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Category Archives: Jobs

Confessions of a night owl

I’ve always been a bit of a late-night junkie.

When people in my family hit puberty, we lose the ability to sleep. It’s like clockwork, really. HORMONES BAM WHY DO YOU NEED SLEEP? It’s impossible to FALL asleep, and once you’re there, you have to be very, very careful to STAY asleep, because once you wake up, all bets are off. You might get an hour’s sleep, or six hours, but if you wake up too much, there’s no falling back to sleep. Or you might wake fully up for no reason at 3 a.m. and there you have it, then! That’s all the sleep you need! (It’s not. Not at all. You’re sleepwalking all day and you yell at people, and sometimes walls and/or your own feet for being stumbly.)

My grandmother and great-aunt never used their beds because why bother? They slept in their recliners with the televisions on. That way, they figured, if they woke up, they could at least watch some fine late-night television. My dad’s currently getting 4-5 hours of sleep a night. That’s actually quite a bit for him.

(Ironically, Mom sleeps like the dead. She’s in bed every night by 9 and up by 4-5 a.m. and she’s one of those “I’m up, let’s sing songs of little BIRDIES!” people that make you want to throw things. Talk about opposites attracting.)

A normal 9-5 workday never worked out for me. I hate alarms. I hate getting up early. I hate going to bed before I’m tired. If you’re an insomniac to begin with, going to bed when you’re not even tired is a waste of time. You just lie there and every stupid thing you’ve said in your ENTIRE LIFE goes through your mind.

I was a little nervous about the new job. See, I’m working weird hours now – til 1am three weekdays a week and over 10-hour days on the weekend days (I have to get up kind of early those days, but I get out at 8.) I worked the late shift at the answering service quite a few times over the years, and it never bothered me that much (things always slowed down a lot, and mostly we could chat and laugh, which was always good) but a job where you were actually WORKING and expected to be MENTALLY ALERT until 1 a.m.? Eeesh.

Well. Come to find out, this works PERFECTLY for me. Who knew the solution to over almost 30 years of insomnia is shifting your sleeping/waking hours? (FINE, I’m sure some scientist knew this. Everyone has Circadian rhythms, right? Well, who’s to say mine aren’t much different from everyone else’s? I mean, my brain seems to run at a different weirdo speed than most of the world; I wouldn’t be surprised if my rhythms are all off, as well.)

It took a bit of getting used to (a month or two, to be honest) but come to find out this is kind of perfection. I get to go to bed when I’m tired. I only have to set the alarm twice a week. I can let myself sleep as late as I want 5 days a week. Let that sink in – I can sleep until NOON if I want to FIVE DAYS A WEEK. (I don’t – I usually get up between 9:30-10 – but I COULD.) I’m actually perfectly alert until 1 a.m. (well, most nights – some nights the copyediting and proofreading is very, very dry, and my most favorite cheerful goofballs happen to have the night off, and there’s a lot of hurry up and wait, and on those nights I get a little yawny. But who wouldn’t, even during a normal day of work?) Then I get to go home, and it takes about an hour to unwind, and I’m off to bed. AND I CAN ACTUALLY SLEEP. I’ve been getting almost 8 hours of sleep a night for months. IT IS GLORIOUS.

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let's be honest.)

ME EVERY NIGHT. (Plus about 40 years, let’s be honest.)

(Well, side note, not EVERY night; there’s a certain cat who’s QUITE sure that once the sun comes up, it’s playtime. So he leaps into my bed and tromps all over me and says “MEOW MEOW MEOW” all up in my face and I say sleepily “No no good boy go lay dooooown” and he is VERY EXCITED to hear my voice and then there is MORE tromping and meowing and “HEY MOM HEY MOOOOOM maybe it is time for wet food? Mom mom MOOOM! Meow meow meow PURR IN YOUR FAAAACE!” and sometimes there’s tickling my nose with his whiskers, which is not optimal, and sometimes even WORSE, there’s licking of my forehead, which he knows makes me giggle and squirm and put my head under the covers. That’s a VERY fun game for him because it means he’s won! Man, is that guy lucky I adore him.)

BUT! If you work nights (or want to sleep many hours into the sunrise) you have to follow many rules, such as:

  • DARKNESS! I had dark curtains but they weren’t enough. Em recommended blackout curtains and I got some for Christmas. They make ALL the difference. Those, plus closing all the bedroom doors most of the way (sadly, not all of the way, because there’s a certain cat in this household – YES, the same cat mentioned ABOVE – who cannot bear closed doors and would caterwaul and throw himself at the doors until I opened them, and that’s not going to help you sleep, because he needs to come and go or he can’t handle his FEEEEELINGS – are keeping my room dark like a TOMB and it is GLORIOUS.
  • QUIETNESS! There’s only so much of this I can get, because of the cat, you see, but quietness is important. I live on a somewhat-busy street, and the cars start being loud early, as do the children waiting for the bus and the upstairs neighbor who has a normal schedule and gets up early in the morning. I have mostly solved this with a very loud fan. I suppose I could use a white noise machine, but those make me nervous. Someone gave me one once, and my choices were “forest” (every now and then this very loud frog would be all “RIBBIT!” and how is that white noise?), “ocean” (which would have been fine but whoever recorded this put on screechy seagulls and also it made me have to pee all night), “wind” (which kept having these gusts which made me think the house was about to fall down and I was having nightmares about Auntie Em and the storm cellar) and “storm” (rain is soothing, except for the having to pee part, but random VERY LOUD THUNDERCLAPS are not. I’M AWAKE NOW IS MY HOUSE ON FIRE?) So I just turn on my fan and angle it away from my bed and it makes just enough whooshy white noise that I don’t hear much of anything except for the time some man came to my house trying to collect a debt from the prior tenant and knocked on my door AND all the windows (and you can be sure I reamed him a new one and he left apologizing and I think is so scared of me now he will never return.)
  • MEDICALLY INDUCED COMA! OK, so this one might not be for all of you, but I’ve been on meds for my sleeping issues for…oh, most of my adult life, and I take a teeny tiny pill every night that helps tip me over into slumberville. It doesn’t always work, but I’d say 90/100 times it does the trick. Aaah, prescription zzzzzs.
  • BEING COMFORTABLE! Comfortable sleep clothes are a MUST. You can take your sexy negligees and wear ’em to your heart’s content, my friends, I’m wearing flannel and t-shirts and, on very cold nights, a sweater over that, and maybe furry socks. And sometimes the cat is allowed under the covers because he is a warm little furry hot water bottle. You also need to know what kind of covers you need. Lots? Few? (Me, I’m a 4,000 blanket person. I like to feel MUMMIFIED under blankets. So I can barely MOVE. It is just my best thing.) How about pillows. Squishy? Hard? Feather? Foam? GET YOURSELF COMFY, YO. The more your bed’s a happy safe haven, the more you’re going to want to stay in it longer. There’s nothing worse than waking up because you’re freezing or in a pool of sweat. Plan ahead. And, related to this…
  • DO NOT DRINK ALL THE BEVERAGES BEFORE BED. Seriously, do you want to crawl out of that warm little cocoon you’ve so carefully constructed to pee like 14 times all night long? Especially when you KNOW when you get back the cat will have taken the warm spot in the bed and then you have to move him and he’s all “MEOW MOM YOU ARE THE WOOOORST” and then decides “Well, I’m awake, can I climb on you like you’re a mountain? Who cares, I’m gonna” and it takes forever to get back to sleep. Just curtail your orange soda after a certain time of night. You’ll be fine, my little gumdrops. You can drink all the soda in the morning, if you want. I won’t tell anyone.

SO, to sum up: I am getting the best sleep in my life by working weird hours. And when I tell people what hours I work, I get that face. That “oh, I feel so BAD for you” face. But I get to work with people who are ALSO happy to be working weird hours, and we’re kind of like kids who get to stay up all night and sleep in all day, and if anyone says anything about it we can say “I WORK NIGHTS” and this makes people kind of back away from you as if you might be radioactive (you kind of might) but little do they know, you’re actually kind of working the best hours ever.

(This all might be moot if you have children, or are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t understand weird hours. I decided about a month into this I was only allowed to date either other newspaper people, or writers, or maybe people who do long-distance truck-driving because who else is going to be up at these hours?)

Also, there is nothing better than doing errands in the middle of the day on a Thursday. NO ONE IS IN THE STORES! You can get in and out and it is like MAGIC! Yes, all of the employees think you’re unemployed, but who cares? YOU WIN QUICK SHOPPERY! Also, if you leave work at 1 a.m., no one’s on the roads, so you can drive really slow when the weather’s bad and NO ONE IS THERE TO CARE! It’s all very “I own the world, this is mine now” and empowering.

Now you know a secret: people working at night don’t always hate it, after all. Just don’t tell anyone. Then EVERYONE will want to work nights, and who’d open the stores early then? THE WHOLE AMERICAN ECONOMY WOULD COLLAPSE. I’d feel TERRIBLE. Eek!

And if anything goes on before, say, 10am on a weekday, you guys will let me know, right? Good, good. Much appreciated. All the love. *smooooch*

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It’s like my own personal episode of COPS every night.

A newspaper-thing that’s always intrigued me, ever since I was younger, is the cop briefs.

Don’t even deny they intrigue you as well. If you haven’t read them for entertainment value, you’ve read them to see if anyone you know was arrested. They’re vicarious sordidness, aren’t they?

Cop brieffffffs! (Don't Google "cop briefs" unless you want to see a lot of men's underpants, my friends.)

Cop brieffffffs! (Don’t Google “cop briefs” unless you want to see a lot of men’s underpants, my friends.)

Oh, in case you don’t have these where you are (doesn’t everyone have these? I’d assume yes, but you know what they say about assuming…) cop briefs are those quick little blurbs in the paper that say something like “John Doe, 46, of Somewheresville, was arrested by state police on Saturday at 1:02 a.m. He was charged with lewd lewdness, crazy loudness, and public urination.” Things like that.

One of my (many) jobs at the paper is to put certain things online immediately, as soon as they’re proofread. Major stories, some wire stories that we think people will be interested in, and the cop briefs. Cop briefs are *very* popular around here. (I don’t know if it’s just around here. I think they’re probably popular everywhere. People are alike all over. Somewhat nosy.)

I almost immediately realized that the cop briefs were both the funniest and saddest things I would be reading at the paper.

Things that seem surprisingly popular around here, so much so that they’re probably 75% or more of our cop briefs:

  • heroin-related crimes (heroin is HUGE around here. Apparently locals really enjoy riding the horse. Who knew?)
  • Meth-related crimes (cookin’ the meth, yo, cookin’ the meth)
  • drunk driving
  • domestic violence
  • child molestation (yes, I know…shudder)
  • petit larceny
  • check forgery

SIDE NOTE: There is a 50/50 split at work of people who say “petit” (just like it looks – “pet it”, like you would do to a cat, specifically, Dumbcat, who ALWAYS wants petting) larceny and who say “petty” larceny. I’m in the latter camp – too many years of French classes drilled the latter pronunciation into my head. But the “pet it” people are as adamant about their choice as the “petty” people are. I find this fascinating.

ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: We have a road here named “Gotham Street.” How would you say that? I’d assume, based on the world’s consumption of Batman-related things, you’d say “Gaw-thumb”, right? Nope. Here, it’s “Goe-thumb.” This makes me laugh. Like, a lot.

"It's GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?"

“It’s GAW-thumb! DID MY PARENTS DIE FOR THIS!?!?!?”

So. Most of the cop briefs are for the things above. It’s gotten so second-hand that I’m all “ho-hum, another trailer exploded because they were cooking meth in it.” The domestic violence and child molestation ones bother me, I’m not going to lie. I don’t know if I’ll ever get inured to those. I think if the day comes that I am, I’m done. Roll me up and throw me in the sea.

My favorites, however, are the petit larceny ones. Specifically, the FUNNY petit larceny ones. Yes, yes. I know. Stealing’s not all that funny. But when you’re hanging your hat on dark humor, you take it where you can get it, you know?

There was…

  • the man who bought a bunch of crap at Walmart with counterfeit $100s, got caught, got arrested, got an appearance ticket, then THREE DAYS LATER got caught AGAIN for trying to buy MORE THINGS with a counterfeit $100. (Vitamins. He was trying to buy vitamins at the drug store.) This time, the cops were all “yeah…think we’ll keep you” and he had $50,000 bail, or something. We were all, “Hee! You know he’s saying ‘oh! $50k? I HAVE THAT! Do you take $100s?'”

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

    Ben Franklin disapproves of your shenanigans.

  • the woman who decided she HAD TO HAVE the Keurig from her hotel room, so she put it in her bag and was all “gonna gooooo now” but got caught (not sure how…but based on future info, I’m guessing it was just poking on out of her bag, she doesn’t seem the brightest) and when the cops showed up she had a PLETHORA of wee bags of meth on her. Now, my thought: if you’re packing, like, MULTIPLE bags of meth? Probably don’t also steal the Keurig from your hotel room. You can buy one from your meth money later, and you want to keep a low profile, you know? You don’t need that Keurig right now. No. You don’t. Put it down. PUT IT DOWNNNN.

    "If it's in the hotel room, it's mine, right? I'm just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR CRACK COCAINE."

    “If it’s in the hotel room, it’s mine, right? I’m just going to take this, then. Thanks. DO NOT CHECK MY POCKETS FOR METH.”

  • the guy who got arrested at his home for stealing something but then resisted arrest, and then his mother got arrested for trying to stop the cops from arresting him, and then SHE resisted arrest as WELL, and then his BROTHER tried to stop the cops from arresting his MOM and then resisted his OWN arrest. So, we’re three for three, then. Good show, folks.
  • the woman that got arrested for stealing a Dr. Pepper and some Cracker Jack from the convenience store. That one just made me sad. It was less than $4 of stuff. I kind of wanted to find her and give her $5 and tell her to keep the change.
  • The woman that just walked right out of the grocery store with something called a “mega meat savings pack.” This one was kind of the best, because the reporter who was on cops that night was on the phone with the police station, and we overheard him say, “I’d like a little more detail about this petit larceny of the ‘mega meat savings pack?'” And Coworker R. and I (BTW, I’m quite convinced Coworker R. and I are siblings separated at birth) at the exact same time said “Mega meat savings pack?” and got the giggles. And then the poor reporter was trying to hold it together while he was talking to the cops, but it was like on “Saturday Night Live” when everyone gets the giggles and no one can behave. Church-giggles, is what it was. And when he got off the phone, he was all “YOU GUYS” and I was all “MEGA MEAT SAVINGS PACK!” and even now I can’t say that without laughing like a looney.

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

    MEGA meat! We seriously discussed for like 20 minutes how she hid this to get it out of the store. Like, in her bra, or what?

  • The couple that got arrested for stealing a shopping cart filled with camping supplies from Walmart (Walmart gets stolen from, on average, 47 bajillion times a week…ok, I’m exaggerating, it’s like 47 KABILLION times a week) and then after listing all the things that were stolen, like “Sterno, a tent, tent poles, marshmallows, an inflatable mattress” it also listed “sexual lubricant.” Heh. Well, I guess the point of couples camping is that it’s (turn your eyes away, kiddos) fucking in tents. Or maybe they had some other campy use for that lubricant; I don’t really do outdoorsy well, so I couldn’t begin to tell you. Like, maybe it keeps away bears, you don’t know.

    "QUICK! GET THE K-Y!"

    “QUICK! GET THE K-Y!”

Probably the best, though, which was NOT petit larceny related, was the chick who foiled a kidnapper.

YES! A man called the cops, and said “someone tried to kidnap my ladyfriend in front of the convenience store!” so the cops were all on red alert and ran over and took statements and there was a lookout for a black SUV with a couple of nefarious white guys in it, and the woman was all “I left the store, they tried to pull me into their SUV, I fought ’em off with my sweet ninja moves” (I might be making that part up a little, but it was something to that effect.)

Everyone on our Facebook page, when we posted the story, FREAKED OUT. “Why are the cops hiding something from us?” “It’s like they WANT us to be kidnapped!” “FIND THESE EVILDOERS!” “CASTRATE THEM WITH RUSTY GARDEN SHEARS!” (Again, I might be making that part up a little.)

There was no news for a day or two…then the truth came out.

So, the chick had a job interview across the street from the convenience store. She and her boyfriend showed up early. Because she had time to kill, she proceeded to get very drunk (…yeah, I don’t know, either) and then she somehow lost her boyfriend in the convenience store. Convinced he’d left without her, she went in the parking lot, angry at him. When he came out looking for her, she was all, “YOU ABANDONED ME. And…um…because you did that, SOMEONE TRIED TO KIDNAP ME. I hope you’re HAPPY, Frank.” (His name wasn’t Frank. Like I remember his name. Please.)

So the boyfriend, who wasn’t (I’m assuming) drunk, was all, “babe, I was just inside this convenience store, how did you lose me? And more importantly, WE GOTTA CALL THE COPS ABOUT THIS KIDNAPPING.” And, mired in her web of drunken lies, she said, “Um. Yeeees? Yes, sure we sure do. Those dirty kidnappers who totally tried to kidnap me just now heh heh I’m not even lying at all even a little bit.”

The cops then broke her down after intense questioning (I’m guessing “intense” was just they looked at her seriously and she was all “OMG I AM SO SORRY” and started crying, she’s not really the criminal mastermind type, is she?) and she was charged with wasting police resources and reporting a false claim and inciting a riot. I made up that last one because it sounded cool. And, I have to assume, she did not get the job, probably. Unless the job was “professional drunken parking-lot kidnap liar,” in which case, she NAILED the interview (and I’m guessing there wasn’t much competition.)

As you can expect if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, I totally crack up over these kinds of stories. And I tell ALL my coworkers about them. “DEAR COWORKERS!” I say, and proceed to tell them the latest transgression in a VERY dramatic reading, which I like to think is appreciated by all. (Or, if it’s not, they’re too polite to tell me to shush it.)

What have we learned?

If you do something stupid, your name’s going to be in the paper. THAT IS SO EMBARRASSING!

(Also, just an FYI, we have computerized archives going back to the 80s. So don’t be thinking I won’t look you up and see if you were ever in the cop briefs. I SO WILL. This is like the next step in Googling one’s date. Newspaper-archive-searching one’s date. I am not going out with someone and then finding out after I’m head-over-heels he deals meth out of his nasty meth-trailer. I also, by the way, researched my apartment to see if it was a murder house. What, like you wouldn’t. It was never a murder house. But it WAS a drug house in the 90s. So if I find any little packets crammed in the corners, I’m going to probably not eat those, then.)

So…probably don’t do stupid things, my little gumdrops. Or someone, somewhere, is laughing HYSTERICALLY at you at the copydesk of a paper with their amazing coworkers they love more than all the cheese in the world. (ALL the cheese. And there’s a lot of cheese in the world, is how much those coworkers are loved.)

Thus endeth the lesson.

(Oh, and I guess also bring K-Y jelly camping? I don’t even know about that one.)


A new year post on the actual day. Go me.

Happy new year, people of the interwebs! OK, so I missed New Year’s day for some of you. I know. I’m the worst at thinking in a timely fashion for other time zones. Please forgive me, other time zones. Here is a photo of Dumbcat looking pensive to make up for my transgression.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire.

Hapey Noo Yere, peeple of bloge. I had a birfday this weeke adn am nowe fifeteene. In humaene yeers that is 76 yeers old. I shoulde reetire and get soceel securtee so Momee can stay homee and pet my furrs all the dayys.

A couple weeks ago at work, one of my most favorite coworkers (there are a lot of them…I kind of work with the best people in all the land) and I were talking about blogging. Here, I’ll give you our conversation. If he happens to read this (and I suppose he might, the internet’s a very small place sometimes), apologies in advance for stealing your words and putting them on the internets for all to read, one of my most favorite coworkers whose name I will not put on the blog because I’m about 99% sure it would embarrass the pants right off of you and I enjoy you so much I would never want to do that to you. Plus, also, workplace harassment, yo, I can’t be taking work-people’s pants off. I think there’s a seminar or something about that.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick's face. It's like she's oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she's looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don't even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

I seriously just snorted orange soda up my nose at this. This was NOT the image I went looking for, but look at the chick’s face. It’s like she’s oblivious to the butt-groping. Or she’s looking at a really funny kitten-GIF. Or maybe she just really likes the groping, I don’t even know. Either way, it is my best thing of the day.

Impressive Reporter Coworker: So I noticed the other day you’re a tweetaholic. You have over 20,000 tweets!
Me: Oh. Yeah. I used to tweet a lot. I don’t do that anymore.
IRC: Why?
Me: Oh, kind of a long story. I used to blog? And then tweet a lot, kind of in relation to that? I kind of fell out of practice.
IRC: You had a blog?
Me: Yeah. I kind of still do, I guess, but it just sits there.
IRC: What was it about?
Me: Um. Mostly me ranting about some things and making fun of other things? Also I talked about zoos a lot.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-Proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

By the way, this happened a couple months ago in Syracuse. I like it because it looks like I Munchausen-by-proxyed my penguin-baby and have gone cheerfully insane.

IRC: And people would read it?
Me: Heh. Yeah. Lots of people would read it. I won some awards. And I met amazing people. And I went to Finland last year. Got to stay with people I met through blogging, actually. It was fantastic.
IRC: So…what happened?

And I didn’t have an answer for him. Not really.

What happened? Oh, I don’t know. Life, I guess. Andreas and I have spent copious amounts of time discussing that. Priorities change. Things change. People come in and out of your life. Moods rise and fall. Jobs come and go. I can most sincerely say that the person I was three and a half years ago when I started blogging isn’t the person I am now. I think back on that person and she seems like a complete stranger to me. It’s not that I’m embarrassed of her; it’s that I don’t know her at all, and I don’t know how I ever was her. I have a record that I was, I can look back on old posts and I know I wrote them, but as for remembering it, it’s kind of fuzzy. Too much water under the bridge.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking…and I realize there’s this itchy little part of me that wants to start writing again, and writing more. Otherwise I’m going to probably self-destruct.

I’m not juvenile enough to think resolutions ever stick. The first day of the year always seems so shiny and new, doesn’t it? Like you can accomplish anything. Like you have 365 days of newness (ooh, 366 this year, yeah?) to tackle and make your own. But I don’t know about you…but every resolution I’ve ever made has fizzled around February once you realize “oh, look, this shiny new year is very much like last year, what are the odds, yo.”

Instead, I’m going to be kind to myself, and promise myself I’ll do things that are good for me – and writing’s good for me. So writing here? Good for me. Writing poetry, essays, maybe even some short fiction? Good for me. And it’s good for my mind, because I need it to stop being so itchy. An itchy mind never did anyone any good.

(Side note: I have an amazing job, and every now and then I get to write. I got to write part of an article – FOR THE ACTUAL PAPER! – a couple months ago, and then got asked to write a LONG article for one of our related publications. A three-page article about traveling to Albany and all the things you can do there. It’s not online yet – will be eventually, and then you can read it, if you’re so inclined – but long story short, I get to write for work. I also get to do our social media, copyedit, proofread, and sometimes there’s totally a STOP THE PRESSES! moment with late-breaking news which makes me jump around in my chair because I feel like I’m in a 40s film with very impressive fedoras. My coworkers are fantastic, because they’ve totally accepted me even though I’m the biggest goofball. And I can say, with 100% certainty, I’ve never had a job where I can be more myself, and where I’ve felt more immediately at home with the people, than this one. Ever. When you can completely dork out about something three days in and no one even bats an eye? You have won employment.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I'm in "His Girl Friday" only there's a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

Sometimes I like to imagine that I’m in “His Girl Friday” only there’s a lot less sexism (and also a lot fewer typewriters, ashtrays, and, sadly, fedoras.)

I’m kind of rambling, here.

Anyway: I have a couple of people I’m going to encourage to blog, and they’re going to, in turn, encourage ME to blog, this year, so we’re responsible to one another as well as being cheerleady. And this will, hopefully, stop the brain-itching and get me back writing and being creative.

Happy New Year, internets. I hope your 2014s weren’t as fraught with weirdness as mine was (and most people I know had a TERRIBLE 2014, what’s going on, 2014, why were you so cursed?) and your 2015 looks like 366 (or 365, sorry, people of other time zones, I really meant to do this earlier in the day but I was too busy painting a unicorn head to go over my new fireplace…YES THAT IS REALLY A THING I DID TODAY, WHY ARE YOU ASKING) new and shiny days of awesome that you can tackle and wrestle into submission and make yours, all yours.

This is my unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don't have a name for him yet, but I'm leaning toward Reginald von Sparklenstein.

This is my new unicorn head that is hanging over my fireplace. I don’t have a name for him yet, but I’m leaning toward Baron Reginald von Sparklenstein.

Much love to your shiny little new-year faces. *smooch*


Curved like a road through mountains

What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains.  –Tennessee Williams

This is a line.

(It was supposed to be a straight line, but listen, I cannot draw a straight line with what software is free on the interwebs, ok? So just ignore the fact that it squiggles a little. Pretend it’s totally straight. DO NOT JUDGE MY LINE-DRAWING ABILITIES!)

Most people’s lives follow this straight line, for the most part. They’re born, and they go to school, and then probably college, and they meet someone squishable and they marry that person, and buy a house with a porch swing, and maybe have some kiddos who are equally squishable, and get a job, and work that job for many many years and put money into their 401ks and buy cool things to play with that are shiny and pay their taxes and eventually they die.

This is very stable, isn’t it? It’s really nice. It’s nice to know you’ll wake up, and the same thing will happen, and you’ll have someone there to share things with, and maybe kids, and probably, oh, I don’t know, family picnics, or something. Vacations. Probably a dog.

This is ALSO a line.

However, it is squiggly and all over the damn place and sometimes backtracks upon itself and has strange valleys and peaks that kind of look like a man’s face and I think in one place it kind of might look like I tried to make a penis, and in another place a rabbit, to make you laugh, but I totally didn’t. (Again, please do not judge the line. There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist. It is not the nice line’s fault.)

This line is MY life.

There is nothing straight about this line. Like, it starts out kind of straight, but then it goes kind of haywire, and then KEEPS going haywire, because it does not know where it is going or what it is doing. It is a very confused line.

And sometimes, when you think it’s going straight (like, see where there are places where it SEEMS it’s going straight?) it decides “HA HA! I WILL GO JIGGEDY-JAGGEDY ON YOU!”

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

When, Lord?! When the hell do I get to see the goddamn sailboat?!

“Amy?”

I can hear you, you know, even though you’re using your most polite voice. It’s ok. You don’t have to be polite with me.

“Your line metaphor is very…nice…and SUPER-artistic…but…where are you going with this?”

Yeah, I probably should get to the point. I try to…but you saw that line up there, yeah? It has a mind of its own.

OK. So when your life is a crazy waggly line, there are good things and bad things. Like, you have a lot of experiences and stories and you meet some of the best people (whose lines are usually all over the place, too…us wacky-line people, we tend to flock together. Probably because our lines get all tangled like the last two skeins of yarn in the bottom of the bag and we can’t extricate ourselves…but that’s neither here nor there, really.)

It's easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

It’s easier to just stick together. We get all knotty if we try to split up.

However, life with a wiggly line is also about making the most IMPRESSIVE mistakes (falling in love with the least-likely human beings who break your heart into a million pieces; losing your job repeatedly; crazy brain-chemistry; not being able to sleep for days; shall I go on?) and not ever knowing what’s coming up. You’ve heard about waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, you’ve always got a big old workboot hanging over your head. At first, that boot comes as a surprise. You’re all, “what the hell? I JUST GOT BOPPED BY A BOOT! Where did that boot come from?” and you look up at the sky all suspiciously. Then the second boot falls, and you’re all, “another boot? WHAT IS HAPPENING.” But then another boot, and another boot, and you kind of get used to boots. You’re always on the lookout for boots. It’s not the easiest way to live, always having one eye out for gigantic metaphors falling from the sky. But if you know it’s probably coming, you don’t get so out-of-nowhere smacked.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

Duck & cover. DUCK AND COVER, I SAID.

This past Monday, I went into work. I do that, on Mondays. Most weekdays, actually. I worked. I went to lunch. After lunch, I came back to an email saying I had a meeting. I went to the conference room, and about ten other people trailed in, and we made some confused jokes about why, exactly, we were in this conference room, and there was this weird whistling noise and I was all, “huh, what’s that, I wonder, maybe the air conditioning?” and then the CFO and HR came in and told us all of our jobs had been eliminated and the BIGGEST BOOT EVER smashed me upside the head and I was all “SHIT that’s what that whistling noise was. It was coming from a really, really far distance, this time, is all. Breaking the sound barrier, far.”

Squiggly line! I had been so happy and comfortable with my amazing job with my awesome coworkers that paid ALL THE MONEY that I forgot about the squiggly line and (eep!) THE BOOT HANGING OVER MY HEAD AT ALL TIMES!

(Apparently I am to blame the economy. Any guesses who Dad thinks is to blame for this? Those of you who guessed “the government” win. What do you win? I don’t know. Nothing from me. I can’t afford to get you a prize. I don’t have a job right now, suckas!)

So here I am, yet again, friends and bloggonians, underemployed, waiting to hear from the unemployment people, waiting to hear from the food-stamp people, picking up a few hours as I can at the answering service (thank you again, answering service!), applying to a million billion jobs, networking with everyone I can think of in the hope I can maybe, just maybe, find a job that I actually really love, not just settle for because it puts money in my pocket but also sucks my soul out of my nose.

I'm not this serious yet. I can't guarantee you I won't get there, though.

I’m not this serious yet. I can’t guarantee you I won’t get there, though.

(Side note: I apparently am VERY equipped to sell insurance. I have, unsolicited, gotten four emails and a phone call from three different companies that want me to sell insurance. I assume they saw my resume on one of the job-searching sites. One was from the AFLAC duck, which was humorous, but I still don’t want to sell insurance, even if an anthromoporphic duck thinks it’s my calling. I also got an email from someone telling me I’d make an amazing realtor. I can’t think of anything I’d be worse at than selling homes or insurance. If I was living on commissions, I’d be eating out of dumpsters.)

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Flattering, duck. But, no.

Luckily, the upside of having a line o’squiggliness for a lifeline is that the ups always come. The downs are always right around the corner, but the ups are there, too. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer for them, but they’re there. The boot gets cranked back up to wherever it hangs in wait and things get rosy again, for a time.

And there’s a slight possibility that the boot WON’T fall again. That’s the thing about that boot. You can’t trust that it will or will not fall. You’re just always nervously waiting for it…but that doesn’t mean it’s a definite.

And shh…I’ll tell you a secret:

Even though it drives me insane at times, and even though there are times I mutter angrily “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE NORMAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AMY!?!?”, I’ll take my squiggly line over a straight line any day. My squiggly life has brought me such joy. I just have to wait out the bad patches. And avoid those falling boots.

I wouldn’t know what to do with a normal life, anyway. I think you have to vaccuum and wear polo shirts or something, in a normal life. I’d be very unprepared for such things. I look terrible in polo shirts.

Time for the next leg of the adventure. Don’t fail me now, squiggly line. I have to believe you have some sort of plan.

(You do, right?)

*grin* (I knew it.)

*grin*
(I knew it.)


Death by Chocolate (not a euphemism)

One more weekend of the play and we’re all done! I am ready for some relaxing so I’m glad to see it go, although I’m very proud of it so will be sad for it to end. CONFLICTED I AM CONFLICTED. But not all that conflicted, mostly because it means my weekends are (mostly) my own again.

AND AND AND! A week from tomorrow – so EIGHT DAYS FROM TODAY – is TOTALLY Andreas-day! He will actually be here much earlier in the week doing work-things, but I will get to meet him on Saturday. I’m seriously so excited I can barely sit still. BOUNCING AND BOUNCING. Tonight Dad said, “You might be a little keyed up about that.” I MIGHT JUST BE! JUST A LITTLE BIT! (“Keyed up” is a Dad-ism. It’s a step above excited and just a weeeee bit below manic. Dad disapproves heartily of being keyed up. He thinks people should always be calm, cool and collected. Or at least they should PRETEND to be; otherwise, it is unseemly. Dad thinks we should always be seemly. OTHER people are unseemly. WE are SEEMLY. (I constantly let him down by having EMOTIONS and FEELINGS which are not RATIONAL ZOMG!!!)

I'm fairly sure Dad would find Grover unseemly. I am very much LIKE Grover, however.

I’m fairly sure Dad would find Grover unseemly. I am very much LIKE Grover, however. THIS IS HOW EXCITED I AM.

I have an important work story called: I Am Practical.

My boss (who sits kind of across from me and behind a counter with some printers on it) was VERY EXCITED today because someone left her a candy bar on her desk while she was at lunch. So she totally ate that candy bar. Then she was all, “I wonder who left me that candy bar! I would like to thank them.” So she started calling people randomly to see if they were the chocolate-gifter but no one fessed up to it.

SUSPICIOUS.

SUSPICIOUS.

I sat there kind of horrified because I was pretty sure she was doing that in the wrong order. Aren’t you supposed to FIRST find out where your gift chocolate came from, THEN eat it? It was like Halloween, only MUCH MORE DISTRESSING.

So she said, in a musing tone, “I wish I knew who gave me this. Ooh, it could have been John.” (She didn’t say John, I don’t remember who she said, someone we work with. There are a billion people there and I only know like three of their names. I’m really terrible with names.)

So of course I said, “Or maybe a killer.” I mean, what else are you going to say, other than the truth?

Think about it. Wouldn’t this be the best way to kill someone? You poison a candy bar and then cunningly wrap it back up and place it on someone’s desk. And probably they’d eat it. Most people would think, aw! A thoughtful and delicious gift!

NOT ME, SUCKERS. I WOULD NOT EAT YOUR SUSPICIOUS GIFT-CANDY. YOU’RE NOT GETTING ME THAT EASILY!!!

My boss said, “What? Amy? What?” and I said again, “A killer. A killer probably left that, N.”

This made her laugh and laugh. Then she kept saying, “Amy thinks it was a KILLER that left me that chocolate!”

Listen, I’m just practical, here. I’m just looking out for my boss, who is also a wonderful person and my friend and I like her lots AND much. You don’t just eat gift chocolate. That could be the last thing you eat, you don’t know. YOU HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT FOOD THAT APPEARS WITHOUT WARNING. Did we learn nothing from Snow White? Ok, fine, so that apple didn’t appear out of NOWHERE, a seemingly benign little old woman gave it to her, but STILL, that put her in a glass coffin where people STARED at her for like EVER and then some man KISSED her without even her SAY-SO. I mean, is that the path that my boss wants to go down? Is it really?

Bad move, Snow. BAD MOVE.

Bad move, Snow. BAD MOVE.

I had to drop some files off with her before I left for the day and I told her she looked peaked and then I touched her arm and said, “Yep. Definitely feverish. First sign of mystery chocolate poisoning” and shook my head sadly. She laughed the most. I told her I was just keepin’ it real, yo.

I am a very good coworker, as you can see. Very practical. Lookin’ out for ma peeps.

(No, she never found out who gave her the mystery chocolate. I know. It’s distressing.)

AND, this week, we announced (FINALLY!) our 2013-2014 season at the theater, hooray!

We are doing:

  • Big Maggie by John B. Keane, which is an Irish dramedy about a woman whose cheating husband has just passed away, so she decides to lay down the law with her children, who she thinks are going down the wrong path. It’s dark and a little twisted and the director is one of our best local directors and it will be wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it.
  • ‘night, Mother by Marsha Norman, one of my favorite plays of all time (cue the daughter of one of my friends who always says, “AMY! All you like are REALLY DARK THINGS!” She’s not wrong) directed by my friend N., who loves it as much as I do, so I know he’s going to knock it out of the park. You know ‘night, Mother, right? If you don’t, I’m not going to spoil it for you, as much as I’d like to. It’d be a totally asshole thing to do. It’s just that good. In brief, and non-spoilery: the play opens with Jessie telling her mother, who is also her roommate, because Jessie’s life has kind of imploded, as lives go, that she has decided she is going to kill herself. Jessie’s mom, of course, doesn’t believe her. Over the course of the play, Jessie explains: no. She is very serious. Her life is terrible, she has nothing left, and she’s made all the necessary plans. This is the night, she has the gun. This is it. Her mother’s job is to attempt to talk her out of it. Yes. I love dark things. Love them. And this play has been one of my favorites since college. Mainly because it clearly and honestly represents depression. It’s the one play this season I am most excited about; I’ve wanted to see it onstage again for almost twenty years now. I’m so very excited it was chosen, and with N. directing it.

    Here is a very young Kathy Bates in "'night, Mother" on Broadway. IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS. Also there's a movie, with Sissy Spacek, if you like that kind of thing.

    Here is a very young Kathy Bates in “‘night, Mother” on Broadway. IT IS SO GOOD YOU GUYS. Also there’s a movie, with Sissy Spacek, if you like that kind of thing.

  • Boeing Boeing by Marc Camoletti, which is a silly French farce where a man thinks it is a very good idea to have THREE GIRLFRIENDS who are ALL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS and since they’re always in and out at different times, they don’t know about each other so HE WINS GIRLFRIENDING. Well, if you guess “they all happen to have layovers at the same time” as to what happens in this play YOU WIN GUESSING FRENCH FARCES. People will love this; it will do very well; we need to have at least one comedy because this is a very dark season (which, as mentioned, I love.) Friend A. is directing this one and he is wonderful and has such a good eye for things. It will be great.
  • All My Sons by Arthur Miller. WE ARE DOING AN ARTHUR MILLER PLAY. I know. That totally needs a ZOMG, right? Surprisingly, I hadn’t read this play before the committee this year and it’s important, beautifully-written and heavy and sobering; it’s wonderful theater, and one of our OTHER best local directors is directing this one, so it’s going to be amazing.

I’m really proud of the season, and proud of the work we did choosing it. I’ve got some more theater news coming up soon, probably in a few days, but we’ll talk about that when it comes. Also some OTHER exciting news, but that’ll come when it comes. No point jumping the gun. You’ll just get shot, who needs that shit? If you go to the ER, they have to report that to the cops. ALL GUNSHOTS GET REPORTED TO THE COPS. Don’t you watch Law and Order?

Have a happy weekend, all good boys and girls. Also, all bad boys and girls, I’m not picky about your goodness. You be as good or bad as you want, just don’t get arrested, I don’t have bail in my back pocket, yo.


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