Friday, September 5, 2003

Lonesome, Lonely, and Alone

Moving away from your friends and family is a great, albeit painful, way to gain a newfound appreciation for them. If you ever find yourself not appreciating a buddy, imagine not seeing that person for two years or ever. You can talk about the connectedness of the world today, how easy it is to phone or email, but really there’s nothing like seeing a person, being in each other’s presence. I find myself wondering why people take so long to answer emails or return phone calls. Have they forgotten about me? Did I do or say something to offend them? Then you realize, you are on the periphery of their lives now. You are not someone they will see next weekend, they are not going to pop over to watch the game. You may not see them for years, maybe never again. It’s hard for people with busy lives to devote time and emotion to people they may see only twice a decade.
This is a difficult realization. It means you either have to make new friends or hope for many visitors. We’ve had a few friends and family members come up, it’s not like we’re on the North Pole, but that tapestry of relationships we’d spent years weaving is suddenly looking a tad threadbare.
Take, for instance, an email exchange I had this morning with a friend in the Bay Area, a Giants fan, with whom I enjoy engaging in ribald baseball banter. My loathing for the Giants runs deeper and is more frequently fueled than any hatred I have for the Yankees. Yet, I manage to put aside those emotions and have formed real human relationships with people who root for the San Francisco Giants. That’s just the kind of guy I am. So, I forget exactly what I wrote, something about Barry Bonds and steroids, alleged use of a corked bat, the words “flaccid bags of has-beens” may have been used, but he replies with niceties like kiss the wife and kid and signs it “Your buddy” – (name deleted to protect the innocent).
“Your buddy” I think. What does this mean, “your buddy”? Of course, he’s my buddy. Was there any reason he needed to reiterate that he was my buddy? Was it concern on his part that perhaps I might be drifting into isolation and I needed reassurance that I still had friends. This was also my mind working after a run. I’ve started jumping on the treadmill while Nate takes his afternoon nap (now, usually his only nap of the day). Three or four days a week I get a good endorphin rush. Immediately following the run, though, my mind is racing. I’m usually a stressball until I get Nate down, I’ve had about a pot of coffee and I don’t like to eat before I run, so I’ve get a mostly empty stomach, then I go for a run and it clears my brain and I enter a blood sugar deprived, endorphin fueled buzz state that rivals anything William Blake ever got going.
So, this was my state of mind when I got that goddamn “your buddy” email. Yeah, I’m a little isolated. I miss my friends. I wonder if they ever really were my friends. It could be that we just make friends out of convenience. “You’re here, I’m here, we each have some free time, what do you say we do stuff together and call ourselves friends?”
“Sure, why not?”
What the hell.
Soo’s contract has been cancelled, shortened, she was given two weeks notice. I’m going to have to give up this computer and go write downstairs. The good news is she’ll be here to help with Nate. The bad news is we won’t have her income anymore. And, I still haven’t heard from that company about their opinion of my second round of interviews. I wrote an email to the guy I didn’t exactly hit it off with, but I haven’t sent it yet (for reasons that you’ll see as apparent). I probably won’t send it, I’ll just wait and see what they say. Here’s the letter:

Dear Mook (not his real name),
Thanks for taking the time to meet with me yesterday. I’d like to say it was a pleasure, but that would be transparently untrue. The conversation was interesting, probably more so for you than me. If I could take a bit more of your time I’d like to clarify myself. I do not presume to know your company as well as you or anyone else that has worked there for an extended period of time. The impression I have of the company is based on articles and conversations translated through the lens of my own experience. This experience tells me that a company could have the hottest technology in the world and still fail. It could have bright, dedicated, well-meaning employees and fail. It can have a dynamic leader with a clear vision of what he sees the company becoming and fail. There are thousands of reasons why companies fail or flounder or just plain underachieve. Where I’ve seen success is in companies where each of the aforementioned are in place AND the meaning and importance of each are adroitly communicated to the proper audiences in the proper way.

I do not claim to be expert at this, just as I do not claim to be an expert about your business, but I do know how it gets done and I know how to do it when given the chance. I’m a firm believer in the inevitability of success. As long as there are committed individuals driven by a powerful idea I have full confidence in that idea reaching its fruition. This all may sound a tad hyperbolic, and a bit over the edge for a guy applying for a PR manager position, but I’d rather you know how I think and what I believe in and reject me based on that than reject or accept me based on one late afternoon conversation.

Best Regards,
Your Buddy,
Billy Shakes

Like everything else I write, it needs some editing. I just want to work, to be around people, and to make money so I can take care of my family. And, I want to stop whining. Waah.

What to do? What am I doing? Why do I even turn this fucking computer on?

Back to the Barber

Almost. I drove by the Barber Shop, slowly, looking in to see if he was at that last chair. He was not. Soo cut my hair. She did a pretty good job and it was free. Free is good.

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