October 1, 2005
Ease of Commute


Two Elvis Costellos and half a Neko Case: that's how long it takes to walk to my new office in the mornings.  

(Or three "Martian Hops," played back-to-back. Or one Black Eyed Peas and three-quarters of a Mike Oldfield, as long as it's something from the "Voyager" album. Or an entire Clementi Sonatina for Piano in C major, Op. 36/1: Movement 1-3.)

I strap myself into the headphones as I'm walking out the door in the mornings, and again in the afternoons when I go home for my lunch hour, and then finally in the evenings as I'm leaving work for the day. The music buoys me along the sunlit streets of Alameda, lightening my heart and my head and my feet for the ten short minutes it takes to get from home to work and back.

It's the most painless 'commute' I've ever enjoyed.

There are other things I love about the new job. I love sleeping an extra forty minutes in the mornings. I love the fact that I am now an Office Administrator, the grooviest title I've ever had (not counting "Miss Fire Prevention 1970"). I love the fact that I have my own office again, after years of being trapped at a receptionist's desk. By the second day, I already had it decorated with Tot photos and EdKaz memorabilia and the infamous groovy red stapler. I love working with less than ten co-workers:it makes it so much easier to remember names. I love the pineapple-upside-down cake that someone brought to the weekly staff meeting on Thursday. I love not being expected to answer the phone every time it rings. I love not having to ask permission to go to the bathroom. 

I LOVED seeing a paycheck yesterday, for the first time in three months.

I'm actually making slightly less money than I was making at The Dirt Company. That's one of the very few compromises I had to make, when L. called and offered me the position a couple of weeks ago. ("We'll re-evaluate in a few months," she promised.) And the fact is that I know absolutely nothing about my new *industry.* My experience with the world of rental property management, up until now, has been relegated to the occasional angry eviction notice taped to my front door, pre-sobriety (followed by the occasional polite rent increase notice, post-sobriety). This means that I've got to learn everything from scratch, which will almost certainly make me feel slow and clunky and stoopid for the next little while. And if there's anything I don't like, it's feeling slow and clunky and stoopid, especially in front of people I don't know very well. Then again, I didn't know anything about dirt when I started at The Dirt Company. (Or about knives when I started at The Knife Company, or about telephones when I started at The Telephone Company, or about tuna labels when I started at The Tuna Label Company.)   

Something tells me I'll figure it out eventually.

In the meantime, I love being back in the world again. Part of me is surprised by how much I love it. "I'm not built for the work world," I remember whining at David last spring, when the depression and the hormonal changes and the toe and the problems at The Dirt Company were all coming to a head, all at once. I thought that closeting myself away in my tiny dark apartment and shutting out the world was the ideal solution. But everything gets old after awhile, even endless days of bad TV and stoned afternoon naps. And the fact is that I do seem to have stumbled across the perfect job for me. Or, at least, the closest thing to a perfect job for me, and I'm amazed by how much I love it, so far. I love the people I work with. I love learning how to do all of this new stuff. I love wearing grownup clothes again. I love having an answer when someone asks me "What do you do, Secra?" 
And I love, love, LOVE the fact that my bank is right next door, and my favorite Thai restaurant is right across the street ...

... and my Happy Pants are less than three iPod tunes around the corner.


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Three years ago today:  "I'm so impressed with Bonnie's (Hand Project) idea, I feel inspired to mount my own gallery of Internet journaling body parts. I'm thinking: The Tooth Project."

Four years ago today:  "
... And then, since some thoughtless moron had left a can of soda in the ice cube compartment again [oh wait: that was me] ... I spent several minutes scraping exploded Coca-Cola from the sides of the freezer."

Five years ago today:   "
There is a thin layer of stiff white goo spread across my face and neck. In approximately four and a half minutes I will go into the bathroom and peel it all off, in long, thin, sticky strips, like we used to peel Elmer's from our fingertips in third grade ... "

Eight years ago today:   "Tim has Friday & Saturday off: if the weather isn't completely crappy, I think we're gonna go camping. He's a total camping fanatic. I said that it sounds like fun, but he'd better bring a LOOOOOOONG extension cord so I can plug in the COMPUTER .... "

Thirteen years ago today:   "One sad note: I'm packing up the Barbie stuff today and sending it up to the attic. My sophisticated daughters seem to have finally outgrown Barbie - they sold the Townhouse to Danielle last summer - so this is the end of an era. Bye, Barbie."

Sixteen years ago today:  " ... I spent my final hour in my apartment alone  ...  and this is what finally pushed me over the edge, emotionally. I realized that this was it! My last moments in the apartment that had been our home for three years. It was a sad, sentimental hour; I wandered around from room to room and said goodbye."

Twenty-one years ago today:   "Kacie was prancing around in the field, several yards from our table. I was keeping an eye on her, prepared to dash after her if she wandered off. She twirled and jumped and kicked up her heels. As I watched her - pigtails flying, Osh Kosh overalls covered with dirt and peanut shells, cheeks rosy, eyes bright - I was filled with a very tender, amused love for my little daughter. There were two hundred people at that picnic, but for the moment the universe was composed of Kacie and I."

Twenty-two years ago today:   "Sunny but cold: autumn is truly here. I feel really good. An apple pie is baking in the oven, and a load of baby clothes is tumbling in the dryer ... the house smells of apples, cinnamon and Ivory Snow. Ray is still sleeping. He didn't get in until five or so this morning. Jamie and I are listening to music ... she just crawled up onto my lap ... and we're enjoying some special time together. (Funny little pumpkin. Now she's twirling around the living room with her baby doll in her arms, dancing to Billy Idol's "White Wedding" ... red sailor dress, pigtails flying, newly-trimmed bangs.)"

Twenty-four years ago today:   "The first day of my favorite month. October has always been a special time of the year for me ... some of the most important changes of my life have happened in October. In another week or so, in fact, Ray & I will celebrate the one year "anniversary" of our first date. Impossible to believe it's only been a year."

Twenty-five years ago today:   "Unbearably depressed, although the monthly shuffling of hormonal combinations may have as much to do with it as the piteously screwed condition of my life. I have just finished consuming an entire frozen sausage pizza and, in a halfhearted attempt at getting drunk, one half of a six-pack of beer. No one home but me, "The Eyes of Laura Mars" on TV, and this prevailing loneliness."

Twenty-seven years ago today:    "Very, very tired after one of the longest and most hectic days of my life. We're all moved in! My furniture is still at Dad's and my bed is in Grandma's shed, but most of my other stuff is here. I've spent most of this evening sorting, putting things away, throwing junk away, arranging, etc. etc. I think it's going to be nice when we're finished. On the whole, the apartment is bigger than I remembered, particularly the combined living room-dining room area, although my bedroom is tiny. I don't care. It's my first apartment and I'm in love with the whole idea of it."

Thirty-one years ago today:  "This day wasn't all that great. For some reason I couldn't seem to get along with my teachers ... I even got in trouble with the vice principal."




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~ nil bastardum carborundum ~





joanne was an "office administrator," by the way.
imagine having the same title as your previous boss!
[there just isn't room enough in this big apartment for my BIG HEAD, these days  ... ]