Monday, April 1, 2002

Tanning in Phases

Economically it's time to tighten the proverbial belt, cut the fat from the bone, separate the nice from the necessary. As the Legislature contemplates a ten percent cut to its own budget the thought has crossed my mind that it's not a bad idea to prepare for the possibility that the state will decide that my carefully chosen, and sleep deprived philosophical prose isn't essential to the smooth running of government and I will have to search for someone else to pay my rather meager paycheck.

Not that I've heard anything and not that I haven't proven in the past that I have a rather papilionaceous spirit. If I've learned one thing in my life (and believe me I'm not sure I can even live up to that standard) I've learned the importance of separating my self identity with what I do for a living. And believe it or not I've gotten by this far not by my looks but by my winsome personality. In other words unlike J. Lo you won't exactly find me taking out a $1 billion insurance policy on my body with a $300 million provision specifically for the booty (indeed a certain candle giver made mention of my diminutive arse the other day).

If I am forced to make a middle age career change I've come up with a couple of different possibilities. Possibility number one came to mind through an awkward social etiquette question I stumbled into and have been pestering the brilliant and beautiful minds around me for an answer.

The first day of the legislative session as I drove up the parking ramp next to my office I noticed they hired a young man whose job it is to sit in a little booth at the entrance to make sure those entering the ramp have the proper sticker displayed on their car. Not everyone is allowed to park in the ramp; nope it takes some seniority or the voice of the people through an election to secure a spot. As I pulled into the ramp I was ready to roll down my window, pull out my passport, birth certificate, and any other security related identification papers when the young man waved me through.

The next day I slowed down as I was entering but the young man didn't wave. I didn't want to stop so I waved at him and drove on by. He didn't come running after me so I figured all was OK. Since then our waving routine has been somewhat irregular if not a bit awkward. Some days neither of us wave; some days both of us wave; some days he waves and other days I wave. It's long since moved beyond whether or not I should be allowed in the ramp- rather it now is a gesture of friendliness and familiarity. Often I'm one of the first to arrive at work and I like to let the young man know that I'm wishing him a good morning and bless him for waking up extra early to make sure only those who have a sticker are leaving their car where it should be left. And yes it's nice the days when he looks up from the book he's reading to wave at me as if to say, "welcome to another day of work!" Somehow it just gets the day off to a little nicer start.

So I have come to the conclusion that one day I'd like to become a parking garage attendant. Yes, they may be taken terribly for granted, and yes their position has little actual authority with little power to do something if someone violates the rules other than call someone else to take care of the situation, but it would be nice to have a job where a mere wave of the hand can make a little bit of difference or all the difference in the world.

The other job I'm giving some consideration to is a washing machine repairman. Not that long ago I was doing a load of laundry and lying comfortably on my couch with my feline roommate resting peacefully on my chest when all of a sudden a dreadful, most awful screeching noise bellowed out from the basement. Kitty's ears perked up but his eyes remained shut. I, being rather tired let the sound continue as long as I could hoping it would correct itself all the while realizing such an awful noise could not be a good sign and likely would be one of those things that a hundred dollars later would be a memory evoked when glancing through a bank statement.

The screeching continued so I scampered on down to check it out. I rearranged the load of clothes and went back upstairs. No sooner had kitty re-situated himself comfortably on my chest when the noise repeated itself. This time I let it go. The wash cycle completed and I went down to find my load of clothes much wetter than they normally are. I threw the load into the dryer and loaded up some more clothes into the washer. I started the new load and waited a few minutes when the screeching noise returned. I turned the machine off. When the dryer was done I brought my clothes up and began folding them. I happened to notice that my favorite pair of boxer shorts, the one that my friend bought at the same time meaning whenever I wear them I think of her (some compliment), was missing. I went back downstairs to discover that the shorts had lodged themselves between the tub and the machine. Thus the tub wasn't turning right and it was letting out a yelp to let me know so. I removed the shorts and put in the next load and the lack of a squeal was music to my ears. It was one of the few home repairs I've been able to make but I was proud nonetheless.

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