Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 25

When I find myself in times of trouble Paul McCartney comes to me, singing words of wisdom, "let it be".

For the longest time i thought that song endorsed a kind of cowardly approach to the world, if you don't like something, leave it alone. I translated let it be, to mean something the same way that my mother meant it when i had a scab on my elbow from going head first over my bike handles and sliding 5 or 6 feet down the pavement."Cory, don't pick at it, let it be!". But i had missed the meaning completely for years. He wasn't saying...or maybe he was, far be it for me to climb into the mind of a Knight of the realm, but i came to accept a meaning for the song thats a bit more Buddhist in its leanings. What that song now means to me, is let it BE. Let it exist. Let it happen and just observe it, be mindful of it, and aware of it but let it happen. It is, as the kids are saying these days, what it is.

When you do that, when you step out of something you begin to see things you missed. Forest for the trees and all that. Today, Paul McCartney came to me, and I'm not going to say everything is better, but I may have found a method for dealing, and I'm seeing things more as they are not as they make me feel.

Okay, well as mature and thoughtful as that sounds, of course it comes with some caveats. I don't mean about the liquidation. I'm still a hot fucking mess about that. I mean about me. About my future and my world.

I'm bout to lay some personal shit on ya. know, nows a good time to get snacks if you don't care.

So Melancholy was a feeling I think I first experienced the other day. I was sitting in my house on my day off pondering my future. 2 of my housemates are moving out around the end of September, now when most people say housemate they mean random craigslist people that share their bills. I don't. I mean family. People I love being around and having around, who now, sadly, need to move on. This shifts my home paradigm and my financial paradigm significantly. Fortunately I have someone waiting in the wings who will be an excellent housemate, but still major change is something once upon a time I thrived on, but it seems as if my propensity to deal with it varies proportionally to the amount of grays in my hair. And I can't pretend like financially this a great thing for me. It just isn't. Also, you guys may have heard, Borders is going out of business. I know it surprised me too. So the end of September is going to be the beginning of a very hard time for me.

Cue the people around you who try to help with words. As the song says, "when all your friends and sedatives try hard, but make it worse." (sorry, not Let it be by the Beatles, a different song entirely). Theres nothing you can say to make this better. And trying just makes me feel like a bigger jerk for getting angry at people for not being able to do anything to make it better. So then I just get more angry at myself for being angry, and so on. There is no way this downward spiral ends well. It's already caused my eating habits to become more in keeping with an army of 12 year old boys stranded in a mall during a zombie invasion. It aint good. I haven't cooked a meal for myself since....20% off?

This of course, brings you to the inevitable "where did i go wrong" conversation. The one where you question every major, and minor, decision you've made since they became your decisions to make. Which of course brings with it regrets at a Victor-Frankensteinian level. And then there is the fact that I live in an area populated with people I adore, but I don't feel a sense of home in. I am a nerd-at-large. I am a New English ex-pat. I am an Alien in New Jersey. I've never been at home here, and i've lived here almost as much as i've lived anywhere except my home town. So right now, I miss my hometown dearly. So of course that leads to Internet searches of apartments in my home town. All of which are fruitless because being a home owner ties me to this geography for the time being.

Okay, so're all caught up.

So while I've been adrift on the lugubrious sea I've missed a couple of things.

I have had some of the best times working with anyone in the last 3 weeks. I've spent more time socially with my co-workers. I've been able to say what I'm really thinking to staff members and customers. I haven't had to look up and look for a single copy of an arcane computer book that probably was in the wrong spot. I haven't looked at an inventory number of 9 and only been able to find 1. I haven't had to make a Javanilla shake since mid-july.

Professionally it may not be that dire. I know this because no fewer than 3 cafe owners have asked me for interviews after chatting with me in the last 2 days. I have an interview this week upcoming with one. I've also applied to be a cafe supervisor for a major GROWING chain of grocery stores because one of my former employees who has the inside scoop gave me the info (thanks btw).And another great friend of mine is constantly looking out for me and may have found something within her company that I'd be good for. I've been saying for weeks that the only thing I know for sure is that in September I'll be losing my job. Okay, thats still true, and I'm unwilling to make decisions based on my prospects, but the direction of all professional things unrelated to borders, seems to be moving toward the happy.

And then there is this blog. I'm writing. Every day. People are reading it. People seem to like it. I created a space where I can channel my own, and others if I'm any judge of the response at all, feelings into a creative mechanism that gives voice to the people drowning in the liquid of liquidation. Also, I'm Writing! I mean, this is huge for me. So much of my life i've spent telling people "I want to be a writer" then feeling like an asshole because immediately my mind thinks "well writers write, and you don't, so feh!". I mean, I did write perhaps more than most, but not as much as I should have, certainly not every day. Hell I would go 6 months or more and realize I hadn't written any thing other than a daily schedule or my name. So this violent firestorm of bankruptcy has left at least one scorched bit of earth with some green shoots. I truly can't say enough how much it means to me to do this, and to be read, and to see the commentariat respond, and to have people sign up to follow. I'm only 4 away from 100, btw. Share this if you want.

Another thing that letting it be let me see. The loris is a pretty remarkable human being. I'm not saying i like her (but i kind of do) I'm not going into details of her personal life, but she is one hard as tacks lady, and I wish she had worked for Borders instead of the liquidators for all these years. There is clearly something bizarre about someone who is willing to do this for a living. They have an ability to compartmentalize that I can't even begin to imagine. They must be lonely. And for her, well...this line of work has way more Vipers than it does Lorises. She is a hard worker like Sally-field-I-have-to-prove-myself-in-a-man's-world-movie kind of hard. She is out there rolling up her sleeves and she has eyes like a cyborg hawk. She misses nothing. She does her job as hard as she can, and she expects that from us as well, which is a shame. Shes far too earnest in an ironic job. These things make her a formidable adversary, and as much as I hate to admit it, they also make me admire her a little. And yeah, I said adversary. She's an opponent in a game i've already lost. I get that.

So while I'm still roiling with rage at this whole thing in every conceivable way, I'm stepping back for now. Call it a survival technique. Perhaps it's a documentarians sensibility. But whatever it is the pressure I felt sitting on my heart was a little lifted today. And for the first time in weeks not only can I see the forest, but I can admire the trees.


  1. "She's far too earnest in an ironic job."
    Well put. My feelings precisely.

  2. Yeah, "Shes far too earnest in an ironic job" is spot-on.

    The Loris seems like a perfectly fine person, but has been thrown into a work situation full of angry/scared/confused/depressed/tired (take your pick) people and so when she does something that seems to make no sense, the negative feelings towards her get amplified.

    I'd say when this all over Cory you should make this an e-book, but the irony might just too much.

  3. ::hug::

    As a fellow Alien in New Jersey, from New England where I lived all my life but the past year and a half... I sympathize and empathize.

    >>I have had some of the best times working with anyone in the last 3 weeks. I've spent more time socially with my co-workers. I've been able to say what I'm really thinking to staff members and customers. I haven't had to look up and look for a single copy of an arcane computer book that probably was in the wrong spot. I haven't looked at an inventory number of 9 and only been able to find 1. I haven't had to make a Javanilla shake since mid-july. <<

    This all may be happening due to miserable circumstances, but I'm very glad to hear some things are good for you and your staff. :)

    Please do keep writing, and I'll keep reading and sharing!

  4. Here ya go, one more official follower.

    I add the adjective because I've been reading along from Facebook for weeks now. Your eye for the absurdities of life in liquidation and your incredible, vibrant voice sucked me right in from the first sentence.

    Once I discovered you, I lost hours catching up from the beginning of the blog. (Thanks ever so, another distraction from using my nocturnal hous for writing was *just* what I needed)

    Thanks for inviting others along your wild and wooly painful journey. I'll be there right to the end and into the beginning, as far as you'll take it.

  5. One of your best, Cory. I agree this needs to be made into a book, e- or otherwise.

    I also think that SOMEBODY reading this blog has SOME connection to the writing/publishing world and can do SOMETHING to get you into the paying publishing world. Because the world doesn't need another Cafe manager, but it could always use another discerning writer who makes us reexamine things or commiserate from an insightful perspective.

    So where are you, Publisher/Writing Industry person?