picking my battles

January 23. 2001



this has a magritte quality to it, for some reason



Okay, so my job at B&N is rapidly souring. I had some rather disturbing exchanges in the past few days with my coworkers.

I work with Tracie, usually on Saturdays. She's a little out of her league here at B&N, I think. She was laid off her job at an internet start-up a few months ago. She has a master's degree in writing and publishing, yet she's working at here at the B&N cafe, and, strangely enough, is contemplating applying for a job as a manager at the store. My experience has led me to believe there is no fate more horrible than being a retail manager. But to each his own.

So on Saturday, after having several inches of snow dumped on us the night before, the store was quiet. And we got to talking about our respective significant others. And so she asks the question.

"So, where did you meet John?"

(after a moment of hesitation and a brief consideration of lying) "The internet."

At this point there will be one of two responses: a) "Oh, that's nice...", and the rapid changing of the subject, or b) a morbid and/or depressing anecdote about another couple who met via the internet. Tracie chose option b.

"Oh, I had a friend blah de blah de blah, married this guy she met on the internet, and they were together for three years and then out of the blue he blew his head off...apparently couldn't handle reality, etc etc etc."


What exactly am I supposed to say to that?

I guess I'm coming from a place where internet relationships aren't that big a deal. I can name more than a few people who have met their husbands/wives/boyfriends/girlfriends on the net, and it's not that uncommon. If anything, I think meeting people through the net gets you in contact with people you would never even think of approaching in real life. I know that I would have never met John if it hadn't been for RDT.

I was talking to Cara on Sunday night, when we usually work together. The thing about Cara is that she's brutally honest if you ask her to be. And I made the mistake of asking her. She was commenting on the little quirks of all the people that worked in the store, and I asked her wht she thought of me.

"Well, you just seems so unhappy all the time. I've noticed it since you've started working here, and so have a couple other people. You seem depressed."

I managed to stammer out some sort of excuse that school was stressing me out, but I was very deeply disturbed. Because I'm not unhappy or depressed at all, on the contrary, I'm really happy with my life now. I hate coming across as some sort of moody, depressed person who is constantly in a bad mood. So I threw these things back and forth in my mind for the rest of my shift, thinking back and trying to analyze my past behavior, and all the time wondering if I should give a fuck what the people at work think of me and who I am. I mean, I see them 15 hours a week, and I've learned that there are some people that just aren't worth your time and effort to try to please.

Like my dear manager M.

So I go into B&N tonight, because I have to get some books for classes, and I also decide to get some dinner. I approached the cafe, and as luck would have it M was behind the counter. I smiled tentatively at him, trying to read his mood.

"What do you want?" he asked flatly.

I made my order, and he made no attempt to be courteous to me. I was so surprised by this hostility that I just stayed silent. His managing skills suck, and he's a social moron, and he's decided to make me his personal chew toy because I have a low threshold for bullshit. Well, whoop de do. I think my days at B&N are numbered.

One Year Ago:
"I'm rather puzzled by our relationship at the moment. I never thought it would be possible for me to have a platonic friendship with a guy I would otherwise consider, well, gorgeous, yet here I am."