Monday, June 23, 2008

25 means old and wise

I began my job at Initech in late January. With my low status, I was banished to a cubicle near the loud, slamming door. Every time someone goes out to lunch, goes to the restroom, runs down to Dunkin Donuts for a cup of coffee - bam. Bam. Bam. All day long.

This slamming has got nothing, however, on the Travel Agent. She's on the phone all day. She has a terrible, West Suburbs accent (exACKly). She gets mad and she slams her elbow into the desk. She lets the airlines' bad hold music play on one loud speakerphone. In short, she's the kind of woman who owns multiple jean jackets. And she sits directly across from me. One thin, non-sound-absorbing wall of partition stands between me and grammatical errors each spoken conversation.

(I'm not exaggerating about the grammar thing. This woman, in her need for superiority, answers everyone's "How are you today?" with an "I'm well, how are you?" So not only is she using "well" incorrectly - with the verb "to be," the word "well" is actually describing the subject, and not the verb. She thinks she's being smart and using an adverb, but what she really wants is "I'm DOING well." This kills me, slowly, day by day.)

Last night, I went to bed in a euphoria. It was my 25th birthday, and I felt such a great love from family and friends that I slept like a baby. I arrived at work this morning and saw the vague, jean-jacketed shape as I trudged to my desk - but I realized that it probably doesn't matter. What a waste of time to begrudge the annoyances she provides - being grateful makes me feel so much better.

So I'm grateful that so many of my friends wanted to make me feel special. I'm grateful that my parents and brother could come visit me for an extended weekend. I'm grateful that my dad installed all the window a/c units in my apartment. I'm grateful that I don't own jean jackets and that I don't have to be on the phone all day.

And if that doesn't work? I'm grateful for my headphones and KEXP Seattle.

SIDE NOTE: I'm currently reading The Perfect Man by an author named Naeem Murr. I saw him read from this book in January or February, and bought it on the spot. He's a British fellow living in Chicago, and the book is a pretty gorgeous treatment of some un-gorgeous subject matter - the stuff great literature is made of. Takes place in a small Missouri town outside STL, and finds its center in a group of adolescents in the 1950s. Though I haven't finished it yet (give me til the end of the week), I'm recommending it. Mostly to you, Mr Useted. Hurrah for summer reading!!!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

If you can't stand the heat...

Wait a few days, and it will rain.

My roommate left on a turbulent Weds. I say turbulent because I had quite a Tuesday, and some of it leaked over into Weds. She is traveling in Central America/Cuba for two months, and I find myself in a strange predicament: living alone. I haven't yet reached the one week mark, but it seems weird to come home and know that she won't be there. I have two goals: don't overdo it on the TV, and keep the place clean. These seem like reasonable goals, since a few sets of visitors will keep the clean thing motivated, and the TV is taking a backseat to my massive summer reading list. The strangest part is waking up in the morning, getting ready for work, heading to work, working all day - and not talking to anyone, through all of that. I'm not counting a thank you to the bus driver or an awkward "Good morning" to the person leaving the bathroom as I enter.

I don't think I do well without telling people even a sampling of what's in my head. In Chicago, it's so bizarre to think of the zillions of people around you, and not exchanging thoughts with any of them! (It's probably fortunate, as well, but that's another point altogether.) Does everyone need this weird personal validation of existence?

Speaking of validating existence, finals are almost over and I feel crazed about the grade I'm going to end up with from my eccentric essay professor. He and I have had interesting interactions lately, and I can't tell if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm leaning toward good, but I don't know if that will end up as good as the A I want.

And with the end of finals, a whole summer of guilt-free living. I can go see movies, or read novels, or spend time being lazy with friends, and I won't have to feel guilty about not doing homework. What a thrilling life I lead. I can't wait to initiate myself to Chicago by going to the lake's beaches and attending free concerts at Millenium Park's Pritzker Pavilion. I think I can handle even a Wagner symphony if I get to stretch out on the lawn with a bottle of wine.