Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Antidote

I feel damn lucky sometimes(at least those times when I'm not feeling damned unlucky)that at least in this life I have an "outlet". Well actually a few outlets as such, but for our purposes here, let's just stick with this one. 


Pictured here is yours truly having a great time playing R & B with a group I work with from time to time. I'm the wiry guy playing the guitar. Hard to pick up facial expressions in this picture, but it looks as if the other guys are enjoying themselves as well. 

A bit earlier on, I was suffering from ppc in the office where I work. It was wearing me down.  PPC stands for phones, printers and complaining, and the levels have been red-lining for some time. 

Two things helped me get a second wind. One of which was a good likelihood of going to reduced hours later in the year(less $, but also less ppc and thus less stress), and the other was playing the blues with these two gentlemen. 

As it stood, I had another gig an hour after this one ended, at another establishment and with two other guys(and playing a different guitar)which was equally fun. 

Of course, not every single gig you're gonna play is going to be the best you've ever played, and not every day at the office is the worst you've ever had- but on the average, a gig is by itself way more fun than work, and is sometimes even the antidote to work. Or at least ppc(the 'chemical' often found in work..).   

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


This day at work was probably the Hiroshima of PPC. There was a long line of disgruntled folks from the time our doors opened at 8:30am until I left at 4:30. Part of this is just Our Shitty Economy, but exacerbated by the fact that we were missing 5 of our staff. I mean, they outnumber us anyway!

I'm getting pretty tired of disgruntled people in general, let alone a multiplicity of disgruntled's. Very tired of looking out in our lobby and seeing that line of unsmiling faces. When your day begins and ends this way it kinda changes the way you see the world. Your own personal Weltanschauung becomes a very bleak one.

Just last Saturday I mentioned this to one of my neighbors, that I was tired of all the negativity I have to deal with from our clients at work. "I'd like to work with happy people for a change", I lamented. 

"There are no happy people", he replied. Okay, he was making a grim-ass joke, but it gave me a bit of a chill. Actually it  reminded me of a scene from one of the Bodysnatcher remakes, where Meg Tilly(who is already 'transformed'), tells her husband "where ya gonna go? Where ya gonna hide? There is no one left like you. " 

Well I hope to Christ there is someone like me left in this world. Someone who is actually enjoying at least some aspect of their life and would rather share their happiness than their misery. 

That said, I do understand that one's misery is something one needs to talk out to some extent, otherwise it just festers and grows. Thank goodness there are Psychiatrists and Psychologists and Social Workers/Counselors to listen to our complaints and try to help us with our problems. I admire the patience you'd have to have(far exceeding mine)to work in one of these professions. 

I think I just heard one complaint too many today, that one straw that broke the Camel's back. And with that, I start thinking maybe it's time for Rog to get the fuck outa Dodge. 

At this juncture, I am 2 years and 2 months away from retirement. I've had a few moments this year(like today) which make me contemplate quitting, but so far I've been able to talk myself out of it. It'd be nice to make it all the way to the finish line, which is the best fiscal choice but maybe not the healthiest.  

We'll see.

Monday, June 11, 2012


In the office where I've worked for almost 21 years, there's one element that's gotten on my nerves almost from the time I started. I used to describe the basic ambience as the "ppc" level, ppc being my code for Phones, Printers and Complaining. A high ppc level usually meant things had reached the level of cacophony: just a white noise where all the complaints, all the sounds, had merged into one. 

Of course, in this mix, it's the "c" element that's most powerful, most toxic. The phones and printers are just dumb appliances carrying out their duties, can't blame them. No, it's the complaints, the bellyaching, the malaise coming from the people we service. That's what wears you down over the years. 

At least that's what's worn me down over the years. I have never liked listening to people complain, no matter how justified the complaint may be. Now I know that problems are just plain built into this life(Psychologist Albert Ellis used to say that 'life' is spelled h-a-s-s-l-e), and do endeavor to help the poor individual on the other end of the phone or the other side of my desk. And I do sympathize with some of the things besetting them. But boy am I tired of hearing it!

There is a certain satisfaction, though, in helping someone through a problem, in helping to improve their situation one way or another. Whether or not they actually come back and tell you, you know you got something fixed for them, made their existence just a little easier. More often than not, this good feeling is in retrospect, after the fact. I don't always like what I'm doing, but I do like having done it on occasion...

The problem with customer service, at least of the kind I do in my job, is that you spend your days solving others' problems, but you still have problems of your own! You get to where you'd like someone to listen to your sack o' woe for a change.

I can relate sometimes to Jonathan Swift, who said he loved people but hated mankind. That's me with our customers: I love people- but while I don't hate customers, am awfully tired of them. Not tired of them as people, but  tired of hearing them kvetch about life. People to me are a rich tapestry, but their complaints are all cut from the same raggedyass cloth..

So after 20+ years of printers, phones and complaining, this cowboy is looking forward to hanging up his spurs in what he hopes will be about 2 years. I'm glad for the people over the years I have helped, but think it's time for someone to listen to me, to my dissatisfactions--my complaints. And God help that poor individual...


Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm a Shittin' Machine

Well I was this morning, at any rate. Seems like I spent a disproportionate amount of my a.m. doing b.m. Perhaps a bit too much chowing down in front of the TV yesterday. Actually I've paid worse penance for my occasional gluttony. Cheetos are my real nemesis, my- Agent Orange, if you will. They don't cause me any deformities, just cause me to spend time later 'moanin' on the throne'. Singin' the bilious blues...

So today was comparatively mild, as gastric aftereffects go. I just know to avoid the Orange Death otherwise known as Cheetos(delicious though they are)and I'm fine. 

A bit of tension in the Roundly household of late, concerning Lester, my dog, one of the three quadrapeds here, and what seems to be his age-related physical deterioration, which of course affects their bipedal "owners" in different ways. Some might hit the hooch, this one hits the Ben & Jerry's- and usually along with some kinda TV entertainment(in this case, the first half of 2001: A Space Odyssey). Might go back for seconds tonight, at least on the Kubrick.

Lester is going on 16 years old(b. December of 1996), which would make him about 90 in our years. He's not doing so hot. But I'm watching him, and helping him when need be. Tried a neighbor-recommended recipe for his aching bones, which is Children's Tylenol, and this seems to relax him a bit. My neighbor asked how he was doing, and I said that in addition to the Children's Tylenol, he's eating and drinking. 

And then there was the pause, and I said(without vocalizing, which I think my neighbor still picked up): which, of course means he'll be peeing and shitting. Well what the hell. There's soap and water and plenty of paper towels here in the house to take care of "spills". And it's not like it's the first time. 

So Lester is frequently an excreting machine. But as long as things go in the end they're supposed to and out the end(s)they're supposed to, you're at least functioning. All I can do is keep him as comfortable as possible. And keep myself away from the Cheetos..