Thursday, April 6, 2017

where

I'm in another town.

Leaving that furry face is hard and gets harder the closer we get.  She loves her friends but was not happy about being left there.  I don't pack in advance because it stresses her out.  She kind of kept it together pretty well today until I zipped up her bag and took it to the door and then she was leaping straight up in the air.  I GET TO GO.  Yeah, I really need to take her camping soon.

I"m in a town that I think I like even though it's sprawly with chain stores.  I just had a fantastic dinner, a hipster foodie place, and I was not disappointed even though they couldn't tell me WHICH mustard greens were in the rice (which was fantastic) and rabbit and broccoli and egg.   The rice was perfectly cooked, with a little crunch, and something left a charred taste and it was just so so good. 

***
Night 2 and I'm alive.  I'm cranky and exhausted but really my whole new slacker vibe is paying off.  First - I don't hustle.  Other people hustle to do things I used to hustle to do.  I sometimes build up points by doing the hard stuff - like shutting somebody down.  DOWN.  "But - but - but" NO. "Well, I have to call a person who outranks you."  "YOu are welcome to do that."  And then I got a posse of people who outrank THAT person and I was ready for war but she didn't come for me because only an idiot does that more than once.  It makes me think of this time I went out with a Puerto Rican friend and a large Black woman ran into her and spilled drinks.  She started to get all blustery with my friend and causing a ruckus and my friend just got real, real fast.  There was finger wagging and: "I ain't white, bitch.  Don't try to start that shit with me." And there are so many layers of complexity to analyzing that moment that sticks with me always, but for today the lesson that I carry is: don't come for me. Because I will channel my inner Maxine Waters.

Image result for maxine water how to come for me
So.

What else? 

I presented some hard things to people and it could have turned south but I was butterfly-flitting.  I had fancy pretty spreadsheets and I had a plan, and they succumbed to my charms.

A number of people told me how much they appreciate me and what a great job I'm doing.  Suckers.  I'm slacking like a villain.

Oh oh - I happened to run into a woman that was totally bizarre, not related to work, when I was out.  She recognized me.  I didn't recognize her because (a) she used to have the most awesome natural hair and now she has some straightened colored coif, and (b) we hardly knew each other.  Like, maybe we spoke a few times in passing.  She was a government worker with abused children and I was an attorney for the kids.  I generally had a very good relationship with the low-level workers, but their supervisors saw me as a thorn.  There was the time the agency attorney announced that all staff were forbidden from speaking to me - then was when a worker had taken one of my kids and put him basically in a completely inappropriate and restrictive setting across the state and woudln't tell me where he was.  WRONG AND ILLEGAL, and I made them pay.

I loved that job.  I really, really loved it.  I loved mostly making a difference every day in kids' lives and helping them through what is for many kids the absolute worst that their lives can be.  My connection to my clients was really important and it fueled my passion and ferocity.  I was a brand-new lawyer and I was fierce.  I worked with just the best people - amazing opposing counsel who taught me so much and judges who did their very best by kids.  An attorney supervisor who stayed out of my way - I would get frustrated with him for not training or supporting me but letting me learn on my own was the best.

Why don't I call that guy and ask for my old job back? Well, I did.  First, it can't be in New Orleans.  And while I'm culturally ok with that, financially that would be hard since my house is there.  Second, it would cut my pay almost in half.  That seems really irresponsible financially.  Third, it would be going backwards in some ways.  Just because it was the perfect job for me a decade ago doesn't mean it still is.  I've changed.  I now don't want to go to court because i don't want to wear a suit.  I've learned the art of slacking.

For her to remember me though just like that, calling out my whole name when she hasn't seen me in many years - that's impressive.  She was also very happy to see me and said she remembers my good work.  Which is rewarding.  If I could just live with that salary.  Sigh.

I had to arrange a meeting for lunch and so I got to the room to set up and then I went ahead to eat and a man working there said: "Ma'am, you're gonna need some tabasco for that gumbo there."  "But, you dont' have Crystal!  I'm from NEw Orleans, this area!  I need Crystal hot sauce."

Well it turned out that it was fine with the tabasco, and that he is a retired teacher and was a teacher in New Orleans and after Katrina when they fired all the teachers (such an injustice) he stayed in this other part of the state and raised his kids and taught and now retired.   And he just seemed to really enjoy our conversation, and I did too.  No idea why he approached me and thought me approachable but I appreciate men who do, and I know he wanted more time but work called. 

I ended up in conversation with a co-worker and we commiserated about security at our building, how they're always trying to force us to banter with them and share personal secrets.  "I want to be polite, not forced friendliness."  "EXACTLY!  ME TOO!  I thought I was the only one!"  Taht was a bonding experience and she's so sweet and sent me an email about our exchange later.  We were interrupted by a man who KEPT INTERRUPTING and wanting to chat and I kept ignoring him and wanted to talk to my new friend, and then it became clear that he was there to talk to me not her.  Why?  I'm rejecting you. At this point I'm beginning to worry that the very strong "don't approach me" vibes I give off are not working. 

Which makes me laugh to think about when a VIP came over and said: what are y'all laughing at? and I didn't want to say, but: "My dog, but I know how you make fun of me for my dog."  He turns to my co-worker and says: "Look, here's what I'm saying: her dog is medicated.  What does that say?  Your dog is so depressed that you're its owner that you have to give it anti-depressants.  How pathetic of an owner do you have to be?" but he said it so funny I laughed until I cried. 

So, this trip hasn't been awful.  But I'd rather be home.  


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