Friday, August 26, 2005


I'm it! Thanks, Bearette24!

Ten years ago, August 1995

I would have been between my freshman and sophomore years of college and just about to turn 19. I was interning in the marketing department of a defense contractor that made armored vehicles. Yes, working there goes against all my values. But they paid $10/hour for 40 hours a week, and I got to do real work rather than the usual photocopying and coffee fetching. I was one of two women on what was referred to as “Mahogany Row,” the executive wing of the building named after the nice furniture. Most of the men were post-40, former military, and very conservative. I did not fit in. I wrote a marketing analysis of military bridges, which I knew nothing about, but it meant that I got to spend a lot of time with the company librarian, and librarians are always my favorite people. Despite the conservative, corporate atmosphere, my sarcasm and subversive bent didn’t go entirely unused. The department director and I shared a disdain for trendy management techniques. The company was very into the Total Quality Management (TQM) method. The theory behind the method was to reward employees for finding innovative and efficient ways to perform tasks. One of my assignments was to create elaborate presentations to get TQM points for completely inane things, like reorganizing our supply cabinet or replacing one desk with another. I was young, female, and full of bullshit, so I got us a lot of TQM points that summer.

In the evenings, I interned at a local news station. That was when I began to think that maybe I wasn’t cut out for journalism.

Five years ago, August 2000

I was living in a mid-size one-bedroom apartment in the ghettos of Alexandria, Virginia, in an area that was on the cusp of gentrification. It’s now fully gentrified. I started the month working for an organization that was fighting the tobacco industry. When I started in the anti-tobacco movement, I was fired up about it, particularly the grassroots advocacy among teens, and I had taken this job to work in youth advocacy development. I had the coolest job title I will ever have: Youth Empowerment Manager. Except that, in reality, I was an overpaid babysitter. By August 2000, I was cynical about my job and the organization for which I was working. I was working as many as 80 hours a week, traveling constantly, and totally burned out. I also had decided that I no longer wanted to work in public relations/marketing. I wanted to be an editor. I had been taking courses in the evenings and applying for positions. At the end of July, I interviewed for a job at an education magazine. I then immediately left for a youth summit and a two-week road trip through the southeastern United States. But I wanted the job at the magazine. So I called about every third day to check on the hiring status. I made so much of a nuisance of myself that they finally hired me. So I ended the month working at the magazine.

One year ago, August 2004

Six weeks prior, I had moved to Austin on a whim. I had never been here and didn’t know anyone here. At the beginning of August, I didn’t have a job. I had started out looking for a writing position, but by this time, I was desperate for anything. I was going on lots of interviews, only to be told I was one of 200 or 300 candidates. I was beginning to wonder if moving to Austin was a huge mistake and spent many evenings on the phone to my parents in tears as my credit card balances ballooned and my self-esteem shriveled. Finally, I got two job offers at the same time. One was an editing position at an education publisher; the other was as the marketing director for an employee benefits firm. The one offered regular hours and familiar work; the other would have been longer hours and scarier terrain. I had my reasons for taking the first one. Those reasons no longer exist and I’m not sure I made the right choice.

Yesterday, August 25, 2005

I woke up, dressed, took Rowen outside to pee, fed Rowen (she only ate half), and went to work. I was in a terrible mood when I got to work. Thursdays are my Storytime days---I read and sing songs with 4-year-olds at a local daycare. That always improves my mood. After Storytime, I went to Starbucks for an iced tea and a banana nut muffin. I know Starbucks is evil, but I can’t help myself. And there really aren’t any other options near where I work. I went back to work. Surfed the Web, did some work, bitched to my coworkers about not liking work, went home. I was back in a foul mood, so I took Rowen outside to pee and then took a nap while Rowen danced around the bed trying to get me to play with her. I got up, watched three episodes of Alias on DVD, ate a cookie for dinner, put dinner out for Rowen (I swear she’s anorexic), took Rowen outside again to poo, took a shower, and went to bed.

Tomorrow, August 27, 2005

The weekend. Yay because I don’t have to go to work. Boo because it means long hours of feeling disappointed in myself and trying to fill the time. I’ll probably take Rowen to the dog park at some point. I need to clean up the apartment because I’m leaving for a trip back East next week. I’ll watch lots of DVDs and read and tell myself that I should write but won’t.

Five Snacks I Enjoy

Animal crackers
Utz potato chips

Five Bands That I Know Most of Their Lyrics

Oh, this is going to be embarrassing.

New Kids on the Block (I haven’t listened to them in fifteen years, but I still know the lyrics)
Dixie Chicks
Terri Clark
Joss Whedon (not really a band, but I know most of the words to “Once More With Feeling” and the theme to Firefly)

Five Things I’d Do With A Million Dollars

Pay off my parents’ house
Pay off my credit cards and my debt to my parents
Buy a small house on the Eastern shore with a yard so Rowen could run and play and I could get another dog to run and play with her
Take a year off to read and write
Use the rest to fund sustainable development projects (building schools and dispensaries; funding microcredit groups)

Five Places I’d Run Away To

County Cork, Ireland
West Virginia

Five Bad Habits I Have

Picking at my cuticles
Cracking my knuckles
Chatting at work
Compulsive book buying

Five Things I Like Doing

Watching my puppy

Five Things I Wouldn’t Wear

Sheer tops without a camisole
Short shorts

Five TV Shows That I Love

Can these be ones from the past? Because I don’t have a television anymore.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Wire
Law & Order (but only when Jerry Orbach was on it)

Five Movies That I Love

Again, this will be embarrassing.

Legally Blonde
Bring It On
Hotel Rwanda
The Goonies

Five Famous People Whom I’d Like to Meet

Marc Blucas (ya’ll knew he’d be on here)
Cal Ripken, Jr. or Eddie Murray
Joss Whedon
Margaret Atwood
Toni Morrison

Five Favorite Toys

This one is hard. I don’t have a lot of toy-type things.

Mr. Squeaky Frog (one of Rowen’s toys that I’ve repaired multiple times and finally retired from play)

I give up. I can only come up with three right now.

Five People to Tag

I’m going to skip this one because I’m a misanthropic shut-in and can’t think of anyone to include. But feel free to tag yourself.


At 9:43 AM , Blogger Bearette24 said...

Hehe :) New Kids on the Block and Tiffany. I actually saw them in concert with my mom in 8th grade. How's that for embarrassing? NKOTB was opening for Tiffany. What's more embarrassing: I had really wanted to see Def Leppard (this was when "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was popular) and I was a little sulky that my mom got Tiffany tickets instead.

Is Bring It On actually good???? Now I'm wondering if I should take it out of the library. Or if I would just fall off the bed in disgust. I really hate the whole cheerleader thing.

At 8:17 PM , Blogger Liz said...

LOL. I saw NKOTB in concert too. I remember my best friend was wearing a huge button that said "I *HEART* JOEY".

My father, the retired Air Force colonel, loves Bring It On. I'm still puzzling over that one. Maybe 'cause my mom was a cheerleader? It's a cute movie. It's completely unfair that Kirstin Dunst is so adorable.


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