Category Archives: Rant

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.

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.

The Media Ruins Everything, or, Take that elderly woman home!

You’ve probably heard about Ted Williams, the guy with the “golden” voice who the media has jumped over almost as much as Jared Loughner, whose terrifying face is on the cover of every newspaper I’ve seen today.  I know Loughner is responsible for a tragic shooting, and the nation and the world deserve to be informed of that…I just wish the media didn’t scoop these things up like candy. Or crack.  I can just hear the discussion: “This guy’s picture has traumatized every speck of my being.  Let’s take up half the front page with it and see how many copies we sell.”  

Anyway, back to Ted Williams.  He got noticed through a YouTube video that featured him panhandling on a corner and showing off his impressively professional announcer’s voice.  In light of all the hits it received, yup, you know what happened: the media.  And I was really digging the story.  He’s been sober for two years, he’s just trying to get a job doing what he’s qualified to do.  He praises God.  Cool.  But then I saw this video on CBS’s website, and I instantly soured toward the whole thing.

You’ll see what I mean toward the end of the video.  It features a CBS Early Show reporter accompanying Ted Williams’ 90something year old mother to the airport to reunite with her son after ten. years.  It’s TV gold.  Too bad it feels so forced and awkward.  I feel bad for this woman, picked up by some TV producer, forced to spend a whole day talking about and anticipating her son’s arrival–ONLY TO BE STOOD UP AT THE AIRPORT. 

It’s awful.  The reporter says that Williams was immediately overwhelmed by other media outlets at the airport and that’s why there was no reunion that day.  Mother and son have since had their reunion and it was tear-filled and hug-filled and nice, but it doesn’t make up for this:

(Why do they hate embedding so much?  Watch it here.)

Seems to me, that in a rush to be the show that first captured the reunion, the Early Show didn’t nail down all the details.  Or, Ted Williams chose the media over his mother.  Either way, it doesn’t make me feel good about the world.

Here comes Santa Claus…

Sometimes people will send a note to my email address (notreallyalibrarian@gmail.com), asking: Dear Madame Librarian, Why are you so great?  Or sometimes: Dear ML, That last post really affected me. 

Or most commonly: Dear Madame, What are you wearing?

Tonight, the answer:

About sixty seconds ago, I was standing in my bedroom thinking, “I want to sit down and write on my laptop, but I’m a little cold.  Only, I don’t really want to put on a sweatshirt.  It will feel constricting.  A blanket would be nice, only my arms will be exposed and–”

It was at that exact moment that I remembered that my grandmother had given me a Snuggie as an early Christmas gift and it was not two feet away.  So I sit here, telling you this, wearing my brand new vibrant pink Snuggie.   It still smells like the cardboard box and the plastic bag.

Sadly I have no dashing, matching male companion tonight, but otherwise I look very much like the woman above.


As I mentioned, my family had an early Christmas gift-exchanging celebration today.  My pink Snuggie, as an added bonus, came with a free book light, which made it even more ideal.  I used it on the three-hour drive home from Grandma’s to read Prozac Nation, “…one girl’s journey through the purgatory of depression and back.”  Even still, I’m feeling almost giddy tonight.  It’s not just that I’m clad in Pepto Bismol goodness–it’s also that I feel the holiday spirit quite profoundly this season.  To be honest, I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve been unemployed.  It’s given me so much time to do seasonal things!

It started on November 30th when I happened to be reminded that the Tree had been lit in Rockefeller Center that evening.  Instead of going home, as planned, I battled a throng of people on 49th Street and saw that marvel, choosing to focus on the prettiness of the lights instead of the electricity they were using and the soon-to-be brown and dead branches they were strung upon.

I also had time to bake a gingerbread house!  Unfortunately, before I had time to construct and decorate the house I had to leave town due to a family emergency…but the baked pieces are on the counter waiting for me should I make it home any time soon.

What else.  Oh!  I had a chance to battle a different throng of people (or perhaps some of the same throng) and see Santa Claus at Macy’s.  Of the five other Decembers I’ve been in New York, this is the first one I’ve had the pleasure.  Sure, he was one of maybe eight other Santa Clauses serving Macy’s that day, and sure he didn’t actually look like Santa Claus, but I received a free pin that reads “Santaland at Macy’s 2010” that I will never wear AND I did not spend the $18.99 to receive a photo of myself and a spritely, trim man in a suit.

I list all of these things to explain that I truly am “in the spirit” this year.  Sometimes the holidays come and go so quickly that you wonder if they’re related to that man you slept with a few times in college.  (I never actually experienced such a thing in college, I just wanted to make a reference to sex.)  Anyway, the thing is, of all the beautiful and wondrous things I’ve seen and done this year, there is one thing I’ve encountered that has really pissed. me. off.  It also relates to Macy’s.  And it’s this:

Ew.  That’s disgusting.  It’s horrific and it makes my stomach churn and that’s not because I ate too much crap at Grandma’s, it’s because this advertisement is TERRIBLE!  Macy’s has spun one of the most beloved, wholesome, iconic figures (next to Jesus Christ) into an adultering, Cialis-popping, cradle-robbing doo doo head.  (There’s no other way to put it.)  Santa Claus in this ad might as well be Bill Clinton saying, Ssshh, don’t tell Hillary.  Santa is supposed to consider what little girls want for Christmas, not want little girls for Christmas!

Okay, okay, you might say, but Madame Librarian, Santa is just receiving a peck on the cheek from that newly pubescent young woman.  Nothing sinister is about to happen when he locks the door in the office adjacent to his workroom as the sound of elves using little hammers drowns out whatever noises he and that spritely, trim thing might make.

But I’m not buying it.  And guess what, Macy’s?  I’m also not buying from you.  I’ve got my free pin.  Take the rest and shove it.

TV! $&^%!

On CBS at 9pm every week you can watch good looking people get brutally murdered as a team of good looking people works to solve the case.  There’s violence–blood and rape and 9mm–but at the end of the episode one of the good looking people leaves you with a heartwarming quote to ruminate on, like the one a few weeks ago from Buddha when he talks about family and harmony and beautiful gardens.

I don’t have a small family or beautiful gardens to tend.  But I just watched a woman get shot at pointblank range on national television and I watched a man force a married couple to have sex in the backseat of a van while he watched.

The writers, the actors, the producers–these are the people getting nominated for Emmy’s and celebrating a great sweeps week with bottles of expensive champagne.  But what about me?  What about me who has to walk home from work at 3am and suddenly I can’t shake the idea that I’m going to get raped on the sidewalk and become the next great plot.  And don’t tell me I can just turn off the TV, because it’s my job to watch.

No really.  It is.  Except I’m getting laid off from that job, so then it won’t be my job to watch and I can just turn off the TV.  And I’ll have to turn off the TV because there will be no money to pay for the TV anyway and the Republicans are going to take over control of the House and what the hell good have I been, wasting away in front of a screen.

Even more disturbing than I described.

But this really is a great Buddha quote they incorporated 🙂 :

A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another the home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony with one another it is like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.

Makeshift clothing

I don’t have a lot of pet peeves, but one of them, as I’ve written about before, is when my newspaper has American Apparel advertisements on the back cover.  American Apparel ads, for the most part, feature nearly naked girls.  They’re wearing the brand’s latest leggings or lace unitard and nothing else.  Which is decidedly provocative to look at.  And I usually read the newspaper on the subway, so I don’t feel comfortable contributing to the man across the aisle from me getting excited because of the thing I’m unwittingly holding up for him and all to see.  And I shouldn’t have to contribute to the man across the aisle from me getting excited!  It’s such a helpless feeling.  It makes me feel like a pawn in whatever sick game American Apparel and the man behind the company, Dov Charney, is playing.  Dov Charney, I DON’T WANT TO PLAY:

And I don't think girl in flesh-colored unitard does either.

So this week, when I picked up the latest Village Voice (which has a great feature about nitrous), I decided to be proactive.  Because I turned the newspaper over, and sure enough, there was a girl in some strange white lace panty get-up and nothing else.  It looks like something a 17-year-old girl would be forced to wear on the night of her arranged wedding.  So, I looked at the naked girl.  And I looked at the granny smith apple I’d just bought at 7-11, and I had an ah-ha moment:

It was so satisfying!  It felt like playing paper dolls as a child (which actually wasn’t all that popular when I was young and I never got a chance to do). 

An interesting development happened when I took the newspaper back to the office with me, though.  I left the newspaper on top of a microwave in the break room, newly clothed girl facing up, went about my business, and then forgot to grab the newspaper when I was heading back to my desk.  I kid you not, I got halfway down a hallway before I remembered, then turned back, and when I got back to the break room, not five minutes later, a male coworker of mine had ALREADY REMOVED THE GIRL’S STICKER SHIRT!  And she was naked for the world to see again!  I know it’s silly of me to post the very thing I’m so upset about being forced to hold up on the back of a newspaper, but I think it’s worthwhile to provide a visual of how naked she is:

Quite naked.

So there.  Upon picking up the newspaper again, I gasped, and I said, “Did someone take the apple sticker off of this girl?”  And my coworker said, yeah, sorry, and it was totally just like he was having a conversation and wanted to have something to fiddle with and not like he was trying to undress a two dimensional girl, but you know.  Subconsciously

And I also realize that I’ve devoted a whole post to a company whose ads bother me and in turn created a whole new accidental indirect advertisement for them.  But whatever.  I really liked covering her up with that apple sticker.  That’s all I wanted to say.

Happy ‘4th of July’, indeed!

There’s a tab at the top of my browser that’s a shortcut for adding a new post on this here blog, and I’m happy to announce that this very post is the inaugural post for which I’ve used that shortcut.  Here’s to many more clicks on the shortcut and in turn many more posts.

In the past year or so I’ve realized my intense love for all things “road”.  I love road movies.  Road books.  Songs about the road.  There was a “This American Life” episode that reaired a few weeks ago, #102–entitled “Roadtrip!”  Ira Glass says at the beginning, after listing a slew of road movies and other road-related pieces of culture, “It is hard for an American to just hit the road without some expectations.”  I’ve experienced this.  I was even asked at one point in the trip, “What?  Did you think it would be like a movie?”  Still, I retain idyllic ideas about the road.  It calls to me.  It inspires me.  It even softens me toward cars–because that’s how I picture myself traveling on the road.  In a car.  Even better, though, are road-related things that involve the most inspiring, the most exciting and perfect form of transportation I can think of–the RV. 

The closest I’ve ever come to experiencing an RV was a rundown camper that was attached to the back of my grandfather’s truck when I was a child.  I heard stories about my parents taking it camping when my oldest brother was a newborn.  By the time I was born, though, everyone had stopped using the old camper.  The family had graduated to something much less exciting and mobile–a tent.  In our town there was a RV dealership that intrigued me and mocked me each time we passed it in the minivan to and from a trip to the grocery store or dance class or most frequently, the dump.  I remember the feeling of complete awe when I realized what those two letters stood for–Recreational Vehicle.  Wow.  A vehicle whose sole purpose is recreation.  On camping trips I’d stare longingly at the RVs.  I’d watch them pull up to the station where they unloaded their sewage.  Even that seemed romantic. 

My favorite part about stranger’s RVs, though, was when they had maps decorating the side.  These maps were the coolest idea in the history of everything because the owners of the RV could attach little magnets in the shape of US states to mark where they’d traveled.  Specifically, where they’d traveled in their RV.  It was like the maps inside of tourist destinations that visitors put colorful thumbtacks in to signify wherever they came from.  Oh, the status of being the visitor to put a thumbtack on some far-off locale–Nepal, Portugal, Madagascar.  What are Nepalese/Portuguese/Madagascarean tourists doing at this ice cream stand on Route 28 in Hyannis, Massachusetts?   

I digress.  Point is, I badly want to travel around in a “dusty old RV.”  I want to “ride shotgun from town to town.”  I want a man as my RV companion who hasn’t shaved in days and is starting to smell.  But it won’t matter because we’ve still got half a tank of gas, a bag of chips in between our seats, and we’re singing along with the radio and “staking a claim on the world we found.”  Basically I want something exactly like this Shooter Jennings song, aptly entitled “4th of July”–