A Cold Day in Hell

Well, it’s the End of Days here in Austin, folks. For the last 48 hours, the news has been a grim parade of warnings on the radio, the TV, the internet: Stay inside! Do not attempt to contact loved ones! Lock your doors! Mercy kill your children! Prepare to use your orifices as currency to escape certain death at the hands of roaming bands of marauders!

I’m told we’re caught in the cross hairs of God’s very own wrath. Quiver before it, ye mortals.

mushroom-cloud_897102_GIFSoup.comNice try, but the Texan apocalypse looks nothing like that. Behold:

sleetwithface

The beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell in Texas  shall wonder,what is this SLEET?

Yes, sleet. Sleet has transformed the proud population of Austin into a quivering pile of  yellow-bellied Jello babies. I mean, management distributed “In case of a Freeze” disaster manuals to everyone in my apartment complex last night. HR sent an “EMPLOYEES: Don’t be killed!” email yesterday at 2pm. Schools were delayed or closed long before the storm system approached the state. The streets are empty, save for the odd scrap of newspaper that blows across the road, borne aloft by arctic winds.

Let’s review the current weather forecast, shall we?

EVERYONE PANIC

EVERYONE PANIC

Mass hysteria, you contagious bitch, you’ll never have me! My Midwestern ass understands the mechanics of operating a vehicle in wintry conditions. I get that my pipes never have and never will freeze and explode, and I know we aren’t on the cusp of a societal collapse that will force us all to barter the profane use of our mouths and other parts to escape certain cannibalization. And yet….

And yet this morning I was peeking through the slats of my blinds into the parking lot to gaze upon the natural disaster that had been wrought upon the city overnight, praying to God my eyes would be met with horrors so I could just stay in my pajamas and drink coffee all day on the futon and not die like a dog in the frosty wreckage of my car at the bottom of a Hill Country crevasse.

But a couple of puddles and a light rain are all that met my eyes, and too proud to hide, I drove to work without incident and nary a patch of ice or snowflake met me along the way. But as I sit here in my mostly deserted office, drinking coffee, writing emails, billing, estimating, being mundane in every way, I wonder…do the Jello babies have it right?

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Editor’s Note

So sometimes (a lot of times) I write blog posts and the unintended consequence is that it evokes lots of pity and/or sadness and not a lot of understanding and/or entertainment.

Erin’s reaction to last week’s blog:

Erin: that was a sad post though my friend. i”m going to give you one of those creepy hugs you hate

or just hold your hand when you’re not looking

cuz i’m here for you soul sista

Megan: ugh. damn.

Ultimately it’s evidence of my weakness as a writer and my tendency to act really extrasupermelodramatic about everything. I accept this. I’m self-aware. I don’t necessarily prefer it, but I accept it.

But this weekend I came across this tweet from one of my very favorite websites:

It is a far happier and more eloquent version of my grievances. If you read my post and could empathize for even a moment, I promise Brain Picking’s “How to Find Fulfilling Work” is worth a glance.

The Human Condition (and Not So Subtle Clues About Where We’ve Been)

Just what is it about working in an office that makes you want to hang yourself with a keyboard cord?

I’ve been asking around and have yet to find any concrete answers. Like…are there people out there who like…actually like…like their jobs? If so, we need to talk. Stat.

The honeymoon phase of this job is over. THE END. And I still didn’t quite see it coming. I thought this time could be different. It’s a field that I’m interested in, the people are cool, blah blah fucking blah. Maybe I could settle in here a bit, one day move up to a position that pays me a livable salary and that requires me to use my resume-unfriendly skills like creativity and common sense and decency in dealing with other humans?

LOLZ.

Nope. Here I am again lamenting not just all of my life choices, but my existence as a human being in general.

<COMMENCE INSOMNIA-INDUCING, SUBSTANCE-ABUSING QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS>

I’ve started to adopt the dangerously cynical opinion that most people are just making the best of a shitty situation and that none of us want to be trapped at a desk answering inane emails and completing corporate self-evaluations and watching management struggle to keep up morale because, quite frankly, they just don’t care either.  And that some people are just cool cats about it all. They just go to work, get it done, make the monies, and go home to a much more fulfilling world that makes company wide emails about kitchen cleanliness a little less hard to swallow. (So maybe that’s my problem. I have this job and that’s about it. More on this later).

But me? I’m having a temper tantrum. I’m guessing that because my personal life is relatively unfulfilling, it’s created a situation where my ego is all tied up in my job. Meaning that even though I don’t have much stake in anything that goes on at this job, I’m still super insulted by the micromanaging and the cliques and overall lack of respect for employees (and that’s best case scenario, assuming that a better personal life balances some of the nonsense we endure for 40+ waking hours a week). And then I realize that this place is better than most places I’ve worked. So then it’s me. It’s me and my perpetual fucking malcontent that has left me awash in life crisis and consequently absent from this blog.

It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. It’s that I’m not interested in people’s rainbows and bunny farts responses. Because the reaction to this is always “Well, change it”. Like I fucking ordered the wrong milkshake at the drive thru. Wait, wait! I didn’t mean vanilla, GIVE ME PEANUT BUTTER DOUBLE FUDGE!

And while a more positive and well-adjusted me knows there is wisdom in this advice, Quarter-Life Crisis Me can’t just snap my fingers and fix it all. Remember my last search for a new job? REMEMBER?! Do you want to relive that? Do you know how long it’s going to take me to voluntarily experience that again?

So this is why I wonder if it even can be fixed. Do I need to just suck it up and accept my tiny cubicle and tiny paycheck and tiny esteem? Is this the human condition????

IS THIS WHAT THE KEYBOARD CORD IS REALLY FOR?!

Words with Friends

Hey. We’re alive. But only barely.

Somehow Erin and I have had the same sort of week, the kind where someone in your office goes on vacation and all of the sudden you are doing two people’s full time jobs instead of just one and you’re still slightly new and everyone’s panties are in a bunch about things you only kind of understand and/or care about. The kind where you’re CC-ed in on a thousand different emails that don’t have anything to do with you or have everything to do with you and you start suffocating under the weight of just how mundane your Outlook-related stress is. The kind where by 3 pm you’re a mere a shell of a person, brain short-circuiting, patience pushed to the brink before it is maliciously punted right over the edge by some self important bitch who spreads her miserable, black unhappiness like the plague and then dares you to come back for more. The kind where you go to bed at 9 pm because you’re falling geriatrically asleep on your sofa but it’s okay because you don’t  really want to be alive anymore anyway.

As you might imagine, our work-time chats have reflected this. And really, this is the truest snapshot of our lives since we last spoke.

Exhibit A.

Stress-eating: it's real.

Stress-eating: it’s real.

Just kidding. You didn’t really think that was accurate right? Look a little closer*.

Exhibit B.

That's right.

Ahh, yes.

There will be much drinking tonight.

*The merits of swearing from a totally respectable and reputable source

Forever Unclean

We found a dead cockroach on the living room floor last week.

Little did we know, that was the best possible scenario for meeting a cockroach, for if you meet a cockroach and it’s NOT dead, it’s scrambling over your dishes in the pantry as you shout every profanity you know with Megan screaming and hopping from foot to foot across the room while you fling all of the boxed appliances out of the cabinet onto the floor and you stare that twitchy motherfucker in the eyeballs and it unleashes its secret roach speed and sprints for the crack between the cabinet and the wall where you know all its family and friends are waiting, breeding, building whole roach civilizations in YOUR FUCKING WALLS that YOU’RE paying money for therefore only YOU have the right to live and have sex in them, and you know that if this roach escapes he and all his roach buddies will be back, they will have won, so you start bludgeoning the general area the cockroach is darting around in with the tool in your hand, a cup –

Image

This cup.

– until you manage to come down on its ass with such force that the blunt lip of the tumbler severs the bug’s disgusting head from its disgusting body with a mighty crunch and spray of bug juice and you fall back on your heels, panting, swearing that you will not rest until all cockroaches are still and dead and cold in the ground by your hand and Megan stares at you because she’s never seen your murder face until now.

Then, when you think peace reigns again in the kitchen, everything gets much, much worse. The cockroach head starts flinging itself around by the antennae and the roach’s brethren stir in the walls audibly for you’ve unwittingly given them half a dead cockroach body to consume (Cockroaches are willing cannibals, you see, and can also survive on an endless loop of eating their own shit. The life cycle and habits of the American Cockroach prove, irrevocably, that there is no god.). I ask you, which is more horrifying: the sight of a disembodied head rocking itself in a wide, panicky circle, or the scritch-scritch sound of an unknown number of enemy bugs in your walls?

Wordlessly, Megan and I agree that now we are at war.

Continue reading

The Enemy is Everywhere

Austin, TX. Monday 7:56 am:

“WHAT. IS. THAT.”

“What’s what?” Erin answered from her room.

“WHAT. THEFUCK. IS. THAT,” I repeated, my tone drawing her out of other room immediately.

A very large…something. On the floor. Unmoving. But with insect qualities. My brain wanted it to be a rabbit foot key chain.

Sometimes Erin wears barrettes and brooches like this.

Denial.

Is it…an orange and black feathery accessory that fell off of one of Erin’s purses?

Is it a moth? It MUST be a moth. Look, those..that..part appears to be…wings? And antennae. I walked to the other side of the couch, away from it while Erin performed her inspection from a safe distance.

“Uhhmm. I think it’s a roach?” Erin offered delicately.

I thought of my bed and its proximity to this creature. Cottage cheese and coffee threatened to come up on me. I have a hard enough time getting breakfast down as it is. I couldn’t get any nearer than three feet to help confirm. I couldn’t help confirm.

We put a tupperware over it and some weight on it and resolved to tell my pal Juan, the building guy, as soon as possible. “We will tell them. And they will SPRAY.”

I got in my car to head to work. My breakfast was still sitting high, ready to defy gravity with one mental misstep. I hoped his friends wouldn’t come to visit him while we’re gone. I considered the warnings that we’d received from our friends: bugs are a given here. I didn’t believe it, but here it was. Fruition. Then I wondered what other kinds of bugs we would encounter here in the wilds of Texas.

You see, Erin and I, we have a long and loathsome history with bugs. Continue reading

Solitary

The hard economic truths of my life (No Dolla$, No Cent$) have made it necessary that I continuously live with a roommate, and I’ve gotten lucky because Megan is a special kind of roommate that cooks for me, allows me to coerce her into afternoon drinking and puts up with my…peculiarities. We’re approaching our five year anniversary, which makes Megan shit her pants, so I’m probably going to send a singing telegram or a stripper in a giant cake to her office to mark the occasion because I’m not afraid of publicly declaring how much I love paying for only half of everything.

Just another Saturday morning at our place.

These are your options: live with your parents, your significant other, a roommate or no one at all. The last option is frightening indeed, because it means those peculiarities I mentioned above have nothing and no one to keep them in check. Without a human reminder of how weird you actually are, these tics annex the rest of your life. I know this, because Megan has been out of town for five days. Continue reading