I spent the weekend with my cousin, unexpectedly. She is a distant relative of my mum’s and also happens to be a JW. We met her this year after a mutual friend of the family connected dots and last names. Since she has met us, she has been constantly inviting me to spend a weekend at her place. I’ve spent most of this time declining her invitation. Why? She speaks too bluntly, too harshly to other people. There is nothing wrong with being honest, but her proverbial bedside manner just…sucks. She gossips, she asks too many questions and she’s got a lot of opinions about matters that do not concern her. I can appreciate boldness, and I can appreciate zeal, but she browbeats. I do not enjoy being around her.
Her apartment was awesome, though. She lives in a tower block for senior citizens downtown. Her building is literally around the corner from every place that I hang out down there— The Fillmore, The Fox, The DIA, Greektown, Hart Plaza, The Majestic, Vincente’s, Campus Martius, Eastern Market, Comerica Park and Ford Field. If it were a regular tower block, I’d move in just for the location alone. There is a building across the street from her that seems to have lofts, even though I thought the joint was empty. I’d like to inquire about some real estate down there, and see if I can move close to where she lives.
The only reason I ended up staying Saturday night with her is because it was preferable than trying to catch a Detroit bus home after seeing City and Colour perform. And Dallas Green is all kinds of amazing (really, he is), but his sets last for a long time. The doors opened at 8:00 and the show didn’t end until midnight. If I hadn’t stayed, I’m pretty sure I would have been calling a cab home (and a 30 dollar night would have turned into an 80 dollar one).
So I decided to take the bait and endure the consequences. She had a few people my age over after the meeting on Sunday, and they were funny and nice, but I’m grateful I didn’t have to spend two nights there. The bathroom was clean. The bedroom was clean. She cooked breakfast and dinner. We talked about being single and that was the most refreshing part of the conversation. Bathing in a clean bathroom after growing resigned to the dirty one in my parents’ home was a joy. But my cousin is overbearing, aggressively hospitable. That kind of aggressive hospitality puts you on edge
My first day at my new assignment was today. Do I like it? Not really. After being spoiled with a 15 minute commute (even with the actual waiting for the bus), going back to 3 hours every day on the bus is a killer. The lady that was training me was annoying. I did not like her. Did she know what she was doing? Absolutely; she was perfectly competent. She’s just abrasive, and she’s one of the “team leaders”. Add her to the mealy-mouthed antics from the guy I met a couple of weeks ago, and I can sense many tension headaches are in my future.
My actual boss (not the supervisor I’m contracting for but the one for the temp company that pays me) made an appearance today to talk about how other temps/contractors are abusing the system and taking days off whenever they freaking feel like it (something I’m always tempted to do, but usually don’t do) and over-reporting their time. This is the first assignment I’ve had in a long time with an actual time clock you punch in and out of. Most of the time, you just get a ditto sheet from the website, fill in what you’ve worked and then fax it over on Fridays so you get paid. Once I met the other temps, however, I realized why they had to do this. If what I saw today was any indication, the quality of their work is fair-to-middling anyway.
The one thing I really like about this company is that my actual boss does not and cannot micromanage us. She’s like Charlie and we’re the angels— rarely, if ever seen, and working in a completely separate office. It’s as free as the 9-to-5 rat race gets.
But I’m paying for that freedom. I did some calculations and if I want to move out by April, I need to make almost twice what I’m being paid now, and it cannot be contingent in nature like this job is. For example, today, they sent all of us temp employees home at 2 pm. TWO. And frankly, I commuted a really long way to get gypped out of half a day’s work (and hence, because I’m hourly, pay). I spent only 5 hours at work, and I don’t get paid lunch. I spent almost the same amount of time commuting than I did to make the 33 dollars I’m going to take home today.
I want to get the eBay store started in December, but I can’t do it without seed money. I’m trapped in a weird limbo at my contract job, and I don’t like it. Without stability, bills just don’t get paid, and that’s how I ended up in debt over the summer in the first place.
Is 600 dollars in debt a lot? No. Compared to the credit card debt that enslaved my parents’ for years, it’s extremely minor. That’s only 2 (full) weeks worth of pay. But it’s a lot when you don’t know where your next meal, prescription, pair of shoes, transit pass or bar of soap is coming from, much less to fund dreams, goals and ideas.
(I’ve managed to pay off most of that debt and still have fun, but I’m on a slippery slope here).
This poverty is eating me alive. I’ve got to come up with some more ideas about how to make money, and fast.
In my current weight loss journey, I have gained back only 10 pounds over 3 months. Considering that I’ve eaten a lot of crap food out of stress over the last three months— pizza, burgers and greasy ethnic dishes— that’s not so bad. That means I’ve still kept off 28 pounds that I used to have.
My current goal is to do a 30 minute workout in the morning, and 60 minutes after work/pre-concert Wednesdays- Saturdays (Saturday’s errand day, so it’s almost like a work day). I’ve found a service that delivers organic vegetables to your crib, and a halal meat market round the bend that does the same (and the grocery bill is more or less what I was spending anyway). Combine that with the fading influence of my obese parents (and unhealthy friends and sister) and I can seriously see me breaking through my plateau, re-losing those 10 pounds, and possibly losing 30-40 more. 40-50 lbs would take me from size 12 (I’m still there, baby!) down to size 4 (the lure cheap fashion sales at that size beckons). In the meanwhile, other people have told me to stop where I am, but it’s not just about great clothes and bragging rights (although those things do not hurt). I also want to become a serious athlete while I still have enough power in me to do it.
One of the attornies at my old assignment does rollerderby. She is a quiet soul, so I never would have guessed that, but the way she talked about it cultivated a deep interest in giving it a go, along with rock-climbing, indoor soccer (I can’t stand the football itch anymore) and parkour (it looks awesome). I’m quite strong as it is, but I’d be a beast at size 4.
So I’m going for it.
And besides, for every workout, my heart aches a little bit less for all of things (and people) I’ve yet to have. It helps me to feel okay and cultivate patience.
And considering how my finances now, I need all the help I can get in both areas.
I just broke the news to Jeffery that I’m being transferred.
"Aw, who am I going to talk to when I’m stuck in here making copies?" We both laughed.
"I’m sorry dear."
"Well, my email and my extension’s on the website." He turned to leave. "Keep in touch, please. And hey…" He paused so I’d look him in the eye. He smiled wide and said, "Good luck. I’ll miss you. You are great."
He tugged at my heartstrings with his sincere appreciation. I’m…striken at this. I know perfectly well I’m not calling or writing him, and today he made it evident I’m one of his favorite people at this place.
I’ve dismissed other guys from my mind before, no problem.
Why does this hurt so much?
So, not after an hour after writing vignette #2, my boss came into the kitchen/staging area where me, tall Tracie and Patrice hang out/ set up the food trays.
"Hey." he said. My boss is a quiet and wry little man, with brown hair and a right eye cocked sideways. He’s clear about what he wants you to do and then stays out of your way, so I personally love the guy.
"Hey!" I said, through a mouthful of chicken stew. I took out my headphones.
"There you are! Hey, when you’re done, could you come down and see me?"
"Sure!" I said.
"Okay, great." He left the smell of Pall Malls after him.
What did I do now? , I thought to myself. This law firm is pretty liberal as far as law firms go, but there are still some weird, unexpected boundaries new people stumble over (e.g. whose pot of coffee is communal or exclusive, or which attorney only wants to be called “sir”, or which top exec will threathen to axe you if you put whole milk in his refrigerator… yes, really…).
I finished my stew and went downstairs after having an extended conversation with Jeffery.
When I got to my boss’ office, another bloke was standing in the door.
"Hi, I’m Mark. I’m the regional manager." he said, offering me his hand and calling me by my entire name.
"Yes." I said, immediately suspicious. I try to only give people initials when I first meet them, especially well-dressed, middle-aged White men.
"Your boss was telling me that you’re perfect for a position across town we’re trying to fill." He then went into all of the details and asked, "Can you start the Monday after the holiday?"
"Yes!" I said, with no hesitation. Relief washed over me as I realized that my immediate problems— what am I going to do for money when this is over? and God, I’d love to be with this attorney, even if it’s forbidden— were completely solved in just one hour.
Now the “new job!” jitters have worn off, and I have since announced it to many of my favourite co-workers. They were all sad to hear I was going; one that’s grown particularly fond of me almost started crying. It is bittersweet. I love this firm; it’s a talented, diverse group of people working in a non-tense environment. I don’t really want to leave either.
But I couldn’t stay. My position there was temporary, and it will be eliminated after I leave Wednesday. I can’t say I’m not pleased to be moving somewhere where my hands won’t be wrecked at the end of the day.
And getting away from Jeffery was imperative. I am nearly 100% certain that if I had remained, one of those brightly coloured silk ties he wears would have ended up around my wrists as we ruined our lives together.
It could have gotten very, very bad for both of us.
I am grateful to God that is not what happened, and I am fine with starting my new job after the holiday.
No. THANK GOD, no. No, this is the guy before him. This guy was a whole different maelstrom of bad.
Or perhaps I misunderstood your query. If this is a “so, you haven’t written about this one in a while; what’s up with him?” question, the answer is ” Yes I still love him, but I haven’t seen him, so I’m trying not to think about it.”
I saw a picture of someone I used to be crazy about on Facebook today. He was with another woman. She was small and petite, and (this is important, and you’ll see why in a moment) brown-skinned like me. He looked…a bit less rough than the last time I saw him. Almost like he used to when I was into him.
(And what do I mean by into him? In love? lust? infatuation? obsession? <—- more like all of the above)
I would not trade one second of my single life as an adult to have had those desires realized. When I look back at that time of my life, I feel like I was a child who kept trying to put on a favorite piece of clothing that they’ve outgrown. It just don’t work, and I’m glad that he and I just didn’t work out either.
I would like to see him again, preferably with one of the fabulous men that I’ve met over this summer on my arm. Even if that was not so, I’d still like to see him again and prove to him (and myself) that I’m much happier without him as a constant fixture in my life (we grew up together, and I had to see him constantly every week for 8 years).
The man I’m talking about is Chaldean, and proud of it. Historically (I don’t know if this is just amongst Chaldeans here in America or in all of their communities) they don’t date or marry Black women.
The fact that he’s willing to be seen with one has changed my ideas of why we did not happen. All of this time, I thought that he was a bigot; now I know that it was just me.
It’s always just me in these kind of situations, and it will always be “just me”.
1. The days here are beginning to fly by. I will wake up on Monday and go to bed on Friday. I almost don’t experience weeks anymore. It all feels like one long day. I have spent my long days charting up plans and chatting up secretaries and IT folk.
Most of the attornies are too busy to talk. I barely get “good morning” out of them.
The exception to this,of course, is Jeffery, whom I continue to meet in that intimately small kitchen even on days he has meetings.
2. This has been one of the hardest trials of my life- forcing myself to avoid this charming man, with his dark hair and soulful eyes and witty words. I sense that beneath our cordial chitchat about coffee and work is a subterrean attraction. When I am in that little room, he lingers to chat about being the new guy and asks me about what I’m up to. When I walk past his office he smiles and flashes those (manicured) eyebrows at me. Even when I dont look back I can sense him following me with his eyes.
This is torture.
I want him quite sharply.
I can feel my desire slowly building between my shoulderblades, eating away at my good common sense, trying to drown out what I know to be true:
The consequences of him are just too dire.
So why does the notion of him linger on?
3. I have picked a name for my ebay store, decided what I’m selling and whose products I want to endorse. I love this firm but it is clear that I’m going to need an eject button. That, and I would love to be able to retain a firm grip on what week it is (something I have lost once I started this gig).
I feel a lot better—physically and emotionally. The only holdover from sickness over the last 8 weeks is the bad,bad parosxyms of coughing. It gets so bad that I can’t breathe sometimes. Four or five agonizing seconds will go by before I can catch my breath again.
I feel almost okay but the Bohemian in me constantly screams at me to call off of work, stay at home in the morning and listen to Explosions in the Sky in my underwear…then spend the rest of the day loitering in Royal Oak with my unemployed/ underemployed friends. But I won’t do it. I’m too close to my goals.
I’ve applied to the transmission plant a mile up the house from me. I’d love to get in, mostly because it’s close to where I live and it’ll pay more. But I’m certain it’ll be a lot more rigid than what I’m used to temping… and I can’t stand rigidity. At my current job, I can leave for lunch, the bathroom and for “my feet freaking HURT” breaks. On the line, I don’t forsee any of that happening.
Will the extra 4- to 10 dollars an hour be worth it? I don’t know. I’d like to think so. I think it would only be worth if I can spend less than or equal the same amount of time working now in order to make it.
I’ve been thinking of what I’m going to do after this assignment— when the chapped hands, free food and short commutes end. After reading about the homeless in Detroit (some of the people they interviewed I had actually seen before) I’d really like to open a safe house for them.
I’d like a career change into something meaningful. And if I can’t make money that way, I’d like to make money doing marketing/an eBay store so I can spend the rest of my time doing meaningful things.
My ministry, my family, my friends and working out are the meaning of my life. Not work. Not the things money can buy. Money should take stress out of your life, not add to it. Things should make your life more useful, not less. Work should be a means to a greater end, but little else.
A simple life is what I’m going for—buying the things I need, spending time with the people I love.
control yourself/ take only what you need from it;
I played hooky today. Not that I’m not sick— I have that cough still,my nose is a tad stuffy, I’ve sneezed a couple of times and my voice is slowly going. It’s just not so bad that I should have stayed in bed. I sounded convincing enough in my voicemail to my boss.
Instead, I went out preaching, had pho, lifted weights, and went to the bank. I’m spending this afternoon studying, hanging out with my family, watching documentaries on Netflix and working out some more (Insanity).
Today was more a mental health day than a “Ugh, my chest and stomach hurts” day. I needed to get out of the rut of chapped hands, surly coworkers and attractive, unavailable men. It didn’t hurt that today was the first beautiful, warm, breezy day in recent memory.
My only legitimate worry is not sounding or looking too refreshed when I come back tomorrow.