The Road Less Travelled

I have 2 routes i can take to to this assignment. 

One is for good days, one is for hard days. 

It’s just impossible to tell yet which is which. 

There is point in the drive where i have to choose: about 25% of the time i am freezing, slurping coffee from the caffeine teat, scanning the radio for something, anything to set a rhythm. 25% of the time I am jamming already, not really thinking about anything, just enjoying the coffee and bouncing, hurtling facelessly towards another day’s sunrise. 25% I am listening to some NPR prattle about politics, and thinking, hey, good point. good point. 25% of the time I am emperor of some insane interpersonal circus, conversations invented or relived, grand podiums of righteousness or quibbling. The eternal fucking existential foxtrot. That’s what a commute is.

Temporary Insanity

Why am I a temp? Its perfect. A different office every 3 months. I skim the best tricks from other admins, so every job I come to, I am better armed than the one before. I am always growing my list of rules. 

  1. Consider your private life like Fight Club. 
  2. Put up the picture of the kids screaming in the bathtub. This is all they need to know. 
  3. Bring a giant fucking thermos, a shawl, hand cream and tissues, a full medicine cabinet, really. 
  4. Start a notepad. find the good pen.
  5.  Get on the intranet, poke around. 
  6. Write everything down. 
  7. Look up the stock price. 
  8. Learn the CEO’s face, if not their name. I never remember their name. 
  9. Write everything down. 
  10. Find where the smokers hang out. Watch that space. 
  11. Find where people get coffee. 
  12. Learn the mail-lady’s name. Chat her up. 
  13. Learn the security guard’s name. Chatteth also. 

Week 2

Sharepoint. Everybody is trying so hard to use SharePoint. In every office, it’s the same. Its like flossing. Nobody wants to. Everybody hates it. IT hates it because it’s getting all gummed up from people trying to use it. Users hate it because it just makes more work. Sharepoint is regarded like a mandatory article of corporate clothing. Like Lederhosen. “Company policy says that you should really, really try and wear that lederhosen most of the time. We spent a lot of money on those leather booty-shortbibs, and we are working on the challenging buckling system, in fact you can watch this 6 hour course on german fastener usage, in german, here, and then you can wear it even harder. Lederhosen!”

Week 4

There is a gaggle of women down the hall. Determinedly segregated from my quiet corner. They all dress up to the nines, ten accessories each. They produce caravans of crockpots with disproportionate smugness.  I am sure by now, week 3, I have been on one of the aisle meeting agendas. But just a tiny bit. I am so dowdy and quiet that I’ve managed so far to stay clear. They have positioned a scout tho.  A planetary lady has intersected my path now, three times. It’s coming. She will appear, I am sure, to be amiable. In fact it is brilliant strategy to send her, the peripheral fashionista, but I know who she is. She is the emissary come for her tribute of scuttlebutt. This is her currency – what she brings to the congress  and she will no doubt have an impressive extraction method. I will have to do the dance soon. The casual summary of personal data. Something she can offer up. What to go with? A casual allusion to a felony expunged? A cavalier reference to voices in my head? One of these times.

Week 3

Week 3. I can smell the other slackers, now. My tentacles have finally extended beyond my corner, and into the flesh of the beast. I’m starting to sense who is pulling on the rope, who is just leaning back. Around them forms a gravity well, where motion is spun sideways and stretched out into thin fragile filaments.  They do not know I know the secret handshake.

Week 1

The archetypes begin to resolve. 

  • Mother Hen who will pluck your eyes out, but so gently.
  • Resting bitch face lady. might be a bitch. might not.
  • Ostrich lady – A high-frequency bowstring. some people have coffee for blood. Efficient and stretched thin, how she likes it.
  • Avuncular crab-ass. Flannel shirt. Thick Wisconsin accent. His points are sharp. Probably has a helluva shout on him.
  • Slick-mick, – grey fox varietal, Soft spoken but a fishmongers wife under the hood.
  • Slightly watery but friendly engineering lady. Reminds me of a friends mother. Faint whiff of loneliness, as would happen in her field. She’s into corgis and is rail thin.
  • Friendly black guy. super loud and friendly. Must make time to find him…
  • Hipster intern who is over his head and being mentored by someone who might have lost the plot.

Day 1 Redux

Day 1. I walk in. I shake hands. I speak slowly and clearly. I concentrate very hard on what people are saying, and try and build pictures in my head of the work landscape. I wear chinos in black, khaki or navy, and black shirts, black uggs. small jewelry except for the massive thumb ring. I hold eye contact. My purse is massive. I am plain, calm and I hope I don’t stink. cos you never really know. 

Dr. Who to the Rescue!

bow ties are cool


He’s the doctor. Dr. Who.

I grew up on the series in the UK, and imprinted helplessly on the manic Tom Baker incarnation of the time lord. I still love men with crazy teeth and curly hair.   The theme song alone makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.  As a kid, I often watched it from behind the couch when the rubbery monsters declared themselves. Ask any Brit, and they will affirm the same. We are all Wholigans.

One of the joys of parenting while your kids are still small is  forcing them to also imprint on the cultural footholds that anchored your own development. So when Friday night trips to the movies started to feel like a rip-off and a punishment for me, I found Dr. Who on Netflix, and made a standing appointment with the Doctor.

Now we are all utterly hooked. The episodes are clever, with saucy humor hidden between the lines for adults, and an over-arching ethos of courage, non-violence and cunning. There is a lovely lexicon of catchphrases, and long-running naratives to weave it all together. The baddies are scary, but not too scary.

The Doctor has already transmorgified a couple of times since we jumped in, so there’s one for everyone – the doe-eyed consumptive appeal of David Tennant, the rough-trade bulk of Christopher Eccleston, and the newest incarnation, the natty dorkihunk of Matt Smith

Episodes are short, and the back catalog is bottomless, so unroll the sleeping bags, make the popcorn, and have yourself a marathon of bbc goodness. After a couple of episodes you will rue all the money you’ve hurled at Pixar on your Friday nights over the years.

Yoko Ono – Woman Power 1973

before lady gaga, before madonna, before chrissie hynde, there was yoko. reviled, misunderstood, resilient, relentless. She’s 77 goddam years old today, and still cooler than the all the rest of us put together.

Happy Birthday, sister!

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