you’re the one to make me cry.

Day 44 | Dry as the Sahara | Fighting Off Taking a Deep, Blissful Dive into a Pot of Pasta

Red-faced pseudo-identity is riding me hard today. With temptation. I’m hungry. “Thirsty.” I’ve got me a serious hankering.

Weather’s turned cold. From 90’s to 50’s. I’m wearing flannel pj bottoms, a turtleneck and a cardigan sweater. I want rotini with meat sauce, piping hot, doused in parm and warm bread. Red wine to wash it down. Lots of it.

Aw, hell.

All this despite the good news.

EMC extended an offer.

Finally other candidates in the running are hearing, “they went with another candidate.”

[from the drunken chronicles]

I finished up a 6-month contract at EMC last June [2016]. Previously, I had worked for Pam and her small consultancy Quik-Mark; the third time she’s recruited me to work for her. This last time had ended badly—I got fired—just following the annual company meeting.

The preceding year and a half under her employ, I continued to admire her [Harvard MBA, MIT Undergrad, former Olympic gymnast]; had hardly seen her. I sent her a mountain of chocolate at Christmastime, a tea set and assorted teas for her birthday. She rarely returned my phone calls or emails regarding pressing business matters. Working remotely I was in no-man’s land, untethered. Her ignoring me was nothing short of dehumanizing. She treats everyone that way, but I had hoped for more since I was her personal assistant.

The annual company meeting had started like this.

I came by way of Amtrak from Boston into Penn and Pam and our colleague Tina met me in front of Friday’s in the chaos of the filthy station. I was thrilled to see Pam, but hugs were exchanged in transit. We’ve got to hustle for the LIRR. I recall seeing the back of her, the air in her hair, her satin blouse, her bumping her suitcase through the turnstiles.

Tina had trouble navigating and keeping up the pace; she’s 5′ feet tall, a tad heavy and has matchsticks for legs. Her wheeled luggage kept losing traction and toppling over through the myriads of people. We boarded the train and scrambled for a 4-seat sitting area [quick! grab the seats!]. Pam threw elbows and pitched her petite ass underneath a considerably-sized businessman. He moved over to the next seat, practically unperturbed.

We’re there, the three of us and instead of chatting and catching up, Pam is listening to voicemail and Tina is texting. This is where I thought Pam and I could save face, rely on yesteryear, speak about the time I told her I slept with a colleague renown in Boston academia and aghast, her eyes teared up and her jaw formed a giant O until she broke into laughter. We only see each other in a great while, we’ll have fun over the next three days, make it last through the mundane times.

That’s what I figured.

But it feels shitty and I want to turn around for home.

Where it’s not filthy and stifling and rushed and impersonal.

We’re up at our stop, following Pam’s directive. I’m helping Tina gather her things and Pam is swiftly breezing through the sliding doors. Tina and I hit the platform, being pushed about in the throes of commuters, and instead of waiting for Pam’s fiancé (an attorney who’s yet to begin divorce proceedings with his wife) to pick us up here, we’re racing down the platform towards the station entrance, out of the parking lot.

Poor Tina is having a hard time keeping up and I’m thinking, what the hell is the big hurry, when her heel gets caught in a crevice and she flies forward, topples over her luggage and awkwardly lands on her wrist. I help her up. Her skin is abraded and it bleeds; she holds her arm like a broken wing.

The incident manages to break Pam out of her New-York-Frantic-Idiotic-Pace and she says, “oh, Tina” and brushes the pebbles from her skin. Tina fibs, says she’s okay; she had a lousy upbringing and her parents didn’t impart pity or compassion. Pam gathers Tina’s suitcase, Tina holds the broken wing close to her gut. The New Yorker resumes the lead down the platform. My eyes glare into her back. Tina is silently choking back the tears.

We get to the end of the mile-long platform and Fiancé, come to find out, is back where we disembarked. Pam tells him on her cell to come and get us.

Fiancé! Great to meet you! [not]

Fiancé drops off Tina and I at the hotel.

I’m in the bar within fifteen minutes.

We don’t see Pam until the following morning for a day of Fun and Games—go-karts, rock climbing. I’m the one who set it up; a fat girl who has no interest in that type of shit and who’s pined for team-building exercises. At lunch, I go outside and smoke a cigarette with the Russian accountant. I’m rebelling—smoking, no rock climbing, no go-kart. Pam texts me in the limo. She sits just behind the front seat, I’m hiding in the far back.

What’s wrong. Everyone can see you’re unhappy. Smile.

We stop in at her house in Cold Spring Harbor and I meet her dog. He makes me smile.

By dinnertime I’m dying for a drink, the anesthetizer. I’m the first to arrive to the Italian restaurant and into half of the second Ketel martini when the others begin to arrive. When Pam shows up, winded, I’m starting my third. I saved her a seat next to me and when she pushes in close the table I put my arm around her and blubber, “how come I never see you'” and “how come we never have any fun” and “I’m so unhappy…with you” with tears running down my face.

She talked and laughed with the others, thinking I have a lush on my hands!

The following morning Husband and I meet up with Pam in a quaint little bakery and discuss my job status [my being unhappy]. Pam offers to relocate me to Long Island. Husband has a job in Cambridge and for us to relocate on my salary doesn’t make any sense. I tell Pam I’ll commute to Long Island a couple days a week. She says that doesn’t promise us working together in person. She tries to sell me on relocating again, a promotion which includes doing HR stuff, she’s expanding the firm. I hate HR stuff. We decide I’ll leave Quik-Mark at the end of August and I’ll train my new replacement.

Which, incidentally, Pam already has in place.

The staff returns to their respective hideaways across the Northeast. A day later, a young female consultant [she lives on Beacon Hill] who I’ve been graciously booking accommodations and attendance at golf tournaments across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, asks me to buy a monitor for her. I had asked for a monitor weeks ago so I could work in the nearby office with Pam’s Managing Partner, Al, but was denied it—”not in the budget.” Monitors had been approved for staff at the company meeting. Pam and her partner figured, gee, we should give our staff what they need to efficiently do their job. So Miss Cute Rich Blond Consultant is put-off when I tell her discreetly, please, just order it yourself. The monitor-thing is a sore subject with me.

She rats on me to Pam.

Pam emails me, this isn’t like you. I email Blondie, angry. Blondie forwards my email to Pam. Pam asks me to apologize to Blondie. I tell her I won’t. Pam says [over email] you’re dismissed—you can quit this very moment or wait until Natalie comes on board and you’ve trained her.

I say, I’m out of here this instant!

Pam: You still have to apologize to Kitty.

Me: No.

Pam: Yes.

Dearest Kitty, please accept my most, humblest apologies for rumpling your fragile and well-bred feathers. With deepest sincerity, Ginny.

I got out of ordering the monitor.

The bridge with Pam is burned to hell.

[gulp, gulp, gulp]

the sugar the dripped from the violin’s bow [part 2].

Day 27 | Dry as Grandma’s Turkey + Will the Skin Between My Thighs Ever Have Clearance

My mom’s always asking me, like it’s the plainest, simplest situation in the world, “Don’t you want to get thin again?”

No, Mom, I love being fat.

I love that I have to get on all fours and leverage myself up off the floor with my hands like a retard because my ass is so huge.

I love when I walk by a piece of furniture, my hip catches it.

I love that I don’t fit in comfortably behind the wheel.

I love…aw, shit.

One day recently she asked me why I put on all the weight. This is a line of questioning that has the qualities of a needle-stuck-on-the-record.

Usually I say nothing and shrug.

This time I told her I’m frustrated with life.

She had no response.

I actually stumped her.

She got on the bandwagon and started the HMR diet last Tuesday. Yesterday I watched her eat three hot dogs at her dining room table. Well, 2 1/2. She offered me one over my matchbook-size HMR entree then gave the other half to my brother. As she indulged, she said what she always says when she’s eating something good.

“I haven’t eaten a hot dog in so long.”

She ate a hot dog at my place 28 days ago.

Then over my father’s birthday cake it was, “I haven’t had a piece of cake in so long.”

Last week, Mom. You had a piece of cake last week at Husband’s 65th birthday bash.

“How ’bout a glass of wine, Ginny?”

My sister, who I rarely see and haven’t know in forever, gave my father a nice bottle of Cab.

“No thanks, Dad. No alcohol on the diet.”

[that’s my pretend excuse for the bigger picture]

Not sure he heard me. He went to rest in his chair—you know, the cancer.

I revert: “Don’t you want to get thin again?”

In her brain, does my mother actually think I think like that?

I want to prevent anything and everything in order to stay fat and not be thin.

A few weeks ago she told me no one is going to hire me being so heavy and accompanied by a [service] dog.

Why can’t I say, what the fuck is wrong with you?

If I’m your daughter and you care for me, why do you talk to me like that?

You realize that you’re talking to yourself, don’t you? A case of projection? You’re well over a hundred pounds overweight. Hello?

Why did YOU gain all the weight?

She was riding my dad hard yesterday, over nonsense things, and he something back at her incredibly poignant. I had to suppress a smile and giving him a high-five.

“It’d make you happy if I were invisible, wouldn’t it?”

This is the same woman that sat next to me a week ago as I explained the HMR diet and she said, “I’m scared about your father, he’s not doing good.”

Lash out, lash in.

I don’t fucking get it.

 

With the dust of conversation.

Day 7 | Dusty Dry | Don’t Pass the Meatloaf, That Raw Carrot Looks Damn Scrumptious

“You’ve had a nice visit, now you have to leave. Just go.”

“Can’t I say good-”

My neighbor Eileen. She’s Florence’s CSA. Florence is 98-years-old and completely with it. She doesn’t move around so great, but her mind is all there. LOVE speaking with her. It’s like I walk into her presence and I’m my old self again. “Got your mall walking shoes on, eh, Florence?” She laughs. I’m at ease.

Eileen is Frumpzilla, late fifties. Probably never tasted a drop of alcohol her whole life. An expert on all matters. Says weird shit. Abstract stuff. Plato and his Theory of Forms. Occupies a bedroom upstairs where her black cat’s existence is limited to a few square feet.

I was telling her and Florence how I was looking for work; that technology-wise I’ve been sorely left behind. That kids today are proficient with computers at five years of age. Eileen says, “you can learn anything.” I’m like, in polite diction, “Not really, it’s a whole different mindset—a different way of thinking and seeing the world. I can’t learn it. At five years old I was in the backyard turning over rocks and feeding worms to our ducks. I wasn’t lying on my bedroom floor transfixed to a handheld.”

Eileen’s glaring at me. Her perspective is meant to be a pep-talk (or not). She reiterates, “You can learn anything.”

I’ve been sitting opposing Florence in a thirty-year-old Lazy-Boy that I’ve threatened to haul out of there for our TV room. I say, for the second time, “I’ve got to go, dog’s itching for her walk.

Florence waves her hand, fooey, and says, “no, no, stay.”

I stay.

At 1:54, Eileen wanders into the living room and calls me. I’m thinking my car has rolled out of the driveway and into the street, say so, and Florence laughs. Eileen’s standing by the door. She kicks me out.

Door slams closed, its locked and bolted. I stand there, jaw scrapping the asphalt. The dog’s looking at me, head cocked.

We get in the car, I drive a block, pull over and text my husband:

Was leaving cookies for Florence when Eileen intercepted me and invited me in. She told me I couldn’t stay long and I kept telling Florence I had to go and Florence kept saying please stay. And then Eileen called me into the living room and booted me out, glaring at me an inch from my face like I just ran over her cat and jesus, what the hell’s the matter with her. Didn’t even get to say goodbye to Florence. I’m sort of in shock over the whole thing. Weird vibes. Feel bad. 

*UPDATE #1* [July 10]

I met one of Florence’s daughters. She’s ’bout my age. I had thrown Sabrina’s frisbee over the fence and Robin had just gotten out of her car and was approaching the house when she caught glimpses of Sabrina hunting around for the chewed-up disc of plastic. She was taken with Sabrina and played with her while we chatted over the fence. In a subtle, beat-around-the-bush-don’t-want-to-make-any-trouble kind of way, I mentioned Eileen and how she threw me out of the house. 

Robin said, “I took my mom to lunch today and left my purse behind in the kitchen and while Mom and I were chatting at P.F. Chang’s, she calls me and says in a defiant tone, ‘I didn’t expect you today.'”

Florence appeared coming out of the front door. It had started to rain. She asked Robin if she was coming inside, the rain, and before we could get another word in about Eileen, Florence was there with her arm hooked inside of Robin’s. I say to Florence, “I’m wearing my barrel with suspenders.” Their perspective only lent to my neck and higher.

*UPDATE #2* [July 24]

Eileen’s crappy Corolla is MIA. Has been for at least a week. She could be on vacation. Or not.

 

*UPDATE #3* [July 31]

She’s backkkkkkkkk.

It’s gonna be a wreck, alright.

Day 2 | Sober | Head Exploding, Diet Bondage

I’m exhausted, foggy, can’t function. Had to spend the entire afternoon in bed. Red-faced pseudo-identity is prickin’ my hippocampus with his prongs, peels of laughter reverberate between my ears.

This email went off this morning. It took all my faculties to compose it. The past haunts the present. [still]

The note should have been sent in May of ’95 when “the incident” occurred to prevent the shit storm that followed—I place “the incident” in quotes—it’s a term Dave Gahan uses when refraining to his come-back-from-death overdose in ’96.

Dear Dean Curtis,

My name is Ginny and I earned a Winthorpe MBA in 2006. I’m writing, frankly, to ask you for your help.

Firstly, I’d like to briefly highlight my career and how it is that I came to enroll in the esteemed MBA, initially in 1992. [When naive, the world was still my oyster, and I didn’t seek escape from it through alcohol, Snickers, chicken parm and French fries; running away, getting mixed up with felons, and adopting a number of unwanted animals that could easily become a 501 (c) (3).]

In ’92, the graduate student body was still predominantly men. I was working as an Executive Assistant at a nearby Fortune 100 [and engaging in a then-considered hugely scandalous affair with a top executive 23 years my senior] and wanted to emulate my male peers who were climbing the corporate ladder while getting their MBAs. I was admitted [by exposing my cleavage and batting my eyelashes over my rejection letter at the then-Dean], earned A and B’s, and pursued a Financial Analyst position reporting to the CMO at Cold Boot Inc, a thriving dot.com.

Hot Boot Inc acquired Cold Boot a year into my employment [I got involved with both CEO’s following a rave to celebrate the merger—ghastly hungover I met Hot Boot’s CEO for “breakfast” in his Four Seasons suite, and Cold Boot’s CEO and I carried on naughty exchanges online and fulfilled the fantasies, in person, a handful of times]. On the eventful day of the merger, I lost my job [I was offered a lateral working for a peer, an 80’s-styling Betty Crocker—yeah, no], my divorce finalized (my husband wanted me to bear children) and I had a final Financial Accounting exam scheduled in the evening with Instructor Alaska McNab

Going into the exam I had maintained a B average; was halfway through the curriculum. My mind was jumbled [I’m not choosing she’s-having-a-baby route]. I asked McNab for a makeup in two weeks’ time, explained my situation. She told me if I didn’t take the exam that evening, she would fail me. [The bitch, it turns out, had kicked two husbands to the curb and held no empathy for divorce.]

I walked away disheartened [fucking shellshocked] and an F showed up on my report card. It changed my trajectory; it changed everything. [Let me reiterate, IT CHANGED EVERYTHING.]

Measuring out a pork chop in Cody, July ’95.

I did some soul searching [where I really fucked-up my life]. Worked on a ranch in Wyoming [where I got hit-and-run-and-maimed by a newly licensed driver], lived in Tucson for a while [got mixed up with a gorgeous wife-beating California-blond-crack-addict-aircraft-mechanic who drunk on his shift, taxied a 747 down the runway until the Feds got onboard]. I started my own graphic design business based on the principles I learned at Winthorpe and yearned to finish the MBA.

I returned home in ’98 to live in my parent’s basement [with 5 cats, broke and in debt], reestablished my corporate career, and picked up my studies in ’02 and completed the MBA in ‘06. [I squeaked out of Financial Accounting with a C- because the professor was impressed with my knowledge of Highland scotches.]

Up until ‘09, I could easily land a job [I was fantastically fit, acutely self-aware, confident and coquettish]. During the recession of ‘08, I got laid off [fired] from a high paying project manager role [my boss gave my job to her newly unemployed, retirement-aged husband]. I couldn’t land work after that and foreclosed on my home and filed bankruptcy. I caught the writing bug in the interim, was mentored by a coach who encouraged me to earn an MFA (despite the 25K remaining of my MBA loans), claiming I had the talent of memoirists Mary Carr and Jeannette Walls [an utter fabrication] and well, I sort of got off track again [Christ]. In retrospect, writing was an endeavor to be enjoyed, a form of catharsis, but held no promise in earning a living.

At 52 years of age, employers aren’t responding to my well-crafted cover letters and solid credentials [how the fuck did I get to 52-years-old and obsolete]

I have to find a new approach to landing a permanent position—I can’t keep trying the same thing and expecting different results [novel, Ginny]

Could you help me, Dean Curtis?

[He’s thinking, is this loser really one of ours?]

I respectively thank you for your consideration [I’m a moron].

Best,

Ginny Gruesome, M’06