Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Just shy an alligator tear....

You can feel the egos swell and collide in our office today.

I imagine that the tension and built-up animosity would be tangible to even an outside observer.

The dark space underneath my desk is looking quite attractive at the moment--perhaps if I crawl underneath I can just avoid the whole thing.

That's not to say that my own ego isn't involved in this whole debacle, I'm trying not to be a little snot about the topic at hand over my e-mails, but it's more and more difficult as the minutes tick by. Especially since each e-mail I receive regarding the situation (ok, any of the SIX different ones currently being hashed out) gradually appears in the middle of my screen with the header and first line before fading away--just the teaser of another hackled, prickly entry into the whole conversation (thank you Outlook, gah).

Email could possibly be the death of polite society--or at least of business decorum. The tones that people insert into their e-mails by the mis-use of a word or phrase are enough to nullify any pleasantries that might occur in person. As D and I have discussed regarding the poor decisions we've made about having serious conversations over instant messenger, there is too much room for willful misinterpretation. What can be intended as deadpan or serious, sweet or teasing, or even polite and well-spoken can all be lost based soley on the recipient's mood of the moment.

Add to that a history of disagreeable interactions (oh the stories I could tell), the selfish short-sightedness of a sales team only out to make a commission--no thought spared to the fact that the money they contract with clients doesn't really "count" until I deposit it into the company system, and the ongoing misconception that my department is out to only harass their clients and badger and bully them unnecessarily, and you come up with a very unpleasant work environment.


I never used to buy into Astrology as anything other than an amusing game. My little brain still doesn't when it comes to the logical details of it all. Of course, it's easy to be a realist and enumerate all the reasons why astrology and sun signs, etc are ridiculous nonsense. I'm still not sure how much I believe the daily horoscopes, etc.

That said, the more time I spend around it, and am reminded of it by people who are a smidge obsessed with the topic (my boss at the EG, for one), the more I am impressed by how astute some of the personality traits attributed to different signs are. I'm not referring to it on a day-to-day "The Moon is in Venus so Don't Walk Under A Bridge With Yellow graffiti Or An Infectious Man will Cross You" sort of way, but rather to the different characteristics I see in myself and others of particular "signs."

God, I sound like a follow-Your-Bliss hippie.

"Hey baby, what's your sign?"

As the years go by, I see more and more elements of my personality that align with "Libra" qualities. Of course, I don' t think that I'm entirely defined by this system, but the coincidences are surprising. Even more so when you look at the descriptions of Libras with other signs. I just about passed out when I read how accurate of an interpretation the Libra/Pisces combo was for my last relationship.

Ok. Disclaimer. Saying all these things. I'm hyper-aware of how simple it is to take a vague paragraph using vague terms and make it form to your life like spandex to a fat woman. But I don't think I'm an idiot, and I don't think I'm grasping at straws.


The segue back to the original point is this: as a Libra--or as one who avoids conflict, prefers harmony, and likes to see everyone get along to the best degree possible-- this office environment shakes me to the core! It's so aggressive, so antagonistic, and so mean-hearted that I want to curl up into that little ball under my desk (I have a pear for lunch! I'll be ok for a few hours at least!) and only come out once everyone is gone.

I try not to let it upset me, but sometimes the tension gets to be too much. It just makes me want to cry.

*big SIGH*

Ok, back to it. I still have a zillion things to do today.

Monday, October 10, 2005

I'd always expect something like that from you, Ariel...

So Saturday night I was involved in a dinner party with a few near and dears. We were lamenting something, perhaps the circumstances under which I broke my foot... and I said that, really, it was rather tragic as I had no brilliant story to go along with the event. I stepped off the curb wrong, and that was that. Lame start, lame end, and finally, lame foot.

One of my friends pointed out that she was suprised by this... considering the crazy things that happen to me in my life.

I started thinking about this... do crazy things really happen to me all that often? It doesn't seem that way to me, but perhaps I'm the one with the misconception. That said, I relish good stories. I just love to have a new mad-cap thing that happened at work or to someone I know that I can pass along to amuse the troops. Does my affinity for things like this lead others to believe that I lead an international life of mystery? Because, to me, it all seems pretty pedestrian.

As an example, I will outline my weekend for you.

Friday: I worked at the Employment Guide until round about 3:30, went and got some food, ate it, went by the bank, talked to my mom for an hour on the phone, got ready for work, left home, went to work, worked at Starbucks until about 1:30am, then drive home, and went to bed around 2:30am.

Saturday: Got up around 9:15, showered, took the streetcar down to the Farmers Market where Devon and I bought some lovely Bosc pears for our cobbler/crisp that night, bought some flowers, went down to Pioneer Square to hear David sing harmony for the group "Per Se," heard Pt. Juncture, WA and bought their EP, walked up to Powells, bought a Spanish grammar refresher book, walked up to Freddies, bought a few things for that night, walked up to NW 23rd to the liquor store, walked home, speed-cleaned the house, threw together the cobbler, got dressed, met up with James and Celeste, then went and had our Progressive Dinner Party. We finished that up around 12:30-1am, Devo and I drove James home, then went and drove around the city for a while (gorgeous fall night), went to bed around 2:30 exhausted.

Sunday: Got up around 11, picked up a book I'd been reading lately and wanted to bust out, read a ton of that, cooked breakfast (eggs and leftover cake!), showered, went an spent a few hours with David and Emily, came home, completed a few exercizes in my new grammar book, fell asleep in the cooshy chair, woke up around 10pm, watched the news, got up and put away a ton of laundry, went to bed around 1am, fell asleep closer to 2am.

And thus, here I am today, at the office as usual, trying to stay awake and alive, despite the fact that I left my bagel on the counter at home, and our boss came back three days early from his vacation (Embarassment! I wore jeans to work today, thinking he was out until Wednesday. BOO.)

What's on the agenda for a Monday?

Ariel, in her role as the A/R goddess of the EG has to:

Fax some deposit reports to Home Office...
Complete a few detail aging reports to distribute throughout the office...
Complete my weekly aging report and flag the clients I need to call this week...
Compile the newspaper mailers to send to the other cities...
Make a few important, immediate A/R calls...

No deposit today, since it is Columbus day. No mail today since it is a holiday.

Go home around 1:30pm, scarf some lunch (remember? I forgot my bagel!), do some dishes, take a brief nap, finish my closet project from the night before, then do some Spanish grammar, apply for a job or two, and get ready to ride my bike down to Starbucks--it'll be the first time since the broken foot that I'll have ridden it! I'm so excited!! I work from 8pm-12am, and then I pedal home, go to bed, and get ready for Tuesday!

And who said I had anything but the average pedestrian life?

Monday, October 3, 2005

Pretty thing #2

Some days, you get out of bed, and the sky is still dark. It's cold in your room, and the shower is so hot that it makes your face feel dry and crackly when you emerge back into the cold world. You putz around your room, your eyes still adjusting to the bright light of a fluorescent bulb, and go through your little morning routine. Pants, socks, brush teeth. There is the sound of running water through the pipes in the wall of someone upstairs flushing a toilet. All is quiet, and sterile, and dry.

Then you open your blinds.

Outside, the first shards of sunlight have broken through the net of branches and shattered over the roof of your building, they lie, scattered, on the little circle of green grass that splays like a throw rug between sidewalks and parking lots. The trees are still dripping from last night's rain, and the helicopter seeds from the maple trees scatter the sidewalk, soggy, abandoned, the left-over troops from a failed invasion of earth by sky.So starts another day. A day of tests and failed appointments, of white lies and black moods. People toddle along, bobbing their hair aimlessly to the rhythm of their curt footsteps, lost in their own whirlwind of thoughts and preoccupations that whiz off them, spiraling to the ground.A foot lands on a sodden maple helicopter. Water oozes out and the delicate hairs and wings crush and break under the weight of so many worries, hopes, and obligations. Who looks? Who picks up the brave little souls that spiraled to the ground in a gust of wind and inspiration? Once, they, too, thought they could fly.

Thus goes the way of so many small things in our lives, memories, deep thoughts, acquaintances... they soar for a moment, then fall, still and sodden to the ground.


I wrote this my senior year of college; Fall 2004. I found it the other day and liked re-reading it. I was obsessed with my thesis on the construction of "self" and "identity" in Hamlet at that point (or if I wasn't, I soon would be, so close enough). I was also dating (vaguely) this goony boy from the internet. It was a pathetic attempt to get over the whole James thing, as I was recently back from abroad and dealing with the whole face-to-face seeing that person every day at school issue. Fun, fun, fun. That seems like such a long time ago. Anyhow. Yeah. That's that.

Pretty thing I've written #1

To one who I hardly know,

It’s another lonely evening in my life. I shouldn’t think about you, but the birds singing under the cloudy sky seem tug at the strings in my heart. The disjointed notes, so far from a melody, tease it out until I’m stretched out the window, pulled into the warm early evening air. Yes, it’s still light out, and the day hovers just outside the window full of other people and stories and other chances to make the world different.
But me? I’m here with a sad smile on my face listening to the birds dripping like liquid drops in a dish of water behind me.
There’s a moment in the course of the day, usually very early or not so late, that the bird song echoes off the pavement. It ripples around the open spaces and wraps itself among the branches of the trees.
You’re not for me, and I’m definitely not for you. Perhaps there was a moment, a brief evening in time where our hearts were teased out like the birdsong echoing in the night to ricochet back and forth across the sky and the street.
* * *
Who’d have known that the birds sing in the city? Who’d have known that one could hear them? Certainly not me. I’ve lived my life tightly tucked in the arms of the sweet country stillness. There wasn’t ever any other, nor did I want anything else. The trees and the woods and the innocence of the frogs in the pond, they cradled me in their arms and rocked me to sleep every night.
Then I moved here. The air teems with people. They are to my right and to my left and behind me and above me and over there and there and there and there… There is not a private moment, not even when you’re alone. An energy moves along the streets and passes down the hallways. At first it frightened me; I found it exhausting. Gathering the various folds and layers of the skirts of my soul, I held them tightly in, high above my knees, so that no one passing by would trample upon them. That was always a danger, to be stepped on. But now my arms don’t grow as weary. Perhaps my skirt gets shorter as my credentials grow… I’ll be America’s corporate banker before you know it.


I like this one too. I didn't know when I wrote this my junior year of college that I'd someday end up applying for a job at a corporate bank. Funny how life works. I think my skirts have gotten longer since then, though (for the record), though they (and I!!) have certainly have gotten cuter (trust me on that one). Anyhow. I think this is pretty, too. I miss those days when I was expected to do so much "technical" or "school" writing, that a little creative interlude like this one was candy. I miss school. :(