Monday, October 26, 2009


aka "the Target dog."

Two-year global economic disaster? Check. Completely useless degrees in a rapidly dying field? Check. And that brings folks like me to working at places like Target.

It could be worse, yes: I could have had to resort to the Purveyor of All Evil. Target at least has a bit of a social conscience. (Heads-up, shoppers -- you get a 5-cent discount per reusable bag. Bring your own or buy one there.) But damn, I need a real job soon, because being perky for hours on end is going to send me into a complete nervous breakdown sooner rather than later. I can only be un-cranky for so long. ;-)

So far the most interesting things I've had to ring up are, uh, prophylactics and undies. You know, that is just more than I want to know about people. Then you get that horrible "oh god, my parents have sex" thing goin' on (but with images of the other people) in your brain and ... well ... just ... EWWWW. And the undies ... Men's come in packages, at least, and they're really plain. And you can't tell much from them aside from what his waist size is. OTOH, the size 30 bra for an adult woman -- again, TMI.

When they aren't screaming, the kids are a hoot. I asked one little boy what he was going to be for Halloween. He said, "um ... something." (No decision yet. Halloween's Saturday. Ten bucks says Mom's going to be back Saturday afternoon cruising the picked-over costumes.) One pushed all his family's items up toward the scanner when the conveyor belt decided not to work. I thanked him for being a good helper and he was still beaming when they left. And the toddler who maintained eye contact and just smiled from ear to ear every time I looked at her made my night.

I still maintain that a monkey could run the register -- they've come quite a long way from my days at McDonald's in the '80s. And at least I don't have to wear some stupid/ugly/garish uniform and I look good in red. ;-) I just gotta figure out how to work around this inability to be my usual curmudgeonly self. Maybe I should try to make up for it by being extra-curmudgeonly on my days off. ;-)

In the meantime, I'm filing these characters away with the likes of Dan-Rather-hair-Richard-Nixon-face, who I was stuck on a dead airplane with on the way to Connecticut for my niece's baptism. Never did make it. But the asshole gate attendant who looked at the line of people trying to find different flights and said to his pal, "Are these real people, or are they non-revs?" is going in the book, too. (Non-revs = non-revenue = folks who work for the airline or have family/friends who do and thus fly free or close to it. In other words, when he took advantage of that benefit for himself -- HE WAS A NON-REV! I love the terminally clueless. They make good copy.)

Friday, October 9, 2009

ways to tell you're old

  1. You see a teen or 20-something out walking around in public in an outfit you totally would have worn, without question, in your teens or 20s -- and you think to yourself -- "OMG! How can they leave the house like that? Do they not KNOW how stupid they look?"
  2. The authority figures in your life -- bosses, doctors, whatever -- suddenly all are younger than you. By decades, in a number of instances. Or, suddenly, to a significant group of people, YOU are the authority figure (i.e., really old fart).
  3. You would rather stay in and have a civilized glass of wine and a small, sedate dinner party with your nearest and dearest than go out with a huge group of people -- many of whom you only marginally know -- get blitzed on cheap beer, and snarf greasy pizza at 3 a.m.
  4. You have high school friends who are grandparents already.
It totally has been one of those days. Anybody want to add to the list??

Saturday, October 3, 2009

and today's word from Unity is....


One of my junior-year-of-college roommates was a counselor at a summer camp for diabetic kids. She came home at the end of it with little things she'd made for all of us in their arts and crafts sessions. She said that she had taken a lot of time thinking of things that would be totally appropriate for each of us.

I have no idea all these years later what anybody else's was. But mine was a nicely sanded wood block. On it, in bright yellow paint and lovely calligraphy, was painted the word: WHY?

23 years later, it's still as accurate a one-word description of my essence as any.

This isn't the place to divulge the sordid details -- you don't want to hear it; I don't want to tell it; that's what shrinks are for and I utilize them as needed. But Thursday was 1 year unemployed, the rejections keep rolling in, and it absolutely does eff with your head eventually whether you want it to or not.

Cleaning stuff up and out today, I ran across a folder full of emails from readers. These were my two favorites:

I have laughed at so many of your articles and always thought I should write and tell you how much I enjoy reading them. There is nothing funnier than real life and I laughed so hard reading about your experience in a snowshoe race! I've never tried it for all the reasons you gave in your story so I just want to congratulate you for trying and sharing your funny experiences! Keep up the good writing!

I just wanted to write and let you know that I always check the paper and read your articles first! You have a wonderful talent for writing that seems to be down to earth and enjoyable to read! Thank you!
 I went to a networking dinner the other night, and when the woman who invited me -- who I'd done a story about -- mentioned that I was the one who had written the story, I got a completely spontaneous round of applause from the rest of the room.

WHY, with a stack full of stuff like that, and recommendations from DAs and circuit court judges and former students and department chairs and bosses and stuff, WHY the hell am I stuck in neutral? One can only blame the economy for so much. One can only blame the death of the newspaper business for so much. I have GOT to have some transferable skills. Why isn't anyone seeing them?

Oh, and just in case you enjoy irony as much as I do: I got a form rejection via email the other day. It was for a copyediting job.

They spelled my name wrong.

The ability to write and properly punctuate standard English is rolling steadily downhill. SOMEBODY has got to need someone who does it well.

And if I sound self-pitying -- well, maybe some. But it's getting harder and harder to try to be positive and resilient and all that good stuff when all there ever is is more of the same bad stuff instead.

I'm trying, I'm trying .... but there really is only so much rejection a girl can take.

 Ray Lamontagne -- Be Here Now

RL video

Friday, October 2, 2009