Monday, June 27, 2011

The Lady Next Door

There's something going on with the lady next door. Only I don't know what. She has been there for years, and I notice her without noticing her. I notice the children she babysits (kind of like background music because they spend a good deal of the time bawling their heads off), I notice the friends she has over (and old lady), I notice her getting thinner and thinner, I notice her going out with a girl, for lunch.

I notice without noticing.

And recently her "husband" who left her and went to China came back, all smiley and pleased with himself. He had his new wife and little baby in tow. Proudly showed them off. Here, right under his wife's nose. His first wife, that is. He showed up just after the disaster in Japan, when the radiation could have spread to China. He showed up and just expected to be put up. I don't know what happened but he was there a few days and suddenly wasn't there anymore.

I couldn't believe he could do that to her. To not only leave her like that, but to show up and rub her neighbours' faces into his new life. This was a nice guy, a smiley guy, it didn't seem like the kind of thing that he would do.

But then, he didn't seem like the kind of guy who would ditch his wife and take off with some nubile young thing.

And he did.

And she grew thinner and thinner. She took in these spoiled, annoying kids to make ends meet. Kids who would start screaming their heads off the moment their parents tried to drop them off.

It couldn't have been fun.

And she rented out rooms.

Except that recently, it doesn't seem like she has any more tenants. No one parks inside. The tenants always used to park inside.

And I never thought about how lonely she must be. And how miserable. I never thought that maybe, one day, when I made muffins or red velvet cake, I could have offered it to her over the fence.

Some gesture. Some friendly gesture.

Yes, I know there were friends and she was rarely alone.

But I never allowed myself to think about how miserable, sad and lonely she must be.

And today, one of her friends was banging on the door. I was outside and I looked. Her friend smiled sheepishly and continued to bang and call her.

No answer.

And just now, I heard someone calling again. And this time it penetrated the thick fog of white noise that envelops me, making me oblivious to my surroundings.

Where was she? If she had gone off on holiday, why didn't her friends know?

Could she have...would she have...?

And for the first time, I thought of the slow rotting inside...the sense of betrayal, the anger, the having to survive somehow, while he was smiling and happy and showing off his new wife, his new kid.

What must it have been like for her when he came.

What must it have been like for her when he spoke to us and said, lookie here, my wife, my kid...lookie here.

And that look on her face, the look I saw without seeing.

How could I have been so oblivious?

I will watch out for her tomorrow. I will watch and see and update these pages, some record at least of a person, a sad, lonely person, who is here near me.

I once sat next to a woman on a park bench and she spoke to me about her life and all I could see was her loneliness. That's all I registered.

But she wasn't just her loneliness. She prayed for everyone around her. In fact, she managed to get me to follow her home and put me on her hard as board sofa and I heard the Rosary beads clicking as she prayed for me that night, glad I was there, glad that for one night at least, she didn't have to be alone.

And I fell into a deep, sweet sleep, one of the deepest and sweetest sleeps I have ever had.

She was a powerful prayer.

We were on the train and a young man, the long-haired dodgy-looking type came up to her and said, do you remember me? And she looked down, afraid, because she tends to attract violent types.

But he said...I was one of those youth in that church...and you prayed for me. Thank you.

He said that to her.

She was a powerful prayer.

And I think about her now because I'm thinking...all this time, I couldn't spare one prayer for the poor, lonely lady next door. Couldn't say, God, please lift her spirits, strengthen her, raise her up, give her back her joy in life.

I say it now.

Now, when it may be too late.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And For The Record I Was Lost

Thursday I got lost.I drove for two hours circling around, paying about a hundred dollars in tolls, running out of petrol, and guess what? Forgot to charge my phone so it kept beeping to tell me, hey, I'm running out of battery. I prayed, I screamed, I begged, I implored, and still I circled.

In all the wrong places.

No petrol station.

No more petrol.

Yet another toll booth. I asked the guy. Hey? Petrol station? Anywhere? Anywhere?

He smiled. Nodded. Said...just follow the signs for KL.

I asked Hulu Langat? How do I get to that exit?

The serene smiling Buddha said...just follow the signs...the signs for KL.

OK, so I was getting somewhere. The first good thing was finding a proper petrol station. And getting some food into my baby that had been shuddering frighteningly in the middle of nowhere. That would have been the icing on the cake.

And the next was finding that fricking exit. Yes. 9th Mile. Only I went straight along the road, ended up on the outside, turned back and went straight to the...police station.

A cheerful officer came out to show me the way. He gesticulated...go straight along this road, you'll see a sign. A big sign. You cannot miss it.

Problem is...go straight along this road could have been in two directions. He didn't think of that. And of course, I didn't see the sign. Because the road I chose, there was no sign. Double back in heavy, heavy traffic. A traffic light that doesn't change for hours.

The PA has managed to make one more call to my dying phone. She estimated that close as I was, I'd be there in 10 minutes tops.

Stuck at that traffic light it had already been 20.

I was so so late, it was not funny. I could feel my stomach heaving and churning. I felt my throat close up, a recent symptom of stress. My forehead burning. Roiling is a good word. I was a roiling cauldron of emotion. Only the bad ones.

The PA seemed more amused than anything. And sarcastic. She said, go ahead, take your time, we have nothing better to do but wait for you. And when finally, finally, I was on the right road, and saw the bleeping sign and made my way up the bleeping right road, and found the place (oh glory, glory) and got out the car and ran for it...she came smiling sweetly and said...people have gotten lost before, they've been late before, but never two hours.

Smirk, smirk.

I don't know why she hated me so much.

You know how some people smile and you feel like they're chewing ground glass?

You know how some people are perfectly civil to you, and you feel like they're spewing vitriol?

That was her.

But perhaps I'm being unfair. I mean she had only blocked the interview by pretending her CEO was not interested and had postponed it indefinitely and telling him I had found someone else to interview.

She laughed on the phone, speaking to me, in one of my numerous phone calls and said...yes, yes, I'll see him today, I'll ask him again. It doesn't look good though, I have to tell you.

Yeah, I have to tell you.
Couldn't lie to you
Wouldn't want to do that
No, we both wouldn't want that.

Operator the line is dead.

And finally, I said, fuck this, and sent him an email directly. And he said...surprise, surprise, I thought you were no longer interested. And proceeded to give me a time instantly.

A time, mind you, that I had already missed.

And being an important CEO of a listed company, he was chock a block with other meetings.

And my photographer had already come and gone.


I arrived. Was treated to her unctuous smiles and "you just sit there and cool off, calm down, my, my, but you're late, really late, no one has ever been this late before."

And her boss turned and glanced at my disheveled self and said...take your time, don't worry. And then although there were two merchant bankers and one VIP already there, waiting on meetings, and let's face it, much higher up the food chain than some stray reporter, he proceeded to give me a one-and-a-half hour interview.

She stuck her head in halfway, grinning like a banshee...I'm so sorry, but they've been waiting too long...what do I tell them? It's time.

Hurry up please, it's time.

Hurry up please, it's time.

Hurry up please, it's time.

Hurry up please, it's time.

And he nodded calmly, waited for her to close the door again, and went on talking.

I said, I'm sorry this is all my fault.

He said, don't worry about it, they can wait.

And so they waited.

And I staggered out of there one and a half hours later.

Found my way home with no trouble at all.

And promptly fell ill from all the stress on Friday. When I had to file the story.

But I did. Oh Sigmund. I did.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Am I Crazy Or Falling In Love

I've just finished transcribing an interview. I want to go home now. I was a cool interview and I found myself smiling incessantly. So Joyce, who's sitting across from me thinks I have yet another crush (she thought I was crushing on her contact she introduced me to...I liked him...he was charming...but considering crush? I don't think so).

I put pictures of my friends and my dog around me. Also two poems. And it was a very very good idea. Sometimes when I'm smiling it's because of what the interviewee was talking about. Sometimes, it's because Mark is standing there with his guitar and smiling at me in that blurred reproduction taken with my phone. Or because Mary and Prabs and struggling with their umbrellas pulling in different directions, laughing. Or because Arnold has perched his forelegs on my bed and is looking at me intently. Or because I have my arms around Nits and we're both smiling in close-up. Or because Jackie is laughing with the setting sun in Cagnes sur Mer in the background. Or because I'm in my Santa hat with my arms around Yong and Addy on either side.

And sometimes I read Lao Tzu:

In the pursuit of knowledge,
everyday something is added.
In the practice of the Way,
everyday something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

And I breathe and take it in. Something to remind myself of from time to time. And there is my Edge Financial Daily mug stained with lipstick. Sort of dark red. Can't remember what I used today. And there is some red fabric draped around one side of my cubicle, courtesy of Anna, whose desk I am up against.

And there is my crushed napkin with the scribbled words - I was going to throw it away - but my colleague Zaquan, who dropped in on my sandwich and book for lunch and told me his favourite author of all time is David Foster Wallace...told me to save it. He said..hang it up, as is.

Zaquan's an artist. In fact, they seem to be crawling out of the woodwork here. They look so corporate and professional on the surface. And underneath...oh Sigmund, underneath.

Decorating my desk was a declaration of sorts. After keeping my head down and just doing my work for the three weeks I've been here.

I raise my head. I sniff a little.

Now I can go home now. I can email my transcription to myself and work on it at home.

Or else I can go music shopping. I recently discovered a local artist I want to hear more of.

If it's the mind that causes suffering, then if you learn to control your mind, you alleviate said suffering. So when I'm stuck in a funk unable to figure out how I'm going to get a story, I take a deep breath, say a prayer and relax. Doodle on my notepad. Write crazy Facebook updates. Comment on my own updates. Chat. Listen to Rainbow Connection. Crush (that seems to be a theme in my life right now). And send out good thoughts. Good vibes. Uncomplicated by the static of hopelessness and helplessness and sheer panic.

At least I hope I do.

Later for you.

Humpty Dumpty

You know how it is, when you pack your laptop and tape recorder to go to Backyard, listen to Mark and transcribe your interview in between sets...and then suddenly people turn up and invite you to join them and the whole thing turns into an impromptu party and suddenly you think, to hell with isn't about trying to transcribe interview in pubs. Rather it is loving the people who love you, hanging out with the people who actually want to hang out with you...getting famously inebriated and singing at the top of your voice, dancing like there's no one watching.

I hope you dance, hey?

And then...when everyone leaves and Mark has one set to go and I'll wait it out until he which time I'm too drunk to get out my computer and it's so much unnecessary baggage anyway, so instead, I pluck a napkin from the centre and start to scribble (because being drunk usually means that feelings bottled up rise to the top like cream...and have to, have to, have to be expressed)

And today, I uncrumple the napkin hastily stuffed into my little red bag and here's what I find:

So much of life is waiting around for permission
Holding our breath till someone says it's OK...

It's OK, it really is
and until we hear those words
we tie ourselves up in knots
don't sleep at night
cry into our pillows
because we're never good enough
never, never, never, never, never
And it's alright
it really is.

Just fall apart
and keep shattering
and when you're done
pick yourself up
piece by piece
piece by piece
until you're all picked up
and put yourself together again.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Informed You Thusly; I So Informed You Thusly!

My car is looking respectable. Arnold threw up in my backseat last night (I didn't notice) and when I was taking Dadda out for his Father's Day lunch, Arnold scrambled into the backseat and I noticed it for the first time...and then, with all the windows down, I noticed it even more. So hacking and gagging, I drove Dadda to Rumahku. Luckily Chubs showed up so Dadda could go back with him and I could drive straight to my car wash guy. He listened patiently to my tale of woe and figured out how to clean my car for RM20 less than it would normally cost.

(I think my car wash guy likes me, which is good, because the car came out of the experience, sparkling and minty fresh).

Then I got home to see Chubs sprawled on the sofa watching my Big Bang Theory (season 4) and giggling to himself. And Arnold hurled himself on me, with those eyes, telling me that it was time to go out.

So after tea, and writing this...I am going out...lots of errands I should have done earlier which I will have to do now. With Arnold in car. Maybe now he has thrown up the entire contents of his stomach (those darn antibiotics just don't agree with him) he won't throw up again.

OK he has just done his noise that sounds like he's trying to tell me something. Like hey girl who feeds me, it's time to go OUT!

So here I go.

Jumping now.


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Waiting Game

OK the editor just called me up to discuss my story for the week, my first major story in this magazine/newspaper. The ones I've done so far have been frivolous (an advertorial, a light-hearted look at the new kids on the corporate block).

But today, it was different. I was put on the weekly this week and by reading the papers every day and taking copious notes (mostly questions, because I've been out of it so long, I don't know nothing about nothing) I was able to come up with a story idea for the meeting. (Yes, PH, the meeting went well).

And I plugged away all this week, being such a pest that if I had been them, I would have switched off my phone and refused to answer. (OK one or two of them did do this, but all it meant was that I kept calling). At one point I nearly sent out a text to a contact saying:

"Sad. Nobody loves me. Nobody called me back or answered my questions."

But just as I was about to press "send" somebody called me back. And then someone called me on top of the first person calling me and got call waiting. And then a third person called. So, well, I suddenly felt very loved and aborted said message.

So anyway, my editor (who doesn't know me or my work and as such cannot be biased in my favour like my dear Anna who worked with me in BT can) said he hardly had to do anything to my story. "It was good. You write well." And he sort of looked surprised.

I felt this rush, you know, like the top of your head spinning when you read good poetry. Dial it back two weeks when I was busy getting daily migraines (while writing close-one-eye advertorials, for crying out loud) because of performance anxiety. The only good thing is that I recognised it for performance anxiety and was able to address it.

Mostly by having my weekends off and not thinking or talking about work and hanging out with Arnold and making red velvet cake (yeah OK there was a purpose for that last week) and walking aimlessly around Bangsar and sitting at the vet for hours and talking to other dog lovers who called my baby a handsome boy, and, and, get the picture.

Tomorrow, however, I have promised to help someone with something corporate. Also somebody else will be sending me "talking points" and I am supposed to write a speech. So if any of this goes through then I think I'll have less of a relaxing weekend.

And Monday is so far away (doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore, it would be so fine to see your face at my door, doesn't help to know that you're just time away...) OK I just found the song on my iPod and am listening to it. I love Carole King.

Maybe I can go home early after all. And take my doggie out. He needs a bath.

I am not drunk but I feel like drunk texting somebody. And saying "so far away" or maybe "one town's very like another when your head's down over your pieces, brother."

Anyone out there?



OK I thought I was done except for checking pages to see that everything was hunky dory but apparently I wasn't. The editor swung and saw me goofing around on Facebook and asked very politely if I had finished market. Which had me scrambling. Because I thought he had given market to someone else, seeing as I was busy trying to finish my story.

So I undid all the good work of my story by giving in what was probably the world's worst market round-up. Bad news, oh lookie here, more bad news, and even more bad news. In fact, a fricking Greek tragedy (and I'm not talking about the debt crisis here).

What is Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, that he would weep for her?

Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can say nothing

And it was too late to call analysts so I decided to call my good friend Omar who, I had lately been chatting with about really important things like fat men and Abbotsbury and chocolate cake and twee tea places. And Omar, who has having a beer, came through. He sent me to look up comparative PE ratios (a little bit of a challenge as I'm spastic around the Bloomberg machine - CP? Really? Equity? Where? And what's the pneumonic for Maybank again? And what's the largest company on the index? It's been years...years since I've done market. And guess what? Even when I did it before, I never liked it. Never, never, never, never, never) He gave me a lot of funny quotes, sent me to look up Dr Doom's article about the Greek crisis, told me about this being down and that being down and in fact, everything being down - haha China..inflation up, IPO market soft (like a teddy bear) and cuddly too...

And so I managed to write....

the world's worst



My bad.

My fricking bad.

Oh boy.

I wish I could leave now and go out for a drink with Nitsy Poo.

But the copy editors have gone for their my copies are stuck somewhere in the process of being processed like candy floss or the rubber on your soles....or spiderman costumes.

You can see I'm losing it.

Losing, losing, losing...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Nothing in Particular

Wow, the last time I updated was first thing Monday morning? And lookit here, it's Wednesday night. Monday sort of morphed into two interviews, me running around like a headless chicken, asking questions, taping answers and then Tuesday...well Tuesday...I don't remember what I did Tuesday, because I only managed to transcribe said interviews today...and am wondering how I'm going to write stories. I had intended to write the stories when I got home. In fact, I even emailed myself the transcription in a fit of optimism.

Instead, I ate lots of brie cheese on crackers, watched eight episodes of Big Bang Theory back to back, goofed around with my little Arnold boy who's pleased as punch to spend time, except for the brief instances where he insists on being let out to misbehave (and by misbehave, I mean, start barking and then chasing people on the I have to go out and roar for him in stentorian tones, cos that's what I do when Arnold misbehaves, and he knows I'm the only one who'll smack him on the tookus, so his ears and tail go down and he slinks back in, then wags his tail and comes to play, and I think what the heck and roll around the floor with him because he's my chumby wumby puppy doggie).

Obviously I'm not going to work tonight. I need to take a shower though. And I'm hot, hot, hot (and not in a good way) and wondering...geez, shower? I'm sleepy, and then there's work....and basically my thoughts are as scattered as a shattered window...looking out at the dark, looking in at...somebody sitting at a desk, writing away, writing away, doing what they're supposed to do, because that's what good girls do, what they're supposed to do...and bad eight episodes of TBBT back to back and eat lots of cheese (and maybe a few grapes) and nothing much besides.

Maybe I'm on overload.

You think?


Just another washed out Wednesday.

People keep telling me stories and making me cry.

Monday, June 13, 2011

First Thing Monday Morning

So I'm in early, sort of early (I mean there were people in here earlier than me, because this is Malaysia and there is always someone more kiasu than you around), and had time to clear my email (three - please make the necessary amendments and one, no you can't have the interview we tentatively promised you).

Then there is the going through the paper...well, I've done nothing but the lead so far, though I fully expect to finish reading the paper before lunch. OK the most attractive girl in the office (in my opinion, anyway) has just walked in with her hair done up in a chignon, sort of elegant, regal even. By the way she is dressed, I know she has an interview today. (You can always tell by the way a reporter is dressed if they're going out or not for the day). I'm in comfy non-corporate clothes, so you know I am so staying in today, except that...well, there may be drinks at Backyard later...maybe with contacts....but considering how the week has started off with people flaking on me, I'm not so sure.

The thing, my dear Jennifer, is not to take any of this personally.

What happened to your thick skin?

I know, I know. But you know, first thing Monday morning, it's nice to have an interview secured so there's at least one story you can bank on.

Instead of this big fat nothing staring me in the face.

We come from nothing, we go to nothing...nothing is what we're all about.

OK then, thanks for reminding me. I'll try to bear that in mind when I'm sitting there, mind blank, humming Nella Fantasia, or So Far Away (doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore, it would be so fine to see your face at my door, doesn't help to know...)

OK lalalalalalala you gotta song stuck in my head. Darn you! Now I'll have to go on singing it...yeah, you're just time away, long ago I reached for you and there you stood, holding you again could only do me good...Darn you Alternate Self!

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Many Lives of...

OK it's 7.43pm now and I am still in the office. The first time I've stayed this late. Why? Cos it's Friday. You stay late on Friday to close pages. But I'm all done. My stories have been cleared and my pages (such as they are) are closed.

So I get my first byline tomorrow. Which is always a yay moment for any reporter. And I have a tentative date at Backyard on Monday. With contacts (takes me back to NST days, oh death in life, the days that are no more).

I can go home, take Arnold out for his walkies and then chill. Maybe watch a little Big Bang. Maybe ask Chubs if he wants to go out for a movie.

I have a little notebook with story ideas for Monday's meeting. Yay! I was worried about story ideas...but it seems that sitting down and reading the paper gives them to me.

Also calling contacts and chatting with them over the phone and having a little gossip. They now say, oh dear, you're a reporter again now, I have to be careful what I say. And then they proceeded to not be. Which is great. Spill those beans, baby, spill 'em, spill 'em.

I had a really awful drink (nice company, awful bar, godawful drink, more so for Addy who asked for rum and got bacardi instead - that tasted like cough mixture). We went to Rainforest because Mark was singing. He had a lump in his throat - so short sets. Also, he couldn't sing his usual numbers because the Rainforest crowd favours loud loud music (the kind that makes you cover your ears and run).

Never mind. Backyard on Monday. And since it will be a semi-work thing, schmoozing with contacts, I don't have to feel guilty about it.

Thing about work. It tends to take over your life. But I don't mind it when I'm in the press. I only mind if I'm anything else.

Nam sayin?

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Rainy Days and Thursdays

I have finished what I was supposed to do, so I am lolling at my desk, updating this, listening to subdued conversations take place all around me (today is Thursday, it is quite a buzzing day here) and trying to read the paper all at once. Talk about multi-tasking. Now, if I stop up my ears with earphones and listen to Nella Fantasia et al. I will be able to concentrate on reading the paper. Except that I am not reading the paper. I am updating this.

The past few days have been weird. I get so tense that I end everyday with a blinding migraine. So blinding that I can barely drive home. Now I know that these guys are going way easy on me and have only given me easy stuff to begin with. So that means I am stressing myself out for nothing.

Yesterday, first thing in the morning, I asked a colleague if he had Panadol. No, but he had Vitamin C tablets, the kind you dissolve in water, which he said always gave him the requisite pick-me-up. So I took two. Then, he asked around and found some aspirin for me (can anyone be nicer?).

After lunch I stopped by at Borders and picked out a volume of Edna St Vincent Millay. I read the famed Renascence and then turned to my favourite (maybe because we did this poem in university):

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands a lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet know its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

I don't know if you've noticed but the last stanza so to speak about her boughs being more silent than before is sort of a mirror of a Shakespeare sonnet which begins thus (or should I say thusly?):

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

Anyway, because I'm weird I stroll along on my solitary way repeating phrases to myself like "where late the sweet birds sang" or "what lips my lips have kissed" or "in sooth, I know not why I am so sad."

Is it any wonder that nobody wants to hang out with me and I get weirder and more isolated by the minute?

Anyway, so yesterday I finished the stories that have been weighing me down and causing me all this stress and I left the office for the first time without a migraine. Which was kind of good because it had been raining intermittently and there was a massive jam outside.

Which meant I couldn't take Arnold for his evening walk (he was not happy about that) and ended up sprawled on the sofa watching numerous episodes of Big Bang Theory instead.

Oh the humanities!

Classic Sheldon!

So I interviewed someone I thought was nice but I am revising my opinion in the face of his not answering my email to clarify something or to comment on what I sent him. I have to really learn to detach from these people and understand that PR personalities are just that. PR. Puff of smoke. Nothing underneath.


I could use a drink tonight.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Fireflies and Dog Bites

Here I am again, post-lunch, falling asleep as I do some research on the computer. So I decided to update this, my much neglected blog. I didn't have a heavy lunch. Just a Subway sandwich. But apparently that's enough. I'm listening to Owl City's Fireflies. It is strangely soothing. Maybe that's it.

It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams...

So anyway, there was the weekend. It came and went. Sunday was particularly busy. I had a to-do list. I did some of it.Missed out on some others. I'll forgive myself anyway. Nobody's perfect.

Cos I get a thousand hugs
from 10,000 lightning bugs
as they try to teach me
how to dance

Fireflies has a special place in my heart. Mark bluetoothed it to my ex-phone. The one I lost in the boondocks of a toll operator's office (it was the back of beyond, the middle of nowhere and my phone, my phone, my precious phone was lost forevah!)

Some good things happened today. I've landed an interview I really wanted to land. And I did it for the most part by being cheeky and unsober. I posted a card I was supposed to post last week. When I asked a few colleagues the way to the post office they looked at me funny. Apparently no one goes to the post office anymore. At least, not to post cards. To pay bills maybe.

What can I say, I write with a fountain pen, I send actual honest-to-God cards.

An anachronism and proud of it.

Arnold bit a guy today. Dadda called to tell me. He bit him hard. The guy who had come to change our gas cylinder. Dadda had relaxed his vigilance for a bit and suddenly the poor man was screaming, uncle, uncle, your dog bit me!

(Is it bad that when Dadda told me the story, instead of reacting with the horror I should have, I started to laugh? Maybe it's because Arnold's got broken teeth. Still, his bites hurt. Ask Auntie Ann. She got bitten. She had to sit down. And the guy who came to buy our old newspapers. He got bitten. He had to sit down)

All in all, just with us, he's bitten three people. At the shelter, he attacked another dog. Silly dog didn't realise that he is old and at a disadvantage. The younger dog came back strongly (Arnold had pinned him down at first, taking him by surprise) and took off a chunk of skin under his ear. The bad ear. Sabrina treated it with medicine and it healed nicely.

I can't understand it.

He used to have the sweetest personality. Castration affects different dogs differently, I guess. You'd have thought that there would be an easing of aggression. But this dog was not aggressive to begin with. And now he's become a bit of a nightmare.

Not to me. Because if he misbehaves in front of me, I wallop the heck out of him. (You haven't seen scary until you've seen me in a towering rage) And I'll do it if I have to crawl under a lorry to retrieve him. (He attacked the cute schnauzer that hangs out near our house and ran to hide under the lorry as I chased him bellowing wildly...there was hell to pay...I made sure of it).

OK this blog has served its purpose.

I'm awake now.

May help that the song has switched to Walking on Air.

There's so many ways to say you love her
It's so easy when you make the first move
then you're walking on air
walking on air
walking on air
love won't let you come down.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Angel Unawares

Next time you pass a source of light, pause and look at it carefully. There are angels hovering around it like moths. And you'll know there are angels because there will be a pause in the ever deepening darkness around you, like someone cut in, distracted you, and suddenly, just like magic you're focused on something else.

Something totally different.

Sometimes, the angels even come when you forget to call.

And the light sources are never what you think. No, not that fluorescent hovering above you. Not the yellow lamp pulsating benignly. Not the candle in all its mellifluous effluence.

None of that.

Sometimes it's a dog.

Sometimes a person. The kind of person you don't notice because they are not insecure enough to be conspicuous. The kind of person who has a walk-on role in your life, and in the space of that minute, you pass them, you feel better, you're indebted, but you don't know who you owe.

And that's the way it's supposed to be.

Just Another Frantic Friday

OK I can't help it. I'm updating this in the office. When I get back home at night after the work, Arnold tries to scramble into the car. He wants to go for a ride, then a walk. Of course I have to change out of my office clothes first. And therein lies the problem. Because the moment I see my bed, I flop on it. And pass out for a while.

It's not that I'm stressed or that I've been given anything major to do. I guess it's just the stress of being in a new place, among strange people. When you put an animal in a new environment, the first thing it exhibits is stress. No matter how friendly the environment.

Everyone has been nice. My desk head Kevin started the ball rolling by taking me and a bunch of others out to lunch to welcome me. It was incredibly sweet. My first day, there was a briefing with HR, a setting up of the computer and then to work. I'd met the editor in chief a few days before (coming in to the office for the meeting before I was due to start work) to be given assignments, projects to handle. She said they were short-staffed, and needed to mobilize all resources.

What this means is that I don't go for daily assignments or do the day-to-day stuff as yet. Not that I'm complaining. No, I don't complain. I just nod off at my computer.

I have a very sweet kid sitting next to me. But today, I received an email to say, I'm being moved. So all the roots I've put out in these past two days (all two of them) I have to pull up.

Oh well, when I went to Seattle way back when (I think it was 1998, during the heights of our financial crisis just after we announced capital controls and all hell broke loose) I visited Microsoft. (I didn't choose to, it was part of the itinerary). The thing I'll always take away from that experience is seeing this guy standing at the reception in shorts and nothing else while the rest of us shivered in our overcoats, it being Seattle and rainy, basically shivery weather. We turned to each other and nodded solemnly. "Must be a programmer." I stared and continued to stare because that's what I do. If Nits had been there, she would have asked me to be more discreet. As it was, I stared to my heart's content and the programmer didn't seem to mind as he was either performing or oblivious. But that's not what I wanted to tell you. When these two from Microsoft gave us a presentation about the company one of the things they said was that people change offices every six months. There were, like, 22 or 23 buildings sprawled all over this plot and because people kept changing offices, no one ever knew which office Bill happened to be in. Which was both a security thing as well as the way he liked it. Apparently, one of the Microsoft values was the ability to "turn on a dime". No roots, no habits, no getting comfortable anywhere. (Although if you were a programmer, you did have free tomato juice, a sleeping bag under your desk, and a shower so you never had to leave the office. LIKE EVER)

Everyone is polite and professional here (as I've been told over and over again). They're quiet and basically just do their work. Yesterday, there was a husky fellow wandering around and speaking loudly and when I sneaked a peek I saw that he was from some corporate. He walked around and disturbed everyone. And didn't seem to get that he was disturbing everyone, because of course, they were polite about it.

OK I need to get back to work.

I just wanted some token update and am too tired to do it at night.

I haven't settled in yet.