Sunday, November 29, 2009

And Then the House Fell Down

Thanksgiving was lovely. Todd cooked a 29 pound turkey that was grown a half mile from our house. We met it a few weeks ago, and named him Tom. Last year we’d eaten Tom’s cousin Bob. Todd’s parents came down from Vermont, and our friends Maggie, Charlie, Mike and Sarah sat around our table. We sampled three kinds of stuffing, we ate, and then we ate, and then we ate some more. More friends joined us as pies materialized on the table, and cups of tea served. We laughed as Mike and Sarah’s 3 year old daughter, Arwen, dipped each finger in the freshly whipped cream and ran outside to share them with her Dad as he sat on the deck with my father in law.

With the Thanksgiving afterglow still fresh in my house, Todd’s sister Em arrived on Friday with her 4 year old son and her boyfriend’s 11 year old son. We sat around the dining room table for Thanksgiving take 2.

“I like your light,” Emily pointed to the chandelier.

“You know, I think that one light is a different color than the others, even though we bought them all at the same time,” I pointed out.

“Now that you mention it…” Emily trailed off as I removed two of the glass globes from the light and exposed the light bulbs.

“See?” I asked. Then with a loud crash the light fixture fell from the ceiling and landed on the leftover pumpkin pie that Maggie had brought with her the day before. Em and I stood over the table with our mouths hanging open. Then we started to laugh. I lifted the lamp and wiped the pumpkin pie filling off the side of it.

“What the hell happened here?” Todd burst into the room. “Are you guys OK?” My mother in law was a close second, and then busted up laughing at the sight. We adjourned to the living room; out of habit I flipped the light switch on my way out of the room.

Saturday night we returned from the movies and sat around in the living room, eating leftovers over the coffee table. We’d bought my mother in law a Wii for her birthday, and we were taking turns playing. I looked up just in time to see the curtain rod fall off the wall and dully clatter on the wood floor. One of the brackets that held the rod to the wall fell clean out of the wall, revealing giant holes that will now need to be filled with an entire tub of spackle when I eventually get around repainting the room.

I am now eyeing the walls suspiciously and am listening carefully to my footfalls when I walk from one room to another in hopes that I won’t fall through the floor and end up in the basement.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crime School Is in Session

I sat in the front row center seat in the deliberation room today. That’s where I sat last time too. I was a bit late today, and that seat was empty and the same people were on either side of it as were the last time 2 weeks ago.

Why is it that as adults we assign ourselves seats when in a setting like this? This is something I noticed in college, and later on in grad school. I notice it at work when we have recurring meetings that people seem to sit in the same seats for each meeting. As I sit down I always think to myself, “Now, what would happen next week if I sat in Bob’s seat?” Then I imagine an uncomfortable exchange where Bob walks into the meeting the next week and sees me in the chair that he’d been sitting in for the last who knows how long. Will he come up to me and demand that I get up and get back into my rightful chair? Will he walk toward his chair, out of habit, and then turn and sit at another chair but glare at me for my blatant disregard for the assigned yet unassigned seats.

I sat down in the deliberation room and listened to witnesses testify in five different cases today, and heard two cases two weeks ago as well. I’ve come to a startlingly important conclusion today. Serving on a federal grand jury has been a mind blowing experience so far, as I’ve listened to fascinating testimony that flows like an episode of Law and Order. The thing that strikes me about the cases I’ve heard so far is that, really, these people commit crimes so they can get something they want. A person might steal something and sell it for money that they can use to get something else they really want. That’s the basic motivator behind crime—getting something that you want quickly. I mean, I could throw on a ski mask and rob the general store down the road for some quick cash, right? Or I could go to work and do my job for 2 weeks and get my paycheck.

But in the seven cases I’ve heard so far, I’ve learned one very important fact about criminals. These criminals I am hearing the testimony about are not the diabolical crooks I’ve seen on TV and in movies. They are actually quite stupid. My mind wandered a bit today while listening to a case and it went to what I would have done differently if I were the accused. Would I have walked around with the evidence in broad daylight? Probably not. Would I have bragged to friends about having committed the crime to friends who later became witnesses just so they could avoid getting prosecuted for their own crimes? Probably not.

A side effect of jury duty is kind of how people describe jail. It’s Crime 101. It’s like the show “What Not to Wear” but only it’s about “What Not to Do Once You’ve Broken the Law.” If I was so inclined, I would now make an awesome crook.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

99%? Really?

There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “You learn something new everyday.” Generally I find this to be true, and today was no exception. I learned a very valuable lesson from a very wise scholar tonight.

After work I went to my local favorite clothing consignment shop. I discovered this shop about five minutes after moving to Podunk, and have been hooked ever since. What I like about this shop, aside from the low prices on clothing, is that the selection constantly varies, and because of that I have tried on and bought articles of clothing that I never would have considered had I seen them in an unused clothing store. I also like that I am recycling by reusing the clothes I buy and sell in there, and that I am supporting a local business and not some big ass corporation. So, yeah, this little shop helps me stick it to the man.

I had an appointment to sell a few things I pulled out of my closet that I don’t wear anymore. Selling clothing at a consignment shop is not a get rich quick kind of a thing. (Why do I bother? See above, sticking it to the man.) I arrived at D’s Closet at 5:30, with a few pairs of pants, jeans and tops slung over my arm. While D looked them over and picked out what she thought would sell, I browsed the racks and brought my selections into the fitting room—a corner of the shop sectioned off by a cloth shower curtain. I chatted with D, while trying my soon to be acquired items and asked D’s opinion. She’s always honest, which I love.

I brought my selections to the counter: 2 pairs of jeans, a silk blend shirt and 2 sweaters. D tallied them up, and I forked over $48.50. Just as I was turning to leave the shop, an older woman burst through the door. The bell over the door clanged to announce her arrival.

She was a tall, imposing woman. Her yellowish grey hair was fiercely pinned back with bobby pins, and sharp contrast with her frumpy wardrobe. She wore a lumpy cardigan and a shapeless peasant skirt with socks and keds—all of which matched her hair color exactly. Her heavy rimmed glasses magnified her eyes and attracted attention to the obvious fact that this woman was not playing with a full deck. Her eyes grew wide, her whites were a yellowish shade, and the color also matched her hair and clothing.

“I came in here because you’re all women in here, I needed to hide,” she explained.

“Let me tell you something,” she continued while pointing her finger at D. “99% of young American men are queer or abusers.”

At this point I bit my tongue. Normally I enjoy engaging people like this in a debate. But I held my tongue and let her finish.

“I walked here from my house, and I was verbally abused four times by men passing in cars,” she held up four fingers to emphasize the point. D and I didn’t respond, and the other customer in the store hid behind an overstuffed rack of clothing.

“I walk around here all the time, and I get these men who yell at me all the time. They are queer, and they are abusers. Nothing more than that,” she continued. If she was behind the podium she probably would have pounded her fist to add emphasis to the words “queer” and “abusers.”

“The state of the young men in this country is horrible,” she declared, then turned around and left the store as quickly as she came in.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honk Honk!

I could hear the school bus idling at the end of the driveway as I frantically scoured the house for my other shoe. I had a strange habit of taking off one by the door and the other God knows where.

“Hooooooonk!” Mom laid on the horn. It was her first year as a school bus driver, and I was making her late. Again. I slipped into the other shoe and sprinted up the driveway. I stepped in the puddle that was always present after a rain storm… the one across the driveway from the mailbox. Muddy water oozed into my sneaker that I’d left untied so that I could save time.

Jeremy, the boy a few houses away, scowled at me as I sat down. All the times that he wasn’t standing at the end of his driveway Mom didn’t stop. She didn’t even slow down to see if he was running out the door to catch the bus. But she always waited for me and I never missed the bus.

She gunned the engine and shifted into first gear. Mom drove the stick shift bus, while the newer buses had an automatic transmission. The other drivers had complained to the dispatcher that driving the stick shift hurt their backs. I overheard the dispatcher say “Jane never complains about driving stick.” It made me a little proud.

Mom drove the bus from when I was in third grade until seventh grade. Then she went to work for Dad, running deliveries for the shop. She didn’t drive my bus by the time I hit junior high, but some of my friends were on her bus. The dispatcher also gave her the route that went into the low income apartment complex, where the notoriously bad kids lived. By the end of the year the kids from the apartments were on their best behavior while riding the bus because Mom had broken them in. She didn’t have to mend any torn seats anymore or wash away their graffiti. They didn’t even call her Jane, like the other kids did. They called her Mrs. K. But they didn’t shorten it to just the K, they called her the whole thing.

On the last day in seventh grade, Mom and her bus driver friends were crouched around the spigot at the front of the house. A few more of them were crouched around the one at the back of the house. They were giggling excitedly. I was 13, so in response I rolled my eyes and continued on to decide what to wear for the last day of school. The last day of school outfit was as critical as the one worn on the first day.

The kids I knew who rode Mom’s bus arrived to school completely drenched. On the way to school, Mom diverted to a seldom traveled back country road. She pulled the bus to the side of the road and stood in front of the kids, hands behind her back, and thanked all the kids for being so good to her that year. Then, without warning, water balloons flew from her hands faster than anyone could react. She drew from a seemingly endless supply of them, and thoroughly soaked every rider on the bus that morning.

Once they arrived at the school, Mom pulled the bus to the curb and opened the door. Water and bits of multi colored latex poured down the steps and onto the curb. The kids filed out, their sneakers squishing and slurping with every step; you could barely hear the noise over their laughter.

This morning on the way to work I stopped as a school bus flashed its lights and flung the stop sign out. I watched as the kids boarded the bus. If my mom was driving, she would have moved once the kids sat down. But this bus driver was different. She had another adult on the bus with her. Mom only had another grown up on the bus if she was teaching a new driver the route. This other adult bounced down the steps and glanced under the front tires of the bus. Then she ran to the back of the bus and checked under those wheels. She was an old lady, and she was hauling ass back and forth along the bus. She checked the front of the bus again and then bounded up the steps and sat down. At that point the driver turned off the lights and retracted the stop sign.

I watched the old woman run back and forth and wondered how it was ever decided that her job was necessary. Has there been a rash of kids getting run over by school buses that escaped my attention? Somehow I doubt Mom would have tolerated having an old lady running back and forth at every stop. But she could have run back and forth a dozen times while waiting for me to find my shoes.


Sunday, November 15, 2009


I used to play my guitar constantly. It was to the point where I’d bring it to work with me and play during my lunch hour. I played when I got home from work. I played in the morning before I left for work. I lived in an apartment and my neighbors on the other side of the walls must’ve hated me.

I used to play open mic nights religiously, and that habit was what led to meeting my husband.

Then life got in the way. I got into other things like boat restoration, writing a book, diving, living with a boyfriend who eventually became a fiancé, then eventually became a husband.

Every so often I hear music that inspires me. When I get home I pull the guitar out and strum a few chords and grimace at the pain in the tips of my fingers on my left hand. The thick callouses I had developed had worn away to reveal softer skin underneath.

Then I went to see Willy Porter last weekend, and I am inspired. But I teeter between being inspired to smash my guitar into a wall, or to quit my job and play constantly and get really good. I need to find some middle ground.

On Tuesday Todd came home from work and saw my Gibson Epiphone acoustic draped across the couch and said “I was wondering when that would come out.” Then he noticed my laptop was open to a guitar tablature site and said “Let me guess, you’re trying to learn a Willy Porter song.”

“No” I replied indignantly. “Willy Porter songs are way too good and too intimidating. I learned a few Matt Nathanson songs instead.”

“I can see the fan mail now,” he joked. “Dear Matt Nathanson, I love you. You’re like a dumbed down Willy Porter.

Last night Todd restrung one of our acoustics for me. It looks like I am on my way to becoming a hobby guitar player again.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Take Two of These and Call Me In the Morning

A few weeks ago we bought a new treadmill. At first it ran backward until Todd Macguyvered it and now I don’t have to jog backward. Even though I run forward on the treadmill, the lights dim as I run. They dim when each foot falls on the tread, which results in a rhythmic light show timed with whatever song is on my iPod.

I called National Grid, the local electric company, to have them send someone out to take a look at our connection. We just had an electrician out to the house to upgrade us to 200 amp service, so the disco effect shouldn’t be happening. Last night at 8:30 the National Grid truck rolled up the driveway. In the kitchen I bent down to put a hand on Nemo, so that he wouldn’t tackle the repair man. I stood up quickly, and smacked my head on the open cabinet door.

The hollow coconut sound of the door's corner impacting skull reverberated through my ears and vibrated in every bone in my body. I doubled over and clutched my head in pain until I fell over and howled. Todd raced over and asked me if I was OK. I couldn’t breathe, tears stung my eyes, my ears rang and spots clouded my vision. I caught my breath and told him I was OK.

Once back on the couch, the National Grid guy cut the power to the house as he repaired a connection to the house. I balanced an ice pack on my head and grimaced in pain. In the dark.

This morning I woke up, head still throbbing in pain. The lights didn’t dim as I ran on the treadmill, but the pain pulsed right on the top of my head with every step. Later on in the morning the blow dryer scorched the spot, and I winced just a little harder.  At work, the pain settled behind my eyes. I downed a small arsenal of Ibuprofen. Nothing changed. So I emailed Todd.

“My head hurts. A lot. It hurts behind my eyes.”

“I’m sorry honey. Want to go to the doc after work tonight,” he wrote back.

“No. I think it just has to hurt for a little while. I’ll just ice it again tonight.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. But I think ice cream will help. Like, if I eat it really fast and get a brain freeze? You know, treatment from within…”

“Good idea.  If I were to pick up some frozen therapy, which flavor do you think will have the best penetrative healing ability?” he replied.

“Well, Karamel Sutra has that caramel ooze in it, which will make the medicinal properties of the ice cream act quicker. It’s clinically proven.”

“That’s convenient. I hear there are free samples of Karamel Sutra available. They have a guarantee, if the pain isn’t gone in 3 days you’ll get a tub for free.”

“Now that’s a guarantee I can get behind,” I replied.

“OK, I’ll swing by the pharmacy on the way home tonight.”

A half tub of Karamel Sutra, and wouldn’t you know it? The pain behind my eyes is gone.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tenacious Beej and the Pick of Destiny

We left Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a post-fabulous-concert glow at nearly 1 in the morning. As we walked through Harvard Square I held Todd’s hand and he brought my hand into his coat pocket to keep it warm, like he often does.

“I have another surprise for you in my pocket,” he said with a mischievous smile. I couldn’t imagine what else he could have surprised me with, but I pulled out a guitar pick. 

“Ooooh! You grabbed this off the stage for me after the show?” I giggled. “Thanks for not making fun of me for mooning around like a teenager tonight.” I admired the pick. It was the same brand as the one I pulled off of Suzanne Vega’s stage many years ago, but hers was thinner. I wonder where that pick ever went. I never used it.

Back in 1996 was the first time I saw Willy Porter in concert. He had opened up for Toad the Wet Sprocket and The Cranberries. I still love Toad, but am so over The Cranberries. (When I used to perform I did a parody of “Zombie” that went “He’s made of clay-ay. Made of clay-ay-ay-ay. Gumby! Guh-um-by!”) I went to this show with my best friend Sue, her then boyfriend Pete, and the boy who lived next door to me when I grew up in East Windsor, Josh. Pete and Josh were good friends, and Josh is still good friends with my brother Kaz. Willy stood on the stage with his guitar and his fingers flew up and down the fret board as he sang. Josh, who also plays guitar, stood next to me and joined me in my slack jawed stare as Willy played.

Then I sorta forgot about Willy Porter until I recently stumbled upon a song of his on Pandora. It was last fall, when I could still listen to Pandora at work. It was the song “Angry Words” that caught my attention. I turned up the volume and listened closer. His bright sounding acoustic guitar blended perfectly with his slightly gravelly voice. I clicked over to the browser window and saw that it was Willy Porter. “No way,” I muttered out loud. “How on earth did I forget about this guy?” I pulled out my list of must-check-out artists that I had formulated from listening to Pandora all day at work, and scrawled “Willy Porter***!!!” on the very top of the list. Then Pandora was banned at work, and the list of must-check-out artists is growing thin.

But I ran right out and bought “High Wire Live” during lunch that day. And it’s been in the CD player at home, in the car and on the boat for most of the last year. (I took a Willy Porter hiatus in the spring, however, when my recent obsession with Neil Peart erupted and I began to listen to Rush in doses that are probably illegal in several states.) 

Last night we sat down in the very front for the 7 PM show at Club Passim. Luke Doucet opened with a half dozen songs—melodic guitar and gritty lyrics, beautifully executed. Then Willy came on with a full band. He played effortlessly, he sang and joked with his band mates and told hilarious anecdotes between songs. But the thing that struck me the most was his smile. He beamed as he played and sang and made it very obvious that he thoroughly enjoys his job.

At nearly 9 the show ended. We left the club and wandered to the ATM to get some cash for the lot where Todd parked the car. Even though home is an hour and a half away from Harvard Square, I wasn’t ready to leave. I joked with Todd about getting tickets for Willy’s 10:00 show. 

We walked through Harvard Square, Todd leading the way because I didn’t know where he parked the car.

“Hey, is that Palmer Street?” he asked. “So, we’re back at Club Passim? Wow, I just took us in a big circle,” he said apologetically as we stood in front of the club. “Oh well, I guess we’ll have to go back in and watch the 10:00 show.” He handed me the cash he’d gotten out of the ATM so I could buy every CD on the table that I didn’t yet have—4 Willy Porters and 2 Luke Doucets. Then we sat in the front on the other side of the stage than we had during the 7:00 show.

I got up to use the bathroom, which was in the same hallway as the performers dressing room. Willy walked by, and I thanked him for playing “Angry Words,” which had made me squeal in a vocal range I had no idea I could even produce. I told him how that song had been on repeat in the car a lot lately.  Then I cringed and said "Yeah, that probably sounds psycho," and he just laughed.  We chatted in the hallway for a bit about how I rediscovered him on Pandora. He unlocked his dressing room door and I immediately grew self-conscious about having kept him from escaping the milling fans in the hallway.

“I.. um… just so you know I am actually waiting for the ladies room, and not just lurking outside your dressing room,” I said to him. He laughed and said that he figured that. (Ugh! I am such a dork!)

I sat at the table and systematically opened every CD and read all the liner notes until Todd suggested I get one autographed. 

“I’m not going to do that! How dorky!” I cowered.

“Come on, he’s right over there at the bar. When are you going to get this chance again?”

I batted my eyes at him.

“So, you want me to do it?” he asked.

I batted them again.

“Oh for crying out loud,” he laughed and took my copy of “Dog Eared Dream” to the bar. I sat there chastising myself for not doing it myself. Then I walked over.

“Hey, you made it,” Todd laughed.

“I make my husband do my dirty work for me,” I explained to Willy. “But then I told myself to man up,” I shrugged.

“Yeah, she’s been listening to your CD like it’s her job,” Todd laughed.

“That’s not true, I swap it out for Rush occasionally,” I reminded him.

“You’re swapping me for Rush? I love Rush!” Willy smiled.

“Yeah, I am in a full on Neil Peart obsession right now,” I explained.

“Understood,” he laughed. I told him about how I’d devoured all four of Peart’s memoirs in the spring, “Yeah, he’s got nothing to say, huh?” he joked and signed my copy of “Dog Eared Dream.”

Then we sat down and listened to Luke Doucet all over again. Then we listened to Willy Porter and Co. all over again and watched him drop that orange guitar pick.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Really, What is the Big Deal?

On the way to work I listen to NPR. On Wednesday morning I listened to the aftermath of Tuesday’s election and ranted all the way to work when I learned that the voters in Maine repealed their law that allowed gay couples in that state to get married.

“What is the big deal?” I asked the inside of my windshield. Can anyone out there on the Internet answer this question? I am having trouble understanding why this is such a heated issue. Am I missing something?

The last time I checked, we live in America. America, also known as the land of the free and the home of the brave—you know, that part at the very end of our national anthem? Why, in the year 2009, is this such a big deal?

What’s the worst that would happen if gay couples were allowed to marry in every state of this nation? Is gay marriage a threat to national security? Will gay marriage change my marriage, or my life? Will it cause the sun to rise in the west if legalized? Will it rain dog shit if gay people can marry? Will chickens lay hard boiled eggs?

The way I see it, only good could come out of gay marriage. More people would be allowed to share every bit of their lives with their best friend. More people could build a family without judgment from anyone else—in a time when families in our nation are falling apart.

Again I ask, will someone please tell me what the big deal is?

Give me one good reason.

I dare you.

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Choosing Sides

I’ve been through it a hundred times before. For as long as I’ve had friends, I had friends who were together as a couple, until they break up. It was fun, and convenient for me, to hang out with the both of them while they were still together. I was friends with her, and I was friends with him. But then they break up, and I have to figure out which one I am going to still be friends with.

It’s inevitable that I end up picking a side. I listen to each describe the injustices that the other committed. But eventually I end up picking one of them to remain friends with no matter how hard I try to be fair and to treat each of them equally. It’s an uncomfortable spot to be in, as I often find myself outraged at the stories I am told about cruelties committed by one of the members of the marriage. Then I side with the one who had suffered the most in the breakup as a show of support.

Just weeks before Todd and I got married a friend of mine called me up to tell me that he and his wife were divorcing. He asked me if we would help him move out of their apartment and into his bachelor pad—which we did, just three weeks before our own marriage was to begin. After the divorce I tried staying friends with his ex-wife, but it didn’t work out. I felt too strongly about her role in causing the divorce, and had to choose. It wasn’t too hard of a choice, as I was friends with him first.

Just last night I had dinner with a friend who was visiting from out of town. He took a job out of state that eventually contributed to his own divorce. I met the both of them at the same time, so I didn’t have a natural way to choose a side in this case. Instead of politely listening to his digs about his ex, I said “Hey, let’s talk about the future instead of the past, eh?” He acknowledged that I was right, and told me about new developments in his bachelor life—which was way more interesting than his anger over the ex anyway. But I am still outraged at how he was treated by her. And though I still want to be her friend too, if they were both at the same party I’d probably hang out with him more. Side chosen, again.

Then tonight it happened again. I sat at the bar and read while I waited for Todd to join me when I looked over my shoulder and spotted another friend of mine who is going through a separation. She pretended not to notice me, but the man she was with looked at me and it was entirely obvious that she had probably said to him, “Don’t look, but I know that woman over there.” The menu was propped up on their table, and they crouched behind it slightly. I turned my attention to my book, but was drawn to looking past them at the door while I waited for Todd. I met them as a couple as well, but I had already sided with her husband only because I hadn’t seen or heard from her in awhile.

Todd walked by her and joined me at the bar and I whispered, “Sandy is here. She’s sitting over there.” He turned to look, but Sandy was firm in facing the other way. We walked by her table so that we could get seated at dinner. She practically dove under her table. It was completely obvious that she didn’t want to be seen by us, but also completely obvious that we’d seen her and that she knew we saw her. They moved to another table, out of our line of sight as we sat down.

Todd grew annoyed, “We haven’t seen her in months, and this is how she acts? I thought she was my friend, you know?” He distractedly fidgeted with his fork and his water glass.

“Obviously she doesn’t want to see us. Let’s just let her be.” I tried to distract him with the menu and talking about my day.

Eventually he got up, went to their table to say hello. I trailed behind and kissed her cheek and told her she looked great. She did look great. And we met her friend, who was obviously uncomfortable. We stayed for a few moments, and then gave in to her awkwardness. We were clearly intruding as they sat close together.

Sandy’s husband has been invited to our house for Thanksgiving already. I doubt that Sandy will come too. Again, side chosen. And I hate doing it.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The busy season at work is almost over. Gone are the days of starting work at ridiculous o’clock, then going home at a million o’clock. But I still have another week or two until the quantity of work dwindles to an entirely reasonable level, yet my brain has already declared the busy season over.

Just last week I was racing around the office. To the printer, back to my desk, to the staffing department, and then to the shipping room. Track that package. Call that subcontractor. Listen to the voicemails piling up. Answer the emails. Look at the watch; it’s only 8:30 in the morning. Throw another party with Earl Grey in the cup. Uncarbonate the diet mountain dew, so I can drink it without having to burp a hundred times afterward. Inhale lunch without tasting it, and then retrieve some more print outs.

This week I’ve slowed down considerably, even though I still have a crapload of work to do. It’s taking me three times as long to complete my work than it did last week. I am tired. I drew a hand puppet on my hand and ran around the office talking to my co-workers with it just to wake myself up. But more than tired, I am over it. This part of my job has me on auto-pilot. Lather, rinse, repeat. My brain is atrophying. I am ready to think about something else. I am ready to clear my desk and to do something else.

But there are still a few weeks to go.

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