Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Failure of the Day: Chemistry Robot

OK, OK, I know what's going on. I read some of the possible side effects of Zyban—sleeplessness, jitters, drymouth—Oh! Zyban is speed! I get it now.

That explains a lot. Most specifically it explains why I feel FAN-tastic until about 5 PM (I take the pill in the morning) and as the sun sets, things begin to look menacing. After I delivered an edited chapter last night, I got an email from the project manager at work that read: "Speedy! Thanks!" I read it like 40 times and became convinced that there was a very suspicious subtext indeed. Does she mean that I delivered it too fast and she thinks the quality will be poor? Or that something is not quite right about the speed with which I deliver my chapters? I was completely unsettled.

Of course, it's OK because for the first three days, you take one Zyban in the morning, but after that, you take one in the morning and one in the early evening, so I don't anticipate any more paranoid crashes like that for a while. The downside is that they're not kidding about the sleeplessness part. I've had insomnia for all three nights I've been on it, and that was with only one pill a day. Today I start the two pills a day regimen. I'd be surprised if I sleep at all tonight, but we'll see.

Why am I doing this again? Oh, right, right, I remember: so I won't die.

Monday, September 29, 2003

Failure of the Day: Zyban is Grooooooovy

I go to the bottle and check, and then I go to the bottle and check again. Am I sure they didn't give me Vicodin by mistake?

I can sure see why this is an anti-depressant! Man, I feel great. And everything is just great. My whole entire life? Yes: it's GREAT!

I could probably spend some time worrying if it's normal for me to feel like this in these pills, but really, I don't care. I'm not loopy or having trouble concentrating or anything like that. It's mostly the way by body feels. You know how it feels? GREAT, that's how! Like the way your tongue feels on acid? Like that. And the specific, localized pleasure that runs down the length of your fingers while you type.

I quit smoking in 13 days and at this rate, I might not even notice.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Failure of the Day: Literature

Poor Stephen King. I don't think anybody has ever gotten shit on quite so much for winning the National Book Award.

I know, I know, I am a full-on Johnny-Come-Lately to put aside my considerable snobbery and finally discover that he is a fine writer and not just a fine genre writer. He also seems like a pretty cool guy overall; I have a soft spot for famous people who are devoted to their wives of 30+ years. I also think he's a hell of a role model for writers; I heard him say once "If it takes you 5 years to write a novel, you're a lazy bastard."

So when the National Book Award people gave him the lifetime achievement award, I thought it was cool. And fine, fine, he's no Saul Bellow but that's not to say that he got the award to "… recognize nothing but the commercial value of his books, which sell in the millions but do little more for humanity than keep the publishing world afloat." That's what Harold Bloom said in a commentary in the Boston Globe. That's just mean.

And elitist and unfair and a bunch of other things, but mostly I think it's untrue. I don't think there very many things that humanity appreciates more than being told a good yarn every now and again, and so what if it's about a murderous car.

Neither is giving the award to King "a dumbing down of our cultural life" (Bloom again) and to say it is puts a lot more faith in the power of that award than I would give it. Does he really think that the National Book Award has any affect on the culture at all? But what Bloom seems to be worried about is that the award will signal that it's OK to like things that entertain us without our having to work too hard. And that's what he's really mad about, I think.

I want the National Book Award to symbolize the very best in literature, too. But writing a book—and writing it well—in a genre that is considered by academics to be lowbrow does not make a person a lowbrow writer. It merely makes one popular, if they're lucky. And contrary to even my own snobbery, popular and bad are not the same thing necessarily. It seems to me that there's not the first thing wrong with every now and again giving an award to an artist who doesn't require that that you struggle to appreciate him. And for god's sake, he didn't get the award instead of Saul Bellow; he merely got it after him. And I for one am glad that I don't have choose one over the other for all time, because I am perfectly content to read both or neither as I see fit, without any input from Mr. Bloom.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Failure of the Day: Martin Sheen

Did anybody else get really turned on by watching Martin Sheen as President Bartlett take communion last night? (No, I know: it's just me.)

I can't help it; there was just something so intimate and personal about it because for some reason it seemed like method acting wouldn't extend to figuring out the manner in which the character would take communion. And because Martin Sheen is catholic, I just went ahead and assumed he took it like he usually does in real life.

And that's pathetic. Not just because I continue my inappropriate crushes on celebrities, not just because the inappropriateness of my choices is ever-increasing, and not just because I sexualized a fictional character in a setting of not just religious solemnity but of great personal crisis as well. I think it's most pathetic because I fell for the oldest trick in the book: thinking that a consummate professional really is slipping up and giving me a peek behind the curtain.

And despite all that, when I think about that scene from the unrelentingly grim episode of The West Wing that aired last night, I still am turned on. There's nothing I can do. I don't have any idea what it is about Martin Sheen, but holy majoley, he does it for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Failure of the Day: How Hard is it to Dump Your Writing Group?

It turns out that it's really, really hard. And yes, Ok, I'm a big flake for joining and quitting two different writers groups over the last two months but one of them was so horrible I almost killed myself just so I wouldn't have to read any more of their unbelievable crap, and the other one just sort of served its purpose quicker than I though it would.

But now both groups keep calling and emailing me trying to get me to come back. And I suppose that is all very flattering and everything and aren't I just the most charming literary companion, but I don't get it. The social contract, as I understand it, is that as soon as one party so much as smells like they don't want to hang out with you anymore, that's it, it's over. What's with the "No, no but we want you to come back!" business? That's never happened to me in my life! And now twice in one week! What kind of crazy bizarro world is this?

I tell you what, after getting three jobs in a row a couple of weeks ago, I can only assume that my entire body chemistry has changed in some dramatic fashion. I have like the most incredibly delicious pheromones ever now or something. Or maybe I am turning into Jeff, who will be embarrassed to read that he is the most wildly popular and beloved-by-everyone-who-knows-him person I've ever met. Every time I mention him to someone else who knows him, they always say the same thing: "I wish I could hang out with him more." And I always go, "Me, too!" because he actually is that cool to hang out with.

This must be what it's like to be Jeff. It all makes sense now…but if I've got his level of social desirability…oh, god help him if he's got mine.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Failure of the Day: Girlie Luck

Usually, I'm really good at things I know nothing about. For example, I RULE at horse racing. I pick the horses I bet on strictly by the colors the jockey is wearing, unless the horse is gray, and then I always bet on the gray horse. I win like 70% of the time. So when I decided to do fantasy football, both Chris and Joe figured it was a foregone conclusion that I would totally dominate The League of Extraordinary Punishment. When I got both Rich Gannon (last year's MVP) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense (the Super Bowl winners) totally by chance in the draft, Chris, at least, thought it was a done deal.

Tampa Bay, I should point out, continues to rule. They're doing great. Mr. Gannon, on the other hand, sucks ass so far this year. He's awful—none of his passes go anywhere, he gets sacked all the time, and sometimes he just falls down for no reason. Seriously, he looks like me out there on the field. And it doesn't help that you can totally tell that the guy is a complete dick. I barely have it in me to root for him.

I won my first match-up of the season but I lost the second and third week so far, and it is inarguably 100% Gannon's fault. But I kept him active on account of he's supposedly all studly and junk. Now, I'm not gonna dump him or anything just yet, but I have certain tried-and-true sports strategies that I eschewed when I took Gannon, and this little foray into football might just be an object lesson for me that when you're dealing with 400 pound guys that bash the crap out of each other, maybe the one with the nicer haircut or cuter uniform is the way to go.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Failure of the Day: 20 days

That's how much longer I get to smoke. I got very wistful about it as I was falling asleep last night because I occasionally picture myself doing things in the future and I always imagine myself in those scenarios smoking a cigarette and then I have to backtrack and try to re-envision it without by beloved tubes of delicious poison. And then everything is like, in black and white when I picture it because as I recall from those 14 hours or so I lasted the last time I tried to quit, nothing's any good without cigarettes.

I'm not deterred though. I've been planning to quit on October 12 for well over a year and I'm damn well going to do it. I've got a doctor's appointment day after tomorrow to get my Zyban Rx and any other drugs I can get my hands on and I've about 17 different plans for the various contingencies: patches, gum, inhalers, red vines, nicotine-free cigarettes and in the worst-case scenario, cake.

And that's where I get into trouble because as everyone who knows me is acutely aware, I am also dieting. And it occurs to me that those are not great things to try and do simultaneously but what can you do?

I spent the last month making absolutely clear to Chris that he is not to bring me donuts or fried chicken or candy no matter how much I beg. He simply must help me stay strong. Tonight I told him that round about day 3 without smokes, he should expect to come home and find me sobbing hysterically, and that I will very likely be inconsolable unless he goes out that instant and brings me a pizza and a chocolate cake. And in that circumstance, he probably should bring me that.

Chris, of course, is the most supportive guy ever and bless him, he might be starting to really comprehend that I'm not being self-deprecating or cute when I tell him that his life is going to be HELL for the first little while.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Failure of the Day: New Wave

I'm doing a really crappy job of finding new music these days. I've no doubt it's not because there's a dearth of interesting-to-my-taste stuff being made, but more because I don't have the time or the inclination to spend the time painstakingly sifting through the drek to find it. The result is that I've been listening to Fountains of Wayne and a few other old favorites pretty well without interruption.

Well, at least until my last bout of insomnia last week. I found myself at 3 AM sitting on the floor of my room trying to find something that would make my head shut the hell up and I wound up in the digital music channels ay the end of my cable TV selections. I occasionally flip through them to see what's available but I get stuck thinking about the names of the channels that interest me and what they suggest about my current demographic and it makes me a little creeped out.

But since worrying about my demographic would have been sweet relief indeed compared to pondering how severely I'd overestimated my writing ability, which was what was keeping me awake on that particular night, I went ahead and clicked the New Wave music channel on.

It's great. It's really, laugh-out-loud-in-delight great.

As I recall, New Wave, if it existed at all outside of the minds of a couple of writers for the New Musical Express, was a fad in pop music that lasted for about 8 months in 1983. This channel doesn't have much to do with that. The most accurate descriptive name for this channel I think would have to be The Quake, which some of you might remember as a radio station from the mid 80s that played the stuff no other station played at the time. I remember walking down the hallway of my dorm and hearing that station coming out of every room I passed. Sure, it wasn't long before I converted to KUSF along with everybody else who didn't live on the wrong side of a hill and so couldn't pick it up. But for a time, the Quake was the shit.

Anyway, this cable music channel is just like that and even though it tries and convicts me as a ridiculously out-of-date old fart who peaked in the 80s, as long as they keep playing Ultravox and Romeo Void, I just can't be bothered to give a shit.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Failure of the Day: Bananas

In high school, my best friend Melissa told me that you were truly an adult when you could eat a banana in public without being embarrassed. That seems true to me now, but not for the reasons that I thought made it true back then.

Bananas are one of the (very) few fruits I will consent to eat. They're OK. But they are also pretty damn troublesome. Chris and I do our grocery shopping on Friday nights—we are one swingin' couple, I tell you what—and each Friday, I buy 5 bananas, one for each morning of the upcoming week. Now, this is a damn tricky proposition because I'm buying the bananas all at once but I want each one to be ripe on a different day. I usually pull one banana at a time from their bunches while Chris hides in the lettuce department.

I call this process picking time-release bananas because I have to choose one banana that will be ripe in three days, one that will be ripe in four days and so on until I choose a banana that will be ripe in seven days. What I am trying to be, it turns out, is a fruit psychic. But bananas are wily; they don't give that kind of information out to just anyone. They'll lie right to your face and display all kinds lovely green shading on Friday and you wake up on Saturday to find a withered up brown bag of porridge instead of Wednesday's banana. Meanwhile, Tuesday's banana, which had the tiniest brown speckles on it when you bought it is still made of concrete two weeks later. There's just no telling.

And none of this even takes into account that bananas taste like cinnamon to me these days anyway.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Failure of the Day: Blog Will Eat Itself

So, of course I read Jeff's blog everyday as well, and when I read that he found a guy who posts his weight every day on his blog, I was frankly appalled. Appalled! Me, who has written and had published poems about virtually every person I've ever slept with, and who has made a virtual career out of publicizing the details of my medical history, and I sat in my chair after reading that and thought "Jesus! Isn't anything private anymore?"

Of course I wouldn't be me if I didn't spend the next ten minutes searching my psyche to see if I wasn't just jealous that I'd been out-confessed. You'll be happy to know that I don't think that's it. Men surely have weight issues but I guarandamntee you that they are tiny little dust mites in one corner of one room in one house in the giant metropolis of women's weight issues. Zpp…zpp…zpp. No arguments.

And what's worse is the horrible cliché of women's weight issues, and I think that's what pisses me off the most. I could post my weight, or how much I've lost this month or whatever but…Ew. I may be one of those women with issues about the size of my ass, but I don't need to seem like one. (In public, at least; Chris knows better.)

And nevermind that the "I'm too a) cool, b)feminist, c)smart, d)aware of the way media warps our beliefs of what's attainable, to have ass-size issues" attitude is its own cliché, not to mention always a total lie.

I seem to have drifted a bit off my original topic, which was…wait, I know this one…well, whatever it was, I am probably too aware of the way media warps our beliefs of what's attainable to care very much about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Failure of the Day: Confession

I'm a little pooped. And I'm embarrassed to tell you why…once you know, there is almost no chance that you will stop short of pelting me with things.

Today was the second day of my new work contract, which I must say, I am grooving on pretty hard. But the thing about this job is that I can't zip through 8 hours of work in 5 hours like I could with my old job. I actually have to work for the WHOLE EIGHT HOURS! And man, it turns out that that makes me tired. In my favor, or come to think of it, probably not, I work from 8-5 with an hour off in the middle to go to the YMCA.

So yes. I'm tired because I had to work for 8 whole hours (in my pajamas) and take an hour off in the middle to do whatever the hell I feel like. I suck. I do. I'm sorry.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Failure of the Day: Luck

Well, it's my first day of my new job! Chris suggested I wear something nice to add a sense of occasion—maybe my best pajamas.

As I wait for my assignment to hit my inbox, I cant help but think about this really pretty incredible circumstance I find myself in. I wish I could say I knew just how it turned out this way, how I got so lucky, or just when everything went from such crap to such niceness. But I don't know. It just sort of happened.

During the 10 years when I got SSI and didn't have a job, I always knew that at some point I would return to the workforce. I wasn't expecting to go into remission; I just thought I would get a teaching job that I could do without needing to walk or anything. That was the entirety of my plan. Plan B, it was, because what I really wanted to do was be an editor. But everyone knows that that's impossible—editors are skinny 24 year old girls in New York, not crippled girls already in their 30's.

Then I met Chris and we moved to Seattle, and although I had not one minute of professional experience as an editor (or as much of anything else), I started applying for editing jobs. After 6 months, I got one.

Let's stop here for a moment and reflect because even though at the time (and even today) it seemed all but inevitable that I would get that job, it sort of takes my breath away. I got that job. My first since 1991, and in the field I wanted most but assumed was impossible. Yes. I fell back on Plan A.

I quit that job on Friday. During the 3 and half years I worked for them, I learned a hell of a lot about editing and publishing and proofreading. I telecommuted for most of my last year in Seattle and for all of the 7 and a half months in SF. So again, it just seemed natural to continue telecommuting; I'm all set up for it.

And so I got more freelance telecommute jobs, and a nice pay increase to boot, and I'm going along my merry way, looking on the surface like what I suppose I am: a reasonably competent if very lucky adult. But there's a part of my brain that hasn't yet and probably will never recover from the surprise that so far, I'm succeeding at this.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Failure of the Day: Johnny Johnny Head

Did I get an offer from job #3? Yep. Do I have a big 4 clients now? You bet I do. Do I care at all at this moment? Nope. I am way, way too sad about Johnny Cash.

Right now I'm trying to catch Chris before he finds out so I can be the one to tell him. Because as sad as I am, I also feel a little bit goofy for being so sad about the death of a stranger. Chris won't have any goofiness about that at all, though; there's, like, no distance between his thoughts and his emotions. He's just going to go ahead and feel as sad as he really is.

Me, I'm just gonna sit here and listen to At Folsom Prison a couple dozen more times.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Failure of the Day: The Pouring, It's Started

As if you couldn't see this coming. What do you do when more that one of your freelance clients wants you to work on the same day? Trying to balance my full-time contract, which starts on Monday, with Virage, which wants me to come in on Tuesday. All the while keeping the fact that I've got other employment from OTSI, in case the main place doesn't extend my contract into next year and OTSI survives through xmas. And the third job I interviewed for? She asked for a reference to call this morning. What the hell am I supposed to do if I get an offer from job #3?

1. A! is my priority. I signed the contract already. But it's only for three months.
2. Virage is good, and I'd love to keep them as a back up to fill gaps, but it's not steady.
3. OTSI might have full-time work for me at some point, but nobody knows for sure.
4. The proofing contract I'm waiting to hear about will be very few hours at first, but if successful after the start up, could pan out.

So…how to keep as many back-ups and options open as possible without pissing off the people who I already work for? Man! This independent contractor business is complicated! I'm not sure if this is a common quandary of if I got myself into a pickle through poor planning and timing of jobs.

Here's what I think. I need to call Virage and tell them that I have been offered a three-month, full-time contract elsewhere that I really need to take. I'm still interested in pinch-hitting for them, but it will have to wait until after the first of the year, if they still have a need then. If they don't, too bad for me, but I can't prioritize an every-now-and-again job (that pays $5 an hour less) over three months at least steady.

OK. I feel better. I'm just not used to dealing with employers on this level, I think. I'm accustomed to just saying thank you when somebody offers me a job. It's weird to be the boss, even if it only is of my own billable hours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Failure of the Day: She

I am increasingly uncomfortable with my level of abject joy, and it seems like the best thing to do is to find something or other to fret about so I can feel at least a little bit normal.

So: my novel. My writers group was unanimous and emphatic last week: it works much, much better in 3rd person. I am painstakingly going through the sentences and changing the perspective and the tenses, all the while a tiny piece of talking cat shit sits on my right shoulder and whispers You're ruining it! I am working with a copy of the original, so just in case I am in fact ruining it, I won't have to go through and undo all my changes.

Here's the thing: although parts of it are awkward still and I've got pronoun woes out the kazoo, even I like it better in 3rd person so far. I don't know why, but it's got a sheen to it now, like it's on glossy paper. And although I thought at first it was very, very weird indeed to write an entire novel in the 3rd person, I am noticing more book that do it. The new Chuck book for example. (Now, the new Chuck is TERRIBLE, but not because of the perspective. The perspective works. It's his thick fist of repetition pounding the incredibly obvious message so far down your throat that you wonder how his knuckles can survive all that stomach acid that really kills the book.)

My writing group meets this afternoon; we'll see how the revisions fare.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Failure of the Day: Basking in the Glow of My Own Professional Success

There's just no talking to me today. Trust me, you don't want to; I will annoy the crap out of you. I would be annoying the crap out of myself if I weren't so busy being pleased with myself.

I am the world's most successful independent businesswoman. My financial dealings are deft, my editorial skills unsurpassed. I have the happiest marriage the Earth has ever witnessed and a collection of really cute shoes.

I am the word "Triumph" made flesh.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Failure of the Day: You are Perhaps Familiar with What Happens When It Rains?

It pours. That's what happens.

For starters, The San Francisco Cervix pretty well ruled this weekend. I've got 90 points so far and I still have guys yet to play tonight. I am currently tied for 2nd place in the league. Rich Gannon is my boyfriend now. Also Shaun Alexander. Of course, I'd dump them both for the very handsome Ronde Barber if he treats me right tonight.

Also, my current company came through with a couple more weeks of work.

Also, A! Books hired me into their freelance copyediting pool, and I should start working for them this week. Love them.

Also, Virage, (the company in San Mateo) didn't hire me full time, which is GREAT because I really didn't want to make that commute every day, but they want me to work for them on an on-call, part-time basis, at a higher pay rate than they offered for the full-time job. LOVE them!

Haven't heard from the 3rd job lady yet, but really, at this point, it's all icing.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Failure of the Day: Thank God, Really

The two weeks from hell are winding to a close. Chris and I have both tomorrow and Sunday to ourselves. Tomorrow we will head to Serramonte Center to use the Good Guys girt card a very nice customer sent to Chris for doing him a favor, and then we will hit my beloved Fresh Choice for dinner. Sunday is all football, all the time. Sunday is also Real Food day for me; I'm allowed to have whatever I want for dinner on Sundays, as decreed by me, diet or no diet, so Chris is making chili.

Chili is potentially a dicey proposition because I don't eat beans or tomatoes. Tomato sauce, yes; tomatoes, no. It's complicated. When Chris first started experimenting with chili, it tasted great but the ground beef was in pieces so small it was hard for me to fish them out. I suggested making small meatballs, which is of course a perfectly reasonable suggestion, but Chris looked at me like I had committed some sort of heinous blasphemy. "Chili doesn't have meatballs!" he shouted, and by shouted, you understand I mean that he spoke just audibly. "Sure it does!" I countered, "You just have to put meatballs in!" My logic was clearly inarguable.

Still flush from that particular victory, I have another idea for chili. Chris is resisting it mightily; he is some sort of chili fundamentalist (and that is something you don't find out until you're married, I tell you what). But come on, wouldn't it be cool to add noodles? Chili-a-roni! It's a million dollar idea right there. We could retire off the proceeds from our Chili-a-roni empire. Because surely I am not the only person who realizes that the problem with most food is that it is not more like spaghetti. If everything were more like spaghetti, wouldn't life be grand?

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Failure of the Day: What to Wear

Finding something to wear to job interviews is hard. I don't have a lot of stuff that would fall easily into the category of garments called "work clothes" to begin with because A) I haven't had to set foot in my office for almost 18 months, and B) even when I did have to physically be there, they didn't give a shit what I wore.

It used to be that I wouldn't think of going to an interview wearing pants. You wore dresses or skirts; that's just what was done. But those were in the days when I didn't have anything that I could market as a, y'know, skill, so I had to maximize other aspects of my hireability. Look at me, I am willing to wear nylons AND answer your phones!

Of course what started happening in Seattle is that I found myself disqualified by looking way too uptight at job interviews. You just look goofy when you show up in panty hose to be interviewed by a 22 year old who's not even wearing shoes.

These days you never really know what kind of place is looking to hire an editor. Sometimes it's a super corporate HMO that needs their PowerPoint presentations perfected; other times, like today, it's an honest to god dot com that still in business and doing well. The managing editor who spoke to me wasn't exactly barefoot, but not far from it. Pretty good looking offices too. In SAN MATEO. Did I mention they're in San Mateo? The commute SUCKED and the pay is less that I would hope for. Still, if neither of the other jobs I interviewed for this week comes through, I'd be a fool not to accept an offer should one come my way. It went well, I thought.

I wore pants, by the way.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Failure of the Day: Football

Introducing YOUR 2003 San Francisco Cervix!

My fantasy football team had its draft picks on Sunday and I think I did OK. I got a super good quarterback and defensive lineup, and a pretty good running back. Everybody else, though, is crippled. Literally. My kicker has a broken foot and is out for at least half the season. That’s what I get for not checking the injured list before finalizing my picks. I traded him reluctantly for a free agent, although I feel like a traitor for not having faith in the kid with the bum leg.

I guess football players are fragile as origami cranes too, because the injured list is huge. Don’t even get me started on Michael Vick. (Is it weird that I know this stuff now? Yes. Yes it is.) Last season, Chris had a super good starting player who, the day before the first day of the season, somehow rammed his head into a bench, concussed himself, and had to sit out of the first several games. I think it was that very story that convinced me to try the fantasy league this year—all of a sudden, I could relate. Because doesn’t that sound exactly like something I would do?

But with the exception of Emmitt Smith, who seems really nice in his 1-800-COLLECT commercials, I haven’t heard of any of the other guys on my team. I had to draft Emmitt from the list of free agents because my original back-up running back got impaled on a fire hose or something.

The first regular season game is tomorrow; we’ll see how I do.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Failure of the Day: As Usual: Me

I got 2 more job interviews this week. This is astonishing. I’ve been back in San Francisco for 8 months and during that time, I’ve sent out roughly 200 resumes. Up until last Wednesday, I got called back once. From last Wednesday until today, I got called 3 times.

So there’s the job in San Mateo writing blurbs for and indexing media clips. Yesterday morning I was contacted about a contract proofreading job, and yesterday afternoon I got contacted about a freelance copyediting job. I am beginning to suspect that either the job market is improving significantly or that all the editors who are better than me have already been hired.

And all this is great news obviously because my current employer is doing a bang up job of ignoring my emails asking whether or not I’m laid off. I had no work yesterday or today, and I don’t know if I’ll have work tomorrow. So, great right?

But I’m totally frazzled. I’ve got to coordinate my trip to San Mateo on Thursday, make sure the non-disclosure agreement gets faxed off to the proofreading gig and set up a time to talk to the lady this week, memorize the style guide for A! in Berkeley for the copy editing test they sent me and then edit their test chapter, and I’ve got to get my chapter together for my writers group on Wednesday because oh yeah, I still have to finish my novel. And somewhere in there I have to remember to try not to worry that at the moment, I have no income.

It’s ridiculous for me to be overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to because since I don’t seem to have a job, I’ve got loads of time to get the stuff done. Everybody else has this much stuff to do while they’re working full time, I know. But I’m kind of flipping out anyway because that is more or less my standard MO.

And so yes, I respond to good news by worrying. Again.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Failure of the Day: Bus, Bus, Train, Train

I got called for another job interview. It 's a cool job writing blurbs for and indexing media clips, and the company looks pretty stable and established. But it's in San Fucking Mateo, and you just can't get there from here. At least not on public transportation.

I've spent close to five hours figuring out my options and pouring over the various regional transit web sites. The fastest way: the 1 California to the 44 O'Shaunessey to BART to Caltrain. That way is an hour and 20 minutes or so, not counting waiting for the next bus/train to arrive. Ha Ha. Like that won't add another hour. One way fare for that is also close to 6 bucks.

The way with the fewest transfers is the 29 Sunset to the Paul street Caltrain station, but the 29 ride across town will take over an hour by itself. The cheapest way ($3.75) is the 38 Geary to the transbay terminal where I catch the SamTrans 391. That route will get me there in just under (wait for it) THREE HOURS.

The option I think I will go for is the 38 Geary to the 30 Stockton to Caltrain. Roughly 90 minutes and $4 each way. Not quite the across-the-hall commute I have now but doable.

Cripes. All this work and I haven't even been hired. Why can't companies be sensible and just put their damn offices in the city like a normal person?