The slave peeks through a crack in the door

I have work issues. Slavery issues. Slave-labor issues. Deep-rooted stuff.

Which makes this tidbit … this factoid … all the more compelling.

I requested to be moved off Friday evenings at one of my jobs for one purpose:

so that I can have one night of fun, of pleasure, above all else music a week.

GASP!!!!!!!!

{faint onto floor}

(swish smelling salts under fainter’s nose}

For the record: I did not bail on that job! — though lord knows I want off so bad.

And I did not leave my boss high ‘n’ dry.

It’s a stupid job. That’s what I call it. “My stupid job.” I don’t tell people what it is. It’s so off path off purpose and far beneath who I am, my calling, etc. etc. etc. and etc.

Just let the record show:

I did not request less work.

I merely requested to be moved off Friday evening shifts and ONTO another evening of her need.

Unbeknownst to her, I did this so I can have one evening a week that’s enriching.

{shoot me now for just saying that!} {see, right there’s an example of that deep-rooted work-slavery complex}

See, here’s the thing {whispering so the brutal slavery gods don’t hear}

There’s this guy in town. A musician. And his team. This guy — and his musician team — is phenomenal. I mean truly talented. Gifted. Beyond the pale. Born to play music. It’s his life, his passion, his purpose, his path.

You go into the brewery with troubles, watch him play and all those cares n’s troubles just slip away. They evaporate. {poof} He’s just that good. That born to play. You can’t help but feel good. His joy’s infectious.

He plays at the brewery every Friday night.

And because I work at a job {“my stupid job”that I’d dump in a heartbeat if I could}, I don’t get to hear him/their music.

I miss it. I crave it. I love music and I love his/their music.

I know I shouldn’t.

I know I shouldn’t love anything. Shouldn’t seek pleasures. Shouldn’t feel anything but the pride of enduring shitty/slavish jobs.

Shouldn’t feel anything but the pride of Enduring whatever brutalities and cruelties are tossed upon me through life.

I know this.

I know that by even by wanting more than enslaved drudgery — never mind seeking relief from it for one evening! — I’m betraying … well, fuck it, too complex to explain.

Just sayin’. Pleasure is not an option.

An evening of music: not an option.

Except I made it so.

The gumption it took, the balls, the cajones, the defiance of that deep slave labor-work complex to request a slight alteration in work schedule … this is remarkable! To be celebrated!

And my boss, btw, whom I like, btw: totally agreeable. She didn’t scowl, refuse, argue, deny, write me up or punish me directly or subversively.

And believe you me, authorities have been doing that all my life when I seek a sliver of freedom or pleasure!!

She accommodated.

“Which nights do you need help?” I asked.

“Tuesday or Thursday,” she said.

“Let’s do Tuesdays.”

It was that simple. I like my boss. She’s a refreshing change from cruel dictators.

I’m beginning to ramble. It’s a hazard when trying to write about a very deep subject yet not write about it.

Come Friday nights, I may or may not beat myself for the pleasure of fantastic live music. I hope I don’t but that slave-labor-master complex is embedded.

Or:

I may realize: “Hey, I just loosened the link of my shackle!”

“Maybe there’s something good to be experienced outside of the slave camp.”

“Maybe life wants us to be bigger than what we were given as children and/or by karma.”

“Maybe music truly does heal the soul, even one as battered and beaten and wrecked as mine.”

“Maybe my dad {whom I love to death} is on the other side having to work on these very issues that he imposed upon me, upon others. Maybe his karma’s getting worked on over there as mine is here.”

Dunno.  It’s complicated. It’s a fucking mess.

I just know that a teensy part of me pushed through the wall of drudgery and slavery through the power of music.

My love of music.

This particular musician’s music.

Is that so wrong? Does reaching toward life deserve the firing squad?

Or is it possible that this whole Slave Labor – Work Complex is an illusion … a deep-seated construct designed to oppress and suppress and imprison and control others for ego gratification?

Dunno.

God bless Parker and his boys for their incredible music!

I can’t help thinking that music was gifted to mankind to raise us from our own self-created prisons and darknesses, to uplift and heal.

 

 

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Beverages, bath but no broom

I start the new year as a two-fisted drinker.

In one hand, a sweet Snoopy mug of dark black java splashed with half-and-half. In the other, a plastic purple cup containing a mimosa.

check ’em out … an unlikely pair, their contents imbibed:

cups

And at midmorning a hot bath imbued with Epsom salt and an herbal tincture.

A cleansing and refreshing way to begin 2017.

I didn’t awaken with a hangover. Mindfully kept the New Year’s Eve celebratory imbibing to a minimum: serious swigs of rye whiskey snuck from a flask before the big Whiskey Row boot drop at midnight and a pint of craft beer.

True, those and the late bedtime hour (3 a.m.-ish) cast a rummy quality to my morning. Hence the relaxing and cleansing salt bath. Nothing like beginning a new year with a “clean slate.” (haha)

It’s nothing like what the Japanese do of course. Their o-shogatsu (new year) is their big celebration — akin to our Christmas minus the pervasive crass commercialism and stress on steroids.

Days before New Year’s are traditionally dedicated to wiping the slate clean of debts, deep cleaning inside homes — including windows! — and outside, like sweeping porches and so on. Workplaces give employees time to make their desks / work spaces sparkles before leaving early.

O-sooji it’s called. The Great Clean. (That “o” is honorific.)

Of course these aren’t hard and fast rules that apply to EVERY home and workplace, rather illustrations of the meaning Japanese attach to New Year’s. It’s a time to begin fresh, utterly relax, spend time with family, not cook but dine on foods traditionally reserved for New Year’s, each with deep symbolic meaning, of course.

It’s how Asian cultures do things (and Western cultures don’t).

I’ve actually continued o-sooji since leaving Japan (in body, not spirit!) — as my living situation permits.

For example, in homes owned by someone else where I’m merely renting a room, I’m not about to scrub their homes — don’t forget windows inside and out! — from top to bottom! Not without being paid really really well. Such meticulous work deserves compensation.

But in spaces (studio apartments) where I’ve lived solo, I do undertake o-sooji. I enjoy it: the hard work and satisfaction of a deeply-cleaned space that sparkles. Terrific way to greet any new year!

No o-sooji for me this year since I’m under George’s rules and dictates — soon to change, just gave 30-days notice yesterday. How liberating to shed that burden of our cohabitation on the final day of the year!

In fact, I didn’t even clean my little bedroom window — a modified mini o-sooji! I’m impeccable about keeping “my space” clean all the time anyhow so my bedroom was in no need.

But o-sooji‘s not just about physical stuff — cleanliness, paying debts off by Dec. 31, etc. It’s the spirit.

Anyhow. Year from now, no idea where I’ll be living. Perhaps I’ll be in my own space again and thus free to resume the traditional practice of o-sooji. I hope so. This roommate stuff sucks! Especially at age 59 — soon to be 60!

Anyways. My two-fisted drinks and hot salt bath (to at least o-sooji the body in lieu of a physical space!) partaken with Pandora from an iPad made for a nice, sane — and again hangover-free! — start to 2017.

2017’s gonna be one damn fine year. We got our country back, we here in America. Trump’s the man to LEAD a recovery and return to America exceptionalism.

There’s gonna be an optimism and strength and confidence restored that America hasn’t seen since Reagan (and that Darth Obama intentionally set out to destroy). Mark my words.

Best thing that happened in 2016: America saved itself and elected Trump to steer us forward.

Another reason to celebrate the arrival of 2017! America’s march toward the grave under Obama and socialism is reversed.

May our nation’s turn toward optimism, confidence and fortune flow abundantly into your own life.

And in keeping with Japanese New Year’s tradition: the purification and blessing of the kadomatsu:

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

 

 

 

No exchanges, no returns. Was it really Christmas?!

It wasn’t the best of Christmases, it wasn’t the worst of Christmases.

… to spin from the famous opening sentence in the Dickens’ novel.

It was OK. There was a handful of highlights. There was baaaaaad behavior. Not related to family but the public. (see prior Starbucks post!)

Lemme ask: Does anyone really LOVE Christmas?!

I know such people exist. I’ve met ’em. My boss at one of my jobs is one. I marvel at their love of Christmas as I might an Olympic runner. “Amazing feats. Amazing athlete. But that’ll never be me. Never can be.”

Halloween, that’s my holiday.

Anyways, Christmas 2016 is past. I’m glad. I survived. Endured. What especially differentiated this one from most is that I wasn’t at some really shitty job that I hate. Any holiday, nee any DAY where I’m not so engaged, well, it’s a good day.

So attention turns now to New Year’s. In Japan, a much much more celebrated holiday than Christmas. You can take the girl outta Japan but you can’t take Japan outta the girl.

As usual, I have no plans. It sucks. It means I have no friends to call. No intimate get-togethers with one or close circle of 4-6. Means while life’s better than in the past, I’m still a long long long long long long long ways from the life I’d envisioned or would want for myself. Let’s get real: need.

I was at Costco the other day. Commented to one of the food-demo gals or possibly a passing customer: “There is a Santa. But there is no God.”

The words just spilled out of my mouth, as they oft do. Taking me by surprise, not in content but articulate expression.

I DO believe in Santa.

And I do and I don’t believe in God.

It’s complicated. I believe in part that there’s a God. But he’s not a loving or good God. Evidence abounds. Plus I have personal proof.

I hesitate to outright say I believe in God but he’s bad. I’d say vengeful and bad in the sense of not-good.

Anyways, ’tis the season of reflecting on big matters and the big man upstairs.

Thinking ahead, I need life to be better to me than it’s been. I need more from life than I’ve gotten or received. 2017 is an especially significant one for various reasons. I can’t have my decade in my 60s — 60th birthday in March! — as a repeat, rather, continuation, of my 50s. Or 40s. Two decades to “wipe off the proverbial personal map.”

Thing is, how do I get what I want. When what I want does not exist. Does not exist in this town (or most).

Fuck.

So much for any lingering good cheer of Christmas! 😀 😀

Best shut up before this takes on a rambling quality and let this post just traaaaailllllll offfffffff ………

Btw, about that headline. Every year I receive one present: homemade cookies from my son. So I ask: Without a gift to exchange or return — aka the National Pasttime of millionS of Americans beginning today — can it really be called Christmas?!?

I think not.

And I think so.

Shine on you moneymakers

Having money is a joy.

Not for reasons of greed or power or controlling others. I’m not like Hillary Clinton, not even a teeny bit!

Having money is a joy because it allows me to give to others. To bolster businesses and livelihoods of others. To grease the wheels in free markets and capitalism.

I leave with cash after every driving shift delivering pizzas. Cold hard cash — rather warm tender — in my pocket.

It’s not a lot of cash. It’s mileage reimbursement plus tips. A good chunk of that goes directly into gas pumps. Another portion is simply bumping me up to minimum wage since, as a tipped service worker, I earn below.

Thus, in net income, I’m not sailing on the wealth ship. I’m barely even in the parking lot where that ship docks!

Still. There’s something truly gratifying about leaving work with cash in the pocket. Ready to be spent (or saved). Ready to give to others to support them, help provide them jobs and income.

Example.

The pizza shop’s a half block from an ice cream store. Not a store I frequent typically.

But after a work shift and with tip money in my pocket, a treat sounds nice. So I stop in often for a double scoop.

Boom! Right there I’ve helped the economy.

Boom! I’ve helped others maintain or get employment.

Boom! I’ve helped others prosper. By my prosperity, even if it’s just a little, others proper.

 

That is capitalism. That’s the free market doing what it does naturally, when government gets and the fuck out.

Politics, economics, socioeconomics, cultures, those are my passions. But I’m not going there. That post would never end!

Money is the focus. The power of money.

The power of money is the power to give to others, via capitalism (the ice cream store being a simple example) or charity.

Such joy I experience in giving to others. When my income can assist others to receiving or maintaining theirs, all’s right in my world.

I’ve never been super wealthy, with more money than I know what to do with. But I’ve long said that if I were, these things would and would not happen:

  1. I wouldn’t go buy a new car, fancy or otherwise. My 14-1/2-year-old Subbie is just fine! I love that car. I might buy a second vehicle, a Toyota pickup truck (for practical purposes that a Subbie can’t provide). But that Subbie’s going nowhere.
  2. I wouldn’t hire a housekeeper. I’m all about work and taking care of a space myself. It’s deep, it’s intimate, it’s personal, it’s a personal quality that ain’t ever gonna change.
  3. I’d have fresh-cut flowers in the home every week. And I’d have someone deliver them rather than pick them up myself — which, believe me, is VERY much my over-independent-receive-no-help-from-anyone-never-ever (thankoufuckedupchildhood) way.

The reason? It’d provide another person an income. A livelihood. A means of supporting his- or herself.

That is gratifying.

That is fulfilling.

That is joy.

Shine on you moneymakers! {sung to tune of Pink Floyd’s “shine on you crazy diamond”}

 

Love that Labor! But Ohhh the Beauty of a Burger …

Everything has a place and everything in its place* — and the dust of the move is settling as those things find their place.

*the singular truth I’d have contributed to humankind had someone not beat me to it.

My Genius Mind at Work

I’m impressed that I made it work. That I took a buncha incongruent parts and constructed within a tiny confined space a whole that flows. If it could be humanly done — as opposed to alien-done, their superpowers at bending, transforming, reshaping, shapeshifting exceed our own — I’m the one to do it.

In this 3-D world, always comes down to spatial reasoning and conceptual thought / intelligence / genius.

My little bedroom, though tight with furnishings, is functional. Doable. Livable. Yey to my brain for being so darn smart in figuring out the solutions to this space puzzle!

Labor Day. More Like Play Day!

Today is Labor Day. Accordingly, I shall be laboring away while most Americans shall be playing, kicking back with BBQs, holidaying, chilling, doing nothing, enjoying these dog-day summer days on the precipice of autumn.

I love labor! But oh what I’d give for a burger. A good burger. A work of art. The quintessential joy of a true American / Westerner.

Early in the year, there was a staff change at the station. I took on the shifts of the retiring member. Only one hour a day added to my normal weekend night shifts. I did it willingly, gladly. The station needed the help and I needed the extra hours (even if only 4 a week).

The result: I work 7 days a week. An hour here. An hour there. 8 hours here. 6 hours there. For a PT sum of 23 hours a week.

I’ve not had a day off since early this year.

Handcuffed. No Relation to Jail.

It’s wearing me out. I can’t go anywhere. Can’t travel. Not even a day trip. So my contemplative musing this Labor Day isn’t appreciating the value of labor and work ethics. Got that wisdom in spades! I wrote the book on work!

Well, maybe I didn’t write it. That might’ve been my dad, haha. But I sure as hell co-authored it!

Learning to work is NEVER my issue. Mine is: how do I work less! Rather, restructure my work life so that there’s space for me. For fun. For travel. Exploration. Adventure. A change of environment. Fundamental needs for my soul.

There’ve been shifts at the station recently that trouble, distress me tremendously and deeply. Give me pause. Give me reason to reconsider my heretofore solid commitment to that workplace.

It’s Mercury retrograde now (until Sept. 22), hence not the time for decisions or actions! It’s the time for the REs:

Review

Rethink

Reconsider

Redo

Re-evaluate

Reflect

So that’s how I’m celebrating my Labor Day! Reflecting on where I’m at, where the workplace is at and becoming, where I’d really like to go.

In the words of the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld, NO SOUP FOR ME! Or grilled burgers and potato salad at the Labor Day picnic as the case may be. 🙂

May your Labor Day be one of productivity and gratitude for those fortunate to have jobs they love.

For those who don’t — either for unemployment or underemployment or jobs they hate — may your Labor Day reconnect you to your dreams and true self.

Wise Words

To close in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”

I mourn the loss of work ethics in America. That man, I know, shares the sentiment and on this day dedicated to the value of work is rolling over in his grave.

 

Muscling Up for the Move

Now 24 hours away on the button.

The U-Haul rental. Two guy helpers. The move.

Most of what I have gets moved tomorrow, followed by little moves and cleanup for 5 days until the Aug. 31 final departure.

Insomnia struck again. I slept too little to know how I feel today – except tired. Frayed. Worn out. Tired of moving preparations. Worried about what’ll fit in my (little) rental bedroom.

Grateful for the space. To have been offered it and to George (roommate) to offer it. Fatigued and stressed though I be, knowing I have shelter cuts the worser stress of the potential alternative of homelessness. So I’m grateful in my fatigue. Soldiering onward as I do.

In the Home Stretch

Today, like every day for quite a while, is chockfull of Things to Do. Getting signed on with the storage unit. Carting a stack of pallets — they’re heavy — into storage to protect my things. Rearranging and tidying up stuff strewn around the house to clear the path for furniture moving mañana.

It’s a small mobile home so not a lot of places for stuff to go! Shove stuff to one wall to clear a path for X. Now restack same stuff  to that corner to clear a path for Y. The Dance of Stuff!

Stuff. Boy do I have stuff! Compared to most folks, I have very little. But to me who likes to travel light — ideally with only what my Subbie can hold — the minute I need a truck to move things, I’m overwhelmed and burdened on some level.

Not to suggest I don’t love my things! I do. All the more after a 15-year absence/separation. Furniture crafted by my dad is priceless. Photos of my life in Japan, including the love of my life. High school annuals and bound editions of the high school newspaper that I was on for 3 years. A coupla old laptops with tons of writing. Childhood photos.

I’m no packrat. Neither am I  sentimental for sentimentality’s sake, a common affliction among most Americans.

I am deeply selectively sentimental, however.

Every item I own gets scrutinized with every move — and there have been many! Like I said, this is around Move #55 but who’s counting?!? At 59, recollecting every place I’ve lived would be challenging!

Point is, meticulously sifting and scrutinizing and REALLY weighing the value of every item — it’s who I am, it’s what I do. I’ve also honed the skill through experience. I could teach people how to downsize. Or assist them.

Say It: Short

BTW, I’ll say it upfront: This move is temporary. For the short term. How long I’ll be in this room share and where I’ll go after it, who knows?!

I just know: Don’t get too settled. Stay light on your feet. Change is afoot! No word play intended.

Yeah, a truck and two dudes and lots of lifting … 24 hours away. No stopping this move now!

Feel like this space is vomiting me out. Or I’m vomiting it. What weird words to write!  Food for thought. Again, no word play intended.

Gratitude in the Upheavals

It’s happening, it’s all happening.

The move. Number 54 or so but who can keep count? Ain’t for nuthin’ I’m called the Moving Queen!

August: Arrrrrrghhhhhhh!

It was brutal. No relation to summer heat.

For various reasons, including a dearth of housing for both single living, i.e., studios, or room shares. Had nothing come through by this Sunday, Aug. 21, I had (emergency) Plan C, D & E gestating in my mind. All of which included putting everything into storage.

WHICH, I discovered, is a great business to get into in Prescott! Huge demand! Insufficient supply! If anyone needs a start-up idea, self-storage is it! You won’t hurt for customers.

Turns out, I’m going the storage route. But I jump ahead.

God Bless George!

I was one of two candidates he really liked for his rental room in his home. Another phone call, more questions, more answers and he opted to go with me! “You need it more, I think,” he commented. The other lady’s living at home with her folks.

He’s right. Without the room, I was looking at homelessness (again) or a modified version thereof. It’s kind of George to recognize, acknowledge and act on that observation.

And an observation it was; I’d said nothing on the matter upon meeting him and the room.

I’m so grateful:

  • that someone had my back in some way or fashion. Am accustomed to that and it is … comforting.
  • I’m so grateful that he’s opening his home in this time of need.
  • I’m so grateful to be provided:
  • a room in a safe, clean and nice home during this transition.
  • a room that’s affordable, offers a space for my own bed, clothes, shoes, other simple basics …
  • a room with a shower and a kitchen where I can feed myself, boil water for my beloved morning coffee. A room with quietude, privacy and Internet!

All the basics in this transition are covered.

On a personal note, it’s because I have been homeless — really, there are 25 articles at least waiting to be written, yearning to be heard! — and lived that hardship that I appreciate: shelter. a shower. water boiled on a stove instead of a little single propane burner with its flame flickering in the wind.

Everything else not essential in a room-share situation … goes into storage.

Speaking of Storage

I’m so lucky I found a self-storage space! Like I said, demand here is high and units scarce.

My unit comes with a blemish. There’s a leak. The owner can’t determine exactly where, only that rainwater sometimes runs down the back wall and puddles {here}.

Hence whatever I store there will be boxes, not valuable furniture,  put on a pallet and protected well with a tarp. A doable workaround in exchange for space for my things and a slight storage discount due to the leak. Yes!

Oh Ye of Little Faith

I admit, my f-word isn’t four letters, it’s five! Developing faith. It’s a lifelong lesson, mission, a significant player in my story.

As I dismantle my current home, move stuff out, declutter where I can and simplify — a process I undertake routinely, not just for relocations — I pause to reflect on the madness of the past few months.

And madness it was! This move was unplanned, unexpected, a tumultous whoosh of a wind moving me up and out after an argument with the landlord …

I’ve much to contemplate after the move

I’ve much to be grateful for. A room in a house with a gentleman who I sense is kind, direct, honest, fair and good. I like that!

Changes are ahead. They lie in wait. This room-share is temporary, like the new PT job I’m soon to begin. (Another post!)

Everything happened … so fast! Intensely. It’ll take a while to make sense of it all. In this moment, with tons of work still ahead for this move, I’m grateful:

to be safe after the whirlwind

to have shelter waiting … water, a bed, the means to prepare food

a second job (income) waiting in early September

Things I needed, fundamentally, came to be. In the 11th hour perhaps but arrive they did! Things worked out, despite the terrors and trains wrecks in my head. Which I’m learning to not do.

To every being up there and around me, protective guides, spirits, invisible presences and forces working in my favor (rather than against me): props to each of you for guiding, assisting, directing and helping in this time of tumult and turmoil. Bless you. The Light be of and with you.