Archive | December, 2010

Freedom is Near

26 Dec

One hour to go and I am free from work for a marvelous five nights, where I will sleep NON. STOP. for the better part of the next three days.

I’m exhausted–I’ve slept a total of 3.5 hours over the past two days, perhaps because of the excitement of Christmas and my fear of missing out on anything slightly resembling a social activity, but probably because my brain hates me and won’t stop buzzing so I can get some rest! Of course, my brain shuts down when I actually need it to semi-function: the second I get to work. But today, like yesterday, required absolutely nothing of me, which is perfect, because I am unable to give in practically every way possible. I’m your girl if someone at the office is looking for a still-life model of a catatonic twenty-something though.

Now, the next few weeks will offer me a plethora of opportunity to get some normal sleep. Once again, my boss has obliterated any chance of me actually making any money or getting promoted within, let’s say, the next 20 years, because my schedule was slashed to just two days…on the weekend….for the next three weeks. But honestly, I’m not really too bummed–these hours are kicking my ass, and looking back, the last time I’ve taken a break longer than a three-day-weekend was last Christmas, and even then I headed back to college two-weeks early to start my internship. Then I interned through spring break, started my job the day after graduation, missed my family vacation and have worked every major holiday since. And look where it’s gotten me. So I’m not really feeling all that bad about it. Who needs a paycheck anyway? I’ll just keep repeating that to myself, before the vision of me living in my parent’s house until I’m forty forces me to chain myself to my desk and not leave until I’ve made enough for a rent payment.

Chestnuts Roasting On A…Computer Monitor?

25 Dec

Merry Christmas everyone! It should come as no surprise that I’m at work right now, running on two hours of sleep and six cups of coffee (so far). This is going to be a long night, primarily because IT’S CHRISTMAS AND NO ONE IS WORKING AND EVEN THE NEW YORK TIMES HASN’T UPDATED SINCE I COMBED THROUGH EVERY FEATURE ARTICLE YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS ALSO WORKING AND NOW I’M YELLING IN CAPS LOCK AND BASICALLY WORKING ON CHRISTMAS SUCKS!

Well, I got that out of my system. Fortunately, I was able to salvage a bit of my Christmas Eve by sacrificing the majority of my sleep. Let me tell you, there is nothing like sitting down to a tuna steak approximately five minutes after waking up from a groggy, 2-hour nap. But I sat down to the family dinner, made it to church and the annual after party, ate cookies, conversed like a normal human being, and even wore lipstick. It was a big deal.

And now I’m at work, watching the minutes tick by. I actually have quite the laundry list of things I’d like to get done tonight, mostly to avoid falling asleep at my desk and killing someone. I want to work on some fellowship applications to study abroad, figure out how to fill out a direct deposit form so I can finally get a paycheck, and add to my soon-to-be released novel, currently titled Actually, You Are Never Going to Write This Thing.

But let’s not kid ourselves here. I think we all know that what I’ll actually be doing is watching Christmas movies on Hulu and following the North American Aerospace Defense Control’s…wait for it…Santa Tracker. Right now he’s in the Galapagos Islands, but in approximately 10 seconds, he’ll be in Chile! How does he do it??

Well anyway, Merry Christmas everyone. My movies are queued up and I only have 420 minutes to fit them all in, so I better get busy.

Why Can’t I Just Like My Job?

23 Dec

Yet another job I am slowly coming to dislike. The past couple of days have really changed my fondness for my job, as my schedule has been moved around drastically on a daily basis, obliterating my Christmas and New Year’s plans. I get it, I work in 24-hour news, I guess I should expect to work Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and apparently New Year’s Eve. But that doesn’t mean it’s fair, or that I’m happy about it. Plus, one day I’m working Christmas, the next I’m not, then the next day I am! My boss seems to have a supreme problem making a schedule and sticking to it, without it affecting her life at all. Meanwhile, all of us are getting whiplash from the constant and unnecessary adjustments.

I’m getting discouraged. Perhaps it’s just a mental reaction to my constant sleep-deprivation that I’m once again feeling down about my job and my future, and it’s not a welcome feeling. I slogged through six months of feeling like I was on the brink of some massive failure before pulling myself out to more solid and promising ground. And yet here I find myself again, doubting my career choice, doubting the purpose for doing all of this, and basically feeling like a sad sack. While I have yet to disintegrate into hysterical tears or pound mercilessly on my car dashboard, I’m just getting really tired of feeling so unclear as to what it is I should–and want–to be doing with my life.

Now, this doesn’t have to do with setting high expectations this time, because I tried to set the bar low. I didn’t want to make the same mistakes. And it’s not the job per se, it’s the whole lifestyle.Maybe I’m asking for too much, but it would be nice to actually enjoy my job and see my friends and family occasionally and actually make some money.  I didn’t imagine that the most basic tenets of a job would be completely foreign to me. Instead of having a semi-work-life-balance, my life has zero balance. I sleep, commute, work, and in my free time I obsess about sleep and the disturbing disappearance of it in my life.

I wonder if it’s just me. Maybe I’m just not cut out for working. Maybe I don’t have the ambition that I thought I did. I know I don’t have the patience. But the word document with my Pulitzer-prize winning novel still only contains a blinking cursor, so right now, I think the choice has been made.

Hopefully once the holidays pass and the irritation of having to work every major holiday this year has faded, I’ll be more positive.  And hopefully my boss will set a New Year’s resolution to actually do her job correctly. But if I’ve learned anything from this year, it’s that you can’t have it all.

My New Haircut Disturbingly Resembles that of a Serial Killer

17 Dec

Yesterday, I got a haircut. This has always been a much dreaded and traumatic event in my life, which is why I avoid doing it at all costs. My hair and I have always had a tumultuous relationship and getting a haircut usually  exacerbates my despair. It’d had been months since I’d even trimmed it, and seemingly overnight, it looked even more awful than normal, prompting my mom to tell me that “I’ve looked better.” How sweet.

Of course, if I was in college, I’d have thrown on a baseball hat for another month or chopped some bangs for a new edge, but now that I have a job, it’s important to uh, not look like crap. So in an attempt to polish my bedraggled-chic look, I trekked over to a salon, which is the most generous term I can bestow on this place. “Hair Murder Tavern” seems more accurate, because  what ensued was a 15- minute hack session with a chain-smoking hair-stylist, a razor, and a round brush. The result? Behold:

No lie, this is my new haircut. And also the expression I’ve been wearing on my face since.

The last haircut I got was a three-hour ordeal, and every hair follicle was trimmed to perfection. It was naturally the best haircut I’ve ever had–it grew out well, looked sleek and professional, and actually did what I combed it into doing! I loved it, and everyone told me how cute and sassy I looked. And now, behold:

At this point, I’m resigned to the fact that it’ll take a few weeks for my hair to “settle” and maybe even look good every other Thursday and alternating Saturdays. But now, I’m even more self-conscious at the office, because I know everyone thinks I look ridiculous. Aside from not even noticing, the only other comment I’ve heard is: “Did you get your haircut? Do you like it?” I don’t, and obviously neither do you.

It should be funny by now, the fact that I’ve had 22 years of consistently bad hair, but if I laugh, well, behold:

I give up. How I’ll rue these days when I’m famous and have a professional hairstylist on call 24/7. Someone please discover me, hand me fame, and take me out of my misery, otherwise I’m going to be really angry. And that’s something you don’t want to see. BEHOLD!

Awkward Encounters on the 197

16 Dec

Now, it’s really no secret that my feelings for New Jersey Transit are questionable at best. However, the past few weeks have been surprisingly pleasant, probably because not too many people are commuting into the city at 11:00 at night. Plus, the bus drivers are usually on time, the best seats usually empty, and the trip relatively painless. So I was actually starting to feel some fondness for my little nightly bus ride and the in-depth conversations I was having with the driver: Me: Hi. Her: Hi.

Riveting. Say what you will, but this worked out fine for me. Maybe I’m being anti-social, but I just don’t have a desire to befriend my bus driver. But of course, all good (mediocre) things must come to an end. Apparently, she had other ideas on the trajectory of our relationship, because night after night, little tidbits of curiosity began to factor into our pleasantries.

Tuesday:

Me: Hi. Her: Where do you work in the mall? Me: O, I don’t work at the mall. I work in the city, an overnight shift. Can you get this bus rolling please?

Wednesday:

Me: Hi. Her: How do you get to this parking lot at night? Does someone drive you? Me: I have a car. It’s 11:01. Let’s shove off.

This should have been a sign of our relationship souring, because as an employee of New Jersey Transit, I think she was getting the sense that maybe I’m stiffing her company a bit. Which I am.

Thursday:

Me: Hi. Her: You’re not allowed to park in this lot overnight, you know. Have you ever gotten a ticket? Cops are around here all the time. Me: No I haven’t. Her: It’s only $25 to park here a month you know!

So now my bus driver and I aren’t friends anymore, mostly because she became a bit of a bitch. It’s not really my fault that I’m the cheapest person I know and would rather walk half a mile in the frigid temps than pay an extra fee for parking. It’s my mother’s. And the walks are good for the lungs!

Of course, she’s been my bus driver EVERY NIGHT since. Doesn’t this woman ever take a break? Our conversations have been relegated back to our original exchange, except I now have a feeling I’m going to be arrested by the NJ Transit police. If she asks what kind of car I have, it’s a red Camry. Hear that everyone? A red Camry.

Woah….I’m working during the day

12 Dec

This is pretty crazy…it’s almost 2:00 in the afternoon, and I’m not crawling into my bed! Yes, I’m actually working during the day. Pretty bizarre. This is the first time in almost a month that I’m working a daytime shift, but to be sure I don’t get too freaked out,  it is a Sunday, so I’m still working when no one else is. We’re halfway there though, so the sky’s the limit at this point.

The great thing about working during the day is the lack of oddness of not working during the day. I can actually focus on other things, besides the fact that it’s 4 am and I’m in the middle of a shift. But other than that, it’s pretty much the same. I’m still pretty tired, I still drank four cups of coffee this morning, I still came to work when it was dark and I still won’t see the light of day (yet another windowless office space).  Plus, I’m almost a little annoyed that I have to work through the day, because I have the next two off, which really becomes one and a half with my bizarre sleep schedule, which is down from the two and a half that I get when I work my “normal” shift. The nerve!

But all in all, the past few days have been a nice little trek back into normalcy. Yesterday, I went for a jog, helped decorate my house for the holiday, and ate a dinner that didn’t consist of a handful of peanuts and a bowl of Wheaties. And I actually felt rested when I woke up this morning and poured half a pot of coffee into my travel mug. Plus, I can look forward to yet another home cooked meal tonight when I get home….at dinner time. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, because it’ll be weeks before I’ll experience the pleasure of prime time TV and chicken Parmesan again.

It’s amazing what I’ve come to appreciate since I’ve left college, namely dinner, sleep, and the beauty of a 24-hour gas station, but it’s nice to live a normal life for just one day, even if it’s halved. I get what I can take these days.

A Jam-Packed, Boredom-Proof Overnight

11 Dec

Weekend over-night shifts pretty much blow. The night is long, the news is slow, and even listening to Christmas music on Pandora isn’t doing it for me tonight. A typical weekend over night shift goes something like this:

12:00: Get into work

12:01 – 7:59: Do nothing

8:00: Leave

Now, I’m no stranger to being bored at work, and if my last job taught me anything, it’s that you need to be prepared to save your brain from melting out of your head (which almost happened once). I prepare for the weekend during the week, and will collect interesting articles, hold off on watching my TV shows (easy now that I’m sleeping through most of them) and lean on my arsenal of boredom preventing standards, which include and are not limited to:

  • Watching Glee: I love Glee, but it is so awkward sometimes! I can’t keep my eye-rolling and squirming to myself, and my cover gets blown.
  • Anything related to the movie Blue Valentine and/or Ryan Gosling: This is a pretty flexible one, and is adjusted depending on what is prompting my obsession du jour. Over the summer, it was Inception, which I still haven’t seen, and every magazine article ever written about Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
  • The New York Times: Maybe if I read it enough, they will hire me.
  • Various blogs that make me want to become a graphic designer, or live in the 1940s: I recently stumbled on Design Sponge, and am pretty much coveting every single thing on it. View the slide show, and then tell me you don’t want to own an apartment in Brooklyn and wear T-strap shoes.
  • This blog: Not as narcissistic as it sounds. It definitely takes time to compile all this greatness (there it is). Hey, this post is honestly kind of pointless, but it ate up about an hour of my time, and it looks nice. Now it’s 5 am and I’m closing in on the final stretch! All that’s left to do is trawl craigslist and salivate over apartments that I’m probably not going to be renting anytime soon. Sigh.

So in the span of 8 hours, I manage to catch up on all my leisure reading,  do some Facebook stalking, watch 3 hours of TV, and compile a blog no one will read!

All in a night’s work.