Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Knot in My Stomach

As my time was winding down on the job, my frustrations had boiled over onto Buffalo as well: for not having more people to justify more frequent bus stops out near where I worked or for not having more jobs so I could more easily quite one I hate and easily replace it.

When I came back to Buffalo this summer, I came back with no illusions about it being something it wasn’t (and isn’t) and with expectations no loftier than discovering some of the things it might still nevertheless have going for it that I may have previously missed. If that job had done anything more it removed me from the physical city too frequently, for too long each day. Now that I have the free time to be in the city itself everyday, I am making sure, at the very least, that if I am to leave Buffalo again, I am going to leave it on good terms.

Because, that said, I’ve definitely been seriously considering a move back to Portland a lot lately. Enough so that I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen in my life next and find myself in a limbo state--both welcomed and unwelcome--at the moment. Everyday I’ve had a knot in the pit of my stomach constantly pouring over the possibilities, half excited, half nervous about making a good decision and making it for the right reasons. I know that it’s a knot that is a result of being willing to quit a job, live off as little money as possible and be willing to move about on an instinctual whim when the feeling dictates. I know too that I will eventually, when looking back, appreciate this situation as being a result of that freedom, but that will be easier than actually going through the experience as it interferes with my day from time to time.

I recently had a passing thought that I may have seen a bit too much of myself in Buffalo: a proud past that potentially had a promising future that ultimately went an unforeseen and unexpected route. That Buffalo isn’t as big a city that I might want to be living in, but, like I said, I had no illusions about that before I came back. If I am going to leave, it will be reasons unrelated to such arbitrary standards but rather for the fact that I may just have to admit that Buffalo might not be the place for me to be at this time.

And between Buffalo and I, the one I can change the easiest is myself.

Daily Routine

Now that I’ve been off for a full week now and I did my heavy drinking last week, I’m finally getting into a groove with my free time. Other than the mornings after drinking, I’ve been keeping up very well with my goal to wake up early (woke up at 8:00 this morning) and take my time to enjoy breakfast.

From there I usually take a few hours to read—online or books—or what have you before lunch. After lunch, my mind a bit tired from concentrating for so long, and my body tired from sitting still that entire time, I’ve been leaving the next few hours open to taking a daily walk, watching a little TV (Seinfeld), making dinner or whatever else might come up. I try to make plans to get out of the house at least once a day to prevent cabin fever and have done so everyday so far. Even have plans to meet some people from an old job at Nick’s Place tomorrow for lunch (breakfast).

From there I’ll usually end up back in my room, finishing off the night with a drink or two while catching up on some wikipedia or reading to calmly finish off what usually amounts to a 17 hour day.

Yet, even with all that time, I still have yet to make a post here and have plenty of other things that I’m not doing that will hopefully keep me busy the entire time I am not working. Which at the moment I have no idea how long will be.

Ode to 9 to 5

Notes from my last week of work:

Having one friend who has 10% required overtime every week as part of his contract; one who works six days a week, usually more than 50 hours; another who is required to work one Saturday a month and gets only a limited number of holidays off a year; and including myself, having just quit my second straight job that had no definite quitting time everyday: a toast to 9 to 5 and thee days when work, as meaningless as I know it to be, was at the very least confined between eight hours (not 8½ or 9 with lunch), usually between 9-5, not including holidays, even now forgotten ones like Veteran’s Day and President’s Day, and long before the 24/7 customer service industry based solely on convenience (as close to the king of the country as there’s ever been) to the customers and not the employees required to performed the task.

As easy as it would be for me to bitch about banks, I at least applaud their sticking to “banker’s hours” (though even those are slowly disappearing)—though too, already having all the money, it’s probably a bit easier for them to make their own rules.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

First Day Off

I think pants will be optional.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Truth Boils Over

The truth boiled over yesterday.

The job that I have been working, with hours that vary on a day to day basis depending upon volume of and distance between pickups, for a place nine miles away from my house on a bus route that sees service only once an hour has not only taken far too much of my time but taken even more of my energy.

Every job I've had in recent memory looking back, has hat at least one aspect that wasn't completely unredeemable: The Buff St job office job—hopefully the last of those I'll ever have—did require I have a car and I did work with one of the most overbearing, nosey and demeaning coworkers I’ve had the displeasure of knowing, but it was always an 8-4 job and was no more than three miles from my house; the delivery job I had in Portland did demand a lot of overtime, but I worked with friends my age and was close enough to home that as soon as I was done I could get on my bike and leave; and even a job I had at FedEx that I commuted 35-40 minutes from Lockport for and had the most miserable workers I hopefully will ever see at least, once again, had hours set in stone.

As for my current job, I show up early everyday (because my ride works this early) and no matter how efficiently I perform the daily tasks, find myself in a constant nerve-wrecking race against the company’s willingness to take orders no matter how late or out of the way they might be—nothing personal of course to the worker, just business—just to get back for a bus that if I miss by one minute adds another 59 to my day.

Obviously I have a thing against any kind of job. Based on my low needs for money, there is no such things as a low paying job to me, though, likewise, probably no good paying job either. Still, I can go without completely abhorring the act as well. After all, I willingly admit that I need a job to remain social. Ideally I’d like a part time job that I could support myself with, or at least a full time job that I can count on leaving at a reliable time everyday. At this point even, I’d take a job that, even if the work fluctuates , would allow my efficiency to be rewarded and could leave when done.

This job has offered none of those things. The number of times I’ve sat around early in the day only to be busy at the end of the day is a weekly occurrence at least, the number of times I’ve had to turn around at the end of the day to go out for a run that adds 60-90 minutes on the end of my day are not as frequent but more memorable. Sometimes things get so out of hand and annoying that I see more dignity in asking for change or returning cans from the garbage than being at the consistent mercy of customer’s orders, warehouse incompetence and owner’s willingness to do anything for one order.

Ultimately I know this comes back on me and my willingness to compromise for work—just look at what I wrote above by even taking a job as shitty as one that would always fluctuate but might allow a minor reward for efficiency.

While I’ve saved a good amount of money from this job, I’ve cheated myself, once again, out of free time and moods that I am in more direct control of. If I’ll ever learn from this is to be seen. It seems I keep finding myself in such compromising situations. If I’ll ever find myself in the right job situation I doubt but I can at least hope to handle it a little better in the future, as it seems that I’ve also done in the past. Lastly, with free time now on the horizon, it’ll be up to me to retrospectively justify and rectify the time and money saved worth my while.

The truth of that will soon enough boil over as well.

The truth always boils over.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


I'm just counting down the work days I have left at this point. It's four.

And trying to avoid the suddenly terrifying feeling that I haven't done much in the way of reading at all over the past four months (the exact number of months I worked...hmmm). At least I've been posting here and doing a few other things, but if I'm not careful I'm going to start feeling overwhelmed by the number of things I need to catch up on with all my time off. Obviously I haven't quite come to be at peace with the idea of actually doing nothing and I'll chew over that in my mind for a few days before I expand upon that.

One thing at a time, one day at a time.

Just, life help me, don't let me drink and sleep it away this time.