September 28, 2001
The Onion is really pretty
The Onion is really pretty amazing this week. Way to answer the question "Can we ever laugh again?" The answer is definitely yes. Not only did they cover recent events with humor, but with some thought provoking insight as well.
September 26, 2001
Looking Up and Looking Forward
Well, I seem to be recovering from the choking death plague that had me in its grip all of last week. It's amazing what a few antibiotics and a lot of sleep can do. Life has been busy, but it's a sort of busy that makes me very happy. I seem to be enjoying almost everything that I'm doing right now, and that's a great feeling.
Work is sometimes dull, but often amazing. Part of it is just that I love learning new things, and part of it is just that I'm finally getting to use my brain at work. (The downside of this, according to Josh, is that now I'll always be expected to use my brain at work.) I've learned a lot about how the programs I'll be supporting work, about how computers work, and yes, I've learned quite a bit about accounting too. That's sort of scary, but I'm dealing with it. The best part is that I'm getting a sense of respect from others that was missing when I was a receptionist. While on the one hand, that's sad for the current receptionists, it's been great for me. And best of all, payday's tomorrow, complete with my raise. Woo!
School is equally amazing, with very little dull. My history class is a little dry, but the textbook at least is interesting. My two Saturday classes, African-American Literature and Reading of Drama, are shaping up to be the best classes I've ever taken at Eastern, perhaps the best classes I've taken anywhere. The exact reasons are difficult to pin down. For one, both classes are very talkative. Once upon a time, I dreamed about literature classes like this. My AA Lit class is mostly older students (what else would you expect from an 8 am Saturday class?), and our discussions are almost always thoughtful and intelligent. My Drama class also has active discussions that range from thoughtful to wildly speculative to just goofy. Last week that professor commented that we have a class full of class clowns. She's right, but we have a wonderful time.
The truly odd thing is how close-knit the classes have become, particularly my Drama class. It's only about 20-25 students, and everybody already knows faces, and almost everybody seems to know names. It feels like we've been hanging around for months instead of just three weeks. I can already tell I'm going to be incredibly sorry to see this class end. AA Lit isn't quite as friendly yet, but I have a feeling we'll get there. I'm not sure what the difference is. Perhaps part of it is that we meet for three hours at a stretch. The other interesting thing is that both professors insist on the class sitting arranged in a circle. I can't help but think that has something to do both with the talkative nature of the classes and the sense of closeness. Believe me, when I start teaching, I'm going to remember that.
I can't believe I haven't taken the time to rave about my Palm handheld! After toying around with the idea, I finally broke down and bought one about three weeks ago. Now I'm wondering how the hell I got anything done without it. For the first time in my life, I'm keeping a to do list -- and getting things done. That's so scary. Also for the first time in my life, I'm using a schedule planner to keep up with where I'm supposed to be. I feel so organized I almost don't feel like me anymore. Of course, the question is why I can keep up with this where I couldn't with a paper planner -- I guess part of it is that the Palm is much more fun, in all honesty. Pretty sad, huh? However, I'm well aware at this point that without some form of organization I would be sunk this semester. Plus, it just feels darn good to be organized.
There is a downside to all of this positive stuff, as there always is with me. The month of October is looming near. The month of October has, almost always, been rough for me. I don't know if it's a seasonal thing or what, but I often get depressed around October. I'm crossing my fingers and taking my Zoloft this October. (And calling my therapist often.) Things are just going so well...
September 15, 2001
In some sort of return
In some sort of return to normalcy here, you're going to get a report on school and a whine. (Just like old times, huh?)
My Saturday classes are wonderful. The 8 am one, African-American Literature, is predominantly white, including the professor. Out of perhaps 40 students, two are black. There are maybe three or four other minorities. However, the discussions so far have been insightful, interesting, and amazingly involved. This is the first class I've taken at Eastern where everybody has something to say. It's awesome. The 11:30 class, Reading of Drama, is very small. Perhaps twenty students. While we also have had some fascinating discussions (it's another class made up of people like me who can't shut up), we are also, to steal the term used by the professor this morning, very "jokey". There are some funny, funny people in that class. I came out last Saturday and this Saturday with my sides aching from laughing so much.
Now for your regularly scheduled whine: I hate being sick. I know, I should be extremely grateful that I get sick so seldom, and I am, but... bleah. I'm glad I went to class, but I came home with a fever. I'm torn. Part of me wants to find something mindless on TV (again), but part of me just wants to crawl into bed. The worst thing is that I want someone to baby me when I'm sick and nobody will. Wah!
September 14, 2001
This is beyond believing. If
This is beyond believing. If anyone ever doubted the hatred and small-mindedness of some of the Religious Right...
The vaguely sinus-y crap that
The vaguely sinus-y crap that started yesterday hit me full force today. I've laid in stores of tea bags, Kleenex, Sudafed, and Ny-Quil, but my cough already has that barky, bronchitis sort of sound to it and I feel like someone drained all the energy from my body and mind. I want to just hunker down in front of the TV with a book and a blanket and drink my tea. Alas, I have class tomorrow.
On a more serious note:
Perhaps not so surprisingly, Rob
Perhaps not so surprisingly, Rob managed to express almost exactly how I feel better than I could:
Ending the threat of state-supported terrorism is hardly "an eye for an eye". It's more like a simple "cut it out". The events of this week have convinced me, reluctantly, that war is the only thing that can convince these nations that it is not worth the destruction and sorrow that will come as a result of trafficking in terror.The worst thing about all this is that it's not over. I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever be completely over.
September 13, 2001
An Open Letter to America
The world we woke up to on Tuesday is not the world we woke to yesterday or today. So many others have said this, the thought is neither original to me nor especially startling to anyone who's been paying attention. Nobody knew this could happen to us. Nobody would have believed it. This doesn't happen in America. A month ago, if a writer had tried to sell a story or screenplay about the events of Tuesday, they'd've been told the idea was too unbelievable. Aliens blowing up the White House? Sure! Normal human terrorists? No way. Couldn't happen. Not here.
To those who have lost loved ones or are still missing loved ones:
I can barely imagine what you're going through. All of the news stories showing different people looking for their children, their parents, their husbands and wives, have been breaking my heart. Each story they show with no resolution tears me up. I want to know, along with those family members, what happened to those people. I probably never will. The worst thing, though, is that they may never know.
To the people of New York, Washington, and Somerset County:
In spite of one of the most horrendous tragedies ever seen in history, you have inspired and heartened the rest of us with the way you've pulled together, pitched in, or even just gone on with your lives amidst the damage in your homes. The stories of the hard work and dedication coming over the airwaves are nothing sort of amazing. Those of us who've written and contemplated post-apocalyptic stories owe you an apology -- in the face of apocalyptic events, you held civilization together rather than let it fall down with the twin towers.
To the US government:
Like most of my generation, I have long held a rather deep-seated cynicism where you are concerned. For all of your faults, though, I admire the reaction to Tuesday events. Despite all of my misgivings, I found myself touched and encouraged by the President's address Tuesday night. Whatever happens, no doubt the American public will stand more strongly behind you than it has since World War II.
To those responsible:
Terrorism has been a part of our world for years now. In many unfortunate ways, we had grown inured to it. Perhaps you hoped to weaken us, to frighten us into giving your groups what you wanted. You failed. What you accomplished, however, was to wake us up from our complacent sleep. Some of the world's most radical nations have condemned you. Some of your own countries have condemned you. You crossed all the lines. To quote the Miami Herald: "You don't know what you just started. But you're about to learn."
To those responsible for vandalizing and calling in bomb threats to various Islamic communities:
You're terrorists. Was that what you wanted? You are on absolutely the same level as the men who killed pilots and took over planes and flew them to New York and D.C. Like them, you have chosen to take your political outrage and direct it at innocent civilians -- exactly like the innocent civilians who tried to fly to Los Angeles and San Francisco Tuesday morning. Exactly like the innocent civilians who woke up and went to work Tuesday morning and never came home. Exactly. Innocent civilians. In trying to retaliate, you've become that which you seek to destroy. Your actions serve as a warning to the rest of us.
The images of planes crashing into US landmarks will stay with all of us forever. But for me, the image that comes to me most clearly came later that night. The Speaker of the House stood on the steps of the Capitol building and gave a statement, followed by the two partisan leaders. The three men were surrounded by various members of Congress. After the speaking was over and the speakers began to walk away, someone in the crowd began to sing "God Bless America". It spread through the crowd almost immediately, ending in a loud, triumphant chorus. I sat in front of my television in tears, moved by such a spontaneous outpouring.
I don't know what may come in the future. I know our country will never be the same again, but I know, I have absolute faith, that we will all be stronger for what has happened.
I've written three entries since
I've written three entries since last Friday, but I haven't been able to post them. I hate to post a ton of entries all at once, but right now I don't have much choice. I'll post as soon as I can.
September 11, 2001
My god. I followed the
I followed the news all day via coworkers' shouted updates and the rare time I got through to cnn.com.
I came home and watched CNN for five hours with my mother and stepfather. It still doesn't seem real.
Brian, if you read this, email me or call me. I can't find your number and your email address is on my dead computer. Please god you and Melanie are safe.
September 07, 2001
I think I'm a little
I think I'm a little insane. I just added another class to my schedule for this semester. African American Literature, 8 am on Saturdays. I may change my mind on that one, but I'm feeling a lot of internal pressure right now to take as many classes as I possibly can.
I haven't died, I promise.
I haven't died, I promise. There should be two new entries posted later tonight, once I get home. It might be late, as I'm considering going to see "The Musketeer" tonight.
Today is my last day as a Services Receptionist. I'm more than a little nervous, go figure. I've been doing this job for over four years. That's the longest I've ever been at any job. In the four years I've been here, I've rediscovered the internet (including and most especially MUSHing) and taught myself HTML, going from a really bleah page on Geocities to the wonder you see before you (heh). I've taught myself TONS about computers in general, learning to use programs like Excel, Word, Outlook, Paint Shop Pro, Arachnophilia... almost all self-taught.
I've seen countless people come and go, both from the reception team and support as well. With few exceptions, I was here when each of the team leaders in support were hired. I've made friends, and one or two enemies. I've laughed and cried and seethed and rejoiced. I got started as a writer because of this job. (Boredom -- what else was I going to do between phone calls?) I've been the star of the team, and I've been the black sheep.
When I started here, in May of 1997, I was a nervous temp on my first office job ever. I'd been out of the hospital for about two weeks, after a four day stay for depression. During that hospital stay I'd been fired from my last job. (Yeah, I got fired while I was in the hospital. That's another long story.) About a month after I started, the company hired me away from the temp service. Since then I've had five supervisors, four desks, two chairs, at least two dozen coworkers (temp and permanent, in a department that ranges from 4-6 people), three computers, and two phones. When I started, I'd been living with my boyfriend for about nine months. I was 24 years old.
Since then, I've had a couple more bouts of depression, moved four times, broke up with the boyfriend (in '98, not moving out until a year later), started college again... In many ways, I'm not the same person I was four years ago. I've... dare I say it? I've grown up. A lot. Heh. A lot of this journal has to do with me growing up, doesn't it? It's certainly taken me long enough. Not that I'm done yet, mind you.
But yeah, I'm having a few mixed feelings about this. I'm excited. ("Excited and scared," as Little Red Riding Hood would say.) I'm worried (surprise surprise). What am I worried about? Well, aside from the usual fretting over whether or not I'll be any good at this job, I'm a little worried about school. Will I be able to take my classes? Will I ever finish, or will the lure of a good job keep me here? How hard will it be to leave this job completely to go to graduate school? I feel like I made the right decision in taking this job, but my plans and priorities seem to be shifting from day to day now. I'll work it out eventually, but for now I feel like I'm walking in sand, the ground beneath my feet shifting and moving with each step.
I'm something of a mess right now. Hell, I'm only moving about three rows over. Imagine what I'd be like if I were actually leaving the company!
September 06, 2001
Table for One
I shouldn't have done it. I know I shouldn't have. I watched the wedding on the Today show yesterday.
Partly, I was intrigued by the idea, of letting hundreds of thousands of people vote on every aspect of your wedding. Of making something ordinarily very private and personal a public forum, openly soliciting the advice and comments of strangers. Sort of like having an online journal, only without the bitching about the Diarist.Net Awards every quarter. But also, largely, I was sentimental about the whole idea.
Did I cry? What do you think? Okay, I wasn't blubbering or anything, but there were a few tears. I found myself feeling a little bit sorry for myself. I kept thinking about marriage, and what makes a couple work, and I realized (again) just how woefully unready I was to get married ten years ago. I also realized how ready I am now. Don't get me wrong, I'm not turning into a marriage-hungry spinster ready to clobber the next eligible man she sees over the head -- yet. I am getting awfully tired of being single, though. I've reached that stage in my life where almost all of my close friends are either married or seriously involved. Even beyond my personal feelings, it's hard not to feel a little bit of pressure from that.
I know I have a lot to offer to that "someone special" (gack, I hate that phrase). The problem seems to be meeting someone who will appreciate me -- that I can appreciate in return. See, in addition to everything else, I'm picky. I went through a desperate 'not-picky' stage when I was 22 or so. It wasn't pretty. Ask me sometime how I almost wound up dating one of Ypsilanti's minor drug dealers. (Yeah, me. The closest I've come to doing drugs is inhaling pot fumes at concerts.) Some of my exes could fill a veritable who's who of the socially inept and emotionally troubled. I'd like to avoid that. I'd also like to avoid geniuses with unfulfilled potential who are drifting aimlessly (i.e. Gary and Hollingsworth). The problem is, I have a weakness for ambitionless genius.
And then there's kids. I know I'm not really ready to support a child, but sometimes I'm so jealous of my friends with kids. Matters were not helped this weekend, when someone at the family reunion asked my mom if she had any grandkids. "No," she sighed. "None yet." I looked at her and made some smart remark about getting to work on that, and everyone laughed, but really, it stung a little. That's the first time she's said anything outright about wanting me to have kids. Oh, she's hinted before, things like, "I just want to see you settled down", and when Dawn and Jason had Justin, she asked to be an honorary grandma.
There are, of course, several problems involved here. First of all, how does a relationship and a family fit into my plans? Will I give up one for the other? I'm just reaching a point where I have plans (even if they seem to be shifting, more on that another day), am I ready to just toss them all aside for a family? *sigh* I'm being pulled in so many different directions right now, but when it really comes down to it, I'm lonely. Being completely independent is losing some of its charm.