I am at my job right this second. I am also typing this right this second. Do a little deducing, and you should be able to see the point I'm going to make anyway.
Three big things happened when I came home from NYC: my third class started, I got a bike, and my job began. This has created an actual need of a planner to schedule the following: when I need to go to class, when I need to go to work, and when I can go bike riding, rain permitting. A brief note about my bike and bike-riding skillz - I essentially have none. I think it's been ten or maybe twelve years since I actually rode a bike with any regularity. There were the Gilded Bicycles of old AlHam, but they were always either in a creek, outside the VT, brakeless, or almost always too tall for me to ride. Rob, watching me almost topple to the ground every time I tried to mount this new bike, admitted he'd never really realized what an awful thing being short is. I think I said something like, "You're telling me, bub" and proceeded to fall over on my bike.
Regardless of my sad lack of height, this bike is the most amazing wonderful magical bike in the world. Essentially, it's a child's bike, but grown-up size, because it has fat white-wall tires and tramp-stamp decals and it's bright blue and doesn't have any gears at all. It brakes by back-pedaling, which is good for me, as I never really got the hang of hand-brakes.
The bad news is, one spin around the neighborhood and my knees feel crumbly, there's a bad taste in my throat, and I look a little like I've been stewing in a sauna for an hour. I blame the humidity, mainly, but I also blame my utter inactivity of the past, well, forever. But I still love that bike, and it's leaning against our living room wall right now, and it kind of makes it hard to concentrate on whatever movie we're watching because I keep thinking "GODDAMN THAT IS ONE SNAZZY BIKE AND IT'S MINE." Unless we are watching The Fall, which is one of my top five favorite movies of all time.
So there is the bike. There is also the job.
Somehow, with 72 hours, both Rob and I managed to find not only employment, but the most absurd kinds of employment possible - Rob is now working for a medical research group that needs him to call German people, in Germany, and ask them, in German, when they want to go on this free trip they've signed up for, so they can take this new medicine that is meant to prevent traveler's diarrhea.
Yes. Rob will be speaking in German about poop. All. Day. Long.
Meanwhile, I'm here, at the - gasp! - mall, where I tried to work once upon a time and where I actually do work, if you can call it working. No, I work, but I work on my work. That's because there is practically no work at work. By which I mean, if you're going to buy art at the mall, you're the type of person who buys art at a mall, and I can't help you in any sense. So I try to be friendly and say hello to everyone who wanders in, but most of the time they can't see me because I'm hiding behind the counter, and they just get confused at this disembodied, somewhat insistent, a little bit crazed-sounding "How you folks doing?!"
The art, though, is something to behold. Right now, I'm in view of four Thomas Kinkades in gaudy, gilded frames, some giant angular photo of a man playing a piano, two separate depictions of herons, a Van Gogh reproduction, a lifelike portrait of a wolf, James Dean's headshot, that famous poker dogs picture, and half a dozen high-res photos of UNC basketball games. Those puppies, by the way, sell like hot cakes.
Likewise, within the store's stacks and stacks of canvases, there are also the following:
A romanticized, detailed portrait of several bunnies
A lot of Jesuses of various ethnicities
Around 800,000 vaguely Italian landscapes
A portrait of a reclining Tyra Banks
My proudest moment by far was when someone came in and bought "Blowing the Wad," being a framed print of an oversized 100 dollar bill, with a hole burning through it, and two flaming dice passing over Ben Franklin's charred face. I can only imagine where it hangs now.
But a job's a job's a job and I'm pretty glad to be in one where I can get my schoolwork done and also eat bad Chinese food as much as I want, which is much more than I would like to admit. The cushiness of it all is karmic, I believe, retribution for all those years at the Writing Center and the hundreds of awful conferences - for having an on-campus job that was actually a job, not just sitting in the Emerson Gallery. Now I get to sit in the Emerson Gallery. Except everything's for sale. And I guess I ought to be selling it, but like I said - if you're gonna buy art in a mall, you're gonna buy art in a mall. And I'm gonna judge you. But not really, because if it were up to me, I'd plaster my walls with a mural depicting me, Orson Welles, and Penny all riding on a tandem bicycle, or maybe in a hot air balloon, eating ice cream and having the happiest time of our lives.
You think I tease. You keep thinking that.