Colorless Green Ideas Unintentionally Amusing In Person
Friday, November 14, 2003
So, that informational interview went very well. Very well. I didn’t get offered a job on the spot, which is about the only way it could have gone better. The very nice gentleman who I talked to was very kind and encouraging, and assured me that yes, it sounded like I would like this new career, and yes, I could make it work if I wanted to. I may not even need to go to grad school! At this point, I’m just going to buckle down and apply to schools, and start pounding on people’s doors and do internships and assistantships, and probably be really exhausted for a few months, because I can’t afford to quit my regular job, so I’ll be doing my regular job and then working for free! And then I’ll find out if I got in to any grad schools, and asses the situation, and maybe go and maybe not go, we’ll have to see in July or so! It’s going to be tiring, but someday I’ll be glad, because I’ll be doing something that I really do love. (And maybe T.H.’s job will become full-time in March and I can start working part-time! Maybe!)
Thanksgiving is in two weeks, and this year we are having friends over to our place again, and I am making Thanksgiving (pies potatoes salad stuffing cranberry sauce gravy broccoli rolls and what else I don’t know yet) for seven people. Eek! Last year I think we had nine, but that included most of my family.
This year it’s just friends, and this year we have some genuine orphans on top of the rest of us, whose families are just too far away to drive to for one day. The genuine orphans are two kids (who I shouldn’t call kids, because if someone had called me a kid when I was sixteen, I would have spit nails) whose families are, I think, in town, but whose families really don’t give a shit. I do not understand how this can be—although I know it happens all the time.
E’s mom is, apparently, in jail for something. She lived with her dad until last year, when her dad had a heart attack and died. She has foster parents, and they kicked her out. Her boyfriend, S, must have a family somewhere, but I have no idea where or why he never talks about them. He’s very polite, and has always been a perfect gentleman, and he is very quiet. E is a bit louder, more fiery, but is still a dear girl, who is generous with her affection, and considerate, and never borrows things without asking. E is sixteen, S is eighteen. They don’t have their own place to live—they rotate among friend’s houses.
They are carefully, almost flawlessly, Marilyn Mansoned-goth kids—E actually has removed her original eyebrows and draws on these wonderful artistic black ironic brows every day. She has terrific buckled vinyl things, and very finished, styled black hair. S is also vinyl and buckled, and his black hair sticks up in choreographed spikes. They are much sweeter than they look like they might be—they are both shy, and they expect to be kicked, not smiled at, but nonetheless, they are never, ever, mean for no reason.
They both came to work on the haunt, and everyone got to like them (after some initial uncertainty among some of the more conservative members of the group). T.H., true to his nature, assumed that they were nice shy kids, because, well, he had black spiky hair when he was eighteen, too, and that didn’t make him a bad person. (I wasn’t sure, because, while I was a goth kid in high school, I was never as successful as these kids are, and I’m never sure of anyone who can accessorize well. It makes me feel inferior.)
During the second-to-last week of the haunt, someone stole S’s coat. It was an expensive leather trench coat, which I’m sure he saved for. It contained his wallet, which contained all of their money for the remainder of the month. After everyone at the haunt searched around, we found S’s coat crumpled behind a wall, minus the wallet. The wallet was discovered tossed in another direction, minus the cash. E burst into tears, S stood looking sick to his stomach. They needed the money to pay some fines, to eat, to get through the month, and the money was gone.
S &P wrote them a check on the spot. J & D handed them a wad of cash, as did G & his wife. They stood, looking amazed, as friends assured them that we’d help them out, that it would be okay. E continued to cry, astonished. S started to look misty. I almost cried myself, because these poor kids are clearly conditioned to expect a kick in the teeth rather than a little assistance.
The next day, after talking it over with T.H., I invited them to our place for Thanksgiving. E almost cried again, in fact. They didn’t have any plans, didn’t have anyplace to go. Now they’re coming here, to play with the kitty and eat mashed potatoes. I hope they like the potatoes—I think I’ll make extra.
Happily, it appears that the homestead is now dual-income! T.H.’s job is going well, and I am happy about this. It does, however, put a pretty significant kibosh on any plans for attending an out-of-state graduate school, because, while I’m sure I could live through 2-3 years of graduate school somewhere else while my husband worked busily away here, I don’t want to do that. I think, in fact, that the afore-outlined plan sounds tremendously suckable. And I don’t want an MFA anywhere near that badly. So I may get an MA here, or I may just continue pursuing alternative jobs locally. I still have an informational interview this afternoon, and I’m going to ask some of these questions then.
So, what is it that I do want?
Well, I want to be happy and healthy.
I want a dog someday soonish.
I don’t know if I want to buy a house—I do know that eventually I want a slightly bigger place (3 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths ideally), and to be able to afford to not have a roommate (in spite of the wonderful good luck we’ve had in our last couple of terrific roommates). However, T.H., as it turns out, does want a house. This surprises me somewhat, but I’m sure we can work with this—I’m not opposed to getting one, I just wasn’t sure how much I wanted one.
I want to be able to afford to have someone else come and do the heavy-duty cleaning that I hate and frequently just don’t do for ages. (This may be a lame goal, but I don’t care—I hate scrubbing the shower, enough that I do, in fact, think it’s worth the money to have someone else come and do it.)
I want to have a job in a field I am genuinely interested in—my current job is not, so I need to remedy this. Having a graduate degree might help me get a job in a field I like—theater, mainly, but sociology, history, and natural history are good too—but I don’t necessarily want a graduate degree just for the sake of having a graduate degree.
I want T.H. to be happy, but I can’t do much outside of cheer and be supportive on this one. Happily, he is doing better and better on this goal himself. (God bless the psychotherapist! And Ritalin! I’m so not kidding!)
I don’t know about a baby, either. I keep going back and forth on this one. I’ll have to put it aside for a while and re-assess in a year or so.
This is all very interesting.
I’m really glad that things seem to be arranging themselves so obligingly, after such a long period of challenges—and I’m glad that it’s looking like we’re going to stay in Portland, since, overall, I do genuinely like it here. I’m not so hip on the winter/spring rains, but if we lived in a place with forced air heating, I think I could deal with it. I must say once more, baseboard heating in a brick building with big windows and hardwood floors is not a good idea.
So I’m off to see a musical and have an informational interview! Wish me luck!
Yesterday I got an email from a gal (I doubt she wants her name plastered up here, so I shall keep that information to myself) who read an old post about depression, and wanted to know how I dealt with it. I gave the best advice I could—talk to your loved ones, try to find a counselor, that sort of thing—but now I’m worried. What if my advice was too flip, or too earnest, or too complex, or too simple? This girl took the huge step of asking someone for help—did I live up to that responsibility?
Someone who’s never been clinically depressed might not think that this girl did any big thing—she emailed a total stranger, how hard can that be? Well, those-who-have-not-delt-with-this, asking anyone at all for help is hard. I mean, hell, realizing that perhaps the reason that all of life is a horrible grey mass spinning inexorably beyond your control is that you’re depressed, and that it’s not that everything really is awful takes a sustained effort of will—and a sustained effort of will is fucking hard to dredge up when you’re depressed. And actually seeking outside assistance—that’s even more effort, and a thousand times more difficult, because, of course, no one will understand what you’re talking about, or they’ll give you some horrible advice like “Just cheer up—it’s not that bad!”. And having someone look at you funny, or act like you’re being a whiner, is worse than never asking at all, because what if it really is just you?
I was lucky. The Husband (boyfriend, at the time) told me that he was worried about me, and encouraged me to see his much-trusted (former) mental health counselor. I cannot over-emphasize how much this helped me. My husband is a wonderful person, who didn’t leave me, who helped me work through all kinds of things, who assured me that neither he nor anyone else would think that I was bad or weak or foolish because I wasn’t coping, and that it was really a sign of strength to ask for help. This is a huge and wonderful gift, and it’s helped make my life what it is today. True, I’d like to change a few details, and sometimes, as I’ve blogged about, I have bad days—but overall, I am happy now. I like my life, and I can walk down the street and feel good. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve ever been depressed, you know that feeling good is no small thing.
So, whoever is reading this today, if you are depressed, or if you know someone who is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s okay to do, and it can make your life a better place. And, girl-who-emailed, you took a great step, you did a great thing. If you can ask someone, anyone, for advice, then you can get a handle on your life. You made a hugely brave decision, and I hope you keep on moving in that direction. Find a counselor, talk to your family—and if my advice wasn’t too horrible, keep emailing—I wish you the greatest luck in all the world, and I’ll want to know how you’re doing.