Wednesday, August 31, 2005

the lava lounge is no more

when i started my current job, my office was painted a vomitous yellowy-greeny-beige, and my furniture was odd castoffs. i'm leaving behind a glorious professionally-painted purple and lavender office with matching cherry (okay, cherry veneer, but whatEVer) furniture... and two chartreuse green klackbo™ chairs from ikea.

so. the cherry desk is going to surplus in sacramento. the cherry bookshelf is going to live with dr. crackcorn. the klackbos are off to their new digs with one of my coworkers. ::sob::

and i? am cubicle-bound. in a barbed-wire guard-gated high-security blah blah fishcakes compound. in hell. not really, just in the outskirts of richmond. or maybe i was right the first time.

ah well, impermanence is the way of things. if you forget, the universe reminds you.

the inflatable palm tree is on order. the action figures are massing at the border. and the pirate flag will be flying first thing tuesday.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

it worked for the job, so...

hey, universe?! i could really use a pickup truck to move a couple of things on wednesday.

i'm just sayin'.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

doors seem to be opening

had dinner with my friend ann from The Previous Place of Employment. she handed me a piece of paper when i got in the car. my previous Nemesis/Boss had asked her to give it to me. it was... < drumroll > a job announcement.

for my dream job. (well, one of 'em.)

it's for a research director of a doctoral psychology program at a passionately multi-culti school that makes my alma mater seem like bob jones university.

holee shit.

this is me, trying to remember to breathe.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

not dead, just in sonoma

i've gone up to sonoma for a long weekend with wendy et al. dunno if my cel phone will work up there or not. planning to be back on monday.

the pirate queen

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


"It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious."

-- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 8/10/05

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

speaking truth to power is hard fucking work

i'm often tempted to lie to my boss. she's so unreasonable, critical, unfair... but instead of responding to that nonsense with a big old "fuck you", sometimes i find myself still wanting to curry her favor and/or avoid her wrath, by lying about what i have and haven't done, do or don't understand, will or won't accept. and it takes a tremendous effort to *not* give in to that impulse to please, no matter the cost to my self or my soul.

no wonder i'm so tired when i get home at night.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

i'd just like to point out

that nobody is shooting at me.

that no babies died because i had to go to 7 places and stand in 23 lines and get called ma'am 96 times.

that i am part of a two-car family and enjoy a mortifyingly luxurious standard of living relative to the other 6.4 billion people on this planet.

that i am a southerner, and know full well that what does not kill us, makes fer a good story.

that the late summer evening light in northern california is unspeakably beautiful.

i do enjoy a good kvetch, however.

a woeful tale. of woe. but with the requisite happy ending.

i got a “courtesy call” around 4pm on wednesday, from the san francisco police, saying that jean’s car had been recovered and was in san francisco. the officer cheerfully explained to me that i would need to go to oakland pd and get “a police release”, bring it to the sfpd to get *their* release, pay the accumulated towing and storage charges, and then i could take the car home. it was listed as “driveable” but there was no other information available.

so then. i went to oakland pd last night. "oh, yes ma'am, we're here 24/7." but the office that gives out the release forms is only open 8-5.

k. went back this morning. waited in line for an hour to get the release form. the mood in that office? was not pleasant. imagine the dmv vibe… squared. everyone in line was there because their car had (a) been stolen or (b) been towed after an accident or (c) been parked stupidly or (d) accumulated so many parking tickets it got booted and then towed. the people behind the bulletproof glass? deal with the people in line all day, every day.

no, i’m not the registered owner, power-of-attorney, blah blah blah. w00t! now i’m clutching the magic release form and i need to get over to sf. i drive back to berkeley, bart to the city, wander around lost for a while, finally get oriented, hail a cab and ask to be taken to the sfpd on bryant street.

i wait in a looooong line to go through the metal detector. the guy in front of me has roughly $87 in change in his pockets, and it takes him a good ten minutes to dig it all out and finally, successfully pass through without setting off the brain-piercing shriek of the metal detector. then it takes him a while to scoop it all back up and redistribute it among his many, um… garments. whaddya do when you got no closets? wear everything you own simultaneously. it’s an elegant, if odiferous, solution.

wait in another line, slip my license and magic form thru a tiny slot in the bulletproof, SOUNDproof glass. (you have to talk to them on the phone, just like in prison, whee!) a uniformed cop takes my stuff and walks away, and then i never see him again. seriously. people behind me in line are grumbling and shifting from foot to foot. “where he at?” asks the guy behind me. “like i know?” i snarl. my southern charm is quite tarnished by now.

i don’t realize that i’m not even halfway through the process.

i manage to attract the attention of someone else behind the glass, and she says, “he’s still on the computer!” i swallow a remark about how i could have *built* a fucking computer in the time that has elapsed. i never do see that guy again. instead a different guy brings me a new piece of paper and gives me my license back and barks “room 145, downthehallontheright.”

“down the hall” turns out to be about a city block away. quelle surprise: another line!

i get to the head of the line eventually. is it still thursday? the chatty, friendly, clearly-on-excellent-drugs clerk behind this bit of bulletproof glass – let’s call her cathy -- says, “oh, don’t you want to try and get a waiver?” “waiver?” “yes, you can go back to where they gave you this paper and see if you’re eligible for a waiver. then you wouldn’t have to pay the towing fee.”

welp. i figure i can stand in line some more to save $250. trudge, trudge, trudge. get to the head of that line again: “oh, the waivers are handled in room 154.” “where’s room 154”? “right outside room 145.”

of course it is.

trudge, trudge, trudge. only one person in front of me in line!!! <hallelujah chorus>

“you’re the registered owner?” power of attorney yadda yadda yadda. “let me ask my supervisor.” supervisor comes out. Power. Of. Attorney. head-scratching ensues. finally the supervisor brightens, and says relievedly, “oh, you don’t qualify anyway!” “whyever not?” says i. “because the car was stolen in oakland. waivers are for cars that were stolen in san francisco.”

</hallelujah chorus>

“but it’s san francisco that is charging me for the recovery.” “yes ma’am.” “do you suppose i could get a waiver from the oakland pd?” “i wouldn’t think so, ma’am, since the car is here in san francisco.”


i go back and get in the room 145 line again. the guy in front of me is flirting with my pal, chatty cathy. i focus on the soothing sound of my teeth grinding together. finally it is my turn. C.C. is oh-so-sympathetic as she takes my credit card and rings me up. then she hands me a map and says, “do you know where Pier 70 is?”

i’m visualizing decks awash with blood. i don’t know what expression was on my face but i swear she took a half step back behind her habitrail counter. “do you have a ride there?” she asks. i shake my head silently. “let me get you a cab voucher!” she squeaks, and scurries off into the back office.

she presents the cab voucher to me with a flourish, and tells me where i need to go to wait: “stand right outside this emergency exit, you see? the one that doesn’t open?” “um. it doesn’t open?” “no, you’ll have to go back out the way you came in.”

‘least i don’t have to go through the metal detector again.

trudge trudge trudge trudge trudge trudge. wait wait wait. sweat sweat sweat.

cab driver speaks minimal english, does not know where pier 70 is. i hand him the little map and say, “figure it out, dude.” honestly, if you’re going to take people places for a living, fucking buy a map. and by the way, if you’re going to work in america, fucking learn to speak american. at the very least, print up little business cards of apology.

eventually we get to what he insists is pier 70 but there are no signs, so i make him drive around for a while until i glimpse a teeny, tiny “auto impound” sign. he decants me and i recognize many of my dear friends from the day’s earlier queues. the impound lot is huge and i don’t see babe. my heart’s in my throat. is this how galahad felt when he got near the grail?

*gasp* there she is!

she’s towed over to where i’m standing. no new dents or dings. there’s a ticket under the wiper.

huzzah, the fairy made it, though the wings are a bit crumpled. everything on the dash was swept aside and flung into the back seat. the cassettes are still in the console, can’t tell if any are missing but i doubt it, given the likely demographics of the thieves. there’s a half-empty bag of salsa verde doritos, an empty smirnoff ice bottle, some other trash. was it two people, or one binge eater?

jean’s hat is on the floor of the passenger side, and the floor of the driver’s side is a bit of coat hanger with a loop on either end.

all the bumper stickers have been peeled off; i find them in a wad in the trunk. the trunk’s a mess but the contents more or less match what i remember being in there. the first aid kit has been rifled.

i forgot to ask about whether there’s going to be any sort of investigation. i call sfpd which is now on my speed dial. the guy who takes my call says, incredulously, “investigation!?” i say, “yeah, whoever it was left stuff in the car, he probably left fingerprints too.” “fingerprints!? no no no, we don’t fingerprint the cars, ma’am.”

i hang up. at least he didn’t laugh out loud.

there’s about a tablespoon of gas in the tank, according to the gauge. where the fuck am i. dogpatch? we limp to a nearby shell station. i clean out the trash, obtain gas and wildly inaccurate directions. 45 minutes later i finally figure out how to get on the bay bridge. me and babe, we’re headed home to the suburbs, where we belong.