Thursday, April 18, 2013

Me, and That Other Asshole, Myself

Although it is impossible, or at least very challenging, to confidently assess the inner workings of another person's consciousness, I think it's safe to say that most adults operate around a basic duality; two dichotomous selves whose interests are in opposition. There is the childish, primal self who prefers to let its whims be the guide of its actions, and the sensible, aware self who has to find some way to trick that other asshole into behaving in a dignified and healthy manner. When one is out of the parental home, one must learn to parent themselves. I can't know for certain that this is how other people operate but I have made the assumption that I am not a dysfunctional sociopath and therefor most people know what I'm talking about. Or maybe this is distinctly a characteristic of people in their 20s in which case the only people who don't understand are people younger than I am. Either way, if you have no idea what I'm talking about then probably stop reading. This isn't going to start making sense for you.
This isn't my attempt to write a psych paper. This is just my description of how my day to day life works. If I'm lucky I wake up in full governance of my own actions. These are days when I wake up at the time I told myself I would the night before, complete the tasks I set out for myself, and eat according to plan. There are other days though- days on which I seem to have no memory of yesterdays good intentions and I simply forget to go running and then rather than eating the carefully selected, already purchased foods that wait patiently in the fridge, I instead buy a corn muffin at the 7-11 and don't even try to pack myself a lunch.  Within 20 minutes of waking up I have already destroyed my budget, my diet, and my attempt to form a healthy exercise habit. My hope is that on my good days I am taking steps towards training myself against these bad behaviors. In fact, my second self is really more of a neurotic Border Collie than a human child; a border collie who does NOT want to go running and who would really prefer to eat nothing but pasta and cheese. 
The reason I bring this up is because I've been in NYC for almost a year now and when I look back at the events I see a pretty even split of rational, adult decisions and reactive, immature nonsense. I've lived in four apartments in four distinct neighborhoods. I've been both evicted AND laid off. Due to my brief foray at a certain health club which will not be named I now know with some certainty that I really don't want to be doing sales unless the base pay in equal to at least twice my rent. Why didn't I know that before? I actually did, but the part of me that has no patience decided is was better to have any job as soon as possible than to wait for one that felt right. My adult self tends to become spineless during panic mode, and I panic easily. 
Now I have some free time. I'm going to my parents for 5 days to watch the animals while they're in florida and attempt to recollect myself. I don't have a license and no one else will be there. There is limited cable television and I've pretty much exhausted Netflix. There is nothing of interest within walking distance. I'm basically treating myself like an overnight camper in my own life for these five days. There will be daily itineraries. Meals will be pre-determined. Job-hunting time will be pre-allocated so i don't get sucked into a craigslist/careerbuilder hole. If everything goes well this should be very productive and I should feel much better by the time I return to NYC. Or I might read young adult literature and drink wine all day. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Onward and At An Undetermined Angle

Today I made a small scene at the Panera Bread near Northern BLVD in Long Island city. I don't know if any of you have spent much time in this particular area of Queens but it is seriously depressing. All car dealerships and the stench of dying dreams. This was my last day off before starting a new job and I had just been to a movie. I didn't end up having time to buy snacks because there was a group of teenagers buying tickets in front of me and they couldn't seem to figure out how money works. It was a 1:25 Matinee and I hadn't eaten lunch so by the time I got out I was really hungry. Panera Bread was the first thing I found.

I ordered a panini, gave them my name, and sat at the nearest open table to read Game of Thrones while I waited. They seemed to have a loud speaker so I was confident that I would know when my food was ready. I went over to the counter to check every so often and saw nothing that resembled my order so I decided to just sit down and wait for my name. My name was never called, and after some amount of time I politely inquired if perhaps they had heard my name wrong and possibly given my sandwich to the wrong person. "For Emma? Yeah we put that out a WHILE ago" was the very 'tude heavy response from the assembly line. "Sorry miss", said the counter boy, "we'll make you another". "NO," I said in a shaky voice which exposed my overly emotional response to the situation, "I DON'T WANT IT ANYMORE. I JUST WANT MY MONEY BACK."

I can't explain why this was my response at this moment. I knew that these are low paid employees who have no incentive to do their jobs particularly well. I knew that going all bitchface on everyone was not going to do anything but make me feel like an asshole later on. I stopped for a moment and considered rescinding my request, but instead what I said was "I just didn't realize that there would be NO effort made to get that message out." I waived my arms around like a crazy person while I said it. I cried a little. It was not good. The bewildered counter attendant gave me my $10 back and I left.

So that's what I did today. I might be a little stressed out about being unemployed.