Yesterday my boss was sick, which meant that today I had to call before going in to work, to see whether he'd be in and adjust accordingly if he wouldn't. His cell phone was tied up until almost 11, which meant I left later than I should have to get there. I was made even later by having to pick up postcards for him on the way, which took longer than I expected. When I got there his door was shut and his shades were drawn, so I tried to peek in past them to see if he was in or if I had arrived first. His office neighbor saw me looking through the curtain and asked in an accusatory voice whether she could help me with anything. I told her I was his assistant, but she didn't seem to believe me until I opened the door to my office with my key and her own assistant told me that I was not, in fact, a burglar casing the joint but a legitimate employee with every reason to be there. I sat down at my desk and started to work, but I couldn't help paying attention them, across the hall through open doors, as I set about the incredibly rewarding tasks of entering more names into a database that, in the end, would hold more than 425. They bantered and chattered about fashion and boys and all kinds of inane crap, like an episode of Sex and the City where Kim Catrall's characters gets a personal assistant and focuses on trying to turn her into a semi-bitter late 30's fashionista with a cynical world view and all the intellectual and emotional depth of rice paper. I typed and made phone calls tracking down the sound-optical track and trying to get the mass mailing moving. As I sat there I couldn't help thinking "She's going to get a better recommendation than me." The other assistant is chatty and personable while not being a particularly hard worker, while I'm somewhat reserved but plow through everything I have to do as quickly as possible. She seems confident but makes a bunch of mistakes (I could tell from their conversation that she'd messed up in quite a few places) while I bother my boss when I'm not sure to do but double check my work and managed to enter hundreds upon hundreds of addresses with only a handful of errors. The thing is, in the end, it's perception that matters, not actual ability. Her boss likes her and is living somewhat vicariously through her so she'll get a stellar recommendation unless she pisses the older woman off somehow. My boss seems to think I'm decently pleasant but there's not much of a rapport there, just a working relationship. He'll note that I ask more questions than most, which is not a good thing since everyone wants a "self starter."
It's just one of the little inequities in life.
As for the day at work, well it was a series of unfortunate events (Now I'm ripping off a man named Lemony, whose books I haven't read but who I can't hate despite his name because he knows a family friend.) My boss took a friend of his out for lunch, and when they came back they needed to print something from my office but the printer's busted. That wasted 40 minutes or so. There were problems finding out what exactly was going on with the soundtrack to the film and a few other issues. Then there was the list. My boss decided that the postcards HAD to go out today, but the list wasn't totally ready due to my receiving some of the names only that day when I got into work. As time wound down it was clear the list wouldn't be finished in time to get to the post office by 5, so I told him I would take the cards to the main post office at 34th street and pick up some stamps there, getting the rest out by Saturday. He seemed satisfied by this but I think he held me responsible for not finishing the job in time. I don't think it was really my fault, since he gave me contradictory and incomplete information, but I still felt bad, like I had failed at my main task. I stayed until six labeling the postcards and he stamped them. There were printer problems and address information issues and a whole host of other stuff. It was just a frustrating time. The trip to the post office was pretty awful. The trains in Chinatown apparently get crowded right AFTER rush hour not during, because the platform and the train was packed. Then going to the post office the crowds of tourists were...well... tourists . The line at the post office was terrible and the service was less than perfect, with my clerk stopping to yak for 10 minutes.
On the way home my metro card fucked up. I tried to enter the subway at 34th and it swiped okay but then the turnstile wouldn't let me past. There's nothing worse than that. You're winding down, getting ready to get on the train and get home, and suddenly you have 18 minutes to kill. I walked up to 50th street and found myself incredibly frustrated and unable to find the 1-9 train station there. It was bad enough wading through the absolutely PACKED sidewalks of tourists at Times Square, but not being able to find the station was humiliating and frustrating and just plain horrible. On the way back on the train I was bemoaning my fate. Thinking about my crappy day and filling with self-loathing, when a homeless woman got on and started begging for money. Then I felt guilty for being upset, considering at least I had a home to go to and a guarantee of a hot meal once I arrived.
Days like that are just thoroughly unpleasant. Moreso when you don't have a lot else to look towards in your life. On the train someone was reading an American Splendor collection. I was thinking about old Harvey and his complaints. He had a crappy job? Better than mine. At least he could slack off and had coworkers to hang out with. I don't resent the job or anything, I'm thrilled to have it (though I get the impression it won't last much longer) but it's certainly more work intensive than many where you can slack off and chat. He complained about his lack of women and bad relations with them, well try being the fat guy who doesn't get ANY women. His work is under appreciated? Sure, but at least he was able to produce something truly special. The truth is that life is difficult and when you're headed home from a long day on a crowded train looking forward to an empty house and a morning of putting stamps on postcards and sending them out, well I think you have a right to complain. At least I think I do.
I'm feeling better now. Madden 2005, a little masturbation, a little college football, some food in the belly, they serve to mediate the day. That's the thing about the bad days. They do pass. They don't seem like they will at the time, they seem like the misery will stick with you and surround you in a black cloud. They will if you'll let them. So don't. Have a sandwich, watch a game, jerk off.
Let it go.