An old friend stopped by this week.

This friend loves me. But it is conditional love. Conditioned that my sister will never be mentioned. Conditional: "Some people say the wrong thing to me. I can't allow that."

When I heard that on the phone, I shut up. I shut down. I tried to send support through photographs, no words.

But I do not want to send photographs of my life. I do not want to send a carefully edited set of pictures of the acceptable parts of my life. I sent pictures of the outdoors, only.

And this tea is one of the most uncomfortable of my life. It is small talk. I let the person lead. I am frozen. I think before every sentence.

I am scolded anyhow. I am told to arrange to meet next time. I say that I have friends in the city the person names. "You would need to pay attention to me!" says the person. I look back, silent.

Is all love conditional? Where is the edge of social politeness and where is reality? Advertising celebrates the individual but our culture often doesn't. I love this person but I want to love them from a very great distance: because I want to say what I think. I do not want to meet the conditions. I don't feel loved under them. It feels like slavery and silencing. From a distance, I can send love. And nothing else.

My daughter says she can't do small talk. She fails. She doesn't want to do small talk. She wants to know what big questions people have and if they think. What is the deepest thing in your heart? What are the problems in the world? How are you working on them?

Me too.

Sending love.

Some fun facts about my attempt at a Seasonal Story:

  • This conte cruel spun from a novella I'm currently rewriting. Telfryn Tyde, unnamed in this story but described as a "Biker Guy" with "sad eyes," is a major character in the novella, and he flashes back on one point to the events surrounding the death of a friend. Those events form a key part in this story, although both Tyde and his friend play bit parts, as we see the events from another point of view.
  • That death I based loosely on an actual killing that remains unsolved to this day.
  • Speaking of crime: Earlier in this century, four octogenarian women from Chatham-Kent County, women who baked pies for charity, died when a drunk driver ran into their car. He survived. The story gained national coverage in Canada. It's clear their story influenced mine, though not, specifically, as any kind of tribute.
  • Although I assembled the Dogstar from several places and my own imagination, most of the locations in the story actually exist. A map of the main character's journey might look something like this. The tale begins on December 21, 2000 (Winter solstice in 2000). The epilogue takes place Christmas Eve.
  • I originally called the story "Aphophany," but that seemed too leading.
  • I made a couple attempts at selling the story, but (apart from its merits or lack thereof), it's an odd story, does not easily fit anywhere, and would have made more sense back in 2000. Feedback is welcome, beyond the one really obvious and entirely reasonable question.

Life challenges.

Happy Holidays, e2!

Today I am sad that I wasn't offered the job at the airport. I knew this was probably coming after that second interview, but it still hurts. On the positive side it helped me clarify things that had been unclear previously. I know that I want to fly and I know that I have not been the employee I could have been in the past. This was an opportunity to compare the woman who is currently managing me with one who could be and thankfully I can see that the grass will not be greener on the airport side despite how I'm currently feeling. This is a delayed dream, not a denial of one. Last night one of our vendors dropped by, I ended up talking to him for a while, things like that are the cool parts of my job.

I learned more about private equity holdings, blood sugar management, glycolysis, and some of (ok, very little, but it was still cool) the science behind proteolytic systemic enzymes. That's the kind of thing I just love, I have a lot of respect for this guy and more after that conversation last night. It was very slow and had been all day according to the woman whose shift ended before mine. Supposedly it was super slow, but I came in and several routine things hadn't been done. This is the kind of thing that really bothers me, especially when I see the pattern being repeated. I had some neat people to talk to, but it was a long night and I wasn't even there for that long.

One of the things I did was pick up half a shift for today. I lost four hours on Tuesday that I can recoup today. Even though I realize I should take advantage of this I'm really annoyed by the way things unfolded. When I was asked whether I wanted to work in the morning or the afternoon I chose the morning. Then she says she would prefer the morning because she has things to do in the afternoon. She would have been working anyways, but my point is, why did you ask what my preference was if you were going to put yourself first anyways? That's the kind of thing that really bothers me. I'm doing her a favor, and she wants more of a favor. It works out for me because I get to work with my manager and that will be fun, but it screwed me as far as giving my daughter a ride to work and I resent that. Next time I will do things differently.

This morning I saw a video of a starving polar bear. I love polar bears and hate suffering so that was very hard to watch. But I think things like that are important because if food is not available due to melting ice caps, maybe that video will move others to think about the resources they are wasting. I realize I'm part of the problem and can be more of the solution, today I'm frustrated with myself for becoming less of an environmentalist than I was. One thing that helps is to think about the savings and I think that's why it is easy for me to get off track. I can't see the plastic and paper bags I haven't used or the energy that wasn't consumed. I will reflect on that and see if I can come up with a way to envision the savings for myself. I'm a visual person and that kind of data would be interesting to see.

Today my feelings are hurt because of a conversation that took place after my second interview. A friend of mine has a lot of experience with government contracts and shared some unpleasant truths about how municipal airports work. Even though the information was timely, appropriate, useful, and somewhat interesting, it burst a bubble of expectation I had. Sometimes (frequently) I get wrapped up in an idea that doesn't have a lot of basis in reality. I want to learn how to fly, I was invited to the airport for an interview, and I connected emotionally with that experience so it was very hard to hear the down and dirty aspects of contract negotiations between a privately held company that runs a public airport for the city.

Maybe that is what I'm doing to people and if so, I feel bad about that. Do I really think that working part time at a very small airport was going to solve all of my problems instantly? Okay, maybe on some level I had that idea, but realistically speaking, and I can be realistic, I knew that there would be a down side to any new venture. It's probably for the best that I didn't get the job, but a part of me is still sad. Maybe I can think about the starving polar bear and come up with hobbies that are gentler on the environment than flying (insert rolled eye emoji). I do want to get outside today. I can see freshly fallen snow and wind carrying a sea of snowflakes. I don't mind winter, especially when I am dressed for it.

Today I need people to be extra nice to me. Not getting a job I'm not sure I wanted in the first place, being unable to go to the airport and be a part of that culture, that's what really hurts. Yesterday I had a conversation with my friend about PT. I felt we cleared the air, she understands that I am not after the guy that she likes, I'm getting a different PT because the guy I went to before wasn't available when I was, I'm not sure if that made things better or worse for her. I kind of just want the drama to go away, but I've been where she's at and understand that it takes time to get over someone, and it's especially hard when you know you need to let go, but keep hanging on for some dumb reason.

Normally I would try and cheer myself up by telling myself that there will be other opportunities, at least I still have a job, thankfully I didn't burn any bridges by informing my manager that I had been filling out job applications, that could have easily backfired on me, but I took that calculated risk and now I'm very glad that I did. I know she will be disappointed on my behalf, yet grateful I will be staying. She has the most wonderful ability to want dream fulfilment for others even if it comes at a personal cost to her. That's emotional maturity and I respect her deeply for that aspect of her personality among other positive traits that she has. Not a lot of jobs would be cool with my chit chatting on the sales floor for a lengthy period of time, but she'll be able to see I was learning and I appreciate that as well.

I feel like at some point in time I am going to burst into tears and I'm praying that it won't be at work. I can't cry right now even though I feel dejected. The tears feel stuck or blocked or repressed, maybe a combination of all of those things. My daughter wants to quit her job and I don't blame her. Being a cashier is tough, I was just talking with some of the women I work with about that last night. It's boring, you have to stand in one place, there isn't a lot of training or education, and the pay is low. I did it when I was in college, but the difference for me was I got to walk around more than she did since I worked at a very small family owned business and she works for a much larger corporation. 

Talking to her last night was like talking to some of the people I work with, she's not a little girl anymore and I'm proud of her and her accomplishments. She very clearly sees the problems there even if she doesn't always have solutions. Listening to her was like hearing an echo of my own voice as she ticked through her list of grievances. It's hard to watch, but I know she needs to experience these things for herself. It also gave me some insight into things the people I work with are going through, I know there's a way to get more diversity and intellectual stimulation into that job, but of course nobody asked me. It pains me to see wasted brains, it's almost criminal to me to put super smart people into positions where they are required to turn off their brains, but I also think our people are treated better than elsewhere.

I didn't make any progress in my book yesterday so I'm kind of annoyed by that. But I did get some other things done and I'm happy about that. I don't know why it's so hard for me to be mature and prioritize things better at home. I have no problem doing this at work and get mad when others seem to lack this skill. Then I drive home, walk through the door, and forget everything I knew how to do at work and that bugs me. But I also know that I push myself very hard and have very high standards for myself, I'm expecting perfection and consistently failing to deliver it so by the time I get home, my brain is fried. Last night I told someone that I would be a different person if I could figure out sleep. I had a dream about my aunt and uncle's anniversary, but they got married in June so I'm not sure what that was about. 

Time to face the rest of this day,

Jess

P.S. Despite my annoyance, I'm proud of myself for seeing that picking up hours when I have the chance is a smart thing to do. I no longer feel sad, I feel very flat and isolated from the rest of the world, not sure that this is an upgrade, but I'm less likely to start crying in this state so maybe I will be okay at work today.

j

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