Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just to follow up, nothing of note happened in particular. I worked in Kids, yes I did, and I threw a very quiet fit, yes I did. New scheduling manager Jay was about ready to swallow his tongue when I calmly walked up to him and said, "I really, really REALLY don't want to go back there. Not today. I hate working in Kids, and this is the third shift in a row you've got me doing it. I said I'd comply and be helpful, and I will. I'm happy to work there during the week, but I will NOT be working in there on the weekends. You're going to have to find someone else to do that. So. You can either switch me out with someone else this evening, --as you have 4 men on the floor doing nothing but putting books away--or I will be leaving. You can write me up, you can give me a verbal warning, you can even send me home yourself. I'm going to go back there pick things up a bit while you think about it."

Apparently he was under the impression I liked working in Kids. Hmm. HOW? I'll tell you how: Dil, that's how. Anyway, Jay begged me to work back there for the rest of the night, promising me plenty of breaks if I needed them, and promising me I wouldn't get stuck back there more than twice a week during the week ( when I can at least count on school-based bedtime schedules to offer some repreive around 9pm).

I got this next week's schedule. I have at least 5-8 less hours than usual. And you know what?

I'm tired.

HB and I were having some chat ( yes, really. I am an actual person. Were you aware? I am! At this point, I'm going with the "head injury" versus "recent blow job" theory WRT his friendliness towards me) on Monday eve about something random at work and he said, "Oh well, it doesn't matter. I'm outta here." I replied, "Are you just saying that, or do you have a plan?" He explained that there was no explicit plan ( like he didn't have another job lined up or anything, nor had he given his notice, etc.), but that, "I promised myself I'd be out of STL by the time I was 30. Okay, I did that. I also promised myself I'd be out of this stupid job by then, too." I commented, "So....that gives you....5 months ( birthday in March)?" He answered, "Right. What am I doing, I mean really??Living with two 23 year-olds who get up every day, and get high all day--and I mean ALLLLLL day--, working here, and...??? No. Not gonna work. I just can't do it." I glumly noted that while indeed, his situation was far worse ( hey, listen, I don't live with two 23 year-old chronics who deal out of MY apartment when they're not at their other jobs and the so on and so forth of his string of luck lately in other areas), I in fact was ten years older than he, and damn, did that sound like what I woke up every day and thought myself. He commented that he wasn't "saying anything for anyone else, just....myself," and I said, I know he meant it that way, but I was now way on a downer, since here I thinking about MYself comparatively, here I AM with two degrees and blah blah blah, and he said, "Well, exactly, that's what I mean."

DAAAAAAYUM, that was a depressing conversation, (if only unintentionally). Because the rest of the night, I just thought, you know what? I've been THINKING the same things as he has for the last.....oh, YEAR? And my god, why am I fighting so hard to keep a job I fucking hate at this point because after all, all I do lately is pick up after spoiled, screaming children who are poorly parented when I'm there, for about half of what I'm worth on the open market ( corporate-wise)? I used to like my job. Some days I still do. Some days I actually deal with people who want books, and want to talk about books, and most days, I really love my coworkers and my ASMs. But this is NOT worth all the goddamned stress I've been under about it and with it and for it for the last 5 months. The pay is for shit, my Store Manager is a certified asshole, and Christmas is coming, and in retail, that's hardly The Most Wonderful Time of the ( F**king)Year.

Then later on, my pal Davis and I are in the breakroom, and he asks, "How's Kids tonight?" ( His adorable GF Betty is the Lead back there....a position she was shoved into after they eliminated her parallel one in another department. She is less than thrilled.) I explain how much I hate it, and what HB and I had been talking about. Davis is an actor too, and he says, "I know. I don't know what to do. It's like....if you're an actor, you have to have your days open, so, you need some flexibility. I have a degree in Computer Science, and sometimes I can get freelance jobs during the day, and yeah, it keeps me afloat. But not often enough. And I could get paid alot to go work in corporate, but that's a 9-5 right there, and.....well, I need to have that time open. It just sucks." I tell him about my sweet, sweet pending situation with the UU people ( !!!!!!) and he was like, "Oh, man, that would be so awesome. Well, it would have been. " We both sigh and go back to work.

When I went home that night my right eye was twitching so hard I had to lay still for a good 30 minutes to get it to stop.

It just freaks my shit out. All of it. All the time. Mostly lately, because of the 40 thing. And you know what? Sometimes I think HB was plunked right down into my life RIGHT in front of me not to torture me with hopeless infatuation but to somehow REMIND me to get motivated in the direction I was supposed to be going in all along, with acting and stuff. I'm serious. All drippy saccharine longing aside ( and maybe that was there to teach me poise around the Truly Fabulously Genetically Blessed People of this world, with whom I would HAVE to be professional if I were to actually be acting, if nothing else), seeing all the shit he has done in his life up til now --granted, he did not take 4 years out for a degree, nor did he spend another 4 years of his early 20s too sick to do anything, so I DO cut myself some slack on the timeline end of things-- lights a fire under my ass like nothing else. Please understand, I begrudge him nothing . Regardless, I get all.....competitive. I'm really, realllllly competitive anyway, but in this town, it goes nowhere since I only roll it back onto myself and feel like crap for not being thinner/prettier/younger, etc. But coming, such as it is, from a man (which sort of takes the pretty/young/emactiated women's issues out of it and brings it back to skills ), it's like, "Hey. HEY. I'm from where YOU are. I know all the people YOU know. I've studied with all the people YOU have. I'm just as good as you are!! I want to do it TOO!! And I can! Watch!"

I haven't felt like that since before I left home 6 years ago. I used to take pride in all the things I could do and feel they were worth something valuable, and then I got here and was summarily informed that there were, in fact, 25,000 other people who could do the same damned things, and where did I get off? I took it to heart. I really, really did. It took awhile before I could even think about maybe TRYING to do something artistic again. And it's taken me this experience to think about myself the way I used to, which was essentially, "Every fall on my face will only make me stronger. I am scared, but I am not intimidated. I have something that is exclusively mine to offer. And it has value."

Wow, I just got a little teary there.

So. I guess my question is: What next? Here I am, Universe. I'm finally ready to do what you asked, and I finally heard what you said. Now you have to show me how not to starve while I make it happen. Do you think you can handle that?

What next?