A Tale of Two Shitty Events, Sandwiching a Generally Shitty Day

What a crappy day it has been.

It started out with my husband and kids leaving earlier than usual to go to a soccer tournament, leaving me with the dog chores that they normally would have done. The dog, shortly after they left, started barking and swatting at me with his paw, a pretty clear indication that he wanted to go out.

I hate taking him for a walk, because he pulls strenuously and continuosly on the leash. It’s quite unpleasant. He’s not trained, and we don’t seem to be able to train him or get someone else to do it. We’ve tried, and we’ve failed, but that’s a different story.

When I take him for a walk, I need to bring at least three poop bags, just in case. And my phone, and my keys. I usually put on a jacket with pockets, so I can be hands-free and hold on to the leash better. He has a new harness, and I guess I must have put it on backwards. I myself am remarkably backwards when it comes to putting harnesses wrong. I always screw it up.

Out we went, and it was much hotter than I’d thought. Way too hot for my faux-down jacket. He was particularly anxious, and was pulling with all his might. After a short time, my back started to hurt. I have a couple of herniated discs, and it doesn’t take much to exacerbate them.

I decided to go the short route, partially because the pulling and the heat from both the too-warm jacket and exertion were a drag. Then, suddenly, he leapt so forcefully that he got out of the harness. At first, part of it was still on, and he didn’t know he was free, but as I tried to sneak up on him he got wise and ran away.

I can’t run fast; in fact, can hardly run at all. He’s young and spry. And mischievous. I couldn’t catch him, and he didn’t want to be caught. He was cavorting through my neighbors’ yards, sniffing and exploring and reveling in his freedom. I was huffing and sweating, twenty paces behind, calling his name and promising peanut butter. I already know that peanut butter is only a lure when he’s on the leash or in the house. It means nothing when he’s free. But I had nothing else.

Eventually, he ran into a gated backyard and I followed him, latching the gate behind me. He ran near me but not near enough, and I panted and jogged breathlessly behind him. I was terrified every moment that he would jump the fence (he easily could have) and be lost forever or hit by a car. But, just as suddenly, he plopped himself down on the back porch and allowed me to refasten his harness, this time correctly. By this time, I was dripping with sweat and my back was killing me. And I was pissed off, pretty much at everyone. I dragged him back to the pile of poop we’d left behind when he got free, cleaned it up, and managed to get home.

That essentially ruined my day, though. I know it shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t shake my bad mood. My back still hurts and probably will for a few more days. I was too agitated to follow the loose plan I’d formulated that morning. I guess I don’t bounce back very easily. I eventually managed to accomplish everything, but I felt grumpy the entire time.

Things got slightly better by nighttime. I made a quiche that was well received at dinner, and was just about to try to write my daily blog post as I had resolved to do, but took a moment to pet my cat. It was then that I discovered one of her claws was so long it was piercing her foot pad. Poor thing! And then followed an episode of complete ineptitude. I had my husband hold her while I tried to clip the claw, but I couldn’t really tell where I was supposed to clip. She was growling and even biting me, which she does not do. It was unclear whether I was hurting her or just scaring her. Eventually, I gave up.

Bad medical situations have a way of happening when the doctor isn’t open. It’s just one of those Murphy’s Law things. The vet certainly isn’t around tomorrow, and possibly not even Monday due to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. But I can’t bear to make her wait that long anyway. It must be so painful! So I guess I’ll take her to the animal hospital. Yes, I am the idiot who will pay hundreds of dollars to have my cat’s claws clipped. But I am also a softhearted idiot, and I don’t want her to suffer any longer than necessary.

Time to end this crappy day, and hope things aren’t this bad tomorrow!


Early Fall Resolution

For better or worse, I am going to post every day. The intent is to conquer my fear. Every day, all day, I think of things I want to write. Most of the time I don’t write them at all, and when I do I don’t post them. But I’ve decided: no matter what, I will post every day. At least until the end of this month; then we’ll see. So here are the topics that have been rattling around in my mind:

  1. I have invented a new diet, and so far I have lost about four pounds. Though that doesn’t sound impressive, I am one who loses weight slowly, with great difficulty. Four pounds is amazing for me. I’ve been on this diet for about forty days, actually, so the weight loss isn’t even insanely slow. It’s been so successful I think I’m going to write a friggin’ e-book. Seriously. I can’t figure out what to call it, though. More later!
  2. I have a job interview on Thursday. I obviously haven’t been offered a job yet, but I’ve been struggling mightily with myself about whether I would accept it, if offered, since this is the closest I’ve gotten in months. I passed an initial phone screen, and passed a “technical phone screen,” the title of which makes sense only marginally, given my prospective job role (which is in no way a software developer).
    1. The cons are:
      1. Pay is going to be less, undoubtedly. It won’t be less than I can live on, but it’s a different kind of company and the salary bands aren’t quite the same. Of course I will try to negotiate, but there’s no point in being unreasonable.
      2. It’s farther than I really want to commute. If I leave at a reasonable hour, I might double my commute time.
    2. The pros are:
      1. My research indicates it’s a happier company, with a clear purpose. The employees seem happy. They appear to be making a profit.
      2. Their product is good, something I’m at least not ashamed of, and there’s plenty of room for growth.
    3. The unknowns are:
      1. How much paid time off would they give me?
      2. Do they allow work from home?
      3. What’s the 401K matching situation?
      4. What’s the healthcare situation?
      5. What could my career trajectory look like, if I stayed there?
    4. And, of course, the other unknowns:
      1. Would I like it there?
      2. Would they be happy with me?
      3. Is there going to be an age gap problem?
        1. Will I seem like grandma to them?
        2. Will I be expected to go to happy hours all the time, when all I want to do is start my long commute home?

Anyway, this all may be moot; but I feel that despite my awkwardness and lack of self-confidence, I did pretty well at the interviews. And I am actually qualified.

I have more thoughts, but I’m going to avoid the risk of forgetting to publish this since there is chaos around me right now, and constant interruptions. See you tomorrow.


The KellyAnne Conway Photo

I’ve been too chicken to tell anyone what I think about the famous KellyAnne Conway photo that caused a stir a few months back; the one with her kneeling on the couch in the Oval Office, which was at the time full of presidents and leaders of historically black colleges.

But I’ve finally decided to lay down my burden. So here goes:

First, I don’t believe KAC had to kneel on the sofa in the particular way that she did in order to get a good photo. I think she could have gotten a good photo with her feet on the ground. Also, as many have pointed out, professional photographers with professional equipment, such as the ones who took the picture of her, were in the room taking photographs. I think the photo op excuse was just that: an excuse.

There’s an idea, an idea I believe is not only false but disgusting, but nonetheless an idea that exists, that black men want white women. Particularly, blonde white women. I think KAC buys into this idea. I know she also thinks of herself as quite a dish. I think she thought she was teasing those black men. There she was, just feet away on the couch! In a vulnerable position. It would be so easy to just hike her dress up and nail her. Only, too bad, the Secret Service was there so no one could do that.

Let me add that I highly doubt any of those men actually had the slightest interest in a foolish, deluded, mean-spirited women such as KAC. All she did was embarrass herself. I don’t know if anyone else has actually voiced the same “theory” as me, but I suspect it was at the back of at least some people’s minds. That’s why it was such an uncomfortable subject for everyone. People said they were uncomfortable with her showing disrespect to the Oval Office by having her feet on the couch, but, I don’t know…I just don’t think that’s it.

It’s an uncomfortable idea to commit to words. Yet it occurs to me all the time. Just now I realized…what the hell do I have this fucking blog for, if not to voice an idea that nags me all the time?

A Bottle of Pills

It was just a bottle of pills. Thirty while capsules. The pills could not be done without. One would not leave the country without those pills. But they were missing.

They were not on the table where they had previously been. They were not on the floor. No one had seen them. No one had touched them. No one extra had been in the house. There was no evidence that the dog had gotten to them. Yet, they continued not to be found, as if defying the laws of physics.

“They cannot just vanish,” it was said. “Something happened to them. We just don’t know what.” Despite the fact that the bottle was not allowed to vanish and defy laws of physics, it did just that. Though we have looked high and low, it has not been found to this day.

Career Creep

The other day, browsing through LinkedIn, I came upon the profile of a person who called himself a career coach. His day job was the same as mine, but in his spare time he, claimed, he helped others tune up their LinkedIn profiles so well that hiring managers would be calling, without them even applying for a job. Taking this with a grain of salt, I did nonetheless consider the idea that I should hire a career coach.

As you know I’ve been looking for almost a year with no success, so I InMailed him.  He responded, and over the next few days we had an exchange that I have to characterize as bizarre.

There were warning signs that I ignored, I’ll admit. The guy’s profile is littered with symbols, arrows, checkmarks, probably a little foaming pint of beer, roses, a thumbnail of a resume, and so on. It looks messy, but it looks different. I wouldn’t want my profile to look like that, but I figured, “Hey, he got my attention, right? He says he can market people and he made himself stand out.” I figured it was just a gimmicky, schticky thing he was doing to get attention and not a sign of a disordered mind.

One of this requests was to send some information, and what he asked for wasn’t untoward, but I didn’t feel it told the whole story of what I’m trying to do and the challenges I’m facing. So I added that in. I wouldn’t say my response to him was overly long. It wasn’t brief either. It included the necessary information.

From the get-go, his responses had an odd, passive-aggressive tone. He seemed to feel I had challenged him to a duel of wits and that I was trying to prove that I was better than him in some way. He responded by inserting lots of wink emojis into his paragraphs and assuring me he could “keep up” with me. He never quite seemed to get the point of what I was saying, so I kept clarifying in my responses.

I became increasingly aware that I only knew vaguely how he was proposing to work his magic, and requests for detail were met with 😉 and statements that were not to the point.

It was his last response that made me cut ties with him, in which he stated something along the lines of “OK, no more hand-holding. You’ve got to take me by the hand and lead me where you want to go.” I was baffled that anything that had happened could be considered ‘hand-holding.’ And where I want to go…I thought I had been explaining that in detail for days.

When I finally told him it wasn’t going to work out (thankfully I hadn’t yet paid him anything), I believe he was relieved. His reply was along the lines of “I understand. Best, John.” Like, I am delighted to be rid of you. It was mutual.

The one positive result of the experience is that I have resolved I do want a career coach, just not him. I’m thinking, someone who makes a living as a career coach would be a good bet, since presumably they have to be good enough to stay in business.

I have to say I’m annoyed with myself for giving this guy the benefit of the doubt for so long. I was so sure I just wasn’t explaining clearly, or that my situation was unusual, or something. The truth is, the guy is kind of a jerk. He’s also not as smart as he thinks he is.




The Cake

A man walks by a bakery and, glancing into the window, sees a beautiful cake. He would like to eat the cake, but the bakery is closed. He continues on his way, intending to visit the bakery later, to see if he can purchase the cake.

Another man walks by the same bakery and sees the same gorgeous cake. He would also like to eat the cake. The bakery is closed, so he smashes through the custom-etched and painted plate glass window and steals the cake.

When the owner of the bakery discovers the theft, he is distraught. He will have to replace the window, but it will never be as nice as the original. He will have to install a more expensive alarm system, the upkeep of which is higher. It’s more expensive and it requires more time to maintain.

The intangible costs are even more severe. The baker owner has been deliberately creating lovely cakes to attract customers, but he doesn’t want to attract thieves. He wonders if he should make his window displays less beautiful, so as not to encourage stealing. But his bakery is his livelihood. If he doesn’t advertise his delicious cakes, he won’t attract legitimate paying customers. There is no solution to the problem. Either he puts beautiful cakes in the window and invites violent destruction of his property, or he hides the cakes and gets less business. In fact, he realizes, someone might smash the window for fun. The thief might not even find the cake itself as irresistible as the taking of it. 

Let us turn to the two men. Is it that the first man simply didn’t want the cake that much, and that’s why he didn’t smash the window? And that the second man was so overcome by desire for the cake that he could not control himself? In a sense, is it the bakery owner’s fault that he broke in?

Not unless you are a witless, morally bankrupt asshole. The first man is a normal person who is willing to abide by society’s rules. Moreover he understands the pain he would inflict upon the bakery owner were he to break in. And, finally, he has some self-knowledge and honesty. Yes, he does want the cake. But it’s just a cake. He doesn’t elevate his desire for a cake into something more than it is. He doesn’t pretend it’s impossible to control his desire. He knows full well that it is possible.

The other man lives in lies. He lies to himself that he couldn’t help it. He lies that he deserves to have the cake, because he’s had less cake than other people in his life. No one ever gives him cakes like this; why should he be deprived? He cannot afford the cake, and it’s not fair that those with money should have it and not him. He keeps from his mind thoughts of the bakery owner’s feelings and the hours spent making the cake. He doesn’t think about what he should and should not do. In this sense, he has abdicated his humanity.

I think he’s a liar. He’s self-deluded. I understand that it’s hard to look at something nice, that you cannot get. A house, a car, a person. However, that’s life. No one can have everything they want. There may be a few people who seem as if they do have everything they want. I bet that it only seems that way.

The next day, the rest of us will see the boarded-up glass and the distraught baker. We have an obligation to say “This is wrong.” The crime must not go unpunished. If you say, “Oh, he could not help it. I would have broken the window myself, heheh!” Then I put you in the came category as the thief: not fit to live in this society. I wish I could put you on an island with the other savages. Let them steal what they want from you with no repercussions. You would see what you so callously destroy.

*Of course, this is in some ways a terrible analogy since “cake” is often not “for sale.” So please bear in mind, it is just an analogy, is not perfect, and does not match the subject in every aspect.

The Journey

When I drive to work, it’s early. The sun isn’t quite up and I am half-asleep as well. I sip hot coffee in the dimness, which despite the caffeine is soothing.  Happily, it’s too dark to see into the few other cars.

My thoughts are obscure, hiding under the covers.  I haven’t yet uttered a word. All is tranquil.

During this interlude I rarely worry about what is ahead.  Pleasant and irritating interactions, entertaining tasks and irksome chores, will come my way. Despite my efforts I will be thwarted by forces. Miraculously I stay in my cocoon until I pull into the parking garage. Once there, overhead fluorescent lights and the cold-water douse of the day’s trials rouse me.

As I drive home at the end of the day, there is no passageway into the Prufrock underwater dreaminess. The sun glares and drivers aggressively and pointlessly maneuver. Everyone is out, it seems, and everyone wants to drive up my butt. The dissatisfactions of the day pursue me.