Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Oh, break my heart!

Within the past five days or so I've seen two little kids, all duded up for spring, and they really were adorable.

The first, a girl, was at the mall getting her photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Now I never was a big believer in the Bunny, so I was surprised to see the awe with which she approached the giant leporidae. Then, when she got close to his white wicker throne, she just hugged his legs. It was so sweet. The photographer helped her into The Bunny's lap and spread her full skirt around her. She didn't care. She was just gazing at her beloved Bunny.

The second was a boy, crossing the street, clutching his mother's hand. They both looked very solemn, and he was dressed like an itty-bitty version of a GQ Justin Timberlake photo shoot. That's why I find boys' dress clothes so touching. I mean, girls' clothes are a separate animal altogether -- with more flourishes and ruffles, etc., than a woman's. But boys' clothes are just menswear shrunk down. It's so cute.

I don't like it. No, not one bit.

I have referred to this office in the past as "The Clown Car." It's four of us in one small enclosed space, and it reminds me of that stunt in the circus when clown after clown piles out of the car.

Lately it's felt more like a holdover from the phonebooth stuffing craze of the late 1950s.

No matter which analogy I use, it leaves me exhausted.

One of my coworkers is always on the phone, whispering to her friends and family. I don't mind that. It's none of my business what she does or who she speaks to. It's just that she's so dramatic about being discreet that it's not discreet, and there's something sibilant about her whispered s's that just cuts through any ambient noise and makes my skin crawl a little.

Another of my coworkers can be very negative* and really doesn't speak to anyone but me. Literally. If I'm not in he doesn't talk to the other two. There's one of our merry band of four that he especially shuns because he's thinks that gentleman is stupid. This makes me feel bad, so I feel compelled to overcompensate by being especially blabby and inclusive. I feel responsible for keeping the mood up.

It's a lot, you know? I have to be engaged, on display, all day every day. I can't dig in there with a tissue, pick my teeth or fix my bra, no matter how surreptitiously, because someone is always within a yard from me. Someone can always see me or hear me. And there's always someone I can reach out and touch ... whether I want to or not.

And it weighs on me. To the point that when I leave here, I don't care if I see or speak to anyone.

I feel bad complaining about this, after complaining about not wanting to lose my job, but it's an issue in my life right now and this blog is all about reflecting who I am on any given day.

*Though it must be said he's always fair to and supportive of me.


To play along, just answer the following three questions ...

• What are you currently reading? Mary by Janis Cooke Newman. Massive -- 600+ pages -- and fascinating. This is Mary Lincoln's fictional autobiography and I am enjoying it immensely. It begins in the looney bin in Batavia, Illinois, where she was placed at the instigation of her only remaining son. I've read my fair share about the first woman in our history to have the title of First Lady, and so far the settings and narrative seem historically accurate. Her voice? Historical fiction is always dangerous in this regard, but I like thinking this is what Mary was really like: loyal, tempestuous, smart, and frighteningly fragile. This lady withstood a staggering amount of loss in her life -- beginning with the death of her mother when she was 6 -- and there's no disputing that life got the better of her. Unlike the First Lady shown here, with whom she shared many similarities, Mary simply wasn't tough enough to play the hand life dealt her.
• What did you recently finish reading? A fascinating book called  After Visiting Friends by Michael Haney. As I read it, I kept remembering the adage: "We're only as sick as our secrets." Quick overview: A journalist wants to know the truth about his father died many years ago at the young age of 35. It's about much more than that, though. It's about family -- what we share and what we hide.

• What do you think you’ll read next? I don't know.

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