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Now with 75% more cussing

September 19, 2012

On the F train, morning rush hour. I sit down next to a seat with one slightly used Q-tip — identified as slightly used by the slight yellowish tinge to one end — sitting on it. For six whole stops, no one on the crowded train sits down. At stop 7, a model-thin, slick-pony-tailed women clicks over to it, briefly considers picking it up with her manicured nails and tossing it on the floor, then decides to just cover it up with her bespoke-suited rear.

* * * *

Outside my office, two of the ranters — the homeless and mentally ill people who camp out by a vacant lot on Madison Avenue, have parked their shopping carts, piled high with their belongings, on the sidewalk and are yelling at each other about the weather.

“We’re under a fucking tornado watch! A fucking TORNADO WATCH!”
“It’s Arma-fucking-geddon, man.”

That it is.

* * * *

It has been rather windy and autumnal here and we were under a (fucking) tornado watch a day or two ago. But no (fucking) tornados were spotted this time around. But the trees on our street have been making noises like they’re by the ocean or like they’re thinking about dropping all their leaves in the night, which maybe they are. I’ll let you know in the morning.

* * * *

AJ got 100% on his first math test and is doing extra credit for fun on his own without being asked. It’s amazing what happens when you give a kid something interesting to do in school. I’m not wild about his science teacher (she’s actually fine, but seems a little uninspired), but other than that, they all seem really energetic and dedicated and excited about what they do.

I survived last week’s back-to-school night alone. AJ wasn’t supposed to attend, so Mr. Spy stayed home with him. I hadn’t thought ahead of time about the fact that school meetings would probably start with prayer. It’s a different world, this Catholic school business. But I do like his teachers. AJ seems particularly captivated by social studies. They are studying ancient civilizations by pretending to be archaeologists. Yesterday each working group was handed an envelope.Inside was a latitudinal range, a description of terrain (AJ got mountains), and some objects to give them a clue about what the culture might be like (AJ got a large hoop earring and a metal bracelet). First they had to find a real place that met the latitude and terrain qualifications — they picked the Andes mountains. Then they had to think about what the objects might have to do with that place. Tomorrow they’ll start researching their places and teasing out and creating cultural information.

This morning, when he was about to get dressed for school, AJ asked, “can I wear a long-sleeved shirt today?” I’d been expecting him to come out wearing the long-sleeved version of the school polo shirt, which is mostly what he’s been wearing. But instead he came out wearing his button down shirt to ask me to help him with his tie. Is this the same kid who used to pitch a fit when we made him wear a polo shirt because it had a collar?

* * * * *

I spent a large chunk of the afternoon in “management compliance training,” which fortunately was not intended to train us to be compliant managers but to keep us from bringing down lawsuits on our heads, which is probably a good thing to know how to do. It could have been mind-numbingly tedious, but our company lawyer was a bit of a showman and he made it entertaining by spicing it up with videos of over-the-top managerial situations. I didn’t start to fall asleep until the start of hour three. In a week or two I get to do it all again for “sexual harrassment training,” which always sounds to me like I’m being trained to improve my skillz in the area. A sort of How to Be a Better Lecher guide. I don’t think that’s what it’s about, though.

* * * * *

I am like the last literature geek in American to be reading Infinite Jest. It’s funny as hell, although I’m not entirely sure I know what’s going on. I do so love a book with good footnotes, though.

How was your day?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    September 20, 2012 8:27 am

    The sexual harassment videos are awesome. It’ll be a good time. I haven’t read Infinite Jest either.

  2. September 20, 2012 3:00 pm

    School sounds good! I’ve been wondering —
    Fall — we have that fake fall here, which has the light and a few of the colors and sometimes the wind but all with higher temps and no crispness just a lot of dust — bah.
    I have to sign up for a sexual harassment play. I mean, to watch one. I did it once before and could only barely restrain myself from poking my eyes out while plugging my ears. It was like being trapped for three hours in the break room with your most tedious colleagues and forced to listen. Maybe headphones.
    I have not read Infinite Jest, either. I don’t have a lot of patience for whiny boys — is it not a whiny boy book? Maybe I’ll try it.

  3. drgeek permalink
    September 20, 2012 3:09 pm

    I know that John Cleese did management training videos back in the 80’s. I wonder if he did one about “sexual harassment”?

    I hadn’t even heard of Infinite Jest until a few weeks ago. I’m guessing I should read it?

  4. September 21, 2012 5:34 am

    Ha — I am the change management consultant for our first ever enterprise-wide training initiative about . . . ethics. This company is 98 years old and they’ve never trained everyone about a specific topic. The resistance to rolling out consistent training to everyone is truly stupendous and good job security for me.

    Love the shirt/tie bit about your boy.

  5. September 23, 2012 4:36 pm

    Infinite Jest covers so much territory that it made even being in the hospital funny, when they offered me the narcotic painkillers that one of the characters in the novel, an addict, has to refuse when he’s in the hospital. (Walker laughed too, when I told him).

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