Friday, January 30, 2009

Separation Anxiety I am. I have the house to myself, a perfect time for writing, but am I writing? No...I'm not writing, I'm drinking red wine, listening to old music, and reminiscing about the past. And out of respect for dwelling, I even tried to call my ex-boyfriend. Why am I such a complete moron? He was not there of course, and there was not even voicemail so I don't even know if he has the same number, but still, I called him! Again! What is wrong with me!

The last time I saw him was about 6 years ago. We had a break-up that kind of dragged on because of circumstances, (he dumped me, but we were living together, and certain things needed to happen before I was able to move out). I don't know why, but I just feel like confessing to someone.

We had a strange relationship. I had been in a long-term relationship that was going nowhere when I came across a job posting at the exact right time. I had just graduated from university, and had just finished a contract job at an immigration centre, when I came across this job posting for a resort job in the mountains. It was only going to be short term, and I had all these romanticized visions of me working in solitude in the mountains, honing my writing skills, studying another language, and just being a loner. But when I got there, there wasn't a whole lot of time for anything but work, and even though I tried to keep to myself, I met someone. It was really strange. I came home to my dorm, to find this guy hanging out with my roommate. Now, I felt nothing but protectiveness for my roommate at this point, because she was young, and I really grew to care for her over a short time period. But we both ended up at this party, and only said a few words, but it seemed enough to spark his interest. I was dusting spoons at the illustrious gift shop in which I worked, when suddenly there he was, saying my name (which gave me butterflies) and asking me to go have a drink with him at the only establishment 'in town'. I was immediately suspicious. What was he thinking? He obviously had something going with my very young, very blond roommate, and now he was asking me out to have a drink? I rationalized to myself that this meant nothing: maybe he was simply curious because I mostly kept to myself, and the drink invitation was purely an invitation to friendship. On the other hand, maybe he was a total freak, and had dirtier things on his mind involving me and my roommate. I couldn't help but feel a little angry about this, and vowed that if he tried anything, I would kick his ass. On the other hand, I felt intrigued by his invitation and could not turn it down.

So, we went for this drink, and had so much to talk about, and enjoyed each other's company so much, that we ended up going for a walk in the rain. This is when we had our first kiss: in the rain, in the mountains, wearing hoodies. Anyway, we became infatuated with each other in no time. It no longer mattered that my roommate would end up being hurt. Well, it mattered, I felt incredibly guilty and ended up confessing all to her in tears, but basically, I felt it was just not possible to be without this guy. I still marvel at how fast it all happened. I was not generally an impulsive person, but when I stop and think about it, we were only together for 3 days when it became very serious. Three days! After 3 days of basically sleeping together, I got fired. This business is owned by a bunch of very wealthy, very arrogant sons of bitches, who have this interesting little policy: if someone is fired for any reason, they are automatically banned from the premises for life, no exceptions, and must vacate the premises within one hour. This put me in panic mode. I had ruined everything! Here I had met this guy that I was completely, madly in love with, and now I am fired and have to leave the premises and probably never see him again. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, someone tipped him off during working hours that I was preparing to leave. I guess it didn't really matter since I had already left a cheezy note on his pillow saying: I've been fired. Meet me at the view point at six o'clock. (There really was a view point, and it really was the best place to meet). It was off the property of the resort so I was free to wait for him there. Anyway, he arrived at my 'dorm' as I was preparing to leave, and he was quite upset. We met later, when he was done his shift, at the view point. It was at this time, that he said 'this sounds totally crazy, but I think we should move in together when my contract is finished', which was a couple of months away. I said, 'i know it should sound crazy, but it doesn't'. I still finished with 'I'll have to think about it,' but I knew that my mind was already made up. I hung around the area, staying in hostels and seeing him after his shift, and at some point, I confessed that 'even though it seems crazy, I think I love you'. He told me that he felt the same way.

We ended up moving in together and it was absolute bliss for at least 2 whole weeks. Then it was not bliss. Not even close. We constantly fought. I like to think that we were too alike to be compatible. I'm not sure he would agree. Anyway, it was incredibly intense, and there were a lot of things that happened that I don't wish to go into here, but I have never been so hurt by anybody as I was by him. So, to skip over a lot of important parts, he broke up with me, I was devastated, and because of certain circumstances, could not move out right away. Also, I was still completely infatuated with him. I came to him, the night he broke up with me, totally against my nature, and asked him, leaving myself open for further rejection: 'just tell me, if your feelings have changed, I'll understand why you don't want to be together. Is that it? I noticed you haven't told me you loved me in a little that it? You don't love me?' It would have been easier if he had told me that yes, his feelings had changed, but he didn't. He told me, that 'no, that is not it, my feelings have not changed, it's just, some people are not meant to be together. I'm sorry.'

So that just sucked. We both still feel this powerful love for one another, but its not enough? It was so frustrating because I felt that we hadn't really tried. He thought that that was a good sign we didn't belong together, I thought it was just laziness. At any rate, I couldn't change his mind. Idiot that I was, I told him, we may as well be together, until we're not. In other words, I would take what I could get from him. So we continued to sleep together, and on several occasions, it was like he completely forgot that our time together had an expiry date. He completely forgot that he broke up with me. Going for walks he would casually point out houses that we both liked and would say something stupid like, 'oh, that's the perfect house for us, I could even have a studio in the attic.' But even though he had momentary lapses of sanity, he never changed his mind: we did not belong together.

We had good moments, but we also had some very nasty ones. I knew he wanted me out of his life, but I was having a very hard time with separation anxiety. I just couldn't bare the thought of losing him, and it almost made me go off the deep end. I knew that I would never be able to say goodbye, but I had too. So one morning, after we had made love, he got ready for work and I knew that this would be the day that I leave. His last words to me were 'naked as a jay bird', as I stood there, without clothes, baring myself to him completely, looking at him like I knew it would be the last time, and he had no idea. And all he could say to me was, 'naked as a jay bird'. He left for work and I got right to it. I cleaned the apartment spotless. I gathered all the empties we had accumulated. I packed all my belongings, feeling nothing but guilt that he would be left without a phone, without a working TV. I had a neighbour help me pack the larger items into my car. I drove away and took my empties to the bottle depot so I would have some money, (I lost my job three days before he broke up with me, so I was pretty strapped for cash), left a note and was on my way.

On the way out of town it occurred to me that he might be on his lunch break. I hoped and prayed that I would not see him walking down the familiar sidewalk. But my prayers were ignored. The last thing I wanted to see on my way out of town and out of his life, was him. But there he was, looking as he always did, carelessly reading a book, drinking a coffee. It was heart-wrenching, but I did not stop. It was the only way.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quotes from the Printing Palace

Well...I had another interesting yet tiresomely boring day at work. I thought it might be fun to compile a list of quotes from what I will call from now on, the Printing Palace, my place of employment.

Military guy enters Printing Palace.
Enter my insane boss, we'll call her Fang.

Fang: "OOh, where's your gun?"
Military Guy: "I ah, didn't bring it?"
Fang: "Ohh, next time you must show me your big gun!" Gush gush, flutter, flutter.

Fellow proofreader, we'll call her Ellen, comes to work, late as usual, but early for her.

Fang: "You know, you are like my dog. Should I give you a treat every time you're good?"
Ellen: "What?"

At one of our infamous "staff meetings", Fang drills the boys on their relationship status. She picks on one especially nervous Graphic Designer, we'll call him Christoph.

Fang: " you have a girlfriend or what?"
Christoph: "No...I don't have a girlfriend."
Fang: "What? No girlfriend? What are you gay?"

One of my personal favourites: today's "staff meeting". For this one, I need to give a little background information. I work at a printing/publishing company. I am an Artwork/Proofing Supervisor. There is one proofreader, Ellen, and five Graphic Designers. There is one very special Graphic Designer, we'll call her Bao. Bao is an interesting character. She is about 4'3" and very good at what she does. She does not have a life outside of the Printing Palace. She works 11 or 12 hour days, willingly, and is pretty much the queen of the Palace. Bao does not have to answer to anyone. And if you get on her bad side, she will chew you out. Pretty much everyone is afraid of her, including my boss Fang, and the owner Jiang. So they cater to her.

Recently, Fang realized that Bao has too many dockets on her desk. This is a concern, not because jobs are becoming delayed, but because she worries it stresses her out too much. So, she told me, (I assign the dockets), to secretly assign jobs that should go back to her because they are repeats, to another artist. So I did. Bao caught me and chewed me out. This brings us to today's meeting, which Bao was not required to attend.

After giving everybody shit for one thing or another, she delves into her favourite topic: Bao's delicate disposition.

Fang: "Okay, we all know Bao gets frustrated really easy. I've asked Sharon (that's me) to lie to her. She lie to her all the time! She going to assign Bao's jobs to all of you, but if you have any problem, like you can't find on server, or you can't find font, do NOT go to Bao. Do not even talk to Bao okay? Even Sharon, she don't like to talk to Bao, I know. And Ellen, when you drop off a docket for corrections, you just drop it off an go! No talking! If you must, talk really fast! Think of Bao as like a tiger!"

In response to this ridiculous yet not surprising demand, I wrote a memo to the artists, (not Bao of course!) with a few of my own demands. I will share said memo here:


Re: ARBITRARY RULES THAT MUST BE FOLLOWED BY ALL STAFF (and by all I mean the four people who were at the meeting, you know who you are.)

Anyone who wishes to speak with me must avoid eye contact and look only at the upper left corner of my forehead.

Also, in order to speak with me, you must be a leprechaun. if you are not a leprechaun, you must obtain permission from the Leprechaun Society of Canada (LSC) and present me with a signed copy of the permission slip.

Thank You.