Monday, March 13, 2006


And so, reality comes crashing back in with a thud. I am back in the land of 45 degree weather and overpriced real estate. Houston, we have a problem. We hardly knew ye. More time necessary. Over.

Since my return to Boston last night, it has been overcast with chilly temperatures and a light mist sort of thing. It's better than freezing, but it is NOT 75 degrees. It is Boston however, which is, quite simply, the bestest city in the world... at times (depends on my mood... Boston occasionally gets into a room with Edinburgh and Santa Barbara and the three of them duke it out until only one is left standing. Wounds heal, though, and the victor never stays the same.) But, it's Boston at the tail end of winter and at a time when I'm physically exhausted. So yeah, one more day in sunny, smoggy Texas wouldn't have killed me. (Note: I never did figure out my cousin's camera, so there was no additional post from Houston. Once he e-mails me the pictures, I'll probably post them... unless they suck.)

It almost happened too. Both of my return flights home were oversold and they were looking for volunteers to fly the following day (today) in exchange for a first class seat, food and hotel accommodations, and a $400 travel voucher. Two things kept me from doing it. 1) Knowing I would have had to use another vacation day to stay in a hotel near the airport and 2) I was flying on Continental - the same airline who, eight years ago, managed to lose my luggage in a transfer at Newark (surprise, surprise) where it was never to be seen again. I was not about to do them any favors. Maybe I should've reconsidered.

Work today STUNK - and I mean, literally. During my absence a sewage pipe running through a crawl space below my basement corner office burst, spilling it's contents and creating little rivulets of filth in the dirt directly below. The pipe has been replaced. The stench has not. Febreeze all you want. Every intake of breath still remains retch worthy. I have a certain knack for being able to sugarcoat things and find the good in situations. This one's difficult. No one wants a spoonful of sugarcoated shit. The best I can come up with now is, "Well... I'll be all the more able to handle it the next time this happens." Huh? Okay... how about, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger?" Fair enough, but at the moment I don't want strength. I want a feces free work environment.

It was just enough. I knew what to expect coming back to work after a week's vacation. One or two people waiting for me at the front door to hit me with their computer problems the moment I cross the threshold (check.) A constant wave of people ambushing me in the hallway at various points throughout the day to tell me their tragic tale of woe and oh, come help me now please, quick, please, oh... NO? Oh... *sigh* well, when CAN you show up then? (Check.) Eight different salespeople whom I've never spoken to calling to say, "Hey! Brad Phelps here, damn nice to talk to ya. Hey, how was that vacation? Oh, how did I know? The receptionist told me! Betcha it was a lot warmer than here, eh? Ahhh..... good stuff So tell me, when can I come in and talk a little shop." (Check.)

I KNEW all of these things were going to happen. I prepared myself for the onslaught, and sure enough, they occurred. And for most of the day, I dealt with them... admirably, if I do say so. It's all part of the job. But later in the day, as I walked back downstairs to my office and I could hear the phone start ringing, soon to be followed by a whiny sing song voice behind me that said, "Eeerrrrric! Help!" and above it all the most horrendous, God-awful stench... well... I lost it.

Like a scene out of a movie, I wheeled around to face the person who called out my name, who, upon taking one look at my manic eyes, stuttered and said, "I can come back later."

Pick up the phone and hear, "Hey Eric, this is ______. I nee...."

"I'm sorry _____, I'd like to talk right now but I'm too busy smelling mine and everyone else's shit, and you know what? Damn, if it doesn't smell sweeter than most. Call me back later, will you? Thanks."


Check the e-mail. Three new messages. One from Computer Company X telling me about all the new higher education specials. One reply from my roommate, whom I'd e-mailed earlier. One from Employee BLANK wondering why he/she can't send any e-mail. Fire off a one sentence response:

'Care to tell me how you sent this one, then?'

By this point the theme song to that old SNL skit, "Nick Burns: Your Company's Computer Guy" started running through my head, and that just made me even more infuriated. Why? Because of everything it insinuated, and the fact that it was, for this very moment at least, right on the mark. All I would have needed to do was scream, "MOVE!" But, if anything, it also made me realize how ridiculous I was acting. After a few deep breaths (quickly followed by a few dry heaves) I'd calmed down enough to think straight.

First order of business: 'When matters are wrong, right them.' Easy enough. I went and apologized to the two people who had previously beheld my wrath, and tried to be as gracious as possible when fixing their problems. I then called the person who I'd e-mailed before, checked to see if they were still having 'e-mail problems', and told them to contact me if they should have any in the future.

Second order of business: 'Get the hell out of Dodge.' Done. I am typing this post from the reasonably comfortable, but only slightly less pungent confines of my apartment, feeling guilty about the way I've acted and debating on whether to turn up the thermostat.

At this time, however, I've got a different skit running through my mind. Remember that scene in City Slickers when Daniel Stern is whining and sobbing about his failed life and marriage and blah, blah, blah... and Billy Crystal and his Italian friend with the porn star mustache say, "Hey! Your life is a do over?" Yeah, well it plays out much more powerfully in my mind, but in any event, while I'm not bawling, I do feel like the logic still applies. Today hit me the wrong way (or I hit today the wrong way... probably more like it.) I'm just gonna say, "Fuck it. Do-over." It's only 6:30, and there's still plenty of time left in the day. So... a do-over it is. Don't know what the hell I'm gonna do with myself, but I'm sure I'll figure something out. Care to join me? O.K. Hurry up. It's gonna start.....




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