Monday, July 19, 2004

Back Where You Started, Here We Go Round Again

"The days go by and you wish you were a different guy
Different friends and a new set of clothes.
You make alterations and affect a new pose,
A new house, a new car, a new job, a new nose.
But it's superficial and it's only skin deep,
Because the voices in your head keep shouting in your sleep.
Get back, get back.
Back where you started, here we go round again,
Back where you started, come on do it again."
                                            --The Kinks, "Do It Again"
I'm back at Gateway Contract Gig for now.  Short term projects and such.  Still haven't figured out the meaning of life, and it looks like I never will at this rate.  Wake up, put some BedHead Rubber Rage in my hair, grab an eggwich with sausage, go to the office, work, go home, heat up some Trader Joe's dinner, sleep.  Wash, rinse, repeat.
Honestly, how does everyone do this over and over again without starting to go bugfuck?

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Walk Idiot Walk

The latest blog hiatus has been brought to you by Contract Gig -- Contract Gig: It Pays The Bills But Deadens The Soul.

One of the perils of being a Contract Lawyer is that you can be too good at what you do. Turn around projects quick enough, and the next thing you know they've all run out of projects for you to do (or are hoarding what projects they have to justify their own permanent status existence). So rather than come into the office each morning, twiddling my thumbs and sending an e-mail requesting for work that goes unanswered, I decided to have them call me if they need work done. In the meantime, I'm catching up on some leisure reading and trying to get some writing done. I'd say I have a better than 50% chance of them giving me a call at some point (payroll said they never checked my invoices, meaning they liked my work; the lawyers praised all my projects; and the last two contract lawyers they had were a pothead and a man who had the research and writing skills of an autistic chimp).

Although there's a part of me that's a little bit pissed I'm not getting some mulah, there's also a part of me that's a lot relieved. A warning--the following is a "D'uh" statement: Every office has its politics and its assholes. Hey, I told you a "D'uh" statement was coming. My office (which was actually a closet, but a windowed closet) faced the cubicles of a group of chatty secretaries that would put the pettiness of high school fluffchick cliques to shame. Every friggin' day I would here two of the secretaries jabbering about one file clerk (who happened to sit in the cubible between them) they hated--usually while the file clerk was there. The real estate attorney (who luckily I didn't have to work with, but who made snide statements about my schedule) was known to throw stuff at underlings he didn't like. The named partner was OK socially, but he was also a procrastinator who got shit done at the last minute. The few times I had to deal with him directly on a project, we'd butt heads. Oh, and you could tell the way he dealt with other partners that almost all the friggin' partners at this firm had issues.

So the few times these last couple of weeks I had sone downtime, rapidly induced by beer, I started to get into this existential funk. Obviously, an existential funk is not the "get down get down" wah wah guitars and sparkly bellbottoms type of funk. It's more of a "wondering what the point" is sorta funk. Beware--if you'd rather not question your existence, you should probably go read something else right now, like something with fluffy bunnies or cute widdle kittens. Awww, see da cute widdle kittens?

OK, for the rest of you, you depressed little stress puppies you. For about a month, I'd come into the office every morning, get my cup of coffee, sit at my desk with my yellow highlighter, laptop, yellow legal pad and blue pen. I'd do my research, some writing. I'd be fixing up the fuckups of other attorneys. I'd hear the gossip, the secretaries answering phones, doing secretarial stuff. Come six or so (and every couple of days, come midnight or so), I'd go home. Fix myself some dinner, have a beer or two. Watch some TV. Go to sleep. Do it all over again.

Bored? Me too. What I wonder is how people do this over and over again until they're 65. Yeah, I know, it pays for food and a roof over your head. Oh, and some porn once in a while. But is that a good enough answer? You may want to go see da cute widdle kittens right now if you don't want to get more angsty.

Yeah, you have full stomach, which is certainly better than an empty one. Yeah, you're sleeping in a bed, which is certainly better than sleeping on the pavement. So what have we established? You're physically comfortable. But if that was enough, why do we need vacations, TV, and other distractions? So what we've established is that you lead this life of tedium to be comfortable but not content. Not much of a life, is it? Hell, all animals work for food and shelter, and we're supposed to be different than animals, right?

OK, I can already tell what you're going to say: One day Marty, you'll meet that special someone, have kids, and everything will change. And I'm sure I'll have a different perspective then. But I see folks I worked with who have a spouse and happy kids, and I gotta tell you, they don't look to content either. Sure, they love their family--when they see them--but for most of the day they look bored at best, miserable at worst. Yeah, they get themselves through the day by thinking of their loved ones, and to quote Dido, "and it's not so bad, it's not so ba-aaaaad." But isn't that adding one distraction on top of another? Instead of "I need to work to get money to get food and shelter," it's "I need to work to get money to get food and shelter for the family"? Again, not much different from animals.

Look, this isn't to say that once I meet that special someone and have kids, suddenly I won't care about any of these existential questions. I'm just saying, these are the types of questions that pop up when I'm in the office.

Now don't you wish you went and read about cute widdle kittens?