Monday, October 29, 2012

saving me (endless)

Neil Gaiman's Sandman series has been saving me. I've fallen in love with the Endless, with their family and their adventures, and if my brother ever returns my copy of Preludes and Nocturnes, i'm going to read them all over again.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Romans 6-15

I missed posting last week because i was in a wedding, and i nearly missed posting this week because John and i are on vacation together in New Hampshire to see an Ingrid Michaelson concert and to actually spend time together where we're not lesson planning or decorating a church for a wedding or sleeping.


Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Got that? Nothing. We can decide of our own volition to walk away from God, but no outside thing can come between us.

Romans 9:15-33
This is a long one, so let's just highlight the key verses (for me) and you can read the rest on your own.
vs. 16 -- So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy.

Mercy is entirely up to God. It's not up to you, or to me, or to your minister, or to your mom. That is simultaneously terrifying and freeing to me: no one else gets to dictate the terms of my salvation, but there's also not a lot i can do about it but surrender.

vs. 30-32 -- What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.

Your connections, your heritage, your background, your history, your family, your checklist of right and wrong: none of it is enough. It will never be possible for you to do enough to be saved. It requires faith.

Romans 12:9, 18
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. . . . If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves one another has fulfilled the law.
14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ.
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.

I think all of that pretty much speaks for itself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012




So for this comic book i'm writing? It will span about a thousand years. I'm roughly following the timeline of human history, at least in terms of clothing styles, technology, cultural activities (jousting tournament vs. football game), and architecture. I won't be including real things like civil rights (they've always existed in this world) or WWI or II. It's not set in a real country. I won't be worrying about vocabulary, except when it's fun (S'blood! Look at that swanky tomato! Groovy!)

However, the thing about comic books is that they provide something of a shortcut. You don't have to spend pages and pages setting up the plot and explaining that this takes place two months before Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. You don't have to give background or describe the demographics of the hometown. You can just show a couple of panels of people wearing particular clothing and having brief conversations about MLK while engaging in particular activities, and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about. You've cut to the heart of the story without wasting time.

So regardless of the actual country that my story is set in, and regardless of the actual events discussed within it, if i have men in powdered wigs and knee-breeches, or women in flapper dresses with shingle haircuts, everyone is going to feel like they already know something about the story. There will be certain feelings and expectations brought up by the visual cues, which is the whole point of having visual cues.

I know. The title of this post is "question", and so far all i've done is lecture you on comic book visuals. I'm getting there, i promise.

The last issue will take place somewhere in the 20th or 21st century. I've thought a lot about the visual cues (bell-bottom jeans vs. pencil skirts, top hats vs. backwards baseball caps), and i've thought a lot about the subtler nuances of culture conveyed by those visual cues (Civil Rights movement, suffrage for women, Great Depression, Space Race).

I have narrowed it down to three decades: the 1920s (flapper princess?! What's not to love?), 1950s (suits and cigarettes and bright red lipstick), and 2010s (a princess with skinny jeans and tattoos?). I'm asking everyone for an opinion on this, because when someone hears the bare bones of this story, there are certain feelings and thoughts evoked, and certain visuals begin to swim around their heads. Readers tend to make up their minds about certain things and to know what makes sense and what doesn't, and i'm trusting those instincts.

The overarching narrative of this whole series is two-fold: the fairy world is in conflict with the human one, and two fairies are struggling to rule one another. The two fairies are half-siblings, and the older one is of mixed race. They therefore have equal claim to the throne, and after many centuries of fighting they have decided that one of them will keep Faerie while one gets the human world. Of course, each is secretly planning to kill their sibling and take over both worlds.

In this final issue, they have decided to each marry one human, so as to gain a foothold in the human world to help jumpstart their conquest. But Rhynesh falls for the princess and kills his sister, putting an end to the plan. He then cuts all ties between the two worlds, ensuring that fairies won't be able to harass humans any longer.

So what decade? 1920s, 1950s, or 2010s? If you have an idea for another decade, feel free to make your case.

Monday, October 22, 2012

saving me (defiance)

One of my most defining personality traits is pigheadedness. This is both a virtue and a flaw. When it comes to depression, it's a virtue: i refuse to be beaten by anything. If you can still fight, you can still breathe.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Acts 22-28, Romans 1-4

Romans 2:12-16

For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

Rambling parentheticals and semicolons aside (Paul, originally a Pharisee, writes like a lawyer; does he remind you of anyone?), what this passage says is really powerful and deep. Let's break it down:

"For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law" = If you do something wrong without knowing, you're off the hook. You can't be punished for not knowing any better.

"And as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law" = Conversely, if you know full well that what you're doing is wrong, you will be held accountable for that.

"for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified" = It's not enough to say, 'I go to church, my family are all Christians'. Salvation does not work by osmosis.

"for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things contained in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them" = Gentiles don't know the law, yet they still do a lot of the things they are supposed to do. Like when atheists volunteer at soup kitchens, or help build orphanages, or do pro bono health care work. They don't know what we know, yet their own hearts and consciences direct them to the right actions, the right feelings.

"in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel." = Finally we come to the end of the parenthetical! Let's take out the parentheses for a moment and look at this sentence: "For as many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my Gospel."

Basically, you won't be penalized for doing wrong if you don't know any better, but you will be rewarded for doing right even if you haven't been told what is right. And if you do wrong when you do know better, that's obviously going to cost you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

the things i carry

I read "The Things They Carried", Tim O'Brien's brilliant work of metafiction, in my sophomore year of college.

This book changed. my. life.

I could write a whole post about that, but i'm not going to. Just read it.

What i will do is say that when we read it, we did a free-writing activity where we dug into our own backpacks and purses and talked about the things we carried, and what those things said about us. I'm notorious for finding strange things in my purse and being unable to explain how they got there (a fork, glittery sunblock, rope, broken pieces of glass, a Joker card from a deck i did not own), so the piece i wrote was probably nine kinds of fascinating. I don't really remember.

Today, however, this is what i carry:

  • a white, Precious Moments Bible, NKJV, with about a million blue post-it notes to keep track of my reading schedule. My parents gave this Bible to me when i was three, for an Easter present. I've carried a lot of Bibles over the years, and this one is my current one for two reasons: i like the translation and it fits in my purse.
  • a composition notebook nearly filled with poems, post-it love letters from my boyfriend, dried leaves and flowers, homework assignments, recipes, travel itineraries, shopping lists, and Bible study notes. I always have something to write with. ALWAYS. If i'm going to a wedding and can only carry a tiny little delicate clutch purse, i fill it with a miniature composition notebook, or with old receipts, or a handful of cocktail napkins.
  • a composition notebook half-filled with a story rewrite. I love composition notebooks. Every July/August, when back-to-school sales start up, i have to stop shopping at Walmart or i will come home with another three composition notebooks that i don't need. I have about twenty notebooks that are completely or mostly empty, waiting to be used, and i keep buying notebooks anyway, just in case Mead ever goes out of business and i need to keep a stash hidden away.
  • printed pages of another story, ready to be storyboarded/scripted. I keep getting so exited about this book i'm writing that i leap ahead to the next part before i've totally finished the part i'm on. You know when you're reading a book and you're totally into it and your heart is racing and you've forgotten to eat or pee in the last seven hours and you are approaching the denouement and you're reading SO FAST to find out what happens next that you can't even totally take in what you just read? It's like that.
  • printed poems to be edited. Despite the excitement, however, i'm starting to get a little restless. I really really really want this book to be done, already. It's been seven years. I want to start something new. I'm excited, and breathless, and can't wait to get it into shape and start scripting and storyboarding and finding artists and agents and publishers, but i also want to do other things. And i very badly want to publish some poems.
  • phone and iPad chargers. I stayed at my boyfriend's apartment last night (scandal!) and there are no plugs on my side of the bed. So i have to charge things at work.
  • phone and iPad. There are games to be played and text messages to be sent!
  • The Truth, by Terry Pratchett, and the third volume of the Batman Chronicles. Because they're what i'm reading right now.
  • wallet, keys, pens, gum. Because secretly i'm a soccer mom.
  • a gum wrapper. Which is weird, because i'm rarely more than two feet away from a trashcan. Also, there's only one.
  • three Dunkin Donuts napkins. Because i spill things on myself all. the. time.
  • three different church bulletin-y things. Because the guy who hands them out is persistent, and i never remember to toss them in the recycling bin when i leave. However, i do use them to write hasty notes to myself, like "I am Asher Lev", which i think may be a book title or something. Somebody Google it and let me know.
  • a coupon for Dove soap. Because my boyfriend is 97 and likes clipping coupons and wants me to shower. (Full disclosure: my boyfriend is not 97. He is 23. And precious. And you can't have him. And i shower more or less regularly.)
  • three receipts. In case i need scrap paper for writing and run out of composition notebooks, church bulletins, and Dunkin Donuts napkins.
  • shopping list on an index card for the things i accidentally left at Walmart and had to re-purchase. Should be self-explanatory. Plus i used it to practice writing with my new fountain pen, which is really cool-looking.
  • two pay stubs. Because i'm bad at filing.
  • two thank-you notes (from other people, to me). Because i am utterly and uncontainably wonderful, and my wonderfulness is constantly sloshing out and spilling all over people whenever they get near me, and they can't help but express their appreciation with notes and baked goods. Plus, envelopes = scrap paper. Just in case.
  • deli menu. I ate there once. It was okay. But i saw that they offered free delivery, and sometimes you really want mediocre deli food brought to your door.
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda. I like to carry a book of poems around with me, like a security blanket. Plus i always think i'm going to use spare moments to memorize poems, instead of reading blog archives or making sarcastic comments in my head. I am always mistaken in this delusion, but Neruda doesn't judge me. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

saving me (changeableness)

Nothing lasts forever. Life is unstable and unpredictable, which is what makes it worth living. You're never going to be stuck anywhere forever.

And here's the really crazy thing: you can change, too. If there are things you don't like about yourself, you can change them. You can become a different person. You can change your routine, or learn to be more patient, or take time to smell the roses, or become more motivated and driven, or be more forgiving of others, or go vegan, or learn French, or even just learn French cooking. Nothing is certain except death and taxes, and even there you have room to cheat.

Nothing is forever.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Acts 14-21

You know what's awesome about Acts? Besides all the miracles and shit? The women.

We did see a few women involved in Jesus' ministry: prostitutes, his mother, Peter's mother-in-law, Mary and Martha. And women were the first to see the empty tomb and the resurrected Christ, the first to preach the good news that He was risen. Jesus brought about a new order wherein women were a vital part of the ministry, and the disciples continued that trend after he was gone.

Granted, women are not nearly as prominent as men. Fewer of them are mentioned by name, or mentioned at all, but tucked in here and there are stories of women serving the Lord, and kicking ass and taking names.

In Acts 16:14-15, we see Lydia. The text calls her a "seller of purple", and without going into the historical and cultural details, we know that this means that she was pretty wealthy. Her husband is not mentioned; she may have been a widow, or she may have been married and her husband was simply inconsequential to her business success or her conversion.

We know that she was wealthy and independent. We know that her name was Lydia. And we know that she and her whole household were baptized, and that she opened her home to all the disciples of the Lord, whenever they were in the area.

In Acts 17:4, no one is mentioned by name. But as Paul and Silas preached in Greece, we are told that "a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas." (emphasis mine)

Now, they were Greek, so the culture was different. But the women are still mentioned apart from the men, and are still called "leading women". Their authority was recognized by the author of Acts, despite the different culture, and their conversion was considered significant. In those days, you worshiped whatever god or gods your husband worshiped. If he converted, so did you. If you came from a different country where different gods were followed, you left them behind. Granted, many women kept small idols or shrines or rites or other scraps of their home religions, worshiping in secret as they could, but it was assumed that their devotion was to their husband first, and their god or gods second. This is an idea that unfortunately has won some ground in certain "Christian" circles. I actually read a book that explained (with helpful diagrams to assist the comprehension of the poor little ladies who were struggling to read anything longer than a cupcake recipe) how a woman is able to serve and worship God through her husband. Man was made for God, the book said (and illustrated with diagrams), and woman was made for man.

Bull. Shit.

These women converted on their own. They didn't go home and talk to their husbands, they didn't follow the practices of their husbands, some of them may even have been unmarried or widowed. They converted because they believed. They came before the throne of God of their own volition, and they surrendered their own wills to Him, and not to anyone else.

This is the kingdom of God on earth. This is the new order. This is what Christianity should look like. Tell your friends.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

first second birthday

You know, Monday was the one-year anniversary of my brother getting blown up. It's been a long year of miracles and setbacks. The doctors said he'd never wake up from the coma and (after a long period of hallucinations and semi-consciousness) he did. They said he'd never regain control of his bladder bowels and he (mostly) has. They said he'd never walk and (after the amputation of his left leg) he did.

He's still in the hospital. They're still monitoring and treating his nerve pain. They're still testing his reflexes, vision, and cognitive function. They're still helping him learn to walk again, in the hopes that he'll be able to run again. He's still testing his limits, still hitting brick walls, still sorting through the shards of the possibilities before him. He'll be in the hospital for a long time.

He's started his own blog. He's buying a car and looking at colleges. He's climbing rock walls. He's sending me mocking text messages.

Last year, he celebrated his twentieth birthday in the hospital, still in a state of fuzzy semi-consciousness. This year, he'll be able to come home for Thanksgiving and birthday festivities. And this year, i'll get to travel down there to be with him.

On Monday, the first anniversary of his life, both of my sisters wrote Facebook notes about their feelings. My mom traveled to be with him in the hospital barracks. I stayed in bed and tried to sleep off this flu. I thought of Adam periodically throughout the day, though. It was all sort of anti-climactic. Because that's what you never see in inspirational movies about wounded Marines overcoming great odds: the time. It takes a hell of a lot of time to recover from something like this. A year later and he's still in the hospital, and now they're talking about more surgeries and procedures to help relieve the nerve pain. He's been upgraded to a more permanent prosthetic socket, but he's still working on finding a leg he can run on. He's put a down payment on a car, but he hasn't yet been totally cleared to drive. And he hasn't received his discharge from the Marines yet. He's still technically in active service. Granted, at the rate he's going, it's possible that he'll complete his term of service in the hospital barracks, but i have to assume that he's owed an honorable discharge.

He's met the President. Twice. He's received medals. He's been taken on guided tours of the White House and Pentagon. He's been promoted.

And he's still in the damn hospital.

Here's hoping that his second second birthday will take place after his full and complete discharge from everything.

I meant i wanted to make out with Daniel Radcliffe and put hexes on people.

I know i've said that i wish Harry Potter was real. I know i've talked about the profound effect it had on my childhood, my teenhood, and my young adulthood. I know some part of me still believes that if i lean on the barrier between platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross Station, i'll fall through to platform 9 3/4 just in time to board the scarlet train to Hogwarts.

Fortunately, the universe has decided to grant my request and bring elements of Harry Potter's world into my own. Unfortunately, it's only bringing the parts that suck.

Fifteen years ago, when my parents were building a new house, we went to visit the construction site. And you know those yellow and black garden spiders? The ones that usually grow to about the size of a half-dollar?
These fuckers.

They're already on the large size for American spiders, but as it turns out, most spiders don't really have a maximum size. They just grow until they die. And most of the time, a bird (one of God's angels in disguise) or a right-thinking human (led by the Holy Spirit) will smash the spider into jelly as soon as it's large enough to be visible. Because they are the descendants of Satan, and allowing them to survive is the Original Sin.

But some spiders manage to escape the just wrath of the Lord, and they grow to truly terrifying sizes. The yellow garden spider on the side of our half-finished house was not the size of a half-dollar. It was not the size of my hand. It was not the size of a basketball player's hand. It was the size of a dinner plate.

In Maryland. In a residential area. There was a spider the size of a dinner plate. Alive. Not in a museum or lab. Naturally and out in the open. That is not only sinful, it is un-American.

Another family might have made some calls to National Geographic or the Guinness Book of World Records and made themselves some cash. But with my mother hyperventilating in the passenger seat of the van, my dad had no choice but to find a brick and smash the shit out of that motherfucker.

That was in 1994. In 2003, we moved to a new house about eight miles from the first one. This one was not surrounded by soybean fields and despair. This one was surrounded by 3.25 acres of trees and bushes and poison oak and stones and a creek and neighbors. And yellow garden spiders. We never saw any plate-sized ones, but these averaged 4 or 5 inches long, and they would build huge webs on the sides of the house and garage, so there would be anywhere between 4 and 10 of them clustered together on a given day, creating a barrier of nightmares around our home.

That's not all. When we first moved in and were storing things in the basement, we found a six foot snake skin. Which means that at some point, our house in Maryland was also home to a six-foot snake. A year or so later, my mom noticed that the birds outside were making an unusual racket. When she looked at the birdhouse outside of our kitchen window, she saw two huge black snakes twining themselves around the birdhouse, slithering in and out. We're guessing they were eating the eggs. And possibly the birds.

And last night, my dad sent me a picture of a baby snake. In his toilet. Because apparently, his bathroom is the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.

When i said i wanted to live in Harry Potter's world, i did not mean that i wanted to hang out with Aragog and Nagini.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

good thing i'm already hell-bound

My former pastor posted an article on my Facebook today about how reading fiction can deepen spiritual (specifically Christian) practices and experiences. I commented that it was an interesting piece, and that i had had a recent discussion with a friend about the one book (besides the Bible) that has had the biggest impact on my spiritual life. That one book was The Things They Carried.

Well, Pastor got really excited and decided he had to check it out. He recommended another book to me (one about the Gospels), and then told me he had added The Things They Carried to his Amazon wish list.

Now, here's the thing: Those of you who haven't read The Things They Carried, shame on you. Read it now. In the meantime, i should tell you that it is not, explicitly, a spiritual book. It's a work of metafiction, focused on one man's experiences in the Vietnam War. And it is not delicate in its handling of the life of a soldier.

There is a lot of foul language, is what i'm saying. There is also a lot of violence, anger, depression, frank discussion of wounds and diseases and what would lead a man to shoot his own toe off just to escape the horror of it all.

This is not a beautiful redemption tale. Nor is it a metaphor for finding God everywhere, even in a (quite literal) field full of shit. It is not something that most people would see a whole lot of spirituality in, of any religion.

But i wasn't kidding when i talked about the huge spiritual impact this book has had on me. I've mentioned it before in reference to interpreting Scriptures. It really did help me approach the Bible in a whole new way. The Things They Carried, more than any other book except the Bible, has changed my life.

Here's where the "going-to-hell" part comes in: i didn't talk to my former pastor about any of this. I briefly considered warning him about the language, the coarseness, the vulgarity and grittiness and darkness and indelicacy and horror. I thought about letting him know that this is not like C. S. Lewis or Dietrich Bonhoeffer or Joni Erickson Tada.

But then i imagined this very conservative, fairly uptight, appearances-oriented middle-aged pastor settling down in Starbucks with his coffee and his sermon notes and a shiny new copy of The Things They Carried, and i pictured his face somewhere around the sixth F-bomb.

And i said nothing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

saving me (book)

This one pretty much goes without saying, right? Books have been saving me for over twenty years now.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Acts 6-13

All of chapter 10, but especially verses 15, 34-35, and 44-48.

15: And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleaned you must not call common."
34-35: Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him."
44-48: While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

Last week, my pastor preached on this text. Then i read it in my personal devotions. Next week, we're covering it in Bible study. That's how it goes sometimes.

The early Church had a problem: were they another sect of Judaism, or were they a new religion? Jesus was Jewish, and He was the Messiah they'd been waiting for. So maybe they were still Jews, but they had just recognized a truth that no one else had seen yet? This meant that a Gentile could convert here and there, but they would have to be circumcised and stop eating bacon-wrapped shrimp and observe their holy days and ritual washings. But then the Jews said, "No, you guys are not one of us. The Messiah hasn't come yet. If you want to worship Jesus, you're worshiping another god and we want nothing to do with you."

So do new converts have to be circumcised? Do they have to observe Passover? Do they have to observe the Sabbath?

Much of Acts deals with these questions -- the book is half Three Stooges/James Bond miracles and prison escapes, and half church meeting reports -- so we'll spend a lot of time talking and thinking about this stuff. What does it mean to be Christian? What are the rules? What do you have to do to be saved? And, having been saved, what do you have to do to stay that way?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Sometimes, my daily interactions with human beings leave me soul-crushingly annoyed and exasperated. My favorites are the ones who have clearly never been to the campus before, and come to me expecting me to be the Ultimate Authority on All Things Campus Related (which i basically am). They ask me where a particular office is, where they can find a particular person in that office, who they can talk to about a particular issue, and they expect me to be able to provide an immediate, correct, helpful response. And 999 times out of a thousand, they are justified in this expectation. After all, i was a student here for 4 years, i spent two years as a student worker in the Admissions office, and i have been working here full-time for just over a year, while simultaneously taking graduate courses here. I know this place pretty well, and i am a receptionist/administrative assistant. By definition, people with that job title know very nearly everything worth knowing about their workplace.

So i am not annoyed by the confused people who come to me, seeking wisdom and guidance. That's what i'm here for. What i am annoyed by, what makes my blood boil, what makes me want to slap the mustache off of the face of the gentleman who was just in here, are the people who come in confused, and try to somehow transfer their confusion to me, as if they know everything about what they are doing and i am trying to distract them from their ultimate goal by giving them campus maps, direct extensions, and a guided tour of the building.

The gentleman who was just in here asked for a particular person (we'll call her Susie). Susie works in the Facilities department, the offices of which are located in the student center. He had come to the main administrative building, which most people do, since it is the first building you see when you enter the front of the campus. It also has big white pillars and huge front steps, and looks all official and important, like a capitol building or a library.

I told him that Susie worked in Facilities, and that her office was in the student center. I was about to offer him a map or directions, when he mentioned Human Resources, and said that Susie had asked him to meet her in the HR office.

"Oh! Okay. Well, she doesn't work in HR, but that office is in this building. Susie works in Facilities, like I said--"
"She directed me to meet her in HR," he snapped.

Let's review what happened here: he came into my office, gave me no information about who he was or what he was doing here, and asked for Susie in HR. When i (gently and enthusiastically and immediately) explained that Susie worked for Facilities, he became irritated and insisted that Susie had directed him to HR. Which she may well have done; maybe he's a new hire and needs to meet with HR for paperwork. However, he asked to meet with Susie in HR, which is highly unusual (Susie rarely takes meetings, and doesn't work in HR), so i tried to clear up his confusion. But he continued to insist on his own rightness, as if certain that if he said enough times that he was meeting with Susie in HR, i would remember that that was the secret code and would give him Oreos and take him to the meeting. When i began directing him to the various offices and people he was looking for (all two of them), he continued to insist on meeting Susie in HR. When i began (again) directing him to HR, he started interrupting irritably, asking questions that i hadn't yet had the chance to answer. "It's on the second floor. You take the elevator--"
"Where is it?"
"If you take the elevator, it's on your left--"
"As soon as you exit the elevator, turn left and you'll be there."

He left irritated, and probably still confused. I stayed behind, secure in the knowledge that Susie works for Facilities, that the HR office is on the second floor to the left of the elevator, and that his mustache looked stupid.

Monday, October 1, 2012

saving me (absurdity)

The top of my desk is decorated with entries from my thesaurus. I wanted to find one item for each letter of the alphabet that has been saving me as i've been in another free fall. Because i'm obsessive and list-y that way.

A is for Absurdity. Because nothing distracts you from inner turmoil like a phone call from a confused person or overhearing a conversation between two of your dumb coworkers.

When you're down the rabbit hole, nonsense is the only thing that makes any sense at all. It is the only constant in a fluid and shifting world. It is entertaining and soothing, hilarious and sobering, jarring and comforting.