Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Talk Thursday: The Story Of My Life.

For today's Talk Thursday topic, I'm instructed to "think of the Smashmouth song," which of course being practically Methusthelean in age, I have never heard. So I "googled" the lyrics. Here they are. While I can't say all of that happened to me, I can still relate to quite a bit of it. Like the part about one's checking account being overdrawn. Well, mine isn't--yet--but let's just say it would be really really awesome if Joan's pay check hit early this week. And the part about finding the car and then not being able to find my keys. Half the time I'm positive there are car key gnomes that deliberately sneak your car keys out of wherever you put them and hide them places you could swear you haven't been in a week. The rest of the time, though, I take my meds.

Today I ended up at the pool with a neatly packed backpack full of all the stuff I needed EXCEPT for my little bag of jewelry. For this avid beader, walking around with no jewelry feels like what an ordinary woman would probably feel like walking around stark naked. Yet I could swear, I packed up my little black and crystal netted necklace and my little black and silver earrings and my wine colored bracelet that matches my wine colored pants, and tucked it into the outer flap of my backpack with my little pill box and my lucky coin and my hairspray. Still, when I got out of the pool, I found the pill box and the hair spray but no lucky coin and no jewelry. When I got home, I found out that I'd left the little bag on my dresser, next to my lucky coin. Why I remembered to stuff my pill box in there is beyond me, but it's a good thing I did or I'd have been even later to work than I already was. One Does Not Go To Work Without One's Meds. It's noisy enough in my head with the volume control fully engaged, if ya get mah drift.

And yeah, okay, the Jen as absent minded professor thing is amusing, but I like life more when I'm calm and mindful and deliberate and doing things slowly, one at a time, like Thich Nhat Hanh says. Which isn't all that often, but at least I try. And occasionally patience is rewarded. After all these months with my annoying coworker, putting up with his endless sad stories about how patently unfair it was that he had to work for this crummy law firm, he suddenly up and resigned. He gave actual notice, by which definition he could have stayed a week or so longer, but oddly enough, management didn't want him to. Indeed, they could hardly wait to get him out the door. And the lack of having him around has been almost dizzying.

Have you ever lived with something unrelentingly negative for so long that it just becomes part of the atmosphere? And then all of a sudden it's gone, and only then do you realize how bad it was? I can come up with two analogies, one lofty and one mundane: Clinton winning the Presidency in 1992, and getting new tires and a spin balance on my old Toyota pickup. Watching the Democratic convention unfold in North Dakota, thanks to my uncle's brand-new (at that time) satellite TV, I saw Mr. Clinton come to the podium amidst a surge of energy that was palpable and said to myself, "There's our next President." I realized then how utterly draining the last twelve years had been. Likewise, dealing with my temperamental truck that had needed new tires for months since I'd been in a wreck: Pulling out of the service station, I felt like I was gliding along on a pane of glass. "Wow, it must have really been bad before," I said to myself.

That's kind of what this is like. Sure, I freaked out six ways to Sunday when I thought I might be handling a double case load again, but my boss Dave has put my mind at ease about that; "Who told you you were handling both case loads? Nobody? Well, then why did you assume that? Okay, then calm down." I'm really starting to like the guy, which is funny considering how much we didn't hit it off at first.

Incidentally, here's a pic of (right to left) Indiana Jen, boss Dave (as the Joker) and his case manager Sal (as El Mariachi) on Halloween. See why I like the guy? That costume took some serious work. Plus, he stayed in character, to the point of greeting one of the suited partners (just come from a hearing) with, "We meet again, Batman."
Anyway, other people in the firm are now coming and talking to me and telling me they had the exact same issues with him that I did. Not that he did a bad job or that he was slow or anything like that, but just the unrelenting negativity. And the lack of getting it. As in, this is the reality of working at this particular law firm at this particular time in this particular century; accept it or get out. As I believe I've stated a couple of times before, I was and still am fine with it. My only real complaint, and it is minor, is that they aren't paying me as much as I want. I made more at a former job, so part of me still thinks I should be getting paid that amount, but the rest of me has pretty much gotten over it because jobs are scarce right now and this is a really good one no matter how much they're paying me. Ever heard the expression, "my way or the highway"? Well, it isn't my way because it's not my law firm, but that's the gist of it. And I could go into the whole doctrine of nonattachment and walking the middle way thing here, and quote Buddha half a dozen times, but I won't. Let's just say it's better for everybody that my annoying coworker and the law firm have parted company. I hope that if I encounter somebody like him in the future, I will find some way to simply not deal with him, rather than let him suck my energy like a vampire. Stregoi. Whatever.

(Hey, it came to my attention yesterday that the word that means the closest thing to "vampire" in old Romanian is "stregoi," and the word that means the closest thing to "witch" in the same language is "stregoica". Now, in Italy, there's a form of witchcraft called "strega", so what is the common root of all of those words? Streg? Strego? And what does that word translate as in the original Latin/Roman? Inquiring minds want to know.)

So coming back to the original point (and I do do that, occasionally), one might wonder how I became the dumping ground for my annoying coworker's complaints in the first place. Well, my friends, people will do that to me. Normal people. Weird people. Any people. On airplanes. In offices. On jury duty. In libraries, even. They walk up to me, sometimes without even introducing themselves, and begin talking about their many woes. After years of this, I have determined that it has to be the tattoo. The invisible one on my forehead that says, "Your sad story welcome here." And that, ladies and germs, seems to be the story of my life. Rock on.


wolfwhosings said...

People do that to you because you are too compassionate to tell them to get bent. Believe me, I know.

Some folk, like my mom, just don't have the boundaries or are too polite, and wind up in similar straits.

However draining it may be, at least we can always tell ourselves, "Hey, could be worse. I could be them."

Jen said...

Ah. So it's not the tattoo after all. Thank God. Invisible tattoo removal is pricey.

Cele said...

I think it's an aura or human suffering pheromoan that attracts people like magnets.

You have to like a boss that will dress up like the Heath Ledger Joker. Could you imagine him in Casar Romeros white face and red jacket?

Jen said...

Definitely not the red jacket. He's much more Heath Ledger than Cesar Romero. Last year he made a great vampire, apparently (I wasn't here).