I heard a rumor …

September 27th, 2017, 10:20 AM by Goddess

That someone in my recent past may want to come back.

They didn’t call me, of course.

In fact, I didn’t even hear their voice for a long, long time. Till today.

My immediate response was terror. I don’t know why. They can’t hurt me anymore.

But they can’t help or comfort or amuse or reassure me anymore, either. That feeling washed over me too.

I was also hoping they were happy. Or, at least, done coming off as somewhat gleeful at the havoc they wreaked, and actually happy with their decision.

So if they really want to come back, at least I’ve already gone through my stages of grief and can have a normal, human reaction in person.

Pam (also, fuck cancer)

September 26th, 2017, 9:27 PM by Goddess

A girl I knew in school died yesterday.

She only started talking about the cancer a few months ago.

Went into chemo a couple months ago.

A few weeks ago, she wrote that she had finished her course of treatment and her doctor was very optimistic.

Two weeks ago, she posted requests for prayers.

A week ago, more prayer requests. This time, from the hospital.

Finally her page went quiet except from posts from friends, calling for prayers.

Then yesterday, the condolences started.

More prayers. So many prayers. For her soul. For her brand-new baby. For her three slightly, but only slightly, older children.

I do pray. Usually to say thanks. I’ve spent years asking for “things” that rarely came to pass. So, I just say thank you.

Today, I will say thank-you for my very brief but very vivid memory of Pam at age 16.

I somehow did not get put into an A.P. History class my sophomore year. No idea how or why. I got stuck in Nick Kapottas’ last-period class. It was filled with the high-school equivalent of “deplorables.”

I could tick off some of their names. And what they did to me. It was horrible. I sat in the first seat in the first row. On a good day, they talked loudly about how fat I was. On most other days, I got gum thrown in my hair.

That was the last time I took a non-A.P. class.

“K.P.” was the wrestling coach. History was not his thing. Hell, teaching was not his thing. He pretty much just tried to sell us hoagies to support the team, and left us to have study halls most days.

The nice thing was, K.P. took a shine to my mom on Parent-Teacher Day. I think they went to dinner a few times.

The nicer thing was, I never had to go to class after that. Not sure what grade I got. Or on what merit any of us could possibly have been judged.

I showed up on occasion. Not sure if K.P. ever gave us tests. I think he had to. And that’s me, all right — happy to show up for the damn test. Probably because I read the textbook in the library instead of going to class.

In any event, Pam was always nice. Never tortured me. Maybe said hello a few times. But she was watching me.

One day she came to me with a bunch of thoughts written down on paper. Said she knew I was a writer. Wondered if maybe I could write a poem for her to give someone.

I did it. She seemed pleased.

I don’t remember much about it. But one line, something about “the pavement shines like silver in the rain,” has always stuck with me. Those were her words. I remember wanting to preserve them as they were.

It was our secret, that we had worked together on that poem. I never knew who she gave it to. Or whether he liked it. Or what made her break away from those stupid people in that class to approach me.

We never really talked after that. But that was OK. I liked it that way. Having a secret ally mixed into that overflowing basket of deplorables was more comforting than I could ever convey.

I was shocked when Pam sent me a friend request on Facebook several years ago. Didn’t know that she remembered me. My heart was happy about that, in a way I can’t explain.

What I loved about her was every post was positive. She went through some shit in her life. But you’d never know it. Lots of pretty selfies with her newest ‘dos. Even when the treatments took her pretty hair, she had the cutest wigs and bandannas. A collection I covet, to be honest.

You could tell she was a loving mom, the “aunt” who helped to raise all the young people in her life, the girl with the mad hair-cutting skills who looked so pretty all the time and donated a whole lot of hair-styling genius to anyone who needed it — at no cost.

I don’t know why God takes the good ones. Pondered that all day, as I do every time someone truly kind is taken from us. Why did she have to suffer so much?

How will that baby boy know that she was my only friend in that stupid history class? Will he be kind like that to someone someday who needs it?

You sure fought hard, Pam. A warrior if I ever saw one. I didn’t know you, but I will always remember you.

Rest in peace, pretty lady. And also, fuck cancer. Seriously.

Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Fucker

September 22nd, 2017, 9:03 PM by Goddess

That day when someone for no reason tells someone else you weren’t even working with (yet) today that you are somehow mad at her (when you were pretty specific that you were frustratedy with interruptions in general) and she asks what she did wrong and you’re like WTF because she’s fine and meanwhile she’s like while I have you, that person is all about the interruptions and my boss will be talking to you about that.

And that five minutes of your day is a good representation of the other 9.5 hours.

Dear Friday night: Thank you for arriving when you did.

‘You’ve really become a boss, haven’t you?’

September 21st, 2017, 7:46 AM by Goddess

A friend stopped in last night. It was close to 6 p.m. and it was my only quiet moment in a very, very stressful two weeks. I wanted to be home, but I just can’t with people hunting me down (and, sometimes, it feels like hunting me for sport) all day.

He said it’s the first time I have a big team reporting to me. I said not really. Everyone (the high-dollar talent, not the marketers) reported to me in the sense of checking in/getting assignments/pitching ideas/seeking green lights on projects, even if I wasn’t always the direct paycheck-signer. Because, they knew where the seat of power was.

He said well you have support staff again. Which is true. He said both have reams of experience. I said yes. One is a great utility player. I couldn’t do this without that person.

He said, and the other has tons of experience in a related industry. He said it as a fact, not as a question.

I said well. That’s what this person keeps telling me. I have yet to benefit from all these reams of experience.

That’s when he laughed and said I’ve officially become a boss.

That stuck with me for a while. I guess he was nicely saying that I used to be nicer.

What I wasn’t saying is that every day brings an argument. I think this person has talent. And incredibly good insights. But is so focused on being a pain in everyone’s butt that it’s very easy to forget what contributions they could bring.

I mean, just this morning I got an email saying I made their work great but I should really thank them for all they did to make it readable for me in the first place.

Well, that’s one way to go about it.

I don’t have a boss anymore to shield me from what happens above. My inbox is loaded with long back-and-forth conversations on 12 million topics. Aside from that, I’m teaching basic stuff to people who have been in the biz twice as long as I have. And trying to get people who have had no direction (from above or within) to accept MY direction. Oh and these people and their goddamned special reports. My kryptonite. Sheesh. The stress never ends.

I’m not ready to give up by any means. But this past month has felt about a year long. And I don’t feel like much of a boss in any sense of the word right now.

But at least I’m nothing like all my absentee bosses. They’ve all moved on and whether they have done better is a mystery. I’m super-grateful that the company (most companies I’ve been at, really) recognizes that I was a hidden gem all along and can shine without that layer above me. But damn, every once in a while I miss the one purpose they always served for me — an umbrella — so at least I could focus on the mud on my shoes. Now I’m up to my ass in muck AND soaked to the bone.

As I keep reminding myself, I have authoritah now. If anyone can fix it, I can. And if I can’t, then no one can.

Pricks and perks

September 19th, 2017, 9:19 AM by Goddess

I got to talking with one of my fellow “Survivors” from the old team. I mentioned how my most-recent (short-lived) boss de-friended me on social media. We laughed for a moment. And he said,

“Doesn’t he realize how happy you were in (previous town/building) with your original, handpicked team? Does he seriously think you had anything to do with what’s happened since? You could be sitting comfy in your chair, with a Starbucks in your backyard, your hair in pigtails and wearing shorts. You didn’t ask for any of this. And you handled it pretty darn well. And guess what, you deserve your promotion!”

I thought that was interesting. Especially given that I have access to some salary information and I have a good guess how much he was making. Hint: A LOT. Meanwhile I was doing the job … for about 40% less … if my estimates are right. And 70% better, IMHO.

In any event, we’ve made more changes and I kind of am back to a smaller version of my handpicked team. So, there’s that.

I’ve also been grousing that one of those people (not one of my picks, though) is getting some special favor for some bizarre reason.

But you know what? That’s fine.

So what if I had to earn all my breaks? So what if I had to get broken in the process? So what if no one, say, threw $30 at me to replace my brand-new groceries they threw out for no reason?

Fuck ’em. I’m still here. My rent is still getting paid at the end of the month. I lived through a damn hurricane and have another Cat-5 storm heading up the same path right as I type this. There are bigger things to worry about than someone else getting a damn perk in this world.

I still miss my old life. But now I can say, I miss the GOOD parts of it. I don’t miss the bad ones anymore. Not as much as I did these past few months, anyway.

But damn I miss my fridge. Which I guess I have to pay to replace. Because again, why should I expect a perk? And that’s probably why I have been so pissed off in the first place.