Now Playing: Lyn Collins - "Put It On The Line"
...especially when they aren't.
"one day...like any other / you do what you want...but you want something better..."
-APB, "One Day."
with a belly full of dinner and pale ale, i'm mentally preparing for another manic monday. the work week in general, really. i work through the weekdays to get to the weekend. it's truly amazing what so many of us are willing to put up or get ourselves into just to get a paycheck. we work at jobs we're not interested in, surrounded by people we don't like, working for bosses whose heads would look better on a stick...okay, so my current gig isn't that hellish, but it's customer service and that's far from heaven. i liken my time on the phones to a tour of duty for a soldier in Iraq: while it makes total sense for me to be riding around in an armored car, i'll be damned if i can find any scrap metal. basically, i need to learn how to put the shrapnel i'm hit with to good use. being on the front lines, you're gonna get shot at. the days range from bloody awful to ai'ight to surprisingly good, but that's life. the monitor at my desk now has mini-tower speakers for ears, providing the necessary soundtrack to get me through the day, or at least through the next phone call. radio broadcasts from WFMU, the Giant Step jukebox, and random dj sets from Percussion Lab make up a good bulk of the rotation.
the frustrations of the work day are frighteningly similar between my wife and i. she's in an insurance agency now, wearing several different hats at once and performing tasks she was never told she had to, i'm sure. we both do too much at once. she now totally understands my aversion to the phone when i get home. after answering one all day, the last thing you want to do is pick it up at home. that started happening to her last week - she would visibly shudder when the phone rang in our apartment. i can't begin to tell you how ecstatic i was about that. not about her frustration, but the fact that we know exactly what the other goes through during the daily grind. makes it that much nicer when we get home and see each other. "yeah, i know. my day sucked, too. you don't know how happy i am to see you." then we kiss, feed the cat, and prepare dinner.
i will admit, though...in their own special way, my co-workers remind me not to take my 9-to-5 plight so seriously. they don't even know they're doing it half the time. i mean, it's cool when questions need to be answered and they're able to help me out, but in a way, it's even better when they make me laugh during the day. they can be a silly bunch - outright stupid some days. i think it was last tuesday that we were getting socked with snow. perhaps the feeling of cabin fever made us all slap happy, but it was a mental ward on my side of the office that day. we ended up getting more snow than was expected and traveling during rush hour wasn't going to be fun for anybody. beth called me up because she was getting out early and wanted to know if we were as well. i said, "baby, around these parts 'getting out early' means leaving here ON TIME." we did finally receive a notice from management that they were closing up shop at 5 p.m. "so that everybody could get home while it was still light out." the notice arrived in our email at 5:02 p.m. the day was already silly enough, but that just took it to the next level. beyond that, the sky was overcast the entire day and got worse while it started to snow harder, so technically, it was never "light out" to begin with.
it has been my experience that jobs were never meant to be enjoyed; rather, they are to be endured. anybody that's blessed enough to have a job where they actually like what they do ought to thank GOD daily for their situation. not one f**king complaint out of any of you, seriously. and let's not get it twisted: if that's your situation, you're BLESSED - luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. so i work for the weekend. i work to get home and be with my wife. i work so that the bills can be paid, so that we can have a date night once a month, so that future plans can be laid and our future seed can have things a bit easier (while still teaching them the value of a dollar and not being afraid of hard labor). the routine is the routine and i do it so that the enjoyable areas of my life can still be enjoyed. so i work where i work, but it's not who i am. it has nothing to do with my purpose in life (whatever that is - God knows but He ain't talkin' yet). it's not a passion. it's not even an area of interest. it's just a means to an end. and it makes me no different from the millions of other wage slaves on the same ship, some of whom would much rather throw themselves overboard than spend one more day on the rough seas.
my wife came home the other day from grocery shopping squealing over the fact that she got Boo Berry cereal and some rice milk. "i haven't had Boo Berry since i was a kid," she beamed. i couldn't imagine her mother actually buying that stuff, but apparently that was before she got on a health kick. somewhere along the way, a bran flakes poltergeist jumped into my future mother-in-law's body and things just haven't been the same around the Nutter household.
Count Chocula got no love from both of us, it seems. i was a Franken Berry fan from back in the day. it was like i got to have my strawberry Quik after i ate my cereal, so that was like a bonus for me. i was probably one in 24 kids in Westchester County that actually preferred strawberry Quik to the chocolate.
"guess what i'm having for breakfast tomorrow, honey?"
"what are you having for breakfast tomorrow, dear?"
honestly, it's a cereal that turns the milk purple. i ain't celebratin' that. now, you wanna make me happy? find me a buy one/get one free deal on Peanut Butter Crunch. Cap'n put it down with that one. you can have your Crunch Berries, but i will smack somebody in the head with a 2x4 over some Peanut Butter Crunch. it really may as well be crack, it's that bad with me.
and while we're on this subject, somebody needs to bring back the vanilla wafer version of Cookie Crisp.
okay, i think i've regressed enough for one night...
although i'm quite happy that the month of March is upon us, the Men's Conference at church was a wonderful way to close out February. God met us all right where we were and took up residence in the sanctuary from Wednesday to Sunday. creative, convicting and life-changing words filled the atmosphere. it was beautiful. and yeah, the Men's Chorus wasn't too shabby, either. while somewhat annoyed that i was arm-twisted into being a struggling second tenor, i managed to pull it off somewhat. Lord, in case i forgot to tell you, thank you for masking my imperfections with your glory. of course, there's always one person who says, "you know, you really should consider joining the Men's Chorus." SLOW DOWN. i think it's obvious that the 2nd tenor position had me in a headlock. i can carry a tune in a bag from point a to point b, but that's about it. it's not a gift area, and i'm not going to fool myself or be fooled by the pew of positive thinkers and entertain such a curious fantasy.
my mind's still recovering from the work day. it was one of those days that undoubtedly proved that, in many ways, this gig mirrors the one i left. you try to deny it to yourself, focus on the positives, tell yourself that it was the right move and all that, but it's looking right back at you and saying, "bet you thought this was gonna be different, didn't you?" one of my favorite preachers was in town tonight, but i didn't make it out to Bible study. after wrestling with customer requests and struggling to understand certain information about the job, i just didn't feel like getting "deep" tonight. my brain desperately needed some downtime. meanwhile, my wife's up in Buffalo for job training until Friday. we just got through speaking on the phone. tried to get the cat to say something, but i think he's upset with her for leaving. so i clean his litter box, make sure he has enough chow, scratch his ear and attempt to convince him that all will be right with the world soon enough.
while the overabundance of "me" time at home is nice, her presence adds to the oasis our apartment has become. yeah, i miss her. i like watching her sleep. or getting up in the morning when the alarm goes off and hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep, which happens no less than four times every morning. the cat will lie on her chest when she gets into bed at night. he's only done that to me once. he's tried a number of times and each time he looks as if he should rethink his position. it's not like i haven't tried to coax him over either, especially now that Beth's in Buffalo. i figure, he hasn't got a choice now, right? he's gotta pick me. nope. still unsure. he'll bug me for everything else, but he won't do that. that's strictly saved for the wifey.
absence makes the heart grow fonder. damn, they ain't ever lied...
more reasons to show love for my man Dr. Mark Anthony Neal. it's observations like this that make me feel so fortunate that i had a class with him when he taught at SUNY Albany. dem chilluns at Duke best recognize greatness when they see it...
As Black History Month comes to a close, just wanted to post a few links to some interesting articles i've read. topics include blogging while black, an art exhibit examining feminine images within hip-hop,
a new album from legendary poetess Sonia Sanchez, the
Rosa Parks vs. Outkast case, and William Jelani Cobb dares to ask: What Would Malcolm Do?
yep, it's official. hot chocolate is to me what coffee is to others. another friday at the salt mine and i've got Fishbone on crunk (or as loud as it can be on a portable handheld cassette recorder, anyway). while i'm thankful for the weekend on the horizon, they're jam packed with places to be and things to do and not much downtime. hopefully, i can squeeze in a little cuddle time with the wifey - she leaves for buffalo on sunday for a week of job training. she gets back home next friday night. so it's just me and the cat for a while. oh yeah, he's thrilled.
the new work site has its own brand of insanity, no doubt, but nothing will top some of the things i've seen at my last gig. it was probably two weeks into the job - i remember it like it was yesterday. a huge box arrived for the president of the company. one of the admin cats at the front desk opened it up only to find a three-foot statue of Jesus - draped from head to toe in velvet. that was biZarre enough. five minutes later, we discovered a slit in the top of the statue...just big enough to put your loose change in.
a three-foot velvet Jesus bank. sent to a man that i'm pretty sure is of the Jewish faith. supposedly, it was sent by a friend of his, so it's probably an in-joke that i can't even begin to comprehend.
i've only been working at my new job
a little over a month, but these folks are crazy. granted, you need to be a little insane to endure the customer service racket. at the same time, you've gotta go the extra mile to beat a velvet Jesus arriving at your office.
yesterday as i was leaving work, i saw five deer run across the entrance to the office complex. totally caught me off guard...to the point where i found myself staring at them in awe for a few seconds. a train ride into Mount Vernon later, the moon hung low and full in the sky. stopped into a McDonald's to grab a little something to tide me over until a late dinner. i was heading to church for the first night of our 2nd annual Men's Conference. light attendance, but that's likely to change once word gets out about how last night went. it was electric. GOD met us right where we were. there's nowhere to go but up from here. tonight i'm singing with the Men's Chorus. should be interesting since i was moved from a comfortable baritone to a barely making it 2nd tenor three days ago. so i'm sitting at work listening to rehearsal tapes and picking out the 2nd tenor parts, which is made all the more difficult since i mostly concentrated on the baritone section.
Lord, i know you're up there. you know i was comfortably well off as a baritone. i was able to pay my vocal bills just fine until forces beyond my control have moved me to a higher tax bracket. now it seems like my ends don't even want to introduce themselves to each other. i also know you're big enough to fill in the gaps and give me the push i need to reach those higher notes. you wouldn't put this challenge before me and not equip me with what i need to meet the challenge. it is where i am weak that your strength shines through and reminds me that it was all your doing. decrease me so that you may increase. be with the brothers tonight; let us all be on the same page with no other motive than to sing of your power and greatness, that your name will receive every ounce of the honor that you so rightly deserve.
in Christ Jesus' name i pray...Amen.
?I don't really think Jesus cares if he gets shine on [Hot] 9-7??
MC Hired Gun (ESP, 3rd Party), regarding Kanye West's "Jesus Walks."
How happy he must've been when Ray Charles came back from the dead to sweep the Grammys and remind a big-headed college dropout why Genius Loves Company.
everybody sing it together: "KANYE, WHAT'D I SAY?!?"
Super Bowl Sunday taught me an important lesson: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. usually, i spend a quiet evening in with the wifey and watch the game and have some tasty eats. this year i attended a Super Bowl Fellowship at my church. the Men's Ministry hosts it every year; last night marked their sixth time doing it, i think. very successful - lots of brothers came through. fed some kids from two group homes. a few even gave their lives to Christ. while i was definitely doing the right thing, i can't say that i totally enjoyed myself. too many people, too loud, too much. i live a relatively quiet existence. plus i had some memos on my mind that i had to deliver to one of the ministers (i agreed to be their secretary - why the HELL did i do that?), so i was thinking about that the whole time and ended up working on one of them while i was there. no good deed goes unpunished: i should know this by now. all i'll say is this...after last night, i was actually looking forward to monday morning.
enter Mitsubishi Imaging - my new location to bring home the bacon from. still customer service, still surrounded by purchase orders and phones ringing, but a much shorter commute in the other direction and i get to ride the Metro-North train. doesn't even take me 20 minutes to get to work and the gym's along the train route as well. the learning curve is a beast, but i gotta take it one day at a time and act like i know this isn't supposed to be mastered overnight. everybody's been quite helpful in showing me the ropes and all that. this one cat that's been training me's pretty cool, laid back cat. it's weird, though: he kinda looks like Darshan from Metro Area. i keep wanting to say to him, you shouldn't be here. shouldn't you and Morgan be rocking some party in Europe somewhere? and when's the next single coming out?
for the most part, i work with some good people. they have their perverted moments, but it's not like GOD isn't still in the process of fire bombing the porn shops that still occupy the far corners of my mind, so i really shouldn't talk about other people's shortcomings. but i do have to wonder about the natural tendency of co-workers to gossip. somehow or another, part of my training has involved learning tidbits about various team members - stuff that obviously isn't necessary to know, stuff that i never asked to learn, stuff that i know won't be on the test, but i know it anyway. this one is irresponsible with paperwork. this one freaks out when people are out of the office because they know they'll have more work to do. this one silently passes gas at their desk. after a while, i just didn't want to know any more secrets.
my next door neighbor in the office is a lovely woman. perky, talks fast (and loud), kinda reminds me of someone i knew in college. her voice is sort of a cross between Fran Drescher and the sound of a cheese grater across your face, but i mean that in the best way possible. between her CD collection and her internet radio habits, i'm held captive to selections from Heart, Def Leppard, Mariah Carey, Bryan Adams...mostly lite-fm '80s style, with the occasional shake-up of new Gwen Stefani or other stuff (when she plays Sade, it's all good, though). and me with no WFMU - it's like dying a slow death. at the moment, i have a small cassette player with a speaker on the back acting as a mini boombox to give me relief. it does the job. but as soon as i get a pair of speakers to hook up to my computer, it's ON.
so yeah, the team's chock full of good eggs, but it didn't take long for me to notice the scabs that cover the scars. one minute two members are talking, the next moment one of them's talking about the other that just left the room. it happens so often that it's hard not to wonder when your number's gonna come up. it's only a matter of time before i'm the subject of somebody's bitch session. big whoop - i care not for the trivial. but the trivial seems to be a regularly served side dish around here. knowing this, it's best for me to crank the music a little louder, dive deeper into my work, and remember that as a child of GOD, i ultimately work for Him and not for man. keeping that in perspective becomes challenging at times, of course...
p.s. one of our members walked away with a slight cough. another jumped up, huffing and puffing
about not wanting to catch stomach flu, then borrowed another's can of Lysol and began spraying
everything that wasn't nailed down. in hindsight, it would have been the perfect time to ask her if she ordered a hyperbaric chamber for the office (like the kind Michael Jackson sleeps in). i've worked at three different office locations - one in Greenwich, CT, one in NYC, and now Harrison, NY - and it's always the same: show any common cold symptoms and you're liable to get treated like a
war criminal by your co-workers. ah, smell that team spirit...