Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heart of Gold

We don't get New Year's Eve off, but we DO get Friday the 2nd off. I wish we had both off, because I don't want to be here.

I did just come back refreshed from a little time off, but that relaxation has already melted away. My drive is killing me, slowly. And now it's more than my drive and the flutes and the turkeys: It's my boss, too.

At first, it was just little things:
  • The way he makes a clucking noise when he's thinking
  • The way he doesn't bathe every day and sometimes clips his toenails at his desk
  • The way he refers to certain charts (the Prego spaghetti chart, the Everest chart) and projects (the Distributor project = "Disty") that make you feel like you're not a part of his club unless you refer to them in that way. I can tell he's trying to be cool, to make you feel like you're in the "in" crowd, but it's just falling short. It's more effort than it's worth, especially when I found out that a "Prego Spaghetti chart" is just a line graph, a "Dorothy slide" just the summary slide at the beginning. I don't want to be in his colloquial club. It's a waste of time and it just feels wrong (if anything, it should be "Distri"... he could at least abbreviate accurately).
Beyond those stupid little things, though, are now bigger things.
  • My co-workers and I frequently get called "kid" and "woman." He's got a heart of gold and what not (despite only being there for less than a month, I got a x-mas bonus and a HUGE fruit basket), and he seems to be a nice guy, so I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's not deliberately being condescending. But man, is that condescending or what?!
  • Despite his underlying heart of gold, he's quite insensitive and has no social skills whatsoever. One of my coworkers shared with me that when her future mother-in-law was ill, her boyfriend (now husband) called her at work often to keep her updated on her situation. Future mother-in-law passes away, coworker takes a week off. When she returned, my boss expressed his condolences at the Monday morning meeting. Then it comes up how her boyfriend had to call her so much, and my boss said, "Yeah every time I heard your phone ring, I thought, 'Is she dead yet?'" Heart of gold, that guy.
  • He's also just weird. I heard him say to a coworker today, "Wow, you smell very good. Like, really good. What is that delightful scent?" I heard him inhaling deeply and tried to think of how she could get out of this conversation as quickly as possible. She threw out a meek, "Uh, thank you. I don't know what it is." Luckily, after telling her she should find out, he walked away. Even at his attempts to be nice, he is Captain Bizarro.
So for many reasons now, I have been looking for another job. I am only finding sales and clinical research positions in the Boston area, however, and it's not looking good.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Freezing in Flutopia

The holiday season is here! Soon, we will get our 3 days off and I will not be in this office! I will not be doing stupid assignments (my boss asked me to "play with" a file today...I don't know what that means...)! I won't be driving for a total of 3 hours a day, trying to take pictures of turkeys! I won't freeze my ass off every time I walk down the hallway to our floor's shared bathroom! (Seriously, you can see your breath).

And, and, I won't be listening to these damned flutes!
Oh I didn't tell you? There's a flute & piccolo factory right above my office. They make a flute and then tune it. Monday is piccolo day, and I hear them tuning right now. I'm fairly certain my eyes are bleeding... You can't make this shit up. I especially love when I go to the bathroom down the hall and I can still hear the flutes. I feel like I'm in a home for the mentally unstable as I rock back and forth, trying to stay warm, ignore the flutes, and pee.

Ah, but in this holiday season, I guess I should be grateful for what I do have. This is still a job, after all, and I do still bring home bacon and what not. The unemployment rates are rising, but I have managed to stay employed. So I guess that's a good thing.

Also, instead of flutes, it could be bagpipes. And that would be much, much worse.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You should move out here

I forgot lunch today and I am starving. There is no where to eat around here! The building doesn't have a cafeteria, and you have to drive at least 15 miles away to get to a row of three Chinese restaurants; none of which deliver and all of which say your food will be ready in 10-15 minutes. But is it? Is it ever? No, it's more like 20-30 minutes, and I don't have that kind of time! I could make my own General Tso's in that amount of time!

I guess I'll just go get something from that table the dessert-making bakery type place puts out in the hallway. Their raspberry nut pastry looked pretty good...

20 minutes and a sugar high later...
In other news, I don't believe I have mentioned yet that there are only 6 people that work for this company. Including me. One of them is my boss's wife, who performs HR duties on an as-needed basis and never comes in. They always tell me I should move out here because it's so much better than living in a city. It was charming the first few times they said it, but now it's really getting on my nerves. Though I guess if I lived out here, I would be able to go home and get some lunch like they do, since they all live no more than 5 miles away. But then, I would have to live out here. That's enough of a con for me. There's no way I'm living out here with that limping bozo turkey.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drive Illustrated: Children's Edition

On my way to work this morning, I thought, Gee, wouldn't it be nice if I had pictures to remember my awesome drive by? My mind focused on the last two words (drive by), and I envisioned a turkey gangster drive by. Smiling, and thinking of Thanksgiving, I got out my camera to "shoot" a few.

I have finally pinned it down: My drive has a visual effect similar to that of the beginning of The Shining, accompanied by the narrative of the beginning of a childrens' tale. Keep the visual effect in mind as you read the following:

Teacher: Hi boys and girls! Today we're here to talk about drives to work.
Boys & Girls: Oh boy!
T: There once was a fool called "Pam":

Tommy: Why was Pam a fool, Mrs. T?
T: No one knows, Tommy. Now shut up and listen.
Pam had to drive a loooooooong way to get to her job.
B&G: How long, Mrs. T?
T: She had to drive almost 50 miles each way!
B&G: Woooooooooooow
T: She started out in the city each morning, surrounded by people and buildings and fun things to do. But as she drove further and further away, there were less people, buildings, and fun things to do. There were other things that Pam saw on her way, though. Like the birch tree forest:

T: Then she had to pass under the bridge of icicle death, of which she couldn't get a picture because it was that dangerous.
B&G: Wooooooooooow.
T: Then, Pam drove into the Correctional Facility complex.

Why did she have to drive into the--
T: Never you mind, Tommy.
T: Once she made the turn, Pam found herself driving through an endless forest where the scenery didn't change for miles and miles.

: When the sea of trees finally parted, there were open fields far and wide. Pam usually saw turkeys there, but for whatever reason, they don't like her very much and decided to hide out when she was driving by today.
B&G: Awww maaaaan!

After passing several men in orange jump suits, a band of police vehicles, and the correctional facility itself, Pam passed a farm. On it, she saw fake cows.


Well, they weren't really fake. They just stood really, really still.

(looks of utter disappointment)

T: Pam passed the farm, and then a cemetery and the suburban ghetto. Once she could see the pond, she knew she was finally at work.
T: It was a spooky, old mill building that she worked in. Rumor has it they once crafted the biggest rope in all the land!
B&G: Wooooooooooow!
T: Pam entered the building and smelled one of the businesses there immediately. It was a dessert-making bakery type place. At first, the smell of cinnamon and butter made her mouth water, but then, when she could smell the machinery used to make the desserts and the soap used to clean the machinery, she had to hold her breath.
Pam named the hallway where this dessert-making bakery type place was located "The Hallway of Smells."
B&G: Ewwwwwwww!

T: After braving The Hallway of Smells, she takes a left, a right, and another right, and she is finally at her job.
B&G: Yaaaaaaaay!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The drive

And now, let's really zero in on what is making me tick these days: my awesome job.

It's the beginning of the holiday season, and the beginning of what looks to be an endless recession. This is when I find a job? Now this, Alanis, is ironic.

It's a good thing I found a job because my unemployment checks ran out the same week I started work. Then there would be nothing to fund my daily habit of eating candy bars in a lavishly-prepared bath until I emerged, hours later, pruney and still depressed. But I digress.

I'm ecstatic that I have a job! I used to cringe when people would ask me "what do you do?" Now that I have a job, though, I can say, "I am a Senior Marketing Research Manager for a small marketing research firm in Wherethehellisthat, Massachusetts, that caters to the semiconductor industry." Yeah!

I started work last week. The drive, all 50 miles of it (one way), is amazing. I am literally amazed with it every day. During the first half hour on my way to work, I take note as evidence of the city, of civilization itself, becomes increasingly thinner. At first, this was charming. I grew up in suburban Connecticut, and it reminded me of home.

But I moved out for a reason.

The natural charm of the wilderness grows in the last twenty miles, as all signs of human life disappear. Once I reach route 2, I drive under a bridge of icicle death that I am certain was built by the early settlers, then pass a forrest of birch trees, and finally see several open fields glistening with newly fallen snow and poc-marked with scores of animal tracks. I have stopped several times in this location to let wild turkeys cross the street. I swear, they're the same ones every morning; I always see a gimpy one with a pissed-off kind of limp hobbling towards the rear.

The first time I drove to work last week, I used my GPS, whom I affectionately refer to as Mandy. After we stopped for those charming, limping turkeys, she told me to take a right. I looked at the signs where I was to turn, however, and noticed that they said "CORRECTIONAL FACILITY: INSTITUTION USE ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT." Huh. Mandy, are you sure? She had led me astray before, telling me to turn left onto a “road” that ended up being a parking lot with no outlet. That was not a valid way to get to IHOP, and this couldn’t be the way to work.

But it was correct: Through this correctional facility was the only way for me to get to work. More fun on this later...

After passing a farm with some black cows (are those real? they're just so still!), a quaint cemetery older than time, and the suburban ghetto, I arrive at my office building.

And then the fun starts!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A little back story

So, my new friend, let me tell you a story.

I was once unemployed. That's a lie- it was twice, and for a total of ten months. During this period, what did I do with my time? I looked for jobs, read, watched TV, hung out with friends, played a video game here and there, worked out, talked to my dog…you know, all normal things to do. But then a funny thing started to happen: The muscle of my mind began to atrophy. Worried that my head would shrivel up like a raisin (remember that movie Beetlejuice?), I wondered what, if anything, I
could do to keep my mind active. That's when I started writing…and I couldn’t stop. It seemed very much like I was sleeping and dreaming of writing, and when I awoke, a book called Between Jobs: A Novel had been born. Now, I'm trying to get it published!

Well, actually, that's not when I started writing all together. As far back as I can remember, I have always been a writer...

Like the time in third grade when I went to my uncle's wake. It was my first wake, and my mom thought that in case the need to express myself in this situation arose like vomit in my throat, I should carry a pad and pencil and use them as my very own barf bag. Here are some gems from that masterpiece:

Description of Uncle Wally
eyes: don't know (he's dead)
hair: brown
wearing: tux
faicail hair: mustache
hairstyle: slick
(Just wanted to throw this in, Aunt Joe's son's name is Kevin, my cousin!)
no. of flowers: 301
no. of lights: 52
casket: cool, just shows face and chest, rest is closed
That's pure genius, right there! I just want to point out that I knew the abbreviation for "number" was "no." before I knew how to spell "facial." What a champ! Later, I count down the number of hours, minutes, and seconds I have until the wake is over. Nobody can say I'm not detail-oriented.

Later in life, I continued writing. It was the awkward years of middle school, around the age of 11, that my friend Gretchen Ziegler and I wrote this dazzling ode to insects:

Raindrops on beetles and bright colored crickets
Mostly they're found in the center of thickets
Hornets and centipedes hid under jugs
These are a few of my favorite bugs

I eat them at midnight; I dip them in coffee
Sometimes I find them in boxes of toffee
Leeches and walking sticks, spiders and slugs,
These are a few of my favorite bugs

When the flea bites, when the bee stings,
When it's hunger I feel
I sim-pl-y crunch on my favorite bugs
'Cuz bugs are my faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavorite meal!

Please, stop clapping; it's too much.

In college, I continued to write a lot of poetry (mostly embarrassing and unworthy of sharing) in what I called the "Random Books of Pam." So random, in fact, that on one page there is a poem titled "Last Email of Love" and on the next, an "Ode to Food Poisoning." Two words for you: Budding. Author.

Something about being unemployed, though...I don't know if it was the anger, the sadness, the need to get it all out and feel validated, all that time on my hands, or all of these things. I wouldn't have been fulfilled with a report, poem, or ode. This shit needed to be a book.

And whom or what fueled this crazy, crazy idea? Ye Olde Downward-Spiraling Economy. An Economy so bad that it made it impossible to find a job and very possible to write a book. So I, thank you, Economy, for sucking so badly. I only hope more people will make different kinds of lemonade from you, like I did, you nasty little lemon, you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Why we're here

Why did I start this blog?
  1. Because you and I are both smart and funny and we deserve each other.

  2. How else would you find out about my awesome, not-yet-published, reality-based humorous novel called Between Jobs: A Novel? (Well, that might not be the final title. I'll let you know.) Answer: You might not! *Gasp!* Especially because it's not published yet (beside the point!) As you may already know, you have no idea who I am (yet...). I would love for us to spend more time together before you make the commitment of sitting down with the page-turning fruits of my labor.

  3. What do we do, you and I, while we're waiting to take that next step together? I'm glad you asked! We gather around the glow of the computer and discuss how awesome my current job is. Trust me, it's funner than you think!