Thursday, January 15, 2015

Recap of a Lousy Work Day, Gym Music, Winter Weather, and 30-Year-to-Lifetime Employment


**Blog Editor's Note: Except for the lead image, this is a picture-less entry because there is a lot I want to say and no way in the world the entry would ever get posted if I had to fill it up with images.**

This was a really shitty day in so many ways. And I'm not even going to try to post any damn pictures with it. Read it if you want or not. I don't give a damn, and if you require pictures to read it, then that's your problem.

Confucius Say: Shitty Music Make For Shitty Workout

For starters, I am home after my consecutive post-work gym workout. However, while last night featured a good three-part workout, tonight's was mediocre with only the 6-mile jog and little weightlifting and a perfunctory dip in the pool. I was in a bad mood (as explained below) and the goddamn music that the personal trainers keep playing over the sound system is intolerable.

To be clear, there are presently one of two internet stations that are played -- one is basically contemporary pop music including the likes of Rihanna and Pitbll, and while not my passion, I can handle that; the other is this garbage "SHREDZ WORKOUT MIX" -- said over and over by this frickin' annoying, deep, garbled male voice* -- that is basically a jarring, even agonizing, house industrial sound including numerous remixes of pop songs -- and often turned up too loud.

Most of the folks there either have their own music / ear buds or, if not, just tune it out. However, I cannot. I have complained on a number of occasions including most recently to senior management at the Anthony Bowen YMCA by email. That email was ignored outright, and at this point, I am tempted just to write a letter to explain the situation to Angie L. Reese-Hawkins herself.

Really Lousy Friends from Long Ago: An Ongoing Recollection

*The voice itself reminds me of those years of shit I had to put up with stretching from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s, from my awful Glen Burnie High School days, onto St. Shitty's College of Maryland (where Wall-P began his oligarchical overclass-focused, power-and-money-ass-kissing career in earnest), and thereafter when some of them lived in Bladensburg and Wheaton before they all got married and the wives turned them into buccal-pumping suburban frogs.

I am thinking of one "frenemy" in particular, but I'm not going to discuss him. Suffice it to say, he was into radio DJ'ing and all he said over and over for years (when he and I were haven't explosive, profanity-laced fights as we were wont to do) were nasally variations on that "MORE MUSIC MIX!" mantra that radio stations used to say endlessly back then. Knowing that whole group, first in high school and then in the St. Shitty's Days, and then in the D.C. area was a huge and sustained mistake.

Case closed.

As for my work day, I was very busy trying to complete writing and editing this month's version of the company newsletter. That part was fine, esp. since I am not doing much work these days for the Federal client. However, I have also been tasked to write a press release for the parent company -- and by the Chairman and CEO himself (let's call him "Q"). Now it turns out the parent company has a PR firm that releases our press releases and helps with other media access avenues, and one person in particular is doing these activities.

This person at 6PM sent a draft of the press release I was supposed to write -- or rather, a slightly edited version of the one Q wrote and gave to me to edit / revise. I shared that version with two other higher ups including the president of one of the constituent companies, and both wanted to change the focus. Anyway, long story short, owing to another press release that was issued earlier with little editing quality control, I was afraid this other person was about to do the same with the one I was supposed to write.

I called up Q on his cell phone and he answered -- but as in a meeting and none too happy that I did so, though he said he'd take care of it.

But I didn't know what else to do. I thought we were about to have a disastrous press release issued.

Anyway, it totally knocked the wind out of my sails and put me in a kind of catatonic torpor. Yes, I am worried I jeopardized if not my job, at least this whole new line of work I was starting to do that moves me out of the strait-jacket need to be 100% billable at all times, a standard that no human being can achieve except Wall-P on the legal side, except Wall-P isn't actually a human being but more of a binary-circuited wee robot.

"This Worthless Weather This Washington Winter"

Turning to the weather, there was some bullshit "winter weather advisory" put up by Sterling LWX for this morning's whopping "nothing to a dusting" of snow that panicked the reason ahead of time -- including whole school districts that were delayed for just cloudy skies. It really is pathetic in this region.

This dumb-ass winter weather advisory was for a "a dusting to 1 inch of snow" because of its morning rush hour timing.

The CWG crew spasmodically hyped the non-event all day and the night. Many hundreds -- perhaps approaching 1,000 -- comments were written in these entries over the non-event. Only in frickin' D.C. (I posted two under my name Arcturus24, but nobody ever "likes" them. Good.)

In the end, we got virtually nothing -- "TRACE" at all three airports (KDCA, KBWI, and KIAD) -- and the Palka-Cabra She-Dragon was pleased. (I saw the snow falling at 5AM, went back to sleep, and then saw by 7AM it was already over.)

It remained cloudy all day, indeed, almost "socked in," and rather cold with highs only 33F at KDCA, 31F at KBWI, and just 28F at KIAD. Tonight is cloudy and cold but with no "sensible" weather anywhere nearby.

Looking ahead, there is absolutely no weather of any note for at least the next week and probably for the rest of this worthless winter: Just a flat, zonal, boring pattern with the occasional wave passing to give some a chance of rain showers.

Here is a CWG article about a ginormous storm that crossing the British Isles and that was cold enough to bring snow to Northern Ireland and Scotland. I think London and its sprawling environs mostly had rain and gusty winds.

"Thanks for the Memories ..."

The other big news is that my mom abruptly quite her job of 30 years and 6 months today -- just two days shy of her planned retirement. This is a big entry in and of itself. The shortened version is this: She has worked for frickin' attorneys as a secretary, quasi-paralegal, and office assistant / office manager since the late 1960s (even before I was born). (She met my dad working in a long-since-vanished satellite office of the N.J. Department of Transportation in Metuchen in late 1968 or early 1969.)

This current job is -- or was -- at this petty-ass law firm for the local bourgeoisie in central Anne Arundel County (Severna Park) that is populated by a shortlist of shitty, self-important, far overpaid, suburban attorneys.

She started there in June 1984. Yes, June 1984.

Her initial boss was an attorney who is still there (he's one of the founders). He has also been married for that entire time to a woman who back in the 1980s was a junior high Spanish teacher for the county and was also my Spanish teacher in 7th, 8th, and 9th grades at the junior high in Glen Burnie I attended. (That school, Corkran Jr. High, later became a middle school as the 9th grade moved to Glen Burnie High School while at least one 6th grade moved to it.)

Anyway, that guy is mostly OK. However, over the years, she has worked for a roster of usually female, usually awful attorneys.

As for my mom, though severely underpaid and under-appreciated, she plodded on for decades. (I'm not even sure anybody at her firm knows she has a son, but that's another story.) Attorneys and secretaries came and went.

Years and decades past. The world changed. And changed some more.

I calculate -- based on reasonable assumptions of the number of human births and deaths each year -- that the world's population has shifted by an absolute number of approximately 5 billion people in that time (yes, the numbers work out like that). I further calculate she has worked there about 7,300 days out of the 11,140 days that have passed since that long ago day in June 2014 she started when I was but 14-1/2 years old.

For her 30th anniversary there in June 2014, they took her to some dive place near Annapolis on a hot day with awful service, no air conditioning, and bad attitudes all around.

Recently -- as in last month -- two of the shitty female attorneys basically told her it was time to go, with one telling my mom that she was getting too old. To be clear, that woman is an employment attorney. My mom decided it really was time to go -- and not to even try to fight it.

The first and indeed only concern her main boss had is how the "transition" would go since my mom dealt with so many critical office functions -- including those requiring her to go up and down a flight of frickin' rickety steps into a dimly lit, cluttered basement (it's that kind of suburban firm).

(This firm moved a few years ago basically across a parking lot from one office to another. My mom was given a jerry-rigged sliver of a cubicle in what amounted to a tiny and enclosed dead-end space situated off a main passageway. To be clear, the entire office space is quite small.)

Then there was the promised farewell Friday (Jan. 16th) luncheon, which was supposed to be a "catered" event from some nearby deli. My mom rightly viewed that a "big slap in the face," and I'm afraid I made things worse over the weekend by telling her that not only was she right, but that her goodbye was a baloney-and-cheese sandwich after 30-1/2 years of service. I told her to back out of the event, and she was planning on doing that.

On Wednesday (yesterday), my mom was trying to show two of the other secretaries how she has handled safe deposit boxes and other matters, and according to her, one of them -- upset at having all these new responsibilities and, of course, no increase in pay -- was verbally abusive and deeply hostile. This prompted one of those rare times where my mom got really upset at work. She stormed out, not letting the door hit her in the behind.

And that was that.

Though I hate sports analogies, especially frickin' football, I guess this is like getting to within 1-millimeter of the touchdown zone and simply walking away. However, there was no real "touchdown" to be had by staying until Friday, or even to Thursday. It would have been just another shitty day there.

Now the "worry" is whether or not this shitty law firm will actually pay her for the time she worked this pay period, and if (as is likely) she'll be "docked" a day and a half. That is the essence of shittiness by a bunch of petty-ass, vindictive people whose sole accomplishments in life are to make the world that much more shitty of a place.

I think she has a potential case of some sort -- age discrimination, hostile work environment, wrongful termination (by any reasonable standard of that term) -- but that's not her style and instead that whole 30 year 6 month period is over (unless she is contacted by any of the attorneys for whatever selfish reason).

And that's the end of that story. Now opens a new chapter of a VERY well-earned retirement, or at least a partial retirement and, if needed and desired, easy part-time work.

Oh, yes, she told me this but said she isn't telling Ray because "he's not helpful in this matter, and he'll say something stupid and we'll have a fight."

Ha ha

And there you have it.

OK, that's all for now.

I'm NOT going to the gym tomorrow or Friday. I'll do a solo happy hour tomorrow (Chris H. is still not talking to me) -- maybe a bit of dinner at Teak Wood or Tsunami, and then a drink or two at No. 9. As for Friday, that is my company's annual banquet event. Assuming I'm still there (see above), I'm looking forward to going and taking Miss Wendy (sorry, Gary).

Good night.

--Regulus

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