Monday, December 18, 2006

Failure, courtesy of NPR

I heard the NPR story above when I was driving to work one morning. I got to the office and immediately located the text online, saving it to my favorites.

I find myself reading this article on days when I desperately need to calm down. Today was a funny day - I think that, due to an unfortunate combination of hormones and stress, that I've been frantic all day.

Christmas does that to people. So does the suprise engagement of someone that you've known biblically. So does a messy desk that never gets clean. So does the idea of Christmas shopping for your mom, with your dad. So does discussing internet connections with people in India who have to give you dumbed down, Americanized names - Kevin was today's lucky tech.

Regardless, read the article. Break many pots. That's my Christmas wish. Well, that and admission to grad school. An impeccable complection and a new job wouldn't hurt, either. BUT I do have a whole bag of homemade caramel corn, sitting at my fingertips. Nothing says Christmas like caramel corn. I'm off to live it up.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Of gray sky, of bitter stain

Top 5 Fantasy Jobs:

1. Being reborn as photographer Annie Leibovitz, for the sole purpose of taking that Rolling Stone cover of John and Yoko.

2. New York Times features writer who publishes novels on the side.

3. Singer in a rock and roll band.

4. Gallery owner in Barcelona.

5. One of those Jager girls who walks around the bar, giving out shots. But only if they let me wear Hooters-inspired attire.

Why does our generation identify so strongly with our professions? (And with High Fidelity.) Every one of my friends wraps their identity in what they do for a living. If they, like me, are dissatisfied with their jobs, unchallenged or unimpressed, they're constantly apologizing for it. I myself choose the route of self-deprecation, making acerbic jokes about my occupation as a "Project Assistant," and getting offended when others make similar jokes. Only I'm allowed to point out the absurdity in what I do. When someone else does it, that feels like a threat, or worse yet-condescension.

Why do we judge one another for our jobs? Everyone I know went to college. Almost everyone has their bachelor's degree. We are intellecutally, on paper, equals. Some days, it feels like these discretions are noted because no one makes you take a certain job. Ostensibly, we could get any job we wanted.

In my experience though, that hasn't been the case. We need more experience, we need more schooling, we need better connections. Maybe these optimistic expectations are the result of our culture. America, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, become something from nothing. The intense pressure to become something. What a country.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006


Today, I stood on the front porch with a heavy metal shovel and worked to remove the ice/slush mixture that I have been slipping on every morning for a week.

The work looked like it would be easy. It warmed up today; it was sunny. What had been ice this morning appeared to be malleable slush, something I could kick away with my shoe.

This was not the case. I tried first with an umbrella. Yes, an umbrella with a metal tip. I used the metal tip to poke holes in the ice, thinking I could wedge off large pieces at a time. No.

I took to the garage for some real man tools. I found the shovel, scrapey metal, and dragged it to the front stoop. Cars drove up our block and stared at the little girl in the long red coat, hacking at her stoop with an earth-moving shovel.

I figured the shovel couldn't look as badly as the umbrella had looked, and continued my quest for a safe walk. I hacked and pushed and manipulated the slushy, rock-bottomed material until my back started to sing a little. Finally, I found its breaking point. I removed the large pieces and returned the shovel to the garage. Tomorrow morning, when I leave in my long red coat, my path will be clear - no matter how much crap I'm lugging to the car.