Thursday, August 17, 2006

the local bar

I decided today, especially since I am officially liberated, that I should attend happy hour. Nevermind that no one I know was available to go with me... I don't need company to go to happy hour, right?? I mean, plenty of other people will be there. It's just that, well, other people irritate or scare me or both, alternating.

Since I have been having difficulty not having responsibilities in my freedom, and especially since when I told my friend today, proudly, that I was so proud of myself for taking myself to the Starbucks to work on my resume, she replied, I would like to hear that you went to Starbucks to read the paper, I decided that maybe I was taking freedom too seriously.

Instead of going to volunteer at the non-profit where I am on the board, after my productive morning at Starbucks (and the morning run!), I visited with a friend, and then I went to a leisurely pupusa lunch with another friend. After all that, I still could have gone to do some volunteering, but, instead, I came home, watched some tv and then went to the bar.

I have been without a regular bar for a while... partly because I relaxed the one night out a week rule, and partly because I just haven't been up to organizing happy hours. Well, tonight, I went to a bar I consider a meat market to have drinks. Not quite the neighborhood bar, ala cheers, but it turned out ok.

I ended up sitting next to the woman who works in the office as the financial manager, who was probably all of 25. She was interested in life and had a great sense of, well, we chatted and pretty soon, it was two hours later and we hadn't run out of things to talk about.

It turns out I am a nice and fun person to be around. Imagine that.

Maybe the working on how I present myself and trying to JUST BE MYSELF without walls, recrimination or other defense mechanisms works.

I can hardly really believe it, but I am trying.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I guess I had a sense of the power of the mind with regards to appetite given that I acknowledge being a worry-eater and I know that anorexia and bulimia exist. I just never contemplated how one might have such complete power in the mind over the feelings of the body.

Such was my revelation at the meditation retreat... though my stomach bulged with the amount of food I consumed relative to that which I could work off walking and sitting and meditating, I felt hunger. Not random pangs here and there but the instinct to shovel whenever I was near food. The inclination to hide food somewhere so I could go back to it when it was NEEDED.

Notes on Hunger from today's (8/10) reflection:
Sometimes I have a driven need to eat, shovel, really; it's not at all about being hungry or really needing nourishment, but it is a craving.

In my body, it is a deep craving for food even when I have just eaten; or it is a desire to eat what's in front of me quickly.

I experience it as empty, bereft, hungry in my heart or soul; it's hard because it has an urgency that drives me to try to quench it. It's helpful if I ignore the urge by giving it reality: you just ate!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Lock the keypad on your phone, please

As some of you know, last Monday was my last day at my former job. My reasons for leaving the job are many and varied, but the top of the list is that I was not a "good fit" for the work environment. That is to say, that the director of the organization, and her management style, and I were incompatible. There has been a lot of finger pointing and other blaming tactics, but the bottom line is that it is her organization and she needs to run it as she sees fit; and I do not need to stay somewhere if I feel uncomfortable. This is truly the most reasonable and no-fault way for me to encapsulate the troubles over the last year.

When I decided to leave, you would think that would make her very happy. Finally, she would be rid of a thorn in her side. I was moving on in a very non-threatening way. I gave the organization plenty (over 2 months) notice and offered to train my replacement. I thought I was doing the right thing staying to help, but apparently I had moved beyond the ability to do the right thing. I was no longer included in communication about new or existing projects, many closed door meetings became the order of the day (I was not invited behind the closed door in case you were wondering), and the director's office now needed to be LOCKED at night.

I am on my fifth day of freedom, and, obviously, still coming to terms with what it means to be officially separated from the organization.

That is just to give you a little context for what happened Thursday night (actually 2 am Friday morning) and then again Friday afternoon.

Not quite sound asleep due to too much caffeine the afternoon before, my phone shrieked at 2 am. I jumped out of bed sure that someone in family was in serious danger and grabbed the phone. I love called id. Even in my fear-adrenalined half asleep state, I stopped to see just who would be calling me at 2 am. My ex-boss's name was illuminated in blue.


Seeing her name allowed me to switch from fear to anger. But not quite that easily. I lumbered back to bed imagining just what sense of entitlement she was feeling that she would call me in the middle of the night on her vacation. [Why and how I know she is on vacation this weekend is just another reason why I am glad to be an ex-employee.]

I climbed back into bed and realized that my heart was still beating furiously...maybe more now that I was noticing it. I would like to say it was still the fear-adrenaline from believing that one of my loved ones might be in danger. But I know better. I was thinking and worrying about what my ex-boss was calling to yell at me about. She never called me to chat. NEVER. It was always some unreasonable request at a markedly not professional time to be calling. But 2 am is a far cry from 7 pm or 8 pm or even 9 pm. And, even worse, I was thinking, What did I do to piss her off this time. [She is like that; since nothing is ever her fault, when she is upset about anything, she will find someone and something to blame for her latest mood.]

I had finally calmed down enough to go back to sleep when my phone beeped. Oh my god, a full five minutes later, my phone tells me there is a message. "She just left me a five minute message?!?!" This incredulous, indignant statement kept repeating in my head. I desperately wanted to just ignore the message, but I knew the phone would keep on beeping. So, I got up and I listened.

It was a good thing that I went ahead and listened. It turns out she had inadvertently dialed my number and was utterly oblivious to the fact that she was leaving a message. From the message, I could tell that she was out. Where I was, it was 2 am; where she was it was 5 am. While listening, I imagined, she was out still. I know that when she is out on vacation, that means she doesn't come home until the sun has long been out. I could hear a lot of noise, so out at a club I imagined. I heard a lot of women's voices and laughing. Eventually, I was bored with this and stopped listening way before 5 minutes were up.

I was disappointed in myself for imagining that she was calling me to take a final, parting shot. I was relieved that it was just a mistake. I was disappointed to see that she was incapable of locking her keypad so this kind of thing wouldn't happen. I had to remind myself that she was not my problem. I went back to bed.

The next day, I had completely put it out of my mind except to think I should share the story with one of my ex-colleagues who would appreciate the story...maybe laugh.

Then, my phone rang at 4pm. I was in the middle of an interview with a high school student, so even if I wanted to, I wasn't going to answer the phone. When I reached in my bag to press IGNORE, I noticed that the called ID said "unknown." In that case, I wouldn't have answered it anyway. A little while later, I noted a message.

When I had a free moment, I listened to the message. It was her again, only this time she had dialed my number on purpose. She must have realized that she had called me in the middle of the night. Unfortunately her ability to manage the features on her phone left much to be desired. I could hear her telling someone that she was mortified and that the phone had gone straight to voice mail.

I realized that she was leaving an unintended message again, only this time I could hear words. I could hear her puzzling about where she had been at that time, what had she said, had she mentioned anything about the doctor?? She went on to say, she is the one; I told you how bad things had been with this girl?

I listened on but there was nothing very interesting said. There was no apology for having called my phone in the middle of the night. No, sorry to bother you, I called you inadvertently. It was all about her. What's new?

I was puzzled, though, how had things been bad from her perspective? She never seemed to notice when she was being impossible. Perhaps it was when I pointed it out and didn't take her raging and raving and yelling? I wish I could say that I didn't care, that it didn't matter. But it does. It is the reason I am no longer there.

Onward and upward. I am moving on, slowly but surely.

Friday, August 04, 2006

mean spirit

I will definitely rate this move as more mean-spirited than outlawing folks from feeding the poor in the park in Las Vegas.

This prisoner, who has been in solitary confinement for so long he probably doesn't remember what it feels like to live among other people, got his story on the front page of the NY Times... and NPR did a series on the implications, good and bad, of solitary confinement this week. And now, he must be punished.

That's not revenge for making a cruel system seem as inhumane as it is? Please.

Someone in solitary confinement has had the temerity to use his free time to express his creativity; he must be squashed.

When was the last time those folks feeling threatened at the jail have donated $10,000 to the children of the prisoners they keep in solitary?

NEVER. But, this artist/prisoner must be punished.

This the same day that reports of waste and abuse come out on the prison system.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.