Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Random thoughts, one week to go (part 1)

Filed under : Life in general
On August 14, 2009
At 10:00 am
Comments :Comments Off on Random thoughts, one week to go (part 1)

This could be my longest pictureless post. I’ll have to break it into two.

I’ve worked at my company for 13 years total, ten at this building. Right now, they’re redoing my station at 59th St./Columbus Circle and I’ve watched it progress on a daily basis for a few years now. After next week, the next time I see it, it’ll probably be done. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I doubt I’ll be down too often. Still, it is a decent thing to be able to say that you know where every exit at the station leads (and there are plenty of them) and which is the best entrance to get to any particular train. Yesterday, I stood in the spot I have stood every day for ten years waiting for the 1 train and thought about how weird it is to do something so often and then never again. It would be like never brushing your teeth or never eating breakfast again.

My corridor has always been Broadway from 59th to the 90’s where I live. I often walk it home and I have for ten years, so I know all the stores and have mentioned them here from time to time. Grom and Beard Papa, Gracious Home and Fairway, and lots more. Now, they will be destinations, not places I stop on the way to somewhere. My corridor will now be the 90’s to 120th, where TC is. It’s a shorter distance but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford the unlimited Metrocard anymore, so I’ll be walking it a lot.

When I was growing up, my Mom worked just a few blocks from where I work now. But when I was a kid, the Time Warner Center was the Coliseum and the Duane Reade across from it was a vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Vegetarian Heaven where my Mom used to take me to eat. The menu baffled me; it had like 90 things all made from wheat gluten. I have an aversion to that Duane Reade, I don’t really like that it exists. Also, near her building was a religious Jewish jeweler where my mother would get jewelry repaired and watch batteries replaced. I still do. One day I saw his storefront was empty and I felt terribly sad. I had to get my watch battery at a new jeweler a couple of blocks away. But when I went in, I saw it was him! I wanted to hug him. I’m pretty sure I’ll still go there; how often do you need a new battery? My mother and I never overlapped at this location, though, as she left that job before I started here.

I work with the brother of a fairly famous soul singer. He’s our assistant and is such a character that he should have his own reality show. Pretty much every little thing that comes out of his mouth is hysterically funny. He and I come from as different backgrounds as you can imagine (he’s the son of a preacher from the deep South) but we get along like peas and carrots. I think he will miss me too and he expresses this by being mock indignant that I’m leaving. He will say, “Becca, how you gonna play me like this?” He is a giant attention seeker and will stand in front of my office dancing for God knows how long until I look up. The other week, a stark-white emo band came down the hallway and their chirpy product manager called right and left, “hey, everyone, this is [name redacted]!” Our assistant called out, “hey, [name redacted], what’s PIMPIN’?” Somehow, I don’t think anyone’s going to ask what’s pimpin’ at TC.

When you have worked somewhere for a while, you sometimes get tired of having to say “good morning” and “how was your weekend” to thirty people. It feels meaningless. But I really like most people I work with and I like greeting and being greeted by everyone. Although I think I will enjoy not working (well, I may get a part-time job), I will really miss this camaraderie. Some days I laugh so hard that I have to bend and clutch myself.

Last week, what I called our “party of interns” left. We seriously had five college interns for the Summer because a couple of people in the department said OK to every neighbor and friend they had who asked, “hey, can my kid intern there for the Summer?” At first I resented this, but I kind of fell in love with them and now they’re all my Facebook friends. I miss them already. But what I realized was, I like teenagers and college students. I like teaching them and I like how they’re not so sure of themselves but are eager to learn. Maybe it was just our interns, but I could see working with kids like that in the future. This morning, I passed the one intern we have left in the lobby as I was walking in and he was walking out (to Starbucks, evidently) and he said, “boss is paying; your usual?” Oh hells, will I miss that.

One of our interns was Canadian and had the thickest Canuck accent, so much so that I sometimes thought he was acting. He liked the niche of being “the Canadian guy” and took it in stride when our Brooklyn intern constantly said things like, “so do they have _____ in Canada?” I called him Gordie all Summer, and also sometimes Timmie. I told this story on Twitter, but his brother came down from Toronto to visit one weekend but missed his flight because there was no Tim Horton’s in the security zone and he had to get donuts. What I loved was hearing Gordie on his cell phone reprimanding his wayward brother. “But why didn’t you get Timmie’s before the airport?” and “Didn’t you hear them calling your flight? Yes, I know it was Timmie’s.” On Gordie’s birthday, I walked down to a newly opened Tim Horton’s and got a dozen donuts. We stuck a candle in the blueberry bloom donut; it’s pretty dense.

There is something about the music industry that has a hold on people, even when they know better. They know it’s an often thankless job and they know it has no future, but there’s nothing like it in the world. I expected people to think it was nuts that I was leaving but I get lots of “I’m so jealous!” and “I think about that all the time” and “PROPS!” It makes me sad. Once upon a time, it was a job everyone wanted. On the other hand, people could leave if they really wanted. Most are single and/or childless. I think it just grabs you and doesn’t let go, no matter what your head tells you.

It’s weird to be a lame duck but weirder to not be treated as one. People still ask me lots of stuff like, “this song is listed wrong in Billboard, can you get that fixed?” Sure I can, but after next week you’re on your own. I haven’t packed anything up, I guess that’ll be next week, but I’ve already started throwing things out. You know that stuff you keep in a pile because it might come in handy someday or because someone might ask you a question about it? I finally have hit the day where I know I don’t need it! It’s liberating, really. So much stuff no longer matters. I still carefully file things on my computer by artist, though. It’s a hard habit to break. It’s hard not to think that things will fall apart after I leave. I veer between caring about this and knowing that it’s not really my problem.

Speaking of Facebook, I never friended people at work. I had a strict policy because if I said yes to someone, I had no excuse for anyone else. And I never wanted Worlds of Becca to collide. I love a lot of those people but I didn’t need them knowing all the stuff I put out there. Now that I’m leaving, I’m conversely very happy to have Facebook as a means to keep in touch. I think one of the game-changing elements of Facebook is actually keeping a relationship with people you used to have a daily life with but then no longer speak to. Unless you’re really close, you’ll e-mail a couple of times a year and then never again and wonder whatever happened to that person. With FB, you actually can have a regular, detailed connection.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I have Google Voice. They just had a free deal where you could get 25 business cards with your number in colorful graphics and your name, address, and e-mail below. I’m happy to have these now; I’ll be handing them out at work.


Random thoughts, one week to go (part 2)

Filed under : Life in general
At 9:55 am
Comments : 6

I’ve never been really loaded but I was comfortable, at least the last couple of years and because I’m frugal, even before that. Now, I have to contemplate going back to a world where an $8 take-out dinner is something I need to skip. I had my injury from MSG looked at this week and it turned out my doctor’s x-ray machine wasn’t covered by my insurance. My doctor offered to charge me the Medicare rate of $50 (I’m a patient of almost twenty years). I had to say no. I think that’s something you give up a lot: convenience. A walk instead of a subway ride, whole carrots instead of pre-cut vegetables, seeing another doctor so you can save $50 on an x-ray. I also am giving up fancy food. Like I’m back to high fructose corn syrup. What can I say, it’s cheap. I also bought the store brand honey this week instead of “blueberry honey from Vermont.”

When I went to get my x-ray, I handed over my insurance card. It felt strange in that in a week, it will be useless. I have good insurance and it’s worrying to give it up. Columbia has a decent plan but not as good so I’m a little freaked out. On the other hand, they have an urgent care center with an x-ray machine and I get to use it for nothing. That’s something.

I’m a planner and I have an Excel spreadsheet with my finances mapped out to a minute degree. I have for ten years, ever since I got my finances in order and paid off my credit card bills. If you knew me in the 90’s or before, you will be kind of shocked at how I turned myself around. I was one of those people who just threw everything on a credit card like it was a big pile of dirty laundry and it didn’t matter too much if more got mixed in. It was 20 or 25k at its peak. It started in college, as with many people, where I had little money (I made about $25 a week and my parents funded my tuition, rent, and meal plan only). I got into a lot of trouble with the attitude that one day I’d have a real job and could pay it all off. Somehow, my balance always grew commensurately larger.

But that’s the past. I had a large expense in ’99 and drew up this spreadsheet to get things in order. Within a couple of years I had paid it off. I still keep my budget spreadsheet religiously and the top thing on each tab is my paychecks. Not getting any paycheck is going to be freaky weird, and scary to me beyond reason. Again, I hope to get some part-time work, but it shakes me to my core to not have that security.

I may have mentioned, I plan to sell rugelach and maybe other baked goods on Etsy. The hold up at the moment is designing the logo and banner. I used to have a graphic designer in my life, not so much anymore, so I’ve hired one and we’re going back and forth. It also took me months to come up with a name as I wanted one unconnected with this blog. I have no idea how much money this will bring in, but even if it’s just a little, I’ll be happy doing something I like. As a planner, though, it’s hard to have so many variables.

If you have no kids, back-to-school time means little to you. Now, suddenly, I’m back to caring. Everyone seems to have a back-to-school sale, even places that don’t really have any products that fit the bill. Or, maybe it’s just that anything can be good for school. Take I hadn’t realized it but I may need extra cotton balls for school. Of course, the biggest engine of back-to-school is clothes and school supplies. When I was in grade school and high school, I shopped for new clothes because last year’s didn’t fit me. These days, the fact that I’m going to school means that I can’t afford new clothes. It’s sadly ironic.

In terms of school supplies, our “what’s pimpin'” assistant has carefully hoarded things for me. So I have some spare notebooks and pens and paper clips. It’s been a long time, but I don’t think I’ll need much more. I got a day planner when I visited Hopkins and it has a week at a time view and stickers for things like exams and papers due. I’m weirdly excited by it. It may seem odd for a person who has a phone number from Google and is doing a tech degree, but I am a total Luddite when it comes to calendars. At work I have a Day-Timer and at school I will have my planner with the Johns Hopkins logo to remind me of what life felt like when I was drowning academically, no doubt.

I picked classes this week and on the TC site you can see who is also registered. Some people are in two or three of my classes. I just know we’ll be BFF’s! Another thing that’s changed (and for the better, lemme tell you) is that now you can get cheap textbooks in lots of places. One place will even rent them to you. So I keep going back to look if they’ve posted books so I can start shopping. I worry I won’t know until the class begins and then I’ll be forced to spend $250 on Fun With Java so I don’t fall behind. On the Columbia site you can also upload your own photo for your ID card. I find that odd. How do they know that’s me? I have this thought of sending Niece3 who is a brilliant computer whiz at 17 and having her get the degree for me. She loves this idea. We’ve also hatched a plot where I go to HS instead of her and take her classes. If you are a Hollywood studio interested in this idea, call me! Ironically, I ended up uploading a headshot that was taken for my last promotion at work.

Between work and school I left one week (it’s actually more like ten days with the weekends and the Tuesday orientation) for a “decompression vacation.” I didn’t really know whether to plan it or leave it free so at the moment it’s sort of a combination. I have a lunch with a dear old friend who will be in town, the Nine Inch Nails concert with KP, and several days of possible tennis. The Qualifying round at the US Open is free so I can go any day I feel like it. Not only can I not really afford the real US Open this year, but school starts on the third day so it’s really out. David Nalbandian is also unable to attend this year, so at least I won’t miss him. At first I was devastated to miss the highlight of my year but as time has passed and classes have been chosen and my focus slowly shifts from sales programs to programming, it feels OK. Back-to-school is an exciting time! I know because the K-Mart e-mail blast told me so.

One week from today, I’ll walk into and out of my job, building, and industry for the last time.

Although the first line of this is “waiting at the station,” I really chose it because this is the mood I was in when I wrote this post. I even included a YouTube link for those who aren’t signed up with Napster.
The Devlins – Waiting

YouTube audio only