Archive for February, 2011
I live in a world of opposites. When I am driving to work I pass homes, lights completely dark, occupants nestled warm in there beds. I pass bars and restaurants where people are just leaving, finishing their nights, not even thinking of the next morning. When I get on the freeway to drive home I pass cars, windows still covered in dew, coffee steaming in their cup holders, their drivers just starting their day, not yet confronted with what it will have to offer. Most parent all week and take a break on the weekends, I am alone all week, waiting to parent on the weekend.
As I leave work in the morning the sun is just rising, usually I drive directly into it as I make my way home. I have always been an admirer of sunsets, watching as the sun dips below the horizon ending the day. Sunrises are not as soothing, unlike their counterpart they gradually get more intense… getting brighter, stronger as it illuminates the sleeping terrain. Sunsets signal a break from the pressures of the day, sunrises are their beginning.
My first job was at Universal Studios, I was 16 and took a summer position at the amusement park. I didn’t have a car, I used to peddle my way up Barham Boulevard to that little access road next to the 101 freeway and up to the employee gate where I would lock-up and head to “wardrobe.” I was placed in the “carts department” which meant I made and sold churros, hot dogs, popcorn, snow cones and cookies. My wardrobe was red polyester type pants, a white shirt and a red apron that doubles as my cash drawer. I don’t have any photos, this was way before cell phone cameras and we never wore our uniforms home… but there are photos somewhere out there, apparently in the 80′s many Japanese tourists hadn’t seen many 6’1” white guys and I was asked to pose for many a photo.
Each task in the carts department came with it’s own dangers. Both hot dogs and popcorn resulted in burns up and down your arms (so many that my drivers Ed teacher pulled me aside to ask if I was being abused at home), snow cones attracted bees, lot and lots of bees (so many that patrons would run off in fear, we were required to be good soldiers and stay with our cart), Churros also caused burns but not nearly as big or as intense and cookies and milk… well, cookies and milk had a totally different risk! At Universal Studio back then the good looking people were made tram guides (I went on the tour last summer with the kids and this no longer seems to be the case!) and they knew that we were aloud a certain amount of damage on the cookie cart (we couldn’t sell broken cookies to guests), so the cute tour guides would flirt with you for free “damaged” cookies which you were fired for giving them if caught.
Management, which was made up of mainly college kids who liked to intimidate high school kids would use threats and fear of termination to get you to work overtime and holidays. I lasted in my polyester, burned arms and broken cookies for one summer.
It’s strange how something as the quality of light can elicit memories. Like smells or familiar landmarks, the way the light shines will remind me of specific times in my life. There is a difference in the intensity, warmth, color and tone of the sunlight between the seasons…. Maybe I notice these anomalies more because of my photography background?
As I drove home from work last Friday, a winter sunrise lifting above the 5 freeway, glaring off the cars that litter the road in front of me, it’s intensity and brightness as biting as the cold of the morning I was reminded of the worst job I ever had.
Again, my life an opposite, I was employed at the most torturous job I ever had while I was out of work. For a year and half between my position as Executive Producer of The Tony and Kris Show and my current stand as Producer of The Insana Quotient, I was ungainfully employed at getting divorced. A job for which I paid to work and toil, endure unimaginable stress and suffer an emotional grind.
You might say that the process is not a job, but it seemed that way to me… There was paperwork, meeting, appointments, a hierarchey of decision makers, there was the stress of deadlines, accounts payable (no receivable!), research and development, brain storming, filing and lots of coping and faxing.
I have often thought back and wondered if it would have been better if I had been working, if there had been a distraction, even if just for 8 hours a day… Maybe some of the torture of the whole process would have been avoided.
I would wake before the sun, shower and put on an ill fitting suit and an ugly tie, make sure I had all the necessary documents and papers in my briefcase and head out to the car, the windows covered in dew, the air cold and bitter. Drive into the sunrise, blinding my barely rested eyes, towards downtown Los Angeles. To the courthouse where the results of my work would be revealed… where the rest of my life would be determined by a stranger.
I used to think that coming home with burns on your arms and the occasional bee sting for a minimum wage paycheck was the worst job I ever had… I was wrong.
Lately I haven’t been able to blog… Not because I haven’t had the time or have nothing to write about. I have lacked the motivation.
There is a term in the financial world that has come up at work a lot lately, “The New normal.” From what I gather this means that the way things are now is the way things are going to be for a while… This view of the economy is very similar to the view I’ve had on my life of recent. This is my new normal.
Working strange hours, making just enough to get by, having my kids only on the weekends, living in fear that I may not have a job tomorrow… And I know it’s not just me, Stench and I have discussed it and he feels much the same way. There is just a hopelessness that abounds right now… And it has got me down.
The funny part is I know that in fact this is not my “new normal”, just as I know that this economy is not our “new normal”… Well it is and it isn’t. I know I sound confused (and I am), but here is what I am saying… Normal is always temporary. Think about your life, has there ever been a consistent “normal?” In the moment everything seems like it will be the same forever, but in reality life is constantly changing, normal evolving and morphing into different situation and scenarios.
So will life be crappy forever … no. Will the economy be crappy forever… no. Will it seem like it will be at times… yes.