And I Return Again

I’m worlds away from what I wrote last. It’s been months.

In the world of work and money, I passed the bar exam on the third try and am now a registered attorney in the state of Maine. I have a different job. Contrary to what you might think, that job is not because of my new status. I began working for a nonprofit recruiting attorneys to help with access to justice for civil legal matters. I needed the attorney status to interact with what would become my peers.

I have more cats than I would like to, but in some way, I like them all. You can see details about that on my blog Shy Cats Diary.

My last long and sordid tale, reflecting negatively on Mexican Wrestling, and probably tagged wrongly–because why tag #luchalibre when you didn’t like it, you’ll just disappoint all the fans–was shortly after my breakup with Clay. Our status remains friends. My status remains single. I miss him. I go over his house and clean the catbox.

That ain’t easy. It’s two hundred twenty-six miles to Salem, Massachusetts. My car needs an oil change. But I am determined to continue a link with Massachusetts in addition to visiting Clay. Continue my Masshole status, as one of my friends from there would say.

I’ve put four credit cards into a repayment plan and for the first time am attempting to live on what I earn. I’ve got such an odd history about that. That’s another thing that makes it hard to go down to Massachusetts.

I’ve got good coffee because my mother brought it up at the time of my swearing-in ceremony, and I sit with it in the morning and now I’m writing this.

Hello, world!

Lucha Libre, Mexico City, February 1, 2019

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Masks

The floors were concrete, painted with gray that was now peeling off in spots. I got a pat down on the way in. The women were getting patdowns from the women, the men from the men. My guard felt in my upper brastrap. I guess that’s where you could keep a weapon.

From about two or three blocks away, the selling began. Two- or three-sided tents of canvas with bright masks like those of the wrestlers hanging on the walls. Toys and action figures laid out on mats on the ground. Bright blue, shiny silver and gold, bright red, yellow, lightning bolt, a patchwork of colors. I didn’t want a mask but I already saw the colors of Mexico.

I hated the waiting, I hated the lines. Up the steps of whatever gigantic indoor stadium building this was. We had walked for what seemed like miles, Clay and his four new Mexican co-workers, whom he comes here to train. Inside the stadium there were lines for beer and snacks. A very pink-and-white-skinned female wrestler in pink shorts and bra top, a mask with silver trim, was posing for pictures with kids on a dias. Both Clay and I were surprised by this bright sight.

We got in the regular beer line, and Clay’s friends got in the special beer line. I don’t know what other kinds they had, but the special beer included a large cup with drooly oozy red stuff over the top and the same in the beer. It looked like a combination of sweet and hot. Later, I found out you could get that on top of a fruit cup, too. The servers at the counter took bottled water and bottled beer and poured it in these plastic cups. All you could get was a cup, whether the original beverage bottle was plastic or glass.

When we got there, the entire row had been taken up by seat squatters and people had to be kicked out by the usher. It took some time, but we eventually sat down in our little bright blue wooden seats that folded up like those in a very old school auditorium.

Once seated, we realized you could order almost everything there. Beer–disgustingly reminiscent of Budweiser–chips, other food. Vendors paced the aisles, hawking their wares amid the general din. I didn’t order anything. Someone bought a bag of chips and kept passing it over me to Clay and people further down in our row.

A family was seated in front of us, with four kids. I’d guess two friends and two biological children. Boys. They all had masks. The smallest ones had two identical masks, florescent orange with silver tape. It looked almost like they had made them, or that those masks had been purchased for less than the usual masks. The other two boys had masks too, the kind I had seen on the way in. One insisted on keeping his off. The fourth boy had it off and on. But the first two were wrestlers, I’m sure, in their minds. They never took their masks off. They jumped up in their seats and pumped their fists. They ooohed and ahhhed at all the moves. They laughed and screamed in triumph. And when they stood, they were only as tall as the top of my head anyway, so my view was hardly blocked.

The bathroom. Unfortunately, at some point I had to use it. One of Clay’s friends said he would escort me. He had perpetuated an unnecessary machismo all evening, conspicuously walking to the outside of the two of us, on the traffic side, halting me with an arm before we crossed an intersection. I knew this was Mexico City. I had seen how people drove since I first got into the cab at the airport. However, the bathroom escort was convenient. I didn’t have to ask where it was amid so much hubbub while my Spanish was worn out.

In the tiny concrete bunker, there were four stalls, metal painted pink. I got in one, sat down on the toilet with no tank, just pipes that went into the wall and a lid that had to be flipped back down to flush, and–no toilet paper. To my right on the floor was a basket containing what looked like used paper towels.

So, I’ve peed in the woods before. I figured I’d just consider this a similar occasion, but I felt disgusting. Upon walking out of the bathroom, I saw there was a roll of brown toilet paper on the wall near the door. You walk in, you take toilet paper, you take it with you, and then instead of putting it in the toilet, you put it in the basket. What? I later learned that free toilet paper was a bit of a luxury, and Mexico is ahead of many other countries in this department. But at the time, I didn’t have the mental bandwidth for this.

I told this story of discovery to Clay’s chivalrous friend and he asked me if I was “able to go.” Ha! I am not so refined a woman (reference peeing in woods). Perhaps he was expecting a woman as old fashioned as he was.

I told Clay about this behavior later and he was so flattered his friend was taking good care of me. He said nothing about the measure of annoyance.

The show started with women. The booming announcements went out, various women marching, tramping, or dancing down the ramp to the ring. (This ramp was black-painted wood as was the entrance to the dressing room area from which all players emerged. It reminded me of clubs where everything is really dirty but it’s painted black and the light is low so nobody sees it.) The female wrestlers tended toward short but solid. The outfit was basically underwear and a bra, wrestling-style. One woman, part Asian, the only one hanging around the ring since we arrived, had green baggy shorts like a Celtics basketball player, a refreshing change. Other outfits: a gold heart on red bikini bottom–you-know-where. Pink bottoms so sculpted they must have been designed for wedgies. You know how you sometimes see someone with short shorts try to subtly pull down the edges? I did notice one woman trying to get these things out of her butt, but it was her uniform and they were made to go up the butt. If it was me I just would have given up. In fact, I did not see that move again.

A total of six women had accumulated in the ring. They had the six women fight and did not break it down into individual fights of the winners. That’s what they did for the men. I kept laughing at the moves. Picture stopping just short of hurting somebody. The way one of Clay’s friends explained it to me, they admired the wrestlers because they are gymnasts and it does take physical prowess–but they just look like they are bouncing off of each other to me. Every time somebody did a drop kick, or jumped from the corner of the ring ropes onto another person (landing on hands and knees so that the middle body did not come into contact with the other person’s body), or pretended to punch somebody in the face and opened the hand at the last minute, making a slapping sound, I was incredulous and laughed. I had never seen anything like it.

That didn’t mean I liked it.

Some guy or maybe I was disoriented and it was part of the show audio–kept tooting a horn, two longer blasts and three short ones together. “Duh Duh duh-duh-duh!” It was right next to my ear. It was loud. I’m sure I’ve already damaged my hearing from some concerts. I didn’t want to continue but had little choice.

After the Brazilian, the Princessa, etc. left the ring, other, taller, more conventionally sexy girls came down the runway to the ring, lining themselves up in two neat rows of three. Loud American music was blared over the speakers: “We Will Rock You,” “Jump,” and other hits of the seventies and eighties. The ladies’ outfits changed for every in-place dance they did before a new round started, except for the final few rounds where winners were fighting out their fate.

Outfit number one was black shorts with a bikini top–each woman with a different color–bright yellow, lime green, orange, pink. All dances involved swaying. With “We Will Rock You” the ladies would slap one thigh, the other thigh, and then clap. The final outfit of the evening was black bottoms and a fake tuxedo vest with tails–again varied in color. The tux “tails” were not copious although they existed, so they split over the bottom. They continued to dance and clap as the male wrestlers walked, skipped, and postured down the ramp one by one, for each round. Clay and I stared for perhaps two rounds, but everything gets old. The event was being broadcast on TV and after their bit was done, they would stand in a line, the videographer would run his camera across them, and they would make kissy faces and blow kisses to the broadcast audience.

The guys got to experience the gamut of women: heading through them as they clapped and danced and the announcer boomed out their names. The guys would run down in a cape, mask, and below-the-knee bullfighter pants or a bikini, depending on style. The capes came off quickly. Sometimes they had a shirt like one would wear under a diving suit. One huge man with long, curly brown hair got huge cheers too when, sitting on top of his opponent, he pulled the shirt off over his head. Just as with one of the women, one man of the men wasn’t afraid of wearing bottoms that marked the important places. Red bikini with a golden eagle on the front?

A large video screen up and to my left showed whatever was being shown to the TV audience. This helped us watch one funny move. This was when one wrestler would somehow kick or throw another out of the ring (read–willing wrestler jumps down while making it look like the other guy’s skin contact caused it). The one that received the brunt of the other’s wrath would then be down on outside the ring near the front row of people. The vengeful champion would jump down from the ropes onto the guy outside. This was a big crowd-pleaser. The decibel level surged every time. If it was on the other side of the ring, my row couldn’t see it, but Clay and I could see the whole thing on the big screen.

Whenever a wrestler “kicks” somebody, “stomps” somebody, or body slams somebody, they have to fist pump and pose. No other wrestlers decide to get right up and attack during this vulnerable moment. Kids and others roar when the wrestlers lord it over the defeated.

At first I thought the wrestlers were all different because they were wearing different outfits each round. Then I began to recognize certain ones. One favored gold in his outfits–white and gold–and bullfighter pants. Others were older. Others, more loaded with musculature. By the end, I think they ran out of pieces and were swapping outfits.

Another great move: two guys coordinate for one to be on top of the other’s shoulders while he sits on the corner of the ring ropes. They’re fighting, but guy 1 is helping guy 2 up. One holds the other guy on top of his shoulders, and then they both dive onto the ring. If the audience is lucky, the “winner” starts holding the loser’s leg so he’s upside down in a pinwheel with his head on the floor. We also saw a fake fight with the referee about his call. I was certain one of these fights happened each time there was a show. Near the end, with only two wrestlers in the ring, one would be holding the other down, and on the count of “three” suddenly the defeated would spring up and shake his opponent off–over and over and over.

I knew I’d have to pee again. I held it as long as I could, which really wasn’t very long. So, without assistance this time, I walked up the concrete aisle and into the concrete thoroughfare which circumnambulated the place. I was close to the left side wall, heading toward the bathroom, when I heard “permiso, Permiso, PERMISO, PERMISO!” This means excuse me. I just wasn’t paying attention at first. It was in another language. Suddenly right behind me a troop of four people (some women, some men, although I don’t recall the ratio) in orange jumpsuits with blue belts and shoulder straps, came running, each holding a small woman with brown hair in a chair carry–in another orange jumpsuit. She was pretty limp.

I barked, “Sorry, sorry!” and jumped to the wall. The four stopped very close to but in front of me, in a place where a ramp led down to double doors that led outside. They just stood there. They slowly lowered their cargo’s legs to the ground while keeping their arms around her back. What was the point of this? Individuals hanging around ready to take sides started to stare at me. I stared at them for a second. Then this gringo headed to the bathroom, the safest place.

As if to follow up on the wonder of the evening, as I was in the pink-painted metal stall with the tankless toilet, now supplied with my share of brown toilet paper, I heard an entry, I heard a stall door creak, and I heard the sound of vomiting. It was the sound of vomiting when you’re so poisoned that all you have left is bile. Not much is coming up but your system still tries to expel. The sound made me want to throw up myself. I so truly wished to get out of there at this moment. And that is when I also thought of writing this all down.

One would think some things are worth getting really drunk for. In my estimation, this wasn’t it.

It was 10, then 10:30, then heading towards eleven. Clay normally falls asleep between eight and nine p.m. Any wrestler I liked had been eliminated. We saw a man come out to the rink as “the barbarian” with his hair all messed up, some makeup on, and a leopard-print bikini bottom. He had laced up suede knee-high boots. Clay liked the barbarian. He also told me that as soon as it ended, we were out of there. Clay never went to the bathroom there. Not even once. We said goodbye to his co-workers and told them we knew the way home.

We stepped out onto the dirty street and wound between small cars. The taxis are white with purple-pink doors. There were many waiting. We kept walking. Someone parked on the sidewalk all the way up to a building so we had to walk in the street. Clay consulted Google Maps.

On a section of wide sidewalk away from the lucha mania, a young man was out with three friends. He was tall, skinny and dark, with a beard. Reminded me of a philosophy student. He was trying to follow the others and tell them something. He had just raised himself from a triangle shape he made when he almost fell, by putting down his right hand. A spider with a plastic cup of beer in his left hand and his right shakily pushing him upright. He staggered towards the three deserting him. He was arguing, trying to get them to drink. It seemed to get staggeringly drunk in this place. This guy was going to regret it tomorrow.

We walked through a triangular corner park where four or five homeless people sat on a concrete square amidst triangles of grass. Bordering it, a food stand where people stood chatting. Against the wall of the next building, windowless, walked a little chihuahua. It had a collar on, and it had a blue blanket on but only the front buckle of two buckles on the blanket was buckled. The blanket was slightly askew. I could see the dog’s rear and bones jutted up on his backside. Was this an abandoned dog? One that had run off and been lost with all its stuff on? It snapped up a couple things at the side of the building where the building met the wall, like it was starving. What was that? What was it eating? I looked at the group on the concrete square. They seemed blithely ignorant. The food stall owners and chatting customers also seemed unattached to the dog. But who was I to question? It had a collar. It had a blanket. But, that butt! I felt pain in my chest. I started talking to Clay about the dog. But we still walked, now by storefronts.

Clay said something loudly in English just as the storefronts faded into gray faceless walls. A man waited at a bus stop. He turned to us and narrowed his eyes. Clay was about to check his map again. I hustled him along with my arm in his. Clay doesn’t have great sensitivity to these things, but he told me he knew something was up when I wouldn’t answer his map question.

It came to a point where we were in between blank buildings about four stories high on either side of what would have been a highway here, only it was in the middle of the city–four lanes each way, mainly deserted now, with a strip in the middle with a vent for the metro. The absence of people and windows creeped me out to no end. I kept waiting for the mugger to jump out of an invisible nook between buildings. I told Clay. Clay announced, “this area is safe!”

We turned the corner to a street I recognized, coming into Zona Rosa near our hotel. Clay stopped suddenly, mesmerized by the fact that all the electrical wires there were attached to trees. They were very low and we almost had to duck to keep our heads out of them, five, six, seven strings, looped and hanging on a short crown. “Wow, are there really no electrical poles here? They are putting electrical wires on the trees! Huh…” He kept staring up at the wires attached to a crabapple and some other trees.

“Do you think this is up to code?” I joked, hoping he’d move on. He kept staring.

Anyway, we made it back to the small hotel. The night was warm, the air was clotted with particulate matter. All I could say is that I was somewhere new.

About the Bar Exam – Take 2

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…and it might be take 3 in five months.

Isn’t that how everyone feels? Taking the bar exam? People asked my associate how he felt after the bar exam and he said he had no idea. He couldn’t tell. He had gotten two questions that had little to do with what he studied. And he prepped–that means using BarBri, going to classes in the morning, studying their prepared outlines at night on a schedule and doing essay writing exercises.

My associate said he was very good after the bar exam about shutting out that post-bar review that’s going through my mind. He never was good at that with any other type of test and he also re-reviews in his mind hearings, depositions now that he’s an attorney.  That’s what he told me. But somehow, I’m not shutting it out.

I did some silly things, fell into some of the examiners’ traps. This is the Uniform Bar Exam now. I live in Maine, and Maine just adopted the UBE in July of 2017. I was just going to go into great detail about how I made mistakes, but then I remembered we are not supposed to talk about the questions on the exam. Law. By decision, the least discussed subject matter ever. It’s when you’re with your client or write for your client (attorney-client privilege), but not just that. The bar exam too. I’ve always thought it might be a poor career choice for someone like me, naturally confessional. I’ll just say the majority of essay questions tend to present as a basis for the question itself a fact pattern that cannot be possible.

If you’re like me, and you want to go along with what people say, you’ll just say “okay, I’ll answer this crazy question,” and apply the law you know to the fact pattern that doesn’t make sense, as best it will fit. You get the idea.

What I can tell you is you have a half an hour for every question and there is a lot of writing to do. That’s essay day. There is also a multiple-choice component, day 2, but I’ll step away from that for now.

The funny part is, failure or not–I won’t know for a month and a half–I notice as tense as I was, I took a perverse pleasure in answering these essay questions and multiple choice questions. So many details. The one thing I love. So much to think about. Nothing invades my brain in the way I’ll be rehashing my life when I’m bored–only points of law remain in my skull.

I took the bar exam four days ago. I paid money to take it and extra money to take it on a laptop. I went to Southern Maine and stayed in a hotel. I lined up every morning and afternoon of the two days for a three-hour session. I stayed in my hotel room even though there were lovely breweries and other attractions in the city of Portland that piqued my habitual interest. I studied. I realized I got terribly mixed up on a question. I tossed and turned at night with this realization. I studied some more. I ate breakfast. Waited in line. Then I drove home to see my kitties and the safe haven of my apartment as fast as I could. The next night, I realized I got mixed up on another question.

This affects my career. I’m working as I’m doing this. I don’t have time off in between “graduation” and taking the bar exam. My firm is getting tired of my limited abilities as a clerk.

Will I take the bar exam again? Will I find the means to experience the exhaustion and the perverse word play all over? Will I be employed? Stay tuned.

 

 

Winter: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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I used to walk to the Broadway Park in the summer. It always relaxed me, with its tall silver maples and expanse of grass. Its regularity, its oval plot in the middle of streets, pleased me. It was just a short walk back to my apartment.

Now, it’s so cold. I never want to leave the house. In October, when the weather was turning, I vowed to be one of those who walks regardless of weather. I quickly retreated from that resolution. Similarly near my workplace, I used to walk the brick block for morning and evening breaks–no more. Cold in my office, I couldn’t imagine being exposed to more cold outside.

However, the Broadway park has undergone a certain transformation. Somebody poured water into the middle of it–no edge, no rink, but this had to have been intentional. It’s a small homemade ice rink and people are skating on it.

I saw the height of ingenuity from my car window the other day–look at me, safe inside a warm car, not daring to brave the elements. I turned my head to check out the park as I drove by on, naturally, Broadway, and I saw someone learning to skate using a….shopping cart.

I do not know how the man got the shopping cart through the snow of the park to the middle ice without extreme effort. I do not know where the shopping cart came from, as there are no retail stores for almost a mile around the park. Now, skated, he shuffled along the ice holding the shopping cart in front of him like a walker, while three or four others skated on the other side of the small ice patch.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

The Knitting Circle and Spousal Rebellion

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I have been reading a wonderful book by Ann Hood called The Knitting Circle. Ann Hood explores the theme of grief in her books, and the book pulls tears from me all the time. Yet there is not just grief, there are full lives explored and exposed, each one so different, each one like a work of art by a different maker. In a way this is true, because these are Hood’s characters she has given–and I nearly wrote “blessed with” despite their deep emotional wounds–their stories.

I could read about the members of the knitting circle I think forever.

A passage that struck and amused me, a short side story, was how Harriet, a prim and proper member of the knitting circle, lost her husband through divorce. Here, she speaks directly to the main character, Mary, who is visiting Harriet at her suburban home.

Two weeks later, George comes into this very room. I was sitting in that chair over there, knitting a sweater for Danny, for Christmas. George pulls up the ottoman, and sits right in front of me, and tells me, very calmly, “Harriet, would you get naked right now and run through the backyard?” It was three o’clock in the afternoon! I said, “George, what about the neighbors? What about the fact that it’s December?” And he stood up, and he said,

“I’m going to do it, Harriet.” He undressed, right there, by the bookshelves, undressed right down to nothing. Naked! Then he went to the sliding doors, and I jumped up and told him to get back inside. But he walked out. And he faced the house and he yelled, “Look at me, Harriet!” It was so cold that I could see the puffs of air coming from his mouth. I was horrified. Then he came and stood at the door, letting all the heat out, and he said,

“Harriet, come outside with me.”  I said, “I absolutely will not.” He walked back in, slid the door shut, gathered his clothes–didn’t put them on, mind you. Simply gathered them up, and said, “That is exactly why I cannot stay married to you for one minute longer.”

Harriet cannot let go and be silly and shock the neighbors. That’s not terrible; most people don’t come to the point in their lives where they have to question themselves as to whether they would go out naked in the back yard. Many people follow convention every day and indeed, without this, society would probably buckle: or at least be terribly distracting.

What interested me was George’s plea. He wants something different for once, or all of a sudden. He wants her to follow him for once, even if he is doing something nutty. He wants her loyalty to him to be greater than her loyalty to what should be done. He wants her to cast aside the bounds of propriety for love.

Harriet does not realize this, and she drops an amusing hint at her immobility by noting, even at this emotional moment, that he is “letting all the heat out” with the sliding door open. She exclaims that he was naked. Nothing is more shocking than mere nakedness–implying all that she has never seen or conceived of.

Finally, when the passage closes by George stating, “That is exactly why I cannot stay married to you for one minute longer,” we realize he is practicing a long-taught secret of writing itself–show, don’t tell.

He didn’t need to tell her that he feels bored with their mundane suburban existence; he didn’t need to tell her that the constraints she imposes on him in their daily life have become unbearable; he didn’t need to tell her that maybe, he was looking for a different kind of partner at this time of life. He just invited her to walk naked in the snow in the backyard, and voilà! She gave him his reason to leave the marriage.

As Winter Approaches, a Nap of the Senses

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I have really been enjoying relaxing and laying around the apartment with the kitties. I have this huge desire for quiet and my four bounded walls lately. I guess we’re hibernating, in a way. It’s gotten warm since the intense cold snap of Thanksgiving Day and it’s going to be in the fifties the day after tomorrow. Yet the desire to sneak under the lid of my household and do very little remains.

What makes it the best is the contrast. I have been emailing a lot and striving a lot–sometimes more in my mind than for real–but there was that anxiety. Letting go of that striving, briefly, makes the ensuing calm all the sweeter. Yin and yang, effort and rest, foscused mode or diffuse mode. Noticing one because of the other is the best.

When You Are a Crier

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What do you do when you are a crier?

What do you do when you have cried so many times with your old boyfriends? Demanding, and insisting. And explaining, oh yes, explaining over and over! In hopes for sympathy. And 700 sobs later, your eyes are dry, the lids are huge, the area underneath puffy and you know that your eyes will stay that way the next day. You’re exhausted. When I started working, there were many times that I came into work and my eyes were like that. It is almost like you can’t go out. So what do you do if you’re a crier?

When every movie that makes you feel passionately about a subject, which happens to be every movie you watch, makes you cry. When the emotion that fills your body wells up and falls out of your eyes.

What do you do when you’re a crier? You’re sitting in the movie theater watching Rocky 3 at age ten or so, next to your friend who is not crying at all. You really love Rocky, and you really want him to win. His struggle is your struggle, his troubles real. And tears are pouring down your face. At least, at the end of the movie, your best friend does not make fun of you. Although, and a familiar shame in coming years, as you leave you try your best to hide your red, salt-burnt cheeks from the other viewers. You clutch your snot-encrusted sleeve. This was supposed to be fun. This was supposed to be entertainment.

What do you do when you’re a crier? You look for hope in your Buddhist teacher, who says that for a year all she could do was cry at the world. But your Buddhist teacher worked in a blues bar and then became a writer. She writes books about meditation, and leads classes. She travels periodically, and lives in a building in your old city with artists, that is the envy of you, and several others. She did not have to go into a receptionist’s job where she was the first face the people would see. She did not have to face the office manager. Prior to that, neither did she have to go sell shoes with frog eyes and see that other manager with the red hair and a terrible yell.

Nowadays, you know if you go into work, with nosy secretaries, the nosy office manager, and a couple ruthless attorneys, your bulgy eyes aren’t going to look good. And you don’t want to paint make-up over the puff that is still there. You could try waking up at 6:00 a.m. in order to sit up so that the fluids will drain. You could try putting cucumbers on your eyes (you have tried to already). You could try, who knows what? A steak on the eye? But you only have a chicken for the cats, and some tofu. So you learn. And you cry a lot less. But then you start thinking in the car, and then you start talking to your phone, maybe recording something similar, something like this here. Time passes as you get worked up and you start telling tales of being a crier. And you start to cry. How can it be?

All you can do is share. To the criers, those who go too deep. To those who don’t look perfect, who waste their bodily reserves, who chafe at the blunt mundanity of every required day.

Walking Again

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I’ve been walking to and from work so far this week. It’s a short week with Thanksgiving and then Friday off. Nevertheless, walking to work has been a nice, quick reestablishment of my regular routine and very convenient today when it snowed all afternoon and evening. No sliding down the hill into other cars! (This actually happened on the corner of Columbia St. and Middle St., visible from our office.)

I got some beautiful views of snowy downtown. Video is the first link.

Downtown Bangor, November 2018

Working from Home is Harder than I Thought

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…to get to, that is.

Partners 1 and 2 are just ridiculous! I brought up working from home again. I am telling them: I have no motivation when Partners 1 and 2 are not in the office. Associate sort of adds motivation but not much.

The response was, “well, don’t have it be Friday, because I’m out Friday” (Partner 2). Um, that’s the reason I may as well rely on my own motivation and work from home, because it’s really bad when you’re not there?

And also, “this is just a matter of keeping the staff busy.” Partner 1. This is his theme, hammered over and over. What if I’m from a different generation?

I can dictate into my phone and send it to Google Drive. I don’t have to have a “secretary” type out my dictation. My “secretary” is also the receptionist and someone else’s admin, and she forgot to put something on the calendar I asked for, misunderstood the timing of a phone call (then was out sick the day she thought she was supposed to make the call). When she did call someone I was trying to get an appointment for she left a voice mail and never told me what she did or what the result was, and did not seem concerned about a call back when I finally did ask.

I told them the biggest issue last Friday was what the three individuals left in the office (besides me) were going to have for lunch. It was a chatty kind of day. Not a day I felt like putting my phone on the stand behind me, gritting my teeth (I need to) and plowing into my assignments. It was more like a walk to the candy jar and wish I was walking around the block kind of day. It’s so cold now I don’t know what to do about that besides move South.

Staff slacking is a minor issue compared to Partner 1 and Partner 2, however. Nobody is motivated, due to their management style. According to Partner 1, hearing about last Friday was “disappointing,” but I should just “keep the staff busy.” Busywork is anathema to me.

I am far more influenced by other people, than predisposed to make up assignments for them. I want to go work at home where I can use the tricks I know for self-motivation without distraction. It’s hard but not as hard as being someplace where I do not enjoy the surroundings and people show by their body language they’re just waiting for the day to end. I become one of them.

End result of conversation 2 about working from home? I will email Partners 1 and 2 some days I want to work from home around Christmas and/or days I want to take a half day. I don’t know if I will even really do this. It’s not what I want. I suppose I should take advantage of what I can get, but really I was looking to a philosophical understanding of what is going on with me. I’m idealistic as well as introverted!

It’s time to become creative about getting to work from home. I have no idea how to tackle this but I feel up for a brainstorming session!

 

Money Matters: The Urge to Shop

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An update in my self-talk group of posts about money.

I’m continuing to succeed only variously at getting Out of The Office. This morning, I volunteered with Literacy Volunteers, but told the powers that be that I would make up my time by staying later a couple evenings. Why did I do that? I’m not an hourly employee. I have a lot of flexibility at a small law firm if I let myself.

I rushed to get in to the office at noon. Everything was busy and full of light and activity outside. I had to remember to breathe as I grabbed a sandwich, because it was 12:05pm.

Walking in to the office, it was dead silent. The receptionist had been working her other job on the weekend and looked like she had been falling asleep. The usual pall of powder blue and those paintings hung in the eighties that you don’t even notice until three months later fell upon me. The only activity was the slow swirling of the receptionist’s Betta fish it its small bowl on the desk, for which I entirely give her credit. Why did I even bother?

Sitting at my computer, forcing myself to work–and yes, that did make it easier as I continued to concentrate–I kept getting urges for beautiful things. Clothes. Colors. Colors in clothes and jewelry. I had this urge to click into Google and start looking for what I needed to make my life better. The telltale sign is that when I actually do pick something to wear in the morning, I want to wear the more conservative and low-key stuff. I never want to pull on something trendy with my eyes half-open. Ugh. The desire for color is a desire for stimulation and for happiness.

This isn’t a new realization, that I do this. I was just paying particular attention, observing, today.

I was able to avoid the urges today, but it’s important to write about, because one urge turns into a very fast way to spend a day’s salary or more. I only get five days worth a week! At times I do need clothes, boots, or even accessories. Yet, I want to avoid “it’s not that I need it, it’s that it will alleviate the static atmosphere here at work.” A little hit of dopamine, same as with all the coffees…and my desire to go to the candy shop. One solution could be only buying stuff I need like clothes, when I do need them, from home. I also need to get my color print up on the wall and add some more color–color that is not fashion–to my walls.