Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rock, Meet Hard Place

Today tastes like sand and loam, with a topping of caliche and a sprinkle of gravel.

When I was a kid, the worst worst worst punishment was when my folks turned to me and asked what form of punishment would be appropriate for this infraction. Can't you just spank me instead???

In college, the worst worst worst assignment was when the prof asked for a biiiiig semester summation of what we had learned--but you choose the format. Doesn't have to be a paper, could be a haiku. Or a dance. Or a meal. Whatever. Urk! Give me a forty-page paper with footnotes on every page and a six-page bibiography in the back, up to and including citations in freaky formats for graffiti under bridges and voices from UFO's because I forgot to wear my tinfoil beanie.

Now, the worst worst worst thing is when my boss screws up and acts . . . in a fashion that is not workplace friendly, and asks me "How can I, the BossMan1, fix it? How can I demonstrate that I'm not all that bad, but just have the impuls control of a toddler?"

I promised some time ago to be a better employee by telling BossMan when he'd shot himself in the foot. He was actually able to admit vulnerability to an underling, and that's a hard thing. He has indeed pulled that trigger into his tarsals YET AGAIN, and having a hippy-dippy chat might actually help him out. Or at least give him one more insight.

Then again, it's a hippy-dippy west coast fEEEEEEEElings talk with a guy who was raised in the East and has serious troubles with even the Little Chicago mindset that is Arizona, never mind the right out of Haight that will be this chat. He's very literal, and has trouble relating to me except in my most professional persona. I don't think he even sees my Whim of Iron, although he appreciates the results.

Do I even want to have that conversation? About how easy cheezy answers don't really address the root cause--about how anyone over six years old with half a brain can tell when they're being bribed to forgive one more time?

Or do I just want to tell him an easy cheezy lemon squeezy answer--lunch! Or money! Or lunch money!--and take my bribe and know that I can be bought for 30 pieces of silver?

Bugger. Bugger bugger bugger. Let's lay this out.

On the one hand: It's 30 pieces of silver more than I have right now. And isn't this an extension of the deal you make when you work for someone else? "I will rent you my brain and energy and everything that makes me unique and special; everything that I have and am. In return for pieces of my life and mind, you will give me money so I can live and eat while I support your agenda."

So when someone acts badly and harshes your groove, then offers to apologize in a meaningful way, should you accept that apology? How many times can he hit you if he always brings flowers and pays for the bills afterwards?2

On the other hand: Just writing the last paragraph makes me feel dirty. (TMI momentTM: I had to pause and answer nature's call before I could even write that last line. Body aligning with mind?) I want to take a shower and vomit; to purge filth inside and out. I want to be dead honest with BossMan and talk about trust and metal fatigue in relationships--about how you can only bend them back and forth so many times before they become brittle and break. And no amount of "I'm sorry" will put together a broken object again.

But BossMan won't get it. He is not a man of subtlety; he does not speak metaphor. He is very much a literalist and gets distracted by simile. He cannot follow a parable without getting caught up in detail. I don't believe he would be able to follow me, so we couldn't communicate at all. Like teaching a pig to sing.

And it's a pity, because this particular pig has a pretty good voice. He knows some good songs--filthy rolling in the muck songs, but still funny and appreciable. If only he could carry a tune.

On the gripping hand: Hell, I can't even find my gripping hand right now.

1. Now I'm even changing my nicknames for people in the eternal quest for anonymity. Sad, Spike, very sad that your paranoia has come this far. On the other hand, "Dooced" is a verb for a reason . . .

2. And no, I am NOT saying BossMan is physically or even verbally abusive. Abrasive and patronizing, yes. Condescending and egotistic, yes. Abusive . . . no, doesn't really rise to that level. I now have some empathy for Anita Hill, and understand better how she could continue to work for Justice Thomas for all those years. It's a good job, with good pay, particular benefits that don't come just anywhere, and the potential to open some doors later.

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