Sunday, May 21, 2006

Some Thoughts On Raging Boozed Fights

My fiancee woke me at 3am this morning to explain that our friend, we'll call him Clark for shits, would be sleeping in our living room, as he had had an enormous fight with our old roommate, whom we'll call Rico, also for shits. We love both Rico and Clark, but both have a reputation for having a dark side when drunk. Clark is quite a large fucker, muscle wise, and Rico can certainly hold his own.

Yesterday was Clark's birthday. He's been living with Rico ever since he broke up with his fiancee in St. Louis and moved back to Dallas. Rico now lives in a good-sized-for-one-person one bedroom. He really just wants to live on his own, but has put up Clark for seven months now. I guess the irriation has just been itching and building, because last night in their drunken drive back to the apartment, Clark punched Rico in the arm while he was driving, which somehow detonated an enormous festering rage. The two began screaming at each other, just as Rico pulled into our apartments. They got out of the car and my fiancee had to get between them before the fistfight began.

We've both seen glimpses of Rico's dark side before, and really assumed that this morning all would be better. Nothing like being shitfaced to encourage an overreaction. But somehow he is still unmovingly pissed. No one, especially Clark who barely remembers anything, is really sure why.

As a really gruesome kicker, after Rico left, Clark was so raging mad (he has a tendency to get in fights more than most, especially when drunk) that he punched the everloving fuck out of the stucco wall surrounding one of our dumpsters, then punched a neighboring apartments' "Now Leasing" sign right in two. He can barely use either of his hands this morning and his right hand is undoubtedly broken. How he has not already gone to have it taken care of boggles my mind. However angry I have ever been, I have not one iota of doubt that I could never get to that point. I also realize it's a very male moment, the drunken fistfights, the super-aggressive violence, especially when angrily confronted by another alpha male, but luckily my fiancee Derek has never expressed even a passing glimpse of such tendencies, and I think I have seen him at every conceivable stage of drunkenness.

We have had to drop him off with a co-worker. He uncomfortably asked if he could stay another night, but as my fiancee told me, "If you feed a stray cat once, well, you have a cat." I was feeling bad, as I was fairly sure he had me in mind when he tuned Clark down. I do feel awful still, as we're both fairly sure Clark couldn't feel more worthless. Derek spoke with Rico, who said that Clark shouldn't even call today to apologize. And while I wasn't even there, I can't help but feel that Rico was also partly responsible and shouldn't be this intensely angry. We must all be missing something, and it's unfortunate that in Clark's post-drunk haze, he can recall nothing. So who's to say?

We're hoping to take Rico out for a couple drinks at the Saucer tomorrow night, and if it comes up, it comes up. I'm pretty sure Clark will be on his way back to Oklahoma tomorrow as it is. How depressing.

On a more positive note, we're both looking very much forward to our trip to Midland in the first week of June (I know, who'd have guessed?), but Derek's best friend is getting married, so that will be quite enjoyable. I'm so relieved that so far I seem to really like Derek's good friends. I don't have to worry about being One of Those Wives. I'm dreading the five hour cartrip (the return trip moreso--uh, back to Dallas, yea?), but hopefully we'll be in very good spirits and I won't be in one of my bitchy irked moods.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Thoughts on Sleazy Businesses and Lesbians

So begins the woeful search for a lender. But first, we did a credit check on ourselves only to find that the fiancee's old apartment complex sent a collections agency out for a "cleaning fee" which was never discussed nor did they ever attempt to contact him about. Fiancee got into yelling match with new management, future wife filed complaint with the BBB. And so it goes.

It was while futzing around on the BBB site afterwards that I looked up the mortgage company we were starting to use. Wow, four complaints in three years, maybe no biggie but guess what? All unresolved--they don't give a fuck. I looked up my friend's (NAM, from previous posts) lender and not only are they a member, they had three complaints in three years and they were all resolved. I guess it sucks that the first place already pulled a credit check, but at least that's all they did.

To be honest, they were already on my shit list becasue I'd spoken with them twice and left them my cell, which they were supposed to call today. Instead, they call the fiancee (whose cell I gave them as just Other Phone, basically). He always leaves it here and has very little interest in speaking with these people. I could almost forgive the blatant sexist blunder, but do they even turn around and call me second? Nope! No phone call for the little woman! I feel a little petty and childish for getting so upset over what may have been a 4:30 phone call and a lame attempt at work which, when not answered, was someone's decision that they could now leave and go home. But still. Fuck's sake, call the goddamn person who contacted you in the first place.

So it's goodbye CTX Mortgage (I'm always soooo leary of things I hear on the radio, anyway, I should just learn to trust those instincts. The more I hear your desperate ad on the radio, the less I trust you) and possibly hello to Country Wide.

On a complete unrelated note, I find myself re-visiting "Starship Troopers," which is as I remember it, but all in good fun. What I did not recall and rather enjoyed, though, was a boy catfight in the cafeteria set to Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You." Very odd. Good call.

And the finacee and I have been watching "The L Word," which is utterly vapid and predictable and great. Very guilty pleasure. Production value is the only thing bumping it above "soap opera." And the least--by far--believable part is how incredibly hot each and every one of them is. Infact, the girl who started out with a VERY unfortunate skank moment (and became forever dubbed thereafter by us as "Sewer Rat") is now our favorite character and we find her utterly yummy. Now if only she had an actual role, especially ANY other role than the painfully predictable turn she is so obviously about to take down I Have a Drug Addiction Avenue. Siiiiiiiiiigh. Bored now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thoughts On Upcoming Stress

I finally started working out a few days ago, in preparation of the rest of the year's impending doom. Between getting married, moving and buying a new house, I think there is very little else I could do to so voluntarily send myself over the edge. I remember working out in Austin very fondly...not the beginning part so much, but rather the after-a-few-months part when afterwards, I felt genuinely great. I usually dismiss a good deal of the lessons I had beaten into me in elementary school (why DID we have to take a moment of silence before lunch in third grade? Ah, a thin veil of bullshit, no doubt at one point fully opened up to by my teacher, for prayer). But wow, exercising really did help me not think about stress, feel better and refreshed. Weird.

So I'm slowly getting into the habit.

Meanwhile, on the stress front, I have only my mother's costume left and parts of my husband's. The tricky part in my husband's (uh, fiancee) case, is that as Robin Hood, he has his brown tights, green vest and white puff shirt. Finding dark brown boots to match that actually hug his legs is proving difficult, as is finding a hat that would be the right color. The sooner we resolve this the better, because this is the sort of stupid-shit thing that comes up at the beginning on October (we're getting married Oct 29) and you end up paying $250.00 for boots because what other choice do you have?

And today may be the first day I call a lender. I don't know if I already get pre-approved at this is a little early. We don't have the down payment yet, as it's coming from the sale of a house. We also haven't really saved much of a nestegg, as we both just received raises and I'm trying to pay down my gianormous cock of a debt, possibly the only thing hindering my otherwise excellent credit. But it's a kinda shaky beginning, but they should be able to tell us what we need to do. I think I would find that far more grounding than just randomly deciding for myself. As long as they don't laugh or simply refuse to call us back for shame. So while we don't look like amazing candidates at this point, we have more potential than a pair of double Ds at a frat party. It's just so hard trying to keep an eye on everything and not feel like you're getting snowed at every turn. The purchase of the house may as well apply intricate astronomy for all I understand. I would feel less like I should know more about it. There are at least eight trillion different parts of this process, each subdivided into another three million...and then just when you may have the vaguest grasp, you find out you don't want an adjustable rate mortgage these days anyway and besides, you could only get that type of loan in Maryland. So from what I understand from friends and from reading, you basically just have to be on your guard, listen to your BS detector, but mostly, pray real hard you aren't getting raped in the ass with neither lube nor name.

So I thought I'd start working out.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thoughts on the Powers of Coffee

It's 10am and Crazy Train has already consumed five cups of coffee. I know because he was trying to force some of his tar-like drink onto another customer who politely replied, "No thanks, I've already had a cup." His response: "On my fifth one!" As if it were a race.

Therefore, it promises to be an interesting day, as the caffiene courses its way through his already-unstable person. He has already used the in-store intercom to conduct a conversation at an employee, rather than seeking out said employee. I should note that our store is very tiny and anyone who is not changing paper in the darkroom or emptying their bladder in the gas station-quality bathroom (I hear "Gas Station Washroom" from The Frantics every time I enter) can generally be found in 1.2 seconds. But he'll carry on over the intercom and wait for the person to appear and then keeptalking to them over the intercom, to the delight and embarrassment of the rest of us listening. This is not the first time he's done this.

My fellow lab worker has just pondered to me if she should go out there (to take over what are presumably chaotic orders getting ass-raped by the crazy train). I said screw it, it will be like a little game. He has parked himself on our side of the store (even though we're not supposedto have sides, said the teacher) today, so I'm not sure if he's trying to look useful or if the surge of caffiene in his system is forcing him to keep busy.

It is now 3:00pm with three hours left to go in the work day. I have even gone out and bought coffee for myself. Mother's Day is this weekend and we just don't have the sort of traffic one might expect. What better Mother's Day gift than pictures of your kids? Apparently not this year.

And I have to go to my friend's I-Got-To-Quit-My-Job Goodbye Party from CompUSA for happy hour, which would be even nicer if I had a job that allowed me Happy Hour working hours. Given the snail-like pace of this afternoon, it hardly seems an unreasonable request...Plus it's gorgeous outside. A little too warm, but still excellent margarita-in-the-afternoon weather. At least, that's always my thought when I'm forced outside during work to run errands (errands which don't allow for the margarita factor).

I have a fantasy on days like this that one day I will have an entire day off and I will get to sit outside and read and consume said margaritas. Though I know the reality of it is that even if I do get to achieve my fantasy, I'll go inside where it's nice and cool at 4pm after such a day, and pass out til 8 and have suitably wasted the day off I never get to have. Which really, is not such a bad day off.

It's ten til fucking five and my biggest struggle of the afternoon was debating on whether I should use the toilet here or at Happy Hour. Ours is downright menacing, but the Londoner's toilet is also terrifying in its own right, plus far more publicly used. In the end, you'll be delighted to know, I opted for our own. Oh what a difficult day today has been.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Crazy Train Thoughts...Or Does He Have Any?

Crazy Train tried to explain to me last week why I should own a gun. Because I'm small and frequently alone at the lab. I failed to point out that I am never alone at the lab because I do not have the code or the key, which is precisely why HE had to be there, too, at such an early hour. Then again, Crazy Train conversations are not exactly "conversations" per se, but rather monologues in which you must nod or make sounds of interest. Inasmuch as this goes deeply against my beliefs, I also believe it to be the path of least pain and resistance.

During his story which involved gun laws, dates of said laws, gray areas, how he's had to carry a gun for 35 years but never use it (desperate attempts on my part not to wonder *where* he keeps it), he also somehow briefly segues into "The Original Lone Ranger," and tells me that in a moment I must remember to remind him to tell me about "The Original Lone Ranger." Yes, it is just as deranged and discombobulated as it sounds. All the while, imagine you are me and you are praying for the phone to ring. A customer cannot walk in because he will continue to talk and presume the customer will want to join in or perhaps just bask in the glow of knowledge.

One of the 4 Mostly Sane Employees will often come into the lab to say, "Hey, if anyone's interested, there's a class going on right now..." And then one of us will inquire as to whether or not it includes Coffee & The Tour (Crazy Train often takes people into the closet where he shoots images for what I assume are ebay auctions. It also houses the 8-hour-old coffee in a coffee pot no one has ever cleaned). Class is spontaneous--it's whenever he can tie down a random customer and then barf useless knowledge all over them. It is simply baffling--the number of people who get snowed by this. One customer told us CT was the smartest man he'd ever met.

And then we all cried and slit our wrists.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

some wonky work thoughts

So I work for an independent photo lab. We're not a chain, just the one and only. We've been around since, oh what, 1971? I've been here for just at three years. What started as a much larger, booming business has recently been whittled down to seven employees and the very rickety legs we're all standing on. But I'm not here to write about whether or not digital is killing film; it's not that I don't care, but well, okay, maybe I don't.

But no, I am here to vent about the people I work with. We have seven employees and four of us get along fairly well. The other three are known as Creepy, Canty (for Cantankerous) and Crazy Train. Sometimes we call Canty 'Crabby' or 'Crusty.' They all work so well.

Let's start with Creepy, shall we? This is a man in his 50s who...ugh. So much of the ugliness is just skin physically crawls when I see him, even after three years. He leers. He makes racist and sexist jokes. He is socially retarded. He will tell you all about last night's episode of 'Family Feud.' He watches courtroom dramas at lunch then goes home and watches the rerun with his wife and pretends to predict the outcome. He steals the leftover passport pictures of cute girls and pockets them for (shudder) later. We print porn on a fairly regular basis and he will frequently come back to the lab to oh-so-inconspicuously sniff some out. And when he DOES find some he'll take off his glasses so he can squint at it more accurately. And sometimes he'll just stand there and jingle the change (again, gee, what ARE you doing?) in his pockets with both his hands. And many times, he will just stand around, near you. Doing nothing. And I cannot decide whether it's worse than if he were talking.

There there is Crabby/Canty/Crusty. He is now the sole owner, as Crazy Train (his previous co-owner) had to declare personal bankruptcy. My fiance and I usually just call him Lizard Man. He looks like one. He kind of slithers around like one. Best of all, he has the spine of an amoeba. He will not confront anyone about anything, but if he has to deal with one customer-related phone call, he will slam his fist down on the desk in the sheer bitter frustration of it all. He has the slumpiest, slowest walk and oozes from place to place, as slime would. But for the most part, he sits off to himself and simmers. He is the one who runs the porn side of the business and is married (for the third time, how any of the three came to be none of us can reason out) to an (ex?) stripper who runs a stripper shoe business online.

And I am paranoid enough to hope he never somehow finds this and fires my ass. As nonconfrontational as the man is, I think this would, you know, justifiably make someone upset. And I must have already done something to piss the man off because he even went to the trouble on a work order to highlight two out of the three names to which it was addressed, mine being the third un-highlighted name. It's all very bizarre, childlike, and no one would belive this place on a situation comedy. Even an American one.

And lastly, we have Crazy Train, who is basically my sixth grade teacher. He's losing his mind (literally) and cannot digest even a shred of new information. He cannot operate a computer, he has no idea how to run most of the store, he misinforms customers on a very regular basis...basically, the shenanigans abound. I vascillate constantly between pity and rage, though the last week or two has just been rage. He would merit far more pity points from me if it weren't also his personal mission to trash and thwart my co-worker and good friend, whom we shall refer to as Not A Mexican. NAM is by far the best salesman at the store--customers seek him out--and it should be noted that while the customers certainly pick up on the creep or insanity-fest that goes on there, they do legitimately adore NAM. But Crazy Train, for whatever reason (one can only deduce good old-fashioned jealousy), goes on "silently" raging (LOTS of siiiighs, arm gestures of frustration, grumbling to the owner, dumb remarks) any time NMA has to be late because of his two daughters (his wife makes quite a bit more, so why don't you pay him more than an hourly wage, fuckwit?) or goes out of town because he is a goddamn cinematographer. Oh balls, imagine that, a real cinematographer working in a camera store. And this is the same store than laid nearly everyone off a year ago. And no, the world does not end when NAM cannot be at work. But I digress. I should be focusing on the Crazy Train. Perhaps I will just leave it at that and, should delightful examples come to light (oh, what are the odds?), I will be all too happy to post them here.

Most of the days are tolerable. The days when I interact as little as humanly possible with my co-workers, the days I am very busy in the back, the days when I am not forced to apply logic to the reasoning of my co-workers.