"Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am vast. I contain multitudes." -Walt Whitman
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
officespeak term of the day: 'customer-facing employee'.
as in: 'The restructuring will result in a significant number of job eliminations in some areas – particularly marketing and development. The restructuring will have minimal impact on our customer-facing employees.'
notice that the word "fired" doesn't appear in this at all. but at least "job eliminations" is closer to the truth than the hideous "downsizing".
Sunday, September 26, 2004
not dead, just swamped.
take a picture of this:
i am escaping. i'm in my sideyard, with the speakers out here (see previous posts). and yes, the laptop is out here with me. i am enjoying a ridiculously inexpensive argentinian cab sav; CCR is cranking 'midnight special'; and i'm asking angel, 'hey, want to see something really scary?'
you get it or you don't. see you when i've got something to say and the time to say it.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
somedays more than others
i look to the experts for their expertise, and realize that they're no more qualified than i. those are the days when i add the postscript to my emails: the cavalry is not coming.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
3 years later
in the months and years before, i would return from virginia on sunday nights, passing over the verrazano bridge from staten island to long island. midway across the bridge, the lights of manhattan's skyline would appear, the two towers rising up into view first. after 6 or 7 hours on the road, they were my milestone that i was back on my own island, and bed was only an hour or so away.
in the weeks after, i kept expecting to see them each sunday night; like waking up in a too-big bed when a lover is gone for good. instead there was a hollow void. the enormity and the loss and the absolute horror of what had happened was emphasized at first by the stench, the pall that reached across the water for weeks. then that too faded, leaving just the dark space where steel and light and lives had been.
something remains, though.
something like a scar.
Friday, September 10, 2004
contribute to my delinquency
go here. pick out what i should use to annoy my neighbor this weekend. hurry! you only have 4 hours!
6am. rise. shine. well, maybe flicker.
7am. arrive at work 13 hours after i left. make coffee, toast. turn on laptop, lava lamp. wait for email filter to sort through 108 pieces of spam for the 1 business-related message. try to remember what it is i do for a living. like a bad dream, it all starts to come back to me.
8am. begin project d'jour. wonder why software vendor includes audit-tracking capabilities if it only includes only some of the fields in the database. start third cup 'o joe. soundtrack: pete namlook's 'air' opuses (opi? dan, help).
9am. cup 4. discuss previous day's meeting with assistant. compare benefits of shouting down opponents in meetings vs letting them ramble and hang themselves with their own words. very little progress on project d'jour.
9:28am. nine twenty-eight 'i love you' call from angel. cool, huh?
10am. staff meeting with manager. i'm the only one who shows up.
10:30am. corporate counterpart to my r&d position stops by unannounced to discuss project. project d'jour politely tabled.
12:30pm. corporate counterpart meeting over. now i have four new projects.
1:34pm. one thirty-four 'i love you' call from angel. eat your heart out.
3pm. sixth coffee. leave me alone, i'm working.
3:37pm. laptop crashes. i go get coffee while it reboots.
5pm. i've completed two tasks! whoo-hoo! but no one knows about it, since my assistant and my manager are both gone already.
6pm. i started the day with 3 projects, one of which comprised 5 subtasks. i completed the 2 simple projects. my assistant completed one subtask; i completed 2 subtasks, leaving 2 subtasks undone. thanks to the unanticipated meeting, i gained 6 projects and 2 meetings.
that's a final balance of 6.4 projects and 2 meetings. in the red.
no wonder i never get to leave on time.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
sleaze mister sleaze
towards the end of the workday last monday the receptionist tracks me down to take an "urgent" phonecall. the caller informed her that it was something involving my children. naturally i drop everything, rush to the receptionist's desk and grab up the phone.
the caller, it turns out, is a real estate agent. apparently my children's mother is attempting to purchase a house, but her liquid assets (according to mr. real-estate) have taken a turn for the worse. can i possibly lend the missus $10,000? it seems her present lease is up in 24 hours and the children will have to move in with the grandparents (oh, horrors!) unless i can assist with the funding situation.
it's moments like these when i am most vulnerable to my typical knee-jerk reactions, and the "jerk" part usually extends up into my mouth. it being late in the day and the caffeine having worn off, i was able to respond in a more orderly and self-controlled manner.
firstly, mr. real-estate, i would certainly like to help my children keep a roof over their heads. however, my current balance sheet is running way the hell into the red (like, i can't pay my own rent this month; more on that to follow). secondly, i find it implausible that my agreeing to provide money (if i had any) at 5pm on monday is going to allow my children to move into their new home on tuesday. thirdly, i will grant you the benefit of the doubt that you did not actually tell the receptionist that this urgent call was regarding my children's immediate well-being and that there was some misinterpretation involved, because otherwise there would be some kind of family-size canister of whoop-ass being sprayed all over mr. real-estate, such that everyone from his immediate supervisor to his company ceo, not to mention everyone in the new jersey telephone directory with the same surname as his own, would be wiping it off.
ok, maybe by item number three the "jerk" part had kicked in. but at least i didn't raise my voice.
me being petty
let's bring all y'all up to speed on my current residence situation. i am renting a house that sits on my landlord's business property. the business is a landscaping service, specializing in new properties (as opposed to maintenance services). there is a goodly size one-story garage/barn out back, beyond which is an area for storing mulch, bobcats (the tractors, not the felines), etc. the north side of the property borders the street; across from us is a largish property containing a house, a small dump-truck, and a race-car. the west side of the property borders the fire station. the south side (beyond the mulch area) borders another house, home to a nearly deaf man who occasionally comes through his backyard to "acquire" some mulch.
and the east side of the property borders the Soccer Mom from Hell (SMHtm).
But this isn't about SMH. This is about her husband, and music, and me being immature and petty. We'll leave bridezilla out of this one.
On the weekend preceding Memorial Day, SMH and HubbyNextDoor hosted a cookout, during which they had a dj or a cd-changer playing tons of classic southern rock - the outlaws, marshall tucker, lynyrd skynyrd, charlie daniels.
and the allman brothers band.
fortunately for me, i like classic southern rock. which is good, because even in our bedroom, with the door closed, and the AC on, and the covers pulled over our heads, there was no escaping the music.
not being one to begrudge a neighbor a cookout, i said nothing. (ed. note: for reasons that will be detailed in a future post, there's not much point in talking directly to these neighbors.)
the next saturday, at about 11 am, the allman brothers kicked in next door. and continued for hours.
on sunday, greg and dickie started playing at about 1 in the afternoon.
don't get me wrong: i like the allman brothers band. i grew up on brothers and sisters and eat a peach, and i own the full version of the legendary fillmore concerts. HubbyNextDoor apparently really likes the allman brothers band, too. he also apparently owns only one ABB cd.
it is now Labor Day. every weekend this summer (with the exception of the weekend that SMH and HubbyNextDoor took the family on vacation), i have listened to the same damned ABB cd at least once. every saturday. every sunday.
in june i found it amusing. by july i'd grown to despise the allman brothers band.
by august i had a plan. it was petty. it was spiteful. it would solve nothing. i didn't care.
yesterday i ran fifty feet of 16 gauge speaker wire from the b-speaker terminals of my receiver out the window to the backyard. then i dusted off my old bose speakers in the basement and hooked them up out back. next, i popped in an mp3 cd and cranked it up loud enough to be heard clearly on all of our adjoining properties.
the fire station.
the deaf guy.
and SMH and HubbyNextDoor.
being the incredibly considerate neighbor that i am, i made sure to play . . .
the allman brothers band.
a cd that HubbyNextDoor doesn't have (not hard to meet that criterion). a cd that runs 2 and half hours.
i sat outside on a lawn chair, reading the great influenza and enjoying a rolling rock. and listening to HubbyNextDoor's favorite band.
but not his favorite album.
it took about 40 minutes for HubbyNextDoor to crank up his own stereo. if i walked closer to the fence i could make it out.