Thursday, September 6, 2012
Talk Thursday: "Annie Lennox Called...
Yep, that's quite the topic heading from which to take off. Particularly when you consider the fact that if Annie Lennox ever did call and tell me she loved me--or even leave a message to that effect--I'd probably flip. I mean, Annie Lennox. Annie fucking Lennox. Hello? Not only is she gorgeous, she's intelligent, multitalented, obviously possessed of a sense of humor and last but not least, Scottish. That's about as good as it gets in this crazy world.
That said, the number of people who call and leave messages that they love me are rather few and far between. My parents, of course, and my sister. And Joan, once in a while, when she's farther away than the average text message. Still, if any of you want to call and tell me you love me, please feel free. I was thinking the other day how awesome it would be if someone were to walk into my cube once a day, tell me I was doing a great job and pat me on the head. This is about as likely to happen as, oh, Annie Lennox calling and leaving a message that she loves me, but it'd still make me feel a lot better. Woe unto today's grade schoolers, who get trophies whether their team wins the soccer game or not; in Real Life (TM), nobody pats you on the head and tells you you're doing a great job. Well, okay, it happens once in a great while. When it does happen, you save the card or letter or email in your file marked "Hugs" and go through it on days when you're depressed, because it doesn't happen very damned often and you know that when it does happen, they Really Mean It.
Most of the time, I get a voice mail, as opposed to a message, but when I do get a message, it tends to be, "So and so called. He's really pissed off about (blank)." (Blank) is inevitably something I have no control over, but rather than be allowed to recruit the person who does have control over it, I get stuck returning the call anyway and apologizing on someone's behalf, then telling So and So that the situation, whatever it is, will be fixed forthwith, which, again, I don't have much control over. Here's a Buddhist conundrum: I basically have no control over anything, yet my job is asking me to have control over a great many things I have no control over. When I show up; I sometimes have control over that. (Though this morning, I was half an hour late.) Whether or not I bring doughnuts; I usually have control over that. (This morning I brought doughnuts. If you're already going to be half an hour late, you might as well go for forty minutes and bring doughnuts.)
Here's something else I have no control over: Money. The other day we found out that Joan is going to need oral surgery, and it's going to cost five figures. Not all at once, thank God, but over the next five years or so. The really big ugly final number was so big I couldn't even wrap my brain around it. It was like somebody telling me the nearest star is four light years from here. I have no concept of how far light travels in a year. Just no concept whatever. And that much money--that's half my take-home pay for a year. I mean gas, groceries, mortgage, electricity, food, vet visits, therapy bills, washing machine repairs. Just an unbelievable amount of money.
So today I did something one should Never Ever Do. I rolled some money out of an IRA.
I expected the earth to crack asunder, the temple curtain to tear from top to bottom, the sun to split and turn black in the sky. That didn't happen, but I did sort of feel like throwing up. I mean, this was the financial equivalent of traveling forward in time, finding my old lady self and stabbing her repeatedly in the chest. Borrowing from your retirement fund is like--like passing a bill in Congress increasing the budget deficit, or something, and expecting your grandchildren to pay for it when they get older. Surely our wise leaders would never do such a thing. It would just be wrong.
Well, rightly or wrongly, it's done and I did it. And we have the first round of oral surgery more or less sewn up, if you'll pardon the expression. I'll need to adjust my tax withholding for the rest of the year, and I guess we'll worry about next year next year, but there we are. If Annie Lennox feels like calling me up and telling me she loves me, this would be the perfect time. Not only is she gorgeous, intelligent, multitalented, funny and Scottish, she's also rich. Hello? Annie? I'm waiting.