- Something I want to experience one more time before I die: a hot bath in a warm bathroom. I am living in a nice house in a very quiet neighborhood, rent-free. I have nothing to complain about, really. But it is so cold in the bathroom (is that tub made of cast-iron?! Is there insulation in that wall at all?!) that the only thing I'm thinking when I shower is get in, get out! Someday, eventually, I'd love to soak in warmth. What bliss!
- "History buff": most obnoxious, demeaning phrase imaginable, to describe someone who's earned two degrees in an academic discipline. Though it is rarely meant in the way that it is taken, literally every time I hear it, it makes me viscerally angry. If no one that I like ever said it again, it would still be too soon to hear it.
- Men who giggle: it's generally not a voluntary thing, but it gives me the willies.
- "Awes°me sa^ce": one of those phrases whose time has passed, if it ever really had a time at all. One of my new coworkers says it, on average, ten times per hour. Is there a way to tell an otherwise sentient human that they've missed the culture boat by five years?
- Under what circumstances is the cubicle wall invisible? And, alternately, under what circumstances is it inviolable? This runs along the same line as the previous item. Working in a cube farm for the first time, I am unfamiliar with the etiquette. There are times, as in when one sneezes, where the existence of the "walls" is patently and uniformly disregarded (everyone hollers "bless you"). There are other times when the wall is partially, selectively ignored--when someone on the other side will say one's name and ask a specific question. It would be inappropriate to feign deafness and force them to pick up the phone or walk all the way around the walls (or, worse, to yell), but it also seems wrong to let on that one can hear literally every word that they ever say (even when they're talking to themselves). Finally, there are times when one is talking to one's boss or a coworker about something that is literally confidential, during which time anyone who can hear it ought to at least pretend not to be capable of doing so.
It's just All. So. Complicated. I'm not really looking for an answer here. Just pointing out one obvious way in which my daily life has changed dramatically, and oddly.
- "Bucket list": another of those phrases. There's nothing about the concept that is particularly bothersome, except the idea that people think they've got to be dying to do what they wish. Aren't we all sort of dying at the same rate all the time, whether we know it or not, or have a list running or not? Why not just live your life that way? Have a list if you will, but...I don't know. I guess it just seems willful and self-serving.
- Making friends: it isn't what it used to be. Having been on the new job a little shy of two months now, the three people I would go out on a limb and call "friends" are an odd mix.
The first is a 24-y-o woman, extraordinarily short and thin but with a black belt, an odd mix of brash and self-effacing. She's as close to a girl-version of the Mumbler as I'd ever hope to see, but I think I could call her the Giggler without losing any credibility there.
The second is my best friend from college's ex-aunt-in-law. Confused much? She used to be married to my BFF's husband's uncle. I'm trying to come up with a nickname for her, but it's either going to be something bird-related (Hen?) because she's so sociable and related to nearly everybody somehow, or something arachnoid, because she's at the middle of the web and the rest of us just get drawn in (Charlotte? No, but...)? I'll work on that.
The third is the mother of a boy I crushed on in high school. He was a coworker at the grocery store. His older brother also worked there. Once that connection was made (seriously, this town is incredibly small for 30,000 people--it takes no time at all to do the "you used to work where? are you related to...? do you know...?" dance), we fairly quickly established a nonverbal mode of communication that's made us pretty tight.
It's weird: the first one is about half my age, and the others are well old enough to be my mother, and then some. I don't really see myself spending time with those two outside of work, but they do seem to have adopted me in some sense. That's a nice feeling. And the younger one seems, at the moment, to view me as a sort of guru. I know the scales will fall from her eyes eventually, either leaving us to be normal friends or nothing, but for now it's sort of cool to be "the wise one."
[the title quotation is by Louis L'Amour]