Sunday, March 18, 2007

In Vino Veritas

Remember the line from the movie Airplane- it was a running, recurring gagline- from I think the Lloyd Bridges character throughout the show: "Guess I picked a bad week to quit smoking/drinking/smoking weed/sniffing glue"?

Well over this weekend, that's been me. St Patrick's Day being yesterday and this being basically St Patty's Weekend, I picked a rotten time to give up beer.

What I should have done was had my fill of the barley--green or otherwise--this weekend and then proceeded with my noble resolve. But then there's always some reason to sabotage your resolutions, so it's best to just move from where you are. No matter how "rotten" your timing may be..

Why give up beer? Well, two reasons.

#1: It tends to accumulate around one's middle. If you don't have a lot of room to you vertically, this characteristic is all the more pronounced. The beer has noplace to go but sideways.
#2:If consumed during the week, has the ability to lead to that one-more-beer, which ends up keeping you up later than you should be up(false energy), then makes the next day that much moldier--whether you get an actual hangover from it or not. Too much of a roller coaster as far as--well really your whole outlook on things.

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it, at least so far. Mainly I'd like to lose some of that cerveza-fueled spare tire. Like the buxom girl, I haven't seen my feet in awhile..

Enjoying a glass of wine while writing this. Before my beer-drinking days I used to enjoy wine, particularly Liebfraumilch. Yeah, I know--you can get just as stoopid drinking wine as with beer, only I like to think it's a more refined stoopid. At least it has less belly-expanding potential than the cerveza.

Well, we'll just have to see how it goes. The main thing is just losing some of the avoirdupois around the middle. I'm okay as far as controlling the substances I enjoy(i.e. beer n' wine et al). Moderation in all things- including moderation.

One Big Happy Family

If you work a full-time job at basically one worksite, you spend a hell of a lot of time there. Well, all day every day, at least 5 days a week, at least 8 hours every day. And you're with the same people for all those hours every day, day after day after day. You see those people and interact with them more than your family--well, unless it's a family business in which case you never really get away.(Yeesh!)

My office is a pretty charged atmosphere. We have not only the fairly diverse array of characters staffing the place but all manner of folks coming through our doors. So we have not only our own dramas but those of our clients.

And sometimes things get a bit heated. We have clients who aren't getting what they want or need in terms of--usually but not always--enough money to make it. They holler at us and call us names on occasion. And then there's us. Some of the staff aren't getting what they need(again, that mo-nayy), so we holler amongst ourselves. Within every week, there's a fair amount of hollering, or at least emotional intensity.

Fortunately there's also a goodly amount of joking and horseplay among the staff. I must say, amid all the negativity in the day's work I do have at least one healthy laugh every day. This definitely helps ease the workday tensions. Dealing with the public and with one another.

When you're around the same people all day every day, you develop a closeness from sharing not only space but issues, problems. You may not have a million things in common with them outside this sphere, but within it you have everything in common. Probably something like serving in the Military--particularly if you're in battle together. Lord knows, we've been through some skirmishes in our office..

So it becomes very familial. After 16 years you see a lot of coming and going, but you do get close to folks, especially if they've served most or all of the years you have. And like families, people do bicker, some on a daily basis, some more intermittently. Unless you wear a specially insulated suit, something sometime is going to get under your skin. Or something you do(intentionally or not)is going to get under someone else's.

Of course, this is rather entertaining when it's someone else: "Well I'm just not speaking to Tom this week". Perplexing when it's you. I do my damndest to avoid such interpersonal drama but once in awhile my armor is off and I get zinged in some way, or I unintentionally zing someone else. So you have a snit of a week or two, sometimes longer. I've lost track of how many times this has happened to me in my 16 thusfar years there, either the snitter or snittee..

The only other kind of work I've done for any length of time besides work in an office is being a musician, some of which I've done on the road. A road band is another group of folks you spend an inordinate amount of time with- another concentrated setting- and thus your relationships therein are either enriched or exacerbated by all that closeness. I was on the road from '84 to '86, and there are a couple folks from the band I'm still close to, as well as a couple I haven't communicated with since then and likely won't ever again.

This was a 7-piece group. I have a friend who played in the Ray Charles Orchestra for some years, which would be population 30(counting the Raylettes and crew), so the relationship potential is increased exponentially. He said there were always little snits going on amongst the players, people not speaking to one another for weeks.

One such "Cold War", between a trombone player and sax player, where they hadn't spoken in months, ended one day when the sax player picked him up off the ground(I guess it helps being 6'7")kissed him on the lips and said, "I think we should kiss and make up". At this point everyone in the room cracked up, including the trombone player.

So I asked my friend, "Well then, everything was cool again from that point?"

"No. A week later, he was mad at somebody else".

Ba-DUM-chik(drum fill, as in after a one-liner)