Thursday, September 30, 2004

Happy Trails

If a man should be judged by those things he leaves behind, then they'll be debating my contributions for years - dog-eared pornography, half-eaten food, a drawer full of dry scotch bottles and mountains of dust are my legacy at the old employer. I hope that some future archaeologist looks back on it as a treasure trove of corporate life at the beginning of the 21st century.

Or perhaps it'll just be considered the remains of a deranged lunatic. I can live with it either way.

I just finished going around and saying my goodbyes, and it was a little bittersweet. I have genuinely enjoyed working with everyone there for the past six years - even though I considered throwing empty scotch bottles at some of them from time to time. (Uhh -- Although anyone who reads this isn't on the list - honest!)

In any case, it's time to move on to greener pastures, happier times and new adventures.

Truthfully, I need to leave because I lost it in my exit interview and started screaming "YOU DON'T KNOW ME! YOU CAN'T CONTROL ME!!!" while pounding the desk with both fists and jumping up and down like an angry ape. The HR representative huddled in the corner, shaking back and forth. She's coming out of it now, so I should probably beat a retreat while the gettin's good.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Quiz Time!

Try to guess how I'm going to spend my last day on the job tomorrow:

  • Asleep
  • Setting fire to my desk - if I can't have it, no one will.
  • Drinking a case of Pale Ale at my desk
  • Stealing anything not bolted down
  • Downloading pornography (OK -- I do that EVERY day, but it'll be the last time - honest! I can quit any time!)
  • Putting my terrible plan for world conquest into motion - all the pawns are nearly in place . . .
  • Cutting myself
  • Cutting everyone else
  • Dancing the monkey every time I walk down the aisle
  • Unscrew all the lightbulbs around my cube, closing the blinds, and every time people pass by, I'll grab their ankles and whisper "It's warmer down here. Join us!"
  • Sing Joni Mitchell's classic "Big Yellow Taxi" over the intercom
  • Repling to any e-mails one word at a time
  • Three-Card Monty!
  • Banging my head off the desk and walls because the voices won't stop - they just keep talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and talking and
  • Tequila Thursday!

Any other suggestions?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Reception Blues

Is there a word with more personal meanings than wedding?

To a happy couple, it seals the bond they've forged - making a pledge to love one another for the rest of their lives. To their parents, it's a bittersweet milestone - a marker of a job well done, as their children continue travelling down their own, separate road. To friends, it's a chance to welcome a new friend in their midst, as well as get blind, stinking drunk at the reception.

Yes, the reception. That mecca of hooking up, where booze flows like water, memory is a hazy dream and a chance for even the least talented to pull on their boogie shoes.

I find receptions to be kind of melancholy; I'm happy for my friends, but I inevitably feel my life passing by a little faster with each reception.

However, I was looking forward to this one, even though I really only knew the bride and groom and two friends who would be there. I didn't bring a date, because I didn't want to ruin my nearly perfect record of receptions without a date - my last girlfriend nearly lasted through two receptions, but she kicked me to the curb two weeks shy of the second one. C'est la vie.

Any hopes of hooking up at the reception were dashed within .002 seconds of my arrival. You can generally classify receptions pretty early on: your younger couples will have a great party reception, and there's several singles around - both men and women. But the older the couple, the more likely it's a family affair. It'll be a great party, but if you're looking for love, try the bar across the street.

Of course, there was a single woman sitting at my table, but . . .

The Electric Slide* started playing. "WHY DON'T YOU GO DANCE?" she bellowed while downing her sixth martini.

"Old war injury." I said. "Might cause the tremors to return."


"Do they have anything by Joy Division? Husker Du? Old Cure songs?"


Yep. And proud of it, I thought.


Jesus. Transference. "Look lady, fuck off, okay? Leave me alone. I don't want to fucking dance. I don't want to sing. I just want to sit here and drink and get comfortably numb! You don't know me. You're not me. If I want to dance, I'll fucking dance. Otherwise, shut the fuck up!" I didn't say it, but I thought it. My temper was flaring, my face was flushing and the hammer in my head was pounding away at the back of my eyeballs. I stood up and walked into the breezy night.

It was a rough week. It opened on a high note, but by mid-week, I was sure Trudy was going to have to be put to sleep, and my brother called home to let Mom know he had a detached retina - something that could permanently end his career. Oh, and my bathtub was apparently leaking again. I was getting pissed - at the world for threatening my brother's career and making my dog sick; at myself for watching anothe milestone come and go, with little to show for it. But moping in a parking lot wasn't going to help anything. Sitting at home alone was an even worse option.

After awhile, I returned to the room in time for the dollar dances. I watched a woman built like Marshall Faulk wrestle the bouquet out of three sets of grasping hands, and it made me laugh. I drank free beer and soda and learned some happy - yet highly confidential - news. I danced when the DJ played Shout (from Animal House). I didn't even think of beating the DJ with my shoe when he played Paradise by the Dashboard Light.*

The night ended. My antagonist was escorted out by two of her friends; judging from the way she bandied her cell phone, I was sure she's going to regret her bill in the morning. I hugged the bride, shook the groom's hand and headed home to bed.

Ultimately, Trudy recovered, and Mike's eye is healing well - but they're keeping him under observation for the next week. The bathtub might still be leaking, but I can deal with that (gasoline and matches are looking like a viable option, though). Sometimes, all you can do is laugh, go with the flow and dare to hope that everything will turn out for the best. And sometimes, despite the bad stuff, you need to put a smile on your face and celebrate - especially when life spirals out of your control. And what better place to celebrate than at a wedding?

*If I ever saunter down the aisle, there are three songs I'm banning from my reception: The Electric Slide, Paradise by the Dashboard Light and that damned Summer Loving song from Grease. If the DJ plays those songs, not only will he NOT be paid, he'll owe me $100 for each infraction AND a free ass kicking (me kicking his ass, that is). God, I hate Meat Loaf.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

This Virtual Life

I've been sitting in a virtual waiting room for the past two hours; waiting the opportunity to spend many, many dollars on playoff baseball tickets. We've come a long way over the past 100 or so years - instead of sitting in a waiting room on standing in an endless line, we sit in virtual waiting rooms.

Sure, I can sit at my desk here in the office, whiling away my time while working; hoping that at some point, I'll move to the front of the queue, but there's no end in sight. In fact there's nothing in sight but the same message, asking me to wait patiently.

And really, I find this kind of depressing. There's no '80s issues of Time to while the hours away; nor can I partake of one of my favorite waiting-room activities: people watching.

When waiting for the doctor, I can peek over the top of my magazine article about the SALT treaty or how the kids today are spending lots of time and money in these "video game arcades" and playing games like "Pac Man" or "Asteroids", and spy on my fellow patients (and usually comparing illnesses - man, at least I'm better off than than guy).

But not here. No virtual magazines; no virtual patients; no virtual line attendees with whom to commisserate about the slow service.

Sure, I could actually do some work while I'm waiting, but I'm too busy wallowing in my virtual loneliness.

I thought computers and the Information Age were supposed to bring us together, so why are the Cardinals holding us apart? And more importantly, why are we standing (or really, sitting) for this?

We should be together, griping about the long waits, talking baseball and feeling the solidarity of the line.

But no - instead I'm staring at the same countdown, endlessly ticking the seconds away only to refresh every 30 or so seconds, possibly moving me closer to some vague promise of baseball fulfillment off in the dim future.

I'd be depressed if the alternative wasn't actually doing work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Another Sign of the Impending Apocalypse

Yet more evidence that we as a people are really, really bored.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Fresh Air

So I quit my job today. I marched into my boss's office and screamed, "FUCK YOU!!!!! I'M OUTTA HERE!!!!! NOW BURN! BURN! BURN!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!"

OK - that's not entirely true - I didn't laugh.

I know - lies, lies, lies. What can I say, I can't have a warm conversation without the lies, lies, lies.

But I did quit. And I told my boss exactly why - frustration and boredom mainly. The president of the company made it clear I was never going to go anywhere when he promoted one of his lackeys to be my manager. I probably wouldn't have cared that much, but it's hard to take someone who looks like the Indian Harry Carey very seriously. Plus, the only skill he'd really exhibited was a strong aptitude for surfing the internet.

I won't even start to mine the depths of my loathing for HR, other than to say I did get a few good jabs in at the head of HR when I quit today.

However, I can't help but look back on the last six years with a little sadness. Just once, I'd like to leave a company under happier circumstances, but I appear to gravitate towards the jackasses.

In any case, it was time for a change. All I did at work anymore was sit at my desk and read or work on crossword puzzles. And while it's fun for awhile, it's not particularly fulfilling or entertaining.

Since my job search wasn't going anywhere, I considered just roaming the land and having adventures - like Kane in "Kung Fu" (or more like David Banner in the "Incredible Hulk"). Or perhaps I could work my way into the World Poker Tour, but the damned restraining order won't let me within 200 yards of Doyle Brunson (c'mon Doyle - I said I was sorry!). So I finally went out and found a new job.

But as I stepped into the hot evening sun, it hit me - I was free. Two more weeks and I never have to walk into that office again. No more handyman jumping in front of my moving car to check my parking pass. No more pointless company-wide meetings (which were thinly veiled excuses to bring Jesus to our heathen souls). No more frustration - at least for now.

As the cool air brushed against my face through my car window, I smiled as I pulled out of the parking lot.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Running on Empty

Sorry I haven't posted this week; work's been kind of a slog, and there's a lot going on that I don't want to talk about yet.

Oh, and I'm painting the first floor of my house, which I thought would be a fun project. And yes - it's fun in the same way Chinese Water Torture is fun - slow, monotonous and maddening.

I also went to the most boring, poorly-played baseball game I've seen in a long time, so that was fun. Anyway, keep it real, and I'll be back online soon. I have a pretty long post I'm preparing, but it kind of sucks right now, and believe it or not, I have some standards - some.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Truth Revealed

I'm a total geek.


Read this. I've been there. I feel his pain (well, not the colon pain, but the pain of being trapped like a fluffy little bunny by a pack of ravenous wolves while my fluffy little bunny friend runs off and leaves me to my fate).

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Vacation Daydream

I'm looking at the calendar hanging on my wall; it's a scene from a lake somewhere - where the fading daylight flows through the orange leaves, causing the air to glow.

The mirrored surface of the water reflects the perfect still of a dying day, and I can practically feel the cool air wrapped around me as I watch the light slowly recede over the mountains in the distance.

Afterwards, I'll crunch through the fresh coat of leaves on the ground back to camp, where the campfire crackles its greeting. The air brings a chill, but the fire chases it away. Insects chirp their night songs as the creatures of the night begin to stir.

Finally, I call it a night, crawl into the tent and sleep. Waking early to catch the sunrise, I carry a mug of steaming tea to the lake shore, watching the sun creep over the hills, breathing the orange air. There's not much to do today, other than sit and watch the world slowly go by.

That's where I'd like to be right now.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Trudy and Terror

I've decided my dog suffers from multiple personality disorder. I really think there's two seperate dogs in her little head - which explains her bizarre lapses in behavior. She can figure her way out of any barrier or hinderance, but then she goes outside and tries running under moving cars.

I think these personalities are often at war with one another; dancing a lethal dance where they dodge, thrust and parry day in and day out waging a war for HER VERY SOUL - or at least making her extremely tired, because I've never seen an animal sleep more than her. And I really like sleep. A lot.

On one hand, we have Trudy - the Dr. Jekyll personality. Trudy is sweet, she would never, never hurt anyone or anything. She loves playing with people and other dogs. Children can walk up to her and pet her, and she'll just eat it up. Trudy is the dog who jumped in my lap to keep me warm all those years ago.

Then there's Terror - the Mr. Hyde half. Terror is willfull; Terror is stubborn. Terror is the dog who walked into my bedroom all those years ago, looked up at me, and relieved herself all over the room. (She never pulled that trick again, I might add - while I generally don't hit the dog, she caught hell that day.)

Trudy sleeps peacefully when I leave her during the day. She's very happy to see me, since she acts like a convict who's just been released from six weeks of solitary.

Terror is happy to see me, but just because she wants me to see that she just crapped all over the floor after tearing up all the blinds.

(I'm not sure which one barks all day, but right now, she sounds like she's spent the last three nights smoking cheap cigarettes and drinking even cheaper whiskey).

Trudy lets me know when she needs to go out. I take her and all is well.

Terror is more considerate; she doesn't want to wake me from a solid night's sleep, so she just poops at the foot of the stairs, figuring I'll take care of it in the moring.

So as you can see, neither side has the upper hand -yet. Trudy is currently sleeping behind me, but I'm afraid Terror is planning on rigging a trip wire over the stairs or dropping a plugged-in blender into the shower with me.

In any case, I'm putting this in writing, so if I disappear under mysterious circumstances, you all know where to look.