Here I sit, on the last day of employment with the University. I haven’t been in this department for very long, so I know that it’s unrealistic to expect that they’ll throw me a party or give me a going-away present or something like that. When I left my last position, I received a nice gift from the department; but I’ve only been here a month, and while I did my job well while I was here, I didn’t really have much of a chance to get to know anyone at all.
My portion of the product has been successfully completed and transitioned to a consultant who will work on coding another portion of the product for another week until he, too, is moved off to another department and the product becomes someone else’s responsibility yet again. Add to that the server troubles, the data migration troubles, and all of the other problems that the department has been plagued with, it’s not very likely that the product will be ready for roll-out by the time the students need it. Still, miracles happen every day, I suppose.
And so here I sit, with ample time to reflect and write.
I hate being bored at work. Particularly here, where there is no one standing over me giving me assignments and asking me for continual updates. I suppose that normally, there would be, but since I’m only here this one last day, no one figures there would be any point. I feel like I’m cheating the University, in spite of the long hours that I’ve put in already.
Ursula K. LeGuin had a good name for this condition. Ethica Puritanica Laboriis, she called it; the need to work, to produce. I don’t normally think of myself as suffering from this condition — in fact, I’m pretty certain that I have a very healthy sense of procrastination and denial, and I’m sure that there are many people, including an ex-girlfriend or two, who would be happy to testify to that. But in this case, just sitting here at my workstation, listening to Switchblade Symphony and writing up this journal entry just feels wrong to me. But, at the same time, there really is literally nothing for me to do here, and that just feels… weird.
My job here did not require me to work as hard as some other people I know; Jennifer’s job works her a lot harder than mine worked me, and I have to admit that I feel a bit guilty about that. I’m sure it’s nothing to worry about, though. As I begin my new job next week at a new company, and as I build up my skills over the next few months, I’m certain I’ll be longing for days like today, when I didn’t have eighteen different projects due right now. But working hard, particularly on something that I enjoy, is good for me. I like it.
But days like today encourage me to think randomly about random things. For example: watching Survivor on television the other night for the first time. I know it’s a cultural phenomenon, but I’ve been trying my best to avoid it, just like I successfully avoided ever watching a single episode of Miami Vice or 90210. But yes, I watched Survivor. In my own defense, I have to say that it was entirely Jennifer’s idea. It was Jennifer who said, "We really ought to watch it at least once in our lives." And so it happened.
It was a strange and somewhat disquieting experience, watching Survivor. Each contestant acts nicely toward all of the other contestants; but they plot against each other behind their backs. In a way, it’s just like human society in microcosm; though I admit that I like to think that people aren’t always plotting against each other. What I’m most intrigued with regarding this show is how the winner will be decided. What happens when there are two or three people left on the island? How will they decide who gets voted off and who stays? I suppose I might have more interest in it if I were one of the ones on the island…
Also on my mind: my car. My car has been making an ominous squeaking noise — Jennifer has called it "a miffed mouse" type of noise — and today I took it to the Geo dealership to have the brakes checked (squeaking noises almost always mean bad brakes to me). Nothing wrong with the brakes. Or the CV joints. Or the axle. The squeak probably comes from the old suspension. Nothing that can be done about it, since the car is getting old, and it’s not an urgent repair job, so it won’t be addressed. I’ll live with the squeak. But in a way, I’m kind of disappointed: I won’t be able to afford the new car I wanted for a few months yet, until I can build up a decent down payment — something I’d rather do on my own without help from anyone else, if possible — so that my monthly payments will be somewhat manageable (a few financial mistakes I made a few years ago still haunt me in the form of higher interest rates). But if my Geo Metro, Spiff, were terminally ill — well, then it would be much easier for me to talk myself into believeing that I can afford the higher monthly payments. As it is, it appears I’m stuck, for the time being, driving this beer can with no air conditioning and a driver’s side window that doesn’t roll down (in the Central Valley, with 100+ degree temperatures, no less!). If nothing else, though, this car really lets me prove my manhood: air conditioning and safe cars are for wimps! Give me a hot (literally hot!) Geo Metro over your wimpy-ass Volvo or Saturn any day. Ha! I laugh in the face of uncomfortable danger…
Still, though… That Saturn SL2 I looked at last weekend really looks awfully appealing… But even with my new job with its 75% pay increase, those are still some distressingly high monthly payments. And leasing a car is just not something I want to do.
And the last thing on my mind today: the theme for the wedding. Yes, Jennifer and I have picked a theme. I’ve listed a few possibilities on the sidebar to this entry; see if you can guess which one is ours? Bearing in mind, of course, that the real theme may not be among the list I’ve presented.
What happened was this: last Saturday I showed up at Jennifer’s parents’ house, after Jennifer had been out and about all day with her mother, looking at patterns and plans. Jennifer came up to me and said, "Honey" — in that tone of voice which I’ve come to associate with impending doom, or at least with an impending strange new idea for the wedding, the same tone of voice she used when she proposed the procession of circus animals — "we’ve found the perfect dress for the bridesmaids and for our mothers." So, she showed me this dress. She and her mother and her sister all burst into laughter when they showed it to me because they all thought it was hideous. I admit, though, that I thought it was pretty attractive. Granted, only three or four women on the planet can wear such a dress, and those three or four women are probably simultaneously anorexic and more silicone than flesh, but it can look good. My mother, upon seeing this picture, affirmed that it would be nice; and since she already had one, in DayGlo orange, she was all set for the ceremony.
Sometimes, there are simply things about your mother that you had no idea at all about. I had no idea my mother had such a dress. Perhaps I’ve just never gone anywhere with her fancy enough for her to wear such a thing.
But now I’ve been presented with actual work to do these last 101 minutes of my tenure with the University. Mappings to validate, DNS changes to make, development files to upload. So this entry needs to be cut short.
Be well. Enjoy life!