Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brief Dispatch

Hello, Blog. We meet again.

Yes, I have decided to eventually convert to an email newsletter format, doddering old 28-year-old that I am, but only after things cool down a bit. Life has been much too busy of late. In the interim, I'll still post here now and again, I'll dabble. Oh Blog, you are reliable and long-suffering.  If my Blog and I had been in a relationship, we'd now be at the point of intermittent, non-committal late-night text messages. My Blog would be like, "...You up? ..............?"

At the moment, my freelance grab-bag overfloweth. I have social media work, and technical editing work, and journalism work, and proofing work, and too much of it. And too little time to write my fictions. Right now, my fictions are commiserating with Blog. Probably talking mad trash about me.

Thanks to my handy boyfriend, I've been beamed up into the low-stress and relatively lucrative world of advertising agency proofing. Last fall I went camping on an illegal pot farm, there were guns and there was a giant rainstorm and I was somewhat terrified the hillside I was sleeping on would slough away (wouldn't have been the first pot-farming induced mudslide). I made a thousand dollars on that story. Last week I sat in a cubicle, read the Internet, and intermittently inserted commas into PowerPoints. I made more than a thousand dollars. It's been a revelation. 

Not really. Obviously, there are multitudinous ways to make money that are easier than journalism. I'm happy I've found one that will (hopefully) continue to take me on an intermittent basis so I can keep doing my own thing the rest of the time.

It was weird to be back in a cubicle. Actually, I don't think I've ever had a cubicle before. The newsrooms I worked in were all open-plan. In Shanghai we worked in an old lane house. But I haven't worked in any office setting since the end of 2012(!). Good for me. I hadn't thought of it before, but just now that feels like an accomplishment.

Actually being in office was sort of anthropologically interesting. Here are some stray observations:

One day I couldn't go out for lunch because we were waiting on documents so I went to the lunch wagon and paid $9 for what I thought would be a pulled pork wrap. The "pulled pork" was saitan - which is a weird tofu thing. It was sweet and horrible. There were probably chemicals in it to keep the workers from revolting.

This week I proofread a 50-page stack of resumes for a job proposal (so, now you know the pot farm was way more entertaining). Lots of found poetry in those pages. Here's one: "executional silos of skills." So beautiful, but what does it mean?! 

I'm sure anthropologists have actually studied this, but there seems to be pride taken in how difficult it is to explain one's job. I think most jobs can be simplified down to an explanation that would suit your average 9-year-old. Unless you're an astrophysicist, I should be able to understand what you do within 30 seconds. And even if you are an astrophysicist, that Neil deGrasse Tyson is pretty dang good at elucidating the mysteries of the universe!

Once I got hungry and bought Doritos at the vending machine. I ate them at my desk. Very loud. Will not repeat.

Had to work until 3am one night, so they sent me home with, no, not a taxi, but "car service." A black sedan with leather seats picked me up in midtown and delivered me straight home to Brooklyn. I didn't have to pay and I pretty much felt like the Wolf of Wall Street. Except, you know, not cheating, just cleaning up the grammar in PowerPoints.

I missed sunlight. The office is huge and the proofing corner doesn't have windows. It made me appreciate my very sunny apartment, usually I don't have to turn the lights on at home until after 4pm.

If your stomach is crazy grumbling - can the person in the adjacent cubicle hear it? Not an observation, real question.

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