Thursday, December 27, 2007

The First 5 Years Interest Free!! What

Alright. So I should grab my camera in the morning and take a picture of the billboard I noticed whilst driving to the temp job this morning - just to prove it exists. I literally did a double take. You know how one is in the morning - not keen on noticing anything in particular details, so when something rather amusing or strange happens - there's usually a double take involved. An additional "wake up" call (ya know other than the shower (sometimes) the breakfast (sometimes) the cold chill (always, lately) or the caffeine (Diet Coke)). The Billboard responsible for my abrupt wake up on the freeway pictured a sparkling diamond engagement ring, the center stone being bigger than the entire hand it would've been placed on, and sporting the name of one of thousands (I swear it's gotta be thousands) of Jewelry retailers in the area, while exclaiming excitedly "No Interest for 5 Years!" WHAT?!?! Brake, swerve, honk - same to you buddy!!! No interest for 5 years?!?! On an ENGAGEMENT RING? Who in their ruddy right mind would 1. BUY such a ring that it would take MORE than 5 years to pay for and furthermore - that having no interest for the first 5 would be an appealing selling point?? Secondly, does this poor bloke realize that if whomever he is presenting this completely frivolous and lets face it, seeping in GAUDY, debt slathered ring, must be a real piece of work requiring such a financial commitment from her fellow. I mean, isn't he ASKING you to marry him proof of commitment enough? Why live in a shanty so you can have your treasure chest displayed blindingly on your left hand just to compare with other catty snags? A little advice to those boys out there - if you are considering going into such considerable debt for an engagement ring that a promise like "the first 5 years interest free" is the deal of the century, you need to either a. take some deep breaths and put matters into perspective (she's marrying YOU, not the diamond) OR b. dump that gold diggin broad! No female who doesn't carry the last name Lopez, should expect her guy to go into such deep debt for a silly thing like an engagement ring. I mean, put a down payment on a HOUSE if you have money to spend - but the RING? Lets be sensible ladies - I mean really. I want an engagement ring too. And I want a diamond in it for sure - BUT, I want my husband more and I want to be as debt free as possible when we get married. I mean, isn't the number one cause for Divorce in the world financial difficulties? Why start out a marriage on such a wrong foot, I ask you! The first 5 years interest free? Why can't they offer that deal on something really worth while like student loans or a mortgage?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Life never gives us what we want at the moment we consider appropriate."

The above is a quote from the classic novel, "A Passage to India" by E.M. Forrester. Aside from finding this little bit of truth rather brilliantly put, it impacted me greatly because for the past little while, I've felt like I've been really ready for a lot of things I've been working for, and they just aren't coming. Do you ever feel that way? If so, carry on, if not, well you can indulge me or go do something more productive.

It's always about life's big choices isn't it? Where to go to school, what to study, what career path to follow, who to marry...big stuff. I'm one who tends to plan it all out on a neat timeline, never considering that my organized path may not be the path for me at all. Consider, I graduated from my University with a degree in English teaching and French. Naturally, I planned out my life to work some "whatever" job during the summer (which turned out to be a bookstore, which turned out to be awesome fun), and then start teaching in the Fall. Well, it all was working out that way. I moved to a new town, started teaching in the Fall, and then began to plan my life from there: getting into an MA program for Fall of next year, working over the summer at another FT job so I could shove all those earnings into paying off weighty student loans, finally being able to travel to places I wanted to see, and maybe meet and intriguing person or two along the way. thinking my life had finally really started, that I was actually GETTING somewhere, turned into a disappointment. I lost my teaching job the first of October, and I haven't been able to find another one. I'm working at a temp job I'm very grateful for, but that makes me feel I'm stagnating, not moving forward, and in fact, perhaps digressing a little as well. I've decided to postpone my MA ambitions for an entire year later, because I don't think I'll have the funds now to pay for it. I feel like I'm floating in the same place I was during school, always looking forward towards dreams and desires that are just out of my reach. Have ya'll ever felt this way? WELL! I'm glad that you have! It makes the prospects not seem so gray with a little bit of company.

Thus, what have a learned. Well, some patience clearly, but mostly faith in the future; planned or surprised. Although I've had my very gray moments, the sun is showing itself more and more, and the mist is dissolving. I've taken a step back, and am interested to see where I end up. Sometimes it's really all you can do isn't it? Just let that higher force dictate where you will go, giving up your will, for His will. I guess it's a lot easier said than done isn't it? We want all the answers right now - but maybe those answers won't be appreciated or mean as much if we get them when WE feel it's appropriate.

I didn't give you the entire quote from above - the last bit is thus: "Adventures do occur, but not punctually."

Well! So long as the DO or WILL occur, what's to worry about? It's a waste of time and emotion for sure. So long as there's no question whether they will or will not happen, then we might as well sit back and enjoy (or at least loosen our grip on the handle bar a bit more) and wait for the adventure to occur. That's something to plan on, isn't it? I think so. I'm going to pencil that in.

Friday, December 14, 2007

An Irony? A Coinsidence? Perhaps destiny...

Last night I went on a blind date. I was set up by a girl I work with at night. No, we aren't ladies of the night, but work in a fashionable clothing store for a little extra cash to afford said job at the fashionable clothing store. I know I know - risky (blind dates and working at fashionable clothing stores with great employee discounts). Blind dates are always risky. I mean I think Sylvia Plath explained it most expertly in the Bell Jar when she contemplated, "Of all the blind dates I'd had...I just didn't have any luck. I hated coming downstairs sweat handed and curious every Saturday night and having some senior introduce me to her Aunt's best friend's son and finding some pale mushroomy fellow with protruding ears or buck teeth or a bad leg. I didn't think I deserved it." It's so true though isn't it? I mean, sometimes you get to the door and you think "Really? You'd think I'd like this funny little troll, seeming vagabond, or pocket protector advocate?" It makes you really question your idea of yourself really. Am I not as somewhat normal, cleverly endowed with wit, or, at the very least, average to decent looking as I think? At any rate - that's not the point - it just got me talking. The point is, I had a blind date last night and he wasn't a troll, a homeless bum, or the completely hopeless nose bleed that you harbor such fears of showing up on your door step for an awkward night of trying to make it seem that you are, well, at least TRYING to date, right? In fact, he was quite cute, short, seemed a rather "quick-witter" (although sadly found to be somewhat self-involved) and I was actually filled with a little hope of a fun night rather than something painful and regrettable as so often happens. So, good sign already.

We had previously decided to drive to a concert some 45 minutes away. BUT, it began to snow and snow and snow. SO, he ended up being late (don't worry he called to tell me he would be late) and when he arrived, we decided we were both hungry and didn't want to skip dinner just to make the concert. He said I had two choices of dining, 1. A delicious and laid back soup and salad join called Zupa's, or a hole in the wall Chilean restaurant he knew of. He kinda talked up the Chilean choice, and hole in the wall is something I'm all about, so that's what I chose. On our way there, he happened to mention, "Oh, my roomies might be there." Cough. Well, okay. Kinda lame ;) but no big deal. So we arrive. It is very Chilean, very hole in the wall, and the roomies do, in fact, happen to be there. On the 15 minute drive to the restaurant he didn't really ask me anything about myself, I felt like I was carrying the conversation, and it was rather clear to me he wasn't even intrigued. Well!! But he was a nice guy, pretty funny, so c'est la vie. We sit and talk with the roomies. One of his roomies, Matt, told me about his software internet something or other he does for a J-O-B. You need to have this information, because just then, a man in his early 30's came in with his two little kids and Matt knew him because they both deal with software and new agressive internet ventures. The "Unknown" fellow, as my date explained, works on (as I understood it) filtering websites to keep pornography from popping up on unsuspecting family computers. I think this is one of many projects. Anyway, they started chatting, then the 2nd roomie joined in (2 roomies were involved in the "happenstance") and then my date as well; I was left to my sandwich (which was really good so no nevermind!)

Anyway, we get our food, and I hear the man who Matt is talking to mention his writer had quite on him, and he really needs someone to be able to take long pieces of legislation, and "translate" it into "normal, summarized terms" as well as do some research, etc. Naturally, being a writer (I've never really labeled myself as a writer - it's almost like giving people a reason to scoff in your face isn't it?), and naturally, being at a temp job with Giants, I pipe up and mention "Hey! I can do that!"

"You can do that?" he questions enthusiastically, and swings towards my and "dates" end of the table as if just noticing I was really there.

"Yeah! I can do that!" I repeat.

"Why can you do that?" He asks.

And I launch into my qualifications: English teaching major, unemployed (I won't commit to the temp job as a job -nope nope), looking for full time work, and snap, a damn good writer.

Mr. "My Writer Quite" seemed very interested. He asked for my information, then told me to come into "the office" (I'm not sure if he said the office -but I don't recall which term he used exactly so I figured "the office" covered basic place of employment description) on Monday and we'd see if I really COULD do it. He gave me a semi-interview right there in the restaurant: "Are you fast?"

"Oh yes, I am fast" (at writing right? And the pick up. I'm really fast on the pick-up)

"How do you feel about research?"

"Oh my, I love research. It's one of my favorite things.." (No really - I wasn't just saying that. I do like it.)

"Well, if we can get you started on Monday - then there are a few projects I'd like you to work on before Christmas." (I think I was just hired).

He then proceeded to ask what salary I expected. I told him a teacher's salary (so that should make him feel better - it's dismal). I said teacher's get awesome benefits too, so we would have to discuss that. I gave him my name, number, and email, shook his hand, and felt like something was actually starting to turn around! The last couple months, besides being unemployed, have been hard. I moved to a new town ( out of a horrible situation that was detrimental to my sanity) where I didn't know anyone, lost my job, have been poor and stressed about finances since October 1st (DOL - aka - Day of Layoff), been working two jobs, one with Giants and one where I get an awesome discount I can't use because it's still too much for my meager bank account, and"broke up?" with a friend I really cared about and who doesn't want to see me again...ever, and on yet another blind date (although he wasn't a troll) that seemed like it kinda ended before it started (although I think we'd be great friends). SO! From being set up by a girl I work with at my part time fashionable store job, IRONICALLY that I wouldn't of had if I hadn't been laid off, and amazingly, as if by fate, choosing the hole in the wall Chilean restaurant on the blind date I said yes to, where coincidentally a man walks in with a possible huge (and completely awesome) job opportunity, makes all the "crappy" leading up to it probably (and most hopefully) WELL worth it!

Thus, Monday, my dear Internet, I will be proving my writing skills to the man (and company) who very well may be the answer to all my fervent prayers. And of course, I will most definitely be keeping the fashionable store job now that I will have a REAL income to support my employee discount. Mmmm, employee discount. I think I will make some brownies for the giants tomorrow, just so they know I won't forget about them.

Oh - and the blind date probably won't be asking me out again. Eh, win some, lose some.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Giants, Pirates, and the Occasional Crazy

I have a temp job right now. When folks ask what I am doing with myself during the day, I reply, "Oh, well it's a temp job..." just so they know it wasn't my life's ambition to graduate with my degree in English teaching and French to work at a company filing and labeling incessantly for hours and hours daily. I call it "grunt" or "slug" work. At any rate - although this job IS (so help me heaven) a temp job, I've found little bits and pieces of things to entertain me along the way - just temporarily of course. I work with Giants mostly. Have you ever worked with Giants? It's rather interesting. They're not mean and dim-witted (well, not AS dim-witted) as you may think. Rather, they are slow, lumbering, and quite large. You may think of Giants in fairy tales as being rather tall, strong, and menacing. This is a misconception. Giants are actually, most of them, wider than they are taller. These are the kind of giants I speak of. And generally, and contrary to popular fairy tale belief, they are mostly women. Huge, lumbering, gigantic women. Picture if you will, a wee girl about 5'1 and 110 lbs. Do you have her? Excellent. She's not wafey or mousy or anything but rail thin, but is rather small, like an adult elf or perhaps a furry footed Hobbit. Imagine this rather small person trying to bypass, avoid, and generally get by in a narrow (to some) halls while sharing them with these lumbering creatures. Honestly, the little elf was rather thrown into a shock when she realized how many Giants this company actually employs - as if it's a "Giants need work too" or "Tired of having to get up from your chair?" or even "Wouldn't you just rather sleep, sit, and snack your life away?" kind of campaign. Usually, there is the one token "Giantess" in the company, 3rd grade class, or church gathering, and everyone else is of rather human proportions. This company, however, has made it a point to ensure most of it's employees are, in point of fact, Giants! I walked in on one of their "feedings" (is that horrible? Kindof) and was shocked to see 4 Giants sitting at a long table eating their large platters of Mexican Cuisine and jabbering happily. Really ladies? Everyday? They're all rather nice though - and bring lots of treats and baked goods for everyone. So, although maneuvering around them is rather painstaking and sometimes down right dangerous, they do mean well.

Aside from Giants, I do run into the occasional Pirate. These, ALSO contrary to popular belief, seem to be mostly female. I guess we'd call them Wenches, although I think Wenches work there too and are very distinct from the scaly wags I speak of. There is one particular pirate who sports the shriveled and sunken lips, overhanging nose, and squint eyes that make you want to yell "Avast ye scurvy dog!" I've not had the pleasure of interacting with my hook handed (no not really) friend, but if I ever do, I will make sure to batten down the hatches, and groom my pet "shoulder parrot" first. Watch your eyes! Their beaks are sharp! Yar!

Lastly, there's the crazy's. Okay, there's one crazy. Crazy's come in varities. I lived with a crazy once - she was the "clean the house as a metaphor for cleaning my whacked out life" and "everything I say is more embellished and embossed than the Queen's Royal Dinner invitations" kind of crazy. Whistle - she crazy. There's also the crazy's who you don't think are crazy, until they say something like "Yeah, my mom made me throw out my collection of belly button lint I've been saving my entire life the other day. What's up with that?" or "It's the governments fault I am unemployed and lazy. It's a conspiracy to keep me from being King of the Universe!" (I'm related to this one - Beware!). The kind of crazy at my work is the "mumbling incoherently to herself and using sweeping hand gestures as she walks down the hall or sits at lunch" kind of crazy. It's like, half the conversation takes place in her head, and the other half slips out her mouth. We all are caught in deep thought, sometimes murmuring a little under our breath, but this crazy individual tends to do it constantly, without jumping in embarrassment and looking around to see if anyone saw her doing it like most of us would rightly do. In fact, I really don't think she KNOWS she's doing it at all. Before lunch, she takes deep calming breaths and continues to mutter, her bulging toady eyes widely open and her tiny little skinny arms (yes, she is the token stick thin girl at work) thrashing about. It's soooooo strange!

So at any rate - I am at a temp job. I think I mentioned that. And although it's not really in line with, ya know, my Bachelors degree I painstakingly took 4 long years to acquire, or my future goals of one day becoming a snobbish Professor of English (don't check my grammar - it's impeccable and you'd waste your really, dont' check) at a posh boarding school in London, still, it does allow for some entertainment and a right good story now and again!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A Secret Me

Sometimes it feels good to disappear. Ya know? Sometimes, I don't want people to know where I am or what I'm doing - I just want to be or do, without others knowing. It's a part of "just living" for me - without updating everyone else. Then, I found I love writing more than disappearing, even if disappearing is necessary for awhile. Thus I've found a compromise. I like the idea of "pen names" or having an "alias" or "alternative identity." Other than the "top secret" mysteriousness (and perhaps slightly psychologically perplexingness) of it, it allows me to keep some secrets to myself, while still being able to write about the things I know, some things I don't, experiences I have or experiences I want to have, without worrying about it becoming less than enjoyable, bothersome, painstaking, or hurtful to myself or others. Sounds rather serious doesn't it? Well it isn't!! It's just how it is. Henceforth there won't be anymore silly seriousness (I'm rather against taking things too seriously anyway - I think it makes people dull, and if there's one thing I'm really against, it's making things dull) - unless I've given you timely warning. A certain amount of anonymity is preferable, and I think I can achieve both a little "mystery" as well as satisfying my urge to write. It really was all about the writing in the first place you know. But then, we never know how things are going to pan out.