mouse" and "spider-like" respectively. Um, I'm sorry, spider-like? O.K., I don't care if it's a mouse the size of a small buffalo as long as it's not an abnormally large spider.
I had a mouse in my old apartment. I'll never forget the feeling of shock and horror upon my first encounter with him. It was the middle of the night and my roommate was away. I was sitting calmly on the couch in the living room, writing poetry, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark thing streak rapidly across the floor. At first I thought I had imagined it and was concerned I was going crazy. Then I saw it again as clear as day - a black mouse. I started screaming and jumping up on furniture - what else could I do, after all?
I brought home a "have a heart" trap the next day. It's one of those traps that's supposed to catch the mouse without hurting him. Well that trap sat there for days and didn't catch a thing. Finally I broke down and bought mouse-poison. Don't feel bad for the mouse, he outsmarted me again and managed to live on unharmed. I got used to him eventually. Not that I enjoyed him being there, but I stopped screaming and jumping around when I saw him. Apparently he got used to me as well because he became bolder and bolder about dashing through a room full of people in broad daylight.
Therefore, the idea of a mouse in the office is not a big deal to me. (Unlike the CEO who literally climbed on her chair and started screaming when it ran through her office.) The idea of a very large spider running around? Now that just gives me the willies.
¶ 3:42 PM
This morning while distributing the mail, I found a little card addressed to this guy, Ken, who works here, asking him to please renew his subscription to Playboy. The card was adorned with several sultry and buxom women in various states of undress. Having such a juvenile sense of humor as I do, instead of placing it in his mailbox and not giving it another thought, I felt compelled to share it with the first woman who walked by. As we were giggling over it, a couple more people happened by who wanted to know what was so funny. Before long, there was a whole crowd whooping it up and passing around Ken's subscription renewal card. Guys were making comments like, "good for him!" and we were all just laughing hysterically. I went looking for Ken so we could give him a hard time in person, but was told he wasn't in today. Nothing like ruining the punch line. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!
¶ 2:45 PM
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
I've noticed that in the movies when someone is upset or trying to figure something out, their most likely course of action is to lie on their bed and either a. gaze out the window, b. stare at the ceiling, or c. look off into the distance. I'm not very good at that. When I'm really upset I have a hard enough time sitting still let alone lounging around in a catatonic state.
When I was little I tended to think that what I saw on t.v. was reality and adjusted my behavior accordingly. I watched as people flopped onto their beds and gazed at nothing. Sure enough, almost immediately someone would say "I better go talk to him." or "Let me see if she's o.k." and within moments a heart to heart talk would ensue and the problem would be resolved.
However, anytime I would try the whole flopping-on-the-bed-and-waiting-for-someone-to-come-after-me-to-see-if-I-was-o.k. thing, no one ever did. I usually just ended up getting bored and falling asleep.
¶ 11:21 PM
I had a dream last night that I got this amazing haircut. My hair looked so great that it was a little disappointing to wake up and find that I had not in fact gotten an amazing haircut. This dream was a typical example of what Freud called a "wish fulfillment" dream. Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar. See? I knew my psychology degree would be useful for something.
I have this theory that you shouldn't have to pay back your student loans if you're not gainfully employed in your particular field of specialty, gleaned specifically from your college degree. I mean, that's only fair, right? I don't think you should be held to a vague repayment contract you signed at a much younger age when you knew so little about the world that you assumed you would transition smoothly and naturally from college into a lucrative, yet satisfying career that would enable you to pay all loans back in full and still manage to live a comfortable lifestyle full of designer clothes, fancy dinners, and weekend getaways. Now that would be wish fulfillment.
¶ 12:54 PM
Monday, June 16, 2003
Last night I watched this fascinating show about our prehistoric ancestors. I found it to be especially interesting because I am currently researching my geneology (alas no, I have not traced my family tree back as far as the cast of last night's program). The connection here is that, regardless of what you believe about our origins, if you go far enough back in time, we are all related. This idea is both amazing and unsettling depending on how you look at it. It's worth some thought anyway.
* * * * *
I think I've had a little too much caffeine today. Not as much however, as the guy who just called and jumpily said the name of the person he wanted to speak to before I was even done answering. Me: "Good aftern... " The caller (simultaneously):"Um... Bill please! Can I speak to Bill?"
People keep bringing me coffee. For some reason they think that hazelnut is my favorite flavor. Actually, I enjoy all flavors of coffee - vanilla, amaretto, chocolate rasberry, etc. I used to drink flavors like Southern Praline and Rainforest Nut. That was at my old company where we had one of those fancy machines that brewed one specialized cup at a time. All I'm saying is that if there is a special flavor of coffee, I'll try it. I like variety in all aspects of life, including my coffee consumption.
¶ 4:21 PM
Friday, June 13, 2003
In the car I heard that Beatles song, "A Day in the Life" and I remembered that when I was young, my dentist had the lyrics to that song hanging in three frames on the wall in his waiting room. I used to enjoy reading the words and pondering over what they meant. It was unlike any song I knew and of course at the time, I didn't even know it was a song at all. Imagine my amazement to hear it much later and to suddenly realize that my dentist had obviously been a pretty cool guy.
¶ 4:54 PM
Thursday, June 12, 2003
Someone just sent me a fowarded email about how there's been a rash of sales of UPS uniforms on ebay. Apparently the alarmist behind the email is implying that imposters posing as UPS delivery people could drop off sinister packages without being discovered, and in this day and age one cannot be too careful. The email recommends asking the UPS person to show their ID and also, to make sure they have arrived in a UPS truck.
This sure is a clever ploy because I never even thought of something like that. I let all sorts of delivery people in and sign for whatever they give me. My signature is being circulated throughout the shipping world at this very moment I'm sure. We have a UPS delivery guy, a Fed Ex delivery guy, an Airborne Express delivery guy, a WB Mason delivery guy, the occasional DHL Worldwide delivery woman, a mailman, a guy who restocks our coffee, a guy who refills the vending machine, a guy who brings large water bottles for the water cooler, a girl who waters the plants, a man who brings new plants, and a guy who cleans and maintains the fishtank. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a huge mansion that's fully staffed with a maid, cook, butler, etc. We're a very high maintenance company.
Anyway, most of these delivery people and I know each other by name. We're practically old friends by now. However, there is the occasional unexpected mailman, UPS guy or Fed Ex guy who show up unannounced at odd times or with extra deliveries. Are these the shady characters I'm supposed to be watching out for? Am I supposed to ask to see their identification and mode of transportation before allowing their deliveries through the doorway? I just don't know. The world sure is a crazy place these days.
¶ 3:30 PM
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
The other night I saw Finding Nemo. It was by far one of the best movies I've seen lately. I knew it would be cute and witty, but was completely unprepared for it to be laugh-out-loud funny so often.
We went to the 10:15 show so as to avoid families and children, but I was aghast to see two women arrive with a baby and a small girl no more than two or three years old. Why on earth would you take children to see a movie that late? I don't think the baby was paying much attention and I can't imagine that the little girl stayed awake for the whole movie. It was late and dark - I am surprised I stayed awake.
Do you have to buy tickets for babies or can they see movies for free? What about two-year-olds? What is the cutoff age for seeing a free movie? Tickets were a shocking $9 each. I remember when movies were a lot cheaper. It seems like the price keeps going up. Someday it will cost $50 to see a movie and young people won't raise an eyebrow but old folks like myself will say "Back in my day, you could buy a movie ticket for only $9".
¶ 2:21 PM
Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Well now I have a dilemma. My company is having a Magical Mystery Tour or something this afternoon. A bus is coming at 4 and taking people away to some undisclosed location for a few hours. I opted not to participate. I just feel that riding aimlessly along in a bus with no idea as to my destination just isn't my thing. It just doesn't sit well with me.
So anyway, I asked my "boss" (that's in quotations because I don't really have a boss per se) if I could just go home at 4 since it was the same thing. She thought it would be fine, but because it involves turning the phones off for the evening an hour and a half early, she wasn't sure it would be o.k. with the powers that be. She told me she would check with the CEO for me or I could just do what I wanted. I told her I thought it was best to check but she was reluctant to do that thinking the answer would be no. So she leaned in and in a very conspiratorial tone, told me it was up to me and if I wanted to leave early I should.
Well, what the heck does that mean? Of course I want to leave early. But what would I say later if I'm found out? I don't feel as though she was authorizing me to do it, so later I couldn't really say "she said it was o.k." I mean, what kind of guidance was I given here? To act on my own assumptions? Well that generally spells trouble. And speaking of assumptions, I've been giving a good deal of thought this afternoon to trying to figure out the difference between assumptions and presumptions. I mean, I think they're the same thing but then it occurred to me that you can be presumptous, but can you be assumptous? And if not, why?
¶ 3:47 PM
Monday, June 09, 2003
I saw this movie over the weekend. Oddly enough, it was set in Nebraska. Nebraska is definately an underrepresented state. Do you ever think about Nebraska or hear much about Nebraska? As in, "I'm from Nebraska originally." or "I can't wait for my vacation this year - I'm going to Nebraska." What is life like in Nebraska? What takes place in Nebraska? Anything? No offense to the residents of Nebraska. (I'm sure there are some.)
¶ 1:59 PM
Friday, June 06, 2003
Today I kept an appointment I made ten years ago. During my senior year in high school, my journalism teacher announced that he wanted to try something special that he did with his classes every year. He extended to us an invitation to meet him on the tenth anniversary of our high school graduation in front of the Town Hall at 3pm. He then handed out a questionnaire for us to fill out regarding our lives at the time, and where we expected to be in ten years. He collected the papers, promising to return them to us at our future meeting.
I was fascinated by the idea. 2003 seemed like such a long way off but the teacher assured us that past meetings with former students had proven successful. Through the years we received no reminders and I didn't write the date down, but I never forgot.
As the date approached I was feeling apprehensive. High school was something I had left behind long ago. Suddenly I felt all of my long forgotten teenage angst and insecurity come flooding back. It's funny how memories of high school can pull you right back to a time when you were unsure of yourself, inexperienced at life, and confused about who you would become.
Upon reflection I also realized that, though barely aware of it at the time, to be on the cusp of high school graduation is to be so full of possibility. I could have chosen any path or done a thousand things differently. If I could turn back the clock ten years, I could erase all of my mistakes and regrets and have a blank slate on which I could write anything. I was suddenly filled with insecurity over wrong choices and missed opportunity.
Therefore it was with mixed feelings that I arrived today at 3pm in front of the Town Hall. I saw my teacher instantly and approached him. He paused a moment and then said my name. I was surprised he recognized me and even more suprised when not a single one of my classmates showed up. Apparently everyone else had forgotten.
My teacher and I went for coffee and had a lovely time chatting and catching up. Instead of being disappointed at such a low turn out, he was thrilled that I was there. I actually felt really special and I'm glad I went. It was amusing to read the questionnaire I had filled out, especially the part about how I couldn't wait to finally turn 18. My teacher wanted to hear all about my life over the last ten years. In telling my story I realized that I am no longer the quiet, insecure kid who once sat in his journalism class. Somehow over the last ten years, without noticing, I have settled comfortably into being myself. For better or worse, all of my choices and experiences have led me to become who I am. And that was a nice thing to learn.
¶ 9:59 PM
Thursday, June 05, 2003
A rare good hair day can really make life worthwhile. So can a good book which I have to say I have not been able to put down. Luckily, unlike most people, I have the good fortune to be able to while away the hours at work reading if I so choose. I forget how I found out about this book but I'm glad I did. I haven't felt this way about a book in a long time. From the first page foward I was totally enthralled.
I'm starting to get a little impatient with the weather. This morning I could swear I was seeing my breath as I walked into work. Also, I am still wearing sweaters, coats, etc. Because hey, even if it's nice outside, it may as well be the arctic in here the way they have the AC on full tilt. It's too bad because I was really looking forward to wearing little summer dresses and sandels to work this year.
¶ 9:15 AM
Wednesday, June 04, 2003
Today I am frustrated. I feel like I'm always waiting for things to happen. I don't like feeling like there are things I can't control. Am I the one who is wrong for thinking too much? I have been told my whole life that my problem is I think too much. So, what, am I just supposed to dismiss things that are right in front of me instead? Sometimes I just feel so powerless.
I know the economy is bad, but I have to say, there are some people out there who are really desperate for work. Just now I answered the phone and someone said "Hi, are you hiring?" Talk about cold calling. Was she just going through the phone book or what? We get calls like that sometimes.
One day a woman came in with an envelope and told me that enclosed was her husband's resume which she just wanted to drop off. Even more disturbing was the day that some young man dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and baseball hat, walked in literally off the street and informed me that he was looking for a job. I politely handed him a business card and told him to check our website and if he saw anything he felt he was qualified for, he could send in his resume.
I don't know about you, but when I'm looking for work there is a certain protocol I tend to follow and it does not involve the above tactics. However, maybe I'm the one who's got it wrong here. I mean, everything I've ever read about job hunting advises networking, getting out there, and taking a chance. But seriously now, if you're going to pound the pavement and go door to door, is it too much to ask that you wear business attire at least?
¶ 4:55 PM