Category Archives: America

Hi, how are you?

Are the news channels now talking about something other than the hurricane? If you experienced the hurricane, I hope you’re doing well. If you’re dealing with other issues in life, I also hope you’re doing well. If you’re dealing with issues and dealing with the hurricane, yes. Basically I hope everyone is doing well.

I have six minutes of battery left on the laptop. I got out of bed to write an e-mail to someone I think I did wrong. I don’t like feeling that I did wrong to anyone.

Anyway, with the remaining power, I thought I’d share a video from my new TV series. It’s not really a TV series. It’s only a TV series in my mind.

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The. perfect. job. (For someone.)

Do you have 3-5 years of experience baking from scratch AND have the desire to live in Antarctica for 6 months?

Then this is the perfect job for you: http://newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/fbh/2535316239.html

Job listings like that are so exciting to me.  You know that somewhere out there, someone is going to see that job posting and say, “Oh my God, this is exactly what I’ve been waiting for.  This. is. my. perfect. job.  This blends my lifelong dream to live in Antarctica with my lifelong passion for baking from scratch.  There is a God and God loves me and flowers and rainbows and kittens that can’t quite open their eyes.”

I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t repost that ad in attempt to bring that person and this job together.

Life, jobs, money, people: I’m so angry!

A lot of things are making me angry lately.  I don’t mind that.  They say anger can be a really great emotion: you’re angry, you figure why, and you do something about it.

But it’s that last step that I’m having trouble with.  I know the things that are making me angry, and I know why, but I can’t figure out how to effectively channel that into action.  Instead, I’m just left with the anger and the added frustration of feeling like I can’t do anything about it all.

I woke up just now at 4 p.m.  Not from a nap, but from a full’s night’s sleep.  That’s because my job sent me an e-mail giving me three days’ notice that they’d need me to temporarily work the overnight shift.  The full 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift.

That’s bullshit and I’m angry about it.  But really it’s just another thing in a looooong list of things they’ve done that’s made me realize: They don’t care about me at all.  They smile and say all these vague managerial things: “I’ll bring this up with corporate,” “Protocol,” “Blah blah blah.”

I’ve become terrified of certain managers.  They’re so entrenched in that corporate lingo, and customer service lingo, that I really think they’ve forgotten how to be a decent human being.  How to be a human being at all, really.

I didn’t mean to mention all that…but that is the main thing I’m angry about.  When you’re that angry about your job situation, one thing you can do to channel that anger is look for another job.  Which I’ve done a little bit.  But the one interview I’ve gone on so far?  Made me super angry!

The interview was days ago now.  And I’d been feeling strange about it for days, but I hadn’t been able to sort out all of the reasons why.  When I woke up just now, though, something occurred to me.

My interviewer, at one point, asked me something along the lines of, “So, would you be able to handle it when people are rude to you or disrespectful?  Because you just seem like a very sweet person.”

I wasn’t sure exactly how to answer that question at the time.  I wanted to say, “Well, yeah, I’m a sweet person.  But what does that have to do with being able to handle things?”

And I think that’s just it.  It makes me angry that she implied that a sweet disposition is an indicator of a weak person.  It’s not.  I am a sweet person, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a strong person, too.

I think what’s really making me angry lately, when it gets down to the core, is realizing how much power and control a job, a boss, a work schedule can have over a person.  My life has been turned upside down because of the job I have right now.  I am a sweet person.  But walking out of work (at 7:30 a.m. because the person relieving me showed up a half hour late even though he lives two blocks away), I said to myself, out loud, “This job is making me an angry person.  It’s making me negative and jaded and it’s making me lose hope in humanity and my life.”

I know!  It’s dramatic.  But it’s absolutely how I feel.  I don’t want to lose my idealism and optimism.  I’m a romantic and a dreamer and I firmly believe that you should do what you’re passionate about in life–because that’s when you’ll be at your best.  I’ve been trying so hard to follow what I’m passionate about in life, but sometimes it’s not that easy.  Sometimes finding direction and knowing what the right steps are to take is the most difficult thing.  The signs just don’t come.

So you take a job you’re not excited about because you have to pay the bills, you have to feed yourself.

Anyway, I am angry.  But as of right now I’m still hopeful.  Even though I don’t have a clue what should be done.

August ‘Everlasting’

It’s not often that you pick up a book and the first paragraph speaks to your situation in time and space so exactly that it makes you take pause and say, “Wow. Yeah.” That’s what happened this afternoon when I opened ‘Tuck Everlasting’ and read this:

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.

Isn’t that amazing? So beautiful and poetic and then it throws that provocative bit in at the end, so completely reeling you in. Somehow I never read this book up until now. And now I find myself with eight-hour shifts of work with very little to do. Which is nice.

That opening paragraph makes me wish I wasn’t in this crowded, urban place. Makes me wish I didn’t have the luxury of escaping into my apartment and turning on the A/C. That’s not the August that Natalie Babbitt is writing about.

A young writer

I recently got a rejection e-mail from a magazine.  It was a very nice rejection letter.  It didn’t sting all that bad because I recently had my first ACCEPTANCE email from a magazine.  I first saw it on my cell phone while crossing a street.  A huge smile came over my face and I said, “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”  Then I got hit by a car.

Not really.  But back to the rejection email.  The following sentences struck me: “We are impressed with the fresh, appealing voice of these poems, especially since you’re such a young writer! We wish you lots of luck with your work, and hope to hear from you in the future.”

First, it’s incredibly nice of them to write such personalized sentences.  That rarely happens.  And I really do appreciate them taking the time to say what they did.  But…

I’m disappointed in the huge role that age plays in their message.  I’m disappointed in their implication that age and good writing go hand in hand.  You know?  That’s a bummer.  Sure, it stands to reason that the longer you’ve been alive the more time you’ve had to practice and hone your craft.   And if I read between the lines then they’re probably implying that although fresh and appealing, the poems can stand to be honed.  Which is perfectly acceptable.

But I can’t help feeling like it was a folly on my part to have given this magazine clues about my relatively young age.  The truth is, I’ll never know how much my age factored in to their decision.  Again, maybe it wasn’t a real factor at all.  Maybe it was only an afterthought.  A thought after they’d already decided to pass on the work.

Anyway, that’s all that’s on my mind.  In conclusion, poetry is great.  I especially like when it’s not boring and it’s not maddeningly abstract.  Here are a couple lines from a poet I’ve been reading lately named Marge Piercy.  It’s a rare thing, and such a cool thing, when a poem can make you stop and think.  Rarer and cooler, still, when a poem makes you think about something in a new, more illuminated light.

I cast myself on you, closing

my eyes as I leap and then opening them wide

as I land.  Love is plunging into darkness toward

something that may exist.

Landscaping is expensive

It’s easy to watch this commercial without even noticing the bushes and shrubs magically being groomed while these attractive, active, young women go about their happy, privileged lives:

I’m not against the thing.  The thing itself looks convenient enough.  It’s just the fact that the commercial goes so far out of its way to just come out and say it: “This lets you trim and shave your pubic hair.”

Instead you have to see those bushes and realize that those are a metaphor forwell, bushes.

You know what does make me skeptical?  This commercial implies that the un-groomed bushes are somehow less nice or less worthy.  Before and after shots, and the after is always preferable.  Always more beautiful.

I say, do whatever you want with your bushes.  Don’t let Schick and it’s silly advertisements influence how you landscape.  There’re just a bunch of men behind them, I’m sure.  Don’t let a bunch of men tell you that you’ve gotta fork out $12 if you, too, want to be attractive and active and happy.

Brother, can you spare some small stuff?

Small moments make me happy.  Like the other day when it was 4pm and I hadn’t left the house yet, so decided to walk to the corner to put a Netflix in the mailbox.  Just to get out.  Just to be able to say, “Yeah, I got out today.”  And on the way back, I saw a man drop a one dollar bill, so I said, “You dropped a dollar!”  As he picked it up, he said, “Oh, I appreciate that.  That’s gonna be my lucky lottery dollar.”  And I thought, wow.  If I hadn’t left the house, that man would have lost that dollar forever.  Someone else would be in possession of that dollar.  Thank God I exist.  Thank God I make such an impact on the world.

Small moments make me incredibly sad, too.  Friday night I saw a one-man performance in Brooklyn.  It was really good.  It’s about AIDS and being about the same age as AIDS and it’s profound and funny and deeply personal and contemplative.  I greatly enjoyed being in the audience.  The show wasn’t even the thing that made me incredibly sad, though.  It was when I got lost in Brooklyn after the show.  I hate having to ask for directions.  I hate not doing it all on my own.   But finally I saw a woman who looked like she wouldn’t judge me for needing directions at 10pm in Brooklyn, but when I said Excuse me, she just looked at me and shook her head and kept walking.  So I called after her, in this sad, little girl voice, “Do you know where the closest subway is?”  She didn’t pause, she didn’t call back, she didn’t do anything.  She’s so jaded by life and the city and life in this city that it’s safe for her to assume that everyone wants to harm her or take her money.  She can no longer be bothered.  I can’t really blame her.  But it still made me cry.  (Though maybe it was also a delayed release of emotion about the AIDS epidemic.)

I guess the thing about small things is who’s to say they’re small.  Who’s to say that small things are not sometimes the biggest things.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t cry over spilt milk.  I don’t know.  In my experience, if I’m crying after spilling the milk, it’s usually because that small tragedy brings into focus all the bigger tragedies I’m dealing (or not dealing) with.  Sometimes the biggest stuff is too big to wrap our heads around.  You need to lose a dollar to even realize…fuck.  If I don’t get a job soon I’m going to have to beg on the streets.  You need to have one small shot of liquor too many to realize I have a big problem. 

What am I getting at.  Mmmh.  You know, someone wise probably said, “Life is nothing but small things.”  Or, “Sweat only in moderation.”  I saw men on the street make a cardboard sign that said, “We want money for beer.”  I saw a man in the subway holding a sign that said, “Unemployed college grad, cum laude, #Not Winning.”  And I thought, you referenced a Charlie Sheen catch phrase and Twitter hash tags on your cardboard sign.  That’s an odd choice for a cardboard sign.

I don’t think I’ll make a point.  Maybe I already made one.  I’m not sure.  But the library closes in 30 minutes and I need to apply for some jobs before then…