Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

radiumgirl: (remember who you are)

I have a cubicle.

For the longest time, my ultimate career goal was to work in a cubicle. I chalked this up to my blue collar pedigree. When I was a kid, My-Mother-the-Convict worked in a deli, then a pizza shop, then a bar, then in a nursing home as a housekeeper. My dad was an airplane mechanic, which was really cool, but still meant he came home covered in grease everyday.

My extended family is made up of a prison guard, a handful of auto mechanics, two farm hands, a long long long line of coal miners, a Wal-Mart greeter, and a picker who peddles crap out of the back of his truck on the side of the highway. These are the careers for the relatives who actually work. There's another set that sits at home all day watching The Price is Right and Family Feud, waiting for their unemployment, social security, whatever else checks to come in so they can head down to the Legion.

So, when I was a kid, I decided that I wanted to get away from all of that. I wanted to break the mold and move up in the world. I wanted to take my greasy blue collar and stomp all over it. I wanted to work in a cubicle. I wanted a bottle of lotion at my desk, a cup full of pens, an array of exotic postcards taped to the cabinet.

And now I have these things. And after three days, I've decided that I don't care for them. I've decided that I want to build a time machine and go back to 1995. I want to take my third-grader self aside, and I want to tell her to keep her shit together. "In 2006, you will be tempted to drop out of the secondary education track to be an arteest. Don't do it. For the love of god, don't do it."

Owen says I buy too much into my job as an extension and manifestation of myself. "It's not who you are. It's just something you do."

Chrissy hinted as much at Eat n' Park the other night. "You're the same person you were in college. You just have a car payment now."

And then there's Gabe, "Well, what do you want to do?"

"I have no fucking idea."

"You keep mentioning Pitt's PhD program...?"

"And it's a seven-year commitment. What if I hate it? I think I want to be a professor, but really, I think I just want to get paid to stand in front of people and geek out about queer theory."

I killed a bottle of Funky Llama last night while watching Gran Torino (sooooo good) with the landlord's kid. I chased the Funky Llama with some nasty cherry beer Owen left in my fridge. That was a bad life choice. While I was barfing in the bathroom at work, I pulled myself up, rested my chin on the sink, and tried to do damage control on my hopelessly smudged eyeliner. I made eye-contact with myself, hiccuped, and started laughing. I fell over, laughing until my sides hurt and I wanted to puke some more. I pulled myself back up to the mirror and leaned in close. "You're the same person you were in college..."

And then I curled up under the sink and cried very very quietly because I didn't want my shiny new co-workers to think I was having some sort of nervous breakdown in the women's restroom on my third fucking day of work.

Except, I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I'm doing.

June 2011

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