Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

Well That Was Fun… October 25, 2010

I return to you, dear readers, on the eve of my leaving yet another job. I know you’re asking yourselves why I only seem to be interested in blogging when I’m on the verge or in the midst of unemployment, but I swear it’s purely coincidence. To be completely candid with you, I’ve missed you. It’s not that I don’t get a good dose of writing every day when I update my 365. That’s nice and all, but there’s much more to life than photography (understatement of the year) and I don’t think any of that’s been getting properly addressed.

Par example: My ever-lengthening list of  “Jobs I’ve Quit Despite the Shite Economy.” Just thrown another shrimp on the barbie, giving my notice at the tapas bar I’ve been managing. It seems it’s not just particular restaurants (although the hibachi definitely took the prize for unhealthiest workplace ever), but the entire industry that I’m not particularly in line or in love with. And yes, I’d worked my way through the ranks very quickly in this latest endeavor and I’d finally paddled hard enough to get my chin up above the poverty line, but in the end I found myself working harder than ever, earning less than ever, and forever feeling like a fish out of water. To say I’m not the most polished person in the world is to put it kindly. The reality of it was I didn’t have enough money to dress the part, and it was becoming too difficult to act like I liked every one of my my guests and loved being there.

Especially the nightclub. Watching people with more money than you (whether they earned it or not) blow said money and act like complete assclowns to the same, mind-numbingly awful 40 songs (it’s amazing how slightly altering the order fools people into thinking they’re having a different experience each week…), cleaning up after them when they dribble red wine all over the women’s restroom (or worse), helping them find the lost camel jacket (worth more than my entire wardrobe) that they left on the dance floor, getting the really wasted ones into cabs at the night’s end whether they like it or not (or, in one case, getting shoved aside by a grown man who insisted he was fine even as he stumbled to his car), returning their wallets – complete with credit cards and $700 in cash – to them when they return in their limo later and graciously accepting the $15 reward they offer you for doing so (wow. thanks.), and eventually crawling into bed (literally – because have you ever worn heels for 10 hours straight??) at 3 or 4 a.m. with your ears ringing loud enough to make it hard to sleep.

Awesome.

Who wouldn’t want this job?

Strangely enough, there are people who aspire to such things. I am, conclusively, not one of them. And, as if I needed another reason to quit, the night schedule had me missing out on far to much life. Having a schedule quite the opposite of Jeff’s had us literally missing each other. He’d be up and off to teach just shortly after I’d gone to bed, and I’d come home long after he’d hit the sack. Even my days off didn’t align. While it’s totally sweet to be able to run your errands or hit the gym or find parking at the beach while the rest of the world is working, the cost is resigning yourself to doing all of these things alone. Lesson learned: I don’t need as much “Me Time” as I once thought I did.

So what will I do? A very good question. I’ve got a few applications in at the university already and I’ll be taking some Windex to my resume and sending it out. Wilmington’s not exactly the Land of Opportunity, but if I gleaned anything from my managing job, it was the art of networking. It is a small town – and you can cry about it, or you can use it. I’ve met enough people now that (god willing) when word gets out that I’m leaving, I can at least get some advice or leads on where to start.

If nothing else, I plan to use the time off to work on 1201. I’m starting to do pro-level work now (granted, there’s a vast spectrum of “Pro” photography out there and I’m still hanging out in the middle somewhere with plenty of room for improvement), and if I’m going to ask for payment for my work, the business had better look like a business. Obviously, I can’t sink a lot of money into it right now, but the website needs a little spit shine and I’m in desperate need of a good business card (and thanks to work, I know a guy who knows a guy).

I realize that I’m in the same boat (it’s got to be like an ark or a cruise ship by now) as so many other people my age, creative people, intelligent people, extremely capable people who are stuck finding a way to make a living doing what they’re best at. Plenty ahead of us have figured it out. Maybe we’re late bloomers, or maybe the shuffle board and Mai Tais are keeping us on that cruise ship a little to long. As for me, the game’s over and I just got cut off, so I’m jumping ship and swimming to shore with every hope that land is close.

And not inhabited by cannibals.

(And –  just because – a little something from My New Favorite Web Comic: Hyperbole and a Half )

 

Uncanny… October 18, 2009

Filed under: dating,humor — curiouserx2 @ 4:14 pm
Tags: , , ,

I swear this guy has surveillance set up in my living room.

xkcd

www.xkcd.com

 

How Not to be a Rockstar September 14, 2009

9631_536941278496_28501299_31826005_6709213_n…  Jeff’s proposed title of the compelling bestseller he proposes I write. Not a bad idea, really, for a girl who spent a good 6 years pursuing a career in music, only to realize the pursuit had made her into something she was not. Into someone she did not envy or admire. And thus, she walked away from it all.

Not to say I was anywhere close to infamy. But those years did produce some pretty great stories of experiences both hysterical and terrible, both bittersweet and just plain bitter. SO maybe this is the new direction of my masters thesis… for the grad program I haven’t been accepted to yet…. because I’m still working on the application…. and because I can’t decided if it’s the right thing to do.

Which brings me to my next point.

Today is one of those thankfully rare days when, never mind all the a##-busting and name-taking you’ve been doing, you feel like you’re just not doing enough with your life. In fact, you can’t figure out what exactly you are doing, and why any of it hasn’t gotten you somewhere beyond serving shrimp teriyaki to college kids.

((Oh- great story – today, an elderly woman of questionable sanity walks in and tells the hostess that a friend recommended our sushi restaurant to her. For seafood. She is also allergic to shellfish. So when we settle on the seafood tempura, with only red snapper and salmon, I think it might just work out. I even bring her ketchup in lieu of cocktail sauce (Cocktail sauce. In an Asian restaurant. Seriously?). She looks pleased, but when I glance over a while later, she’s calling me over. “Honey… I’m sorry, but I just don’t taste any fee-ish in theya anywaya,” she says. She has eaten all the salmon, but the red snapper is there untouched. “I know it’s hard to see it with the batter, but these are the white fish,” I explain, pointing out all the fish she hasn’t eaten. “Well, I know forah fact they’s onions theya,” she says, pointing to the one white thing on her plate that, true, is not fish. Soon, I convince her to open up one of the “potatoes” so that she’ll see it is, in fact fish. She puts a small piece in her mouth. “Well that don’t taste like no fee-ish I evah had; try it,” she adds, actually offering me a piece of fish. I tell her that’s really okay, that I believe that she is unsatisfied with the fish and will see what I can do. I’m able to comp half of the price of her meal, tell her so, hand her the bill and get back to my other tables. Moments later, the hostess comes walks over and tells me the woman is at the front desk trying to get her bill decreased. I take a huge breath, trying to summon whatever patience I might have left. And to not drop my tray and run screaming for the hills. (Did I mention there is NO MANAGER ON DUTY??) Once again, I try to explain to her that we’ve already given her a huge discount on her meal. Somehow (and I’m a little foggy on the details here; I may have blacked out in order to save my head from exploding), I get her to pay 7 of the $7.51 she owed me. Victory? I’m still not sure.))

Clearly, my life is not glamorous.

But I don’t need it to be. The years in which I sought musical stardom (in one form or another) were some of my most exciting but undeniably my loneliest as well. I’ve traded it all in order to be true to myself, and was rewarded by meeting a most amazing partner. Together we traveled to a more happy latitude, and finally I live by the sea.

It’s like working on a puzzle, and your down to your last few missing pieces. But as soon as you find one that fits, you realize another has gone missing, and this continues until you feel like you’ll never get the damn thing together.

But if history repeats itself (and clearly it does) I know the feeling of being completely overwhelmed will only last so long, that tomorrow I’ll wake up with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. Happens every time.

‘Til then I’m summoning my patience, not running for the hills.

 

Sophie’s Choice September 12, 2009

Filed under: humor,photography — curiouserx2 @ 7:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I told her the life of a model was no life for her… being the adolescent she was, she threw me an icy glare as the flashbulbs exploded. The rest – was history.

SophieCat 023

SophieCat 001

SophieCat 027

 

Apology September 9, 2009

Dear Guy at Table 26,

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my deepest regrets for your family’s experience at my restaurant the other night (in case the five times I apologized to you that evening were not enough). But first, please make yourself comfortable – this could take a while.

I’m sorry, for starters, that on the Sunday before Labor Day (which might as well be a Saturday), I was one of only two servers scheduled.

I’m sorry that you happened to arrive along with four other families and a couple of two-tops, so that when the server assigned to you failed to notice you and was too overwhelmed to take your table, I stepped in to make sure you didn’t wait any longer.

I’m sorry that at that point I had 5 other tables, one with a special needs child who had tipped over a full bowl of soup that nearly ended up in his mother’s lap (consequently, she was thanking me profusely just before you told me what a horrible job I was doing).

I’m sorry that under pressure, I failed to enter two of your sushi rolls. I’m also sorry that when I tried to correct the error, the sushi chefs (who are still working on their English) could not understand my request.

I’m sorry that you brought three small children to a sushi restaurant, and that your two young girls were squirmy. And that your son was screaming and had to be taken outside at one point. And that you and your wife do not appear to be on the best of terms. (Or even in love anymore).

I’m sorry that you decided to cancel the rolls as they were being made. They looked good. Reee-aly good.

And I’m sorry that you had to tell your server how to do her job. “Maybe if you just slowed down and listened, things like this wouldn’t happen.” You’re probably right – or I’d have five other tables also upset with me for not moving fast enough. But whatever. At least YOU would have been happy, and that’s what we’re really concerned about here.

Most of all, sir, I am sorry that you probably treat other people this way. Some of us have learned to roll with the punches, and even so it stings a little. Other people are not so lucky.

I can only hope that you now feel like a bigger man (because no one else who’s heard this story so far seems to see it that way), having put your waitress in her place.

My sincerest regrets,

~a

complaint-department-grenade1

 

Gainfully Unemployed August 11, 2009

Great Depression Unemployment Line

Ah, to be young and unemployed!! To live out your days sending out and dropping off resumes! To dream not of finding work in the field you spent 4 years preparing for, but of finding work in a restaurant where the entrees cost more than $8.99 so that you might at least have enough free time to pursue your creative endevors pro bono on the side.

To be entirely honest, back when I held a 9 to 5 in a young, sleek, hip office, I caught myself silently envying my lesser employed (read: jobless) friends. Their daily struggles (which included quite a bit of free time and sleeping in because there’s only so much job groveling you can do in a day), announced via Facebook status,  read like mini adventures, romantic tales of strife, struggle and sacrifice. And free time.  Did I mention free time?

And now here I am. Walking in the shoes I had just months ago dared only to experience vicariously.

Am I nervous that after two months I still have no job awaiting me when we arrive in Wilmington? Does it frighten me ever so slightly that my bank account balance creeps perilously downward each day?

No, mes amis!!

In fact, I find it exhilarating! Like a swan dive into a crystal clear lake lit by the early morning sun!! Like biking down a hill with the wind in my hair!!!

Or so I tell myself – every time I feel like I’m being sucked down into a spiral of frustration and self pity. Every time a cover letter goes unanswered. Every time I wonder if I made a huge mistake leaving my safe, if terribly unsatisfying, office management position.

This morning, I spent half an hour filling out an application for an assistant manager position at a health food store. I was feeling especially bold having just proof read a gloriously written cover letter, when the application asked me several questions about my grocery management and/or grocery store experience (of which I have approximately none). It was at this point that I realized I would not be considered for this job no matter how eloquent my treatise on why I was the obvious choice.  That, and I really didn’t want the job.

So it was back to the drawing board – namely, the Craig’s List bulletin board.  My latest motivational theory? That these employers must simply meet me in person to understand the force of nature that is Amanda Heironimus. That once my irresistible life force is transferred via a simple handshake, they will be powerless to turn me away. So, all I have to do is get to Wilmington (moving day = Thursday), and all will be made right in the universe!

Or something.

It keeps me going anyway. Making follow-up calls, sending e-mails, applying for jobs I probably have no business applying for, but which sound interesting and not overly difficult to figure out nonetheless (cough… Marine Finfish Cultivation Technician… cough, cough).

So to all my fellow unemployed (I prefer the kinder, gentler, if less widely utilized term, “Vocational Explorers”): keep calm, carry on and make productive and creative use of this rare surplus of time. And maybe do your job-hunting using the pool’s WIFI, because when are we ever going to get to do THAT again??

All my best,

~a

 

Red Hot American Summer July 13, 2009

DSCN3577

All right, all right.

I’m forced to give in here and admit that the London post is going to take much longer than expected to pull together, and I’d feel like a bad friend, daughter and blogger if I left the slate blank for much longer without so much as a word to indicate I’m still alive, kicking and screaming at the top of my lungs a la John Mayer (anyone else captivated by the irony that he sings that line in falsetto – and that he still has a career?)

I’m writing to you now from Davidson, North Carolina, no longer an Ohioan, no longer 9 to 5-ing it, no longer sure of the future, and bizarrely at peace with all of this.

And assuredly having the best summer of my adult life.

Probably because it so closely resembles the summers of my childhood. Yes, we’re fixing up a house and I do wait the occasional table. But somehow I’ve been granted this incredible situation in which I (for a couple of months, anyway) have less cares and more free time, in which I ride bikes, go swimming, get enough sleep, go for ice cream, go to the movies, take late-night walks, take road trips, take naps. I was finally able to visit Evil Twin,  who’s now a mere three hours away, and not only did we go out on the town dressed to the nines and drank a few pints, we STOLE A DOG. Yep, this dog had run away from its home too many times and when it nearly got hit by a car, its family officially lost ownership rights. Now she’s Moose’s new big sis.

I live this way knowing that, just like summer break, the bells will soon be ringing, calling me back to a more regimented lifestyle in which there are rules and responsibilities. We’ll be taking another day trip to Wilmington to scout the campus area for apartments. J and I came to an agreement that  our safety and well-being are probably more important than being able to walk to the farmer’s market. And then there’s also an impending job hunt looming over my head.

But right now I’m going outside to catch some lightning bugs.

And the rest can wait.

~a

Oh, and, P.S.  Something completely unrelated, but nonetheless hysterical:
Designated Drivers