Monday, March 31, 2008

so it goes

So far I've had two full weeks on the new job and I can feel myself slowly and subtly changing. For one thing, I'm starting to get used to my new hours. After seven years of mostly swing shifts, working in the morning feels weird. But good. I don't necessarily love popping out of the bed so early, but having my evenings with Mahavira is fair trade. We have actually been cooking meals for each other, just like we planned. It's nice. And going to bed before 3am, which is also a treat.

My identity at work is changing too, which is fine. Necessary, I guess. I'm a manager now, or so my boss keeps telling me, and it's finally starting to sink in. I have been assigned two former peers to directly supervise and today I had my first slightly unpleasant supervisory interaction with one of them. Shmiel, my friend, my buddy who used to go out with me on Monday nights after work to Billy Ray's to play pin-ball and drink beer... I had to sit her down and tell her she was fucking something up. And I saw the curtain come down over her face and I thought "Wow. I feel like a dick." But that's life.

And we had a death at work. Last week one of our clients died. A client I kinda hated. At first I felt surprisingly gleeful about it. Seems like it's always the nice ones who die while the mean ones just linger on forever. It was nice to have a little balance on this one. Actually, it felt like an answered prayer. Mean and spiteful, a shit-stirrer -- two days after this person died, I pulled a stray paper from my pocket and saw notes I'd written to myself from earlier in the week, reminders to deal with several different problems this now-deceased person had caused. Now those problems have vanished.

My initial joy has been replaced with other feelings, however. Mostly I'm just amazed how fast the hole can close up around someone. The dead client's body was hardly out of the building before people were milling around like normal, like nothing had ever happened. No one even cried. In fact, people were immediately vying for some of the dead client's belongings, swearing they'd been given permission to borrow this or that, not seeming to care that their so-called friend was now dead. A week hasn't yet passed since that client died and you'd never, ever guess.

In a way it's reassuring. Life goes on, that's the beauty. But it's also a little depressing. Are we all so shallow and short-sighted that we really stop caring the moment someone disappears? If I died tomorrow, would the hole close that fast? Mostly I think of death as a natural passage, maybe a door to the next thing, maybe a peaceful end, whatever. I don't tend to fear it and I don't tend to worry about leaving a lasting impression, though this death did make me give it all a little more thought.

Strangely, though, the recent death that *really* moved me was the death of my mom's 14 year old dog Buddy. I just got a message from mom this evening describing his last days and explaining that she had a vet come out today to put him to sleep after a two-week illness. I cried and cried and still get teary thinking about him. So, I guess I'm not a complete monster.



Bye, Buddy. I'll miss you.

3 Comments:

Blogger not drowning waving said...

oh no! not buddy!
when i was scrolling down, reading the blog and saw the little dog face appearing down below i thought you were going to write that you and M have adopted another dog and here s/he is.... but no.
buddy has passed.
hope your mom is doing ok, that was a long relationship....

11:08 PM  
Blogger south carolina girl said...

i thought it was a new dog too. sorry to hear about it. :( Buddy looks like the stray dog Indiana and me found during our spring break trip.

8:28 AM  
Blogger roro said...

So sorry about Buddy. And really interesting stuff about the new job. I've never been in a management position before myself (at WORK - if you know what I mean...and I think that you do) and it seems you're handling yours with aplomb. Huzzah for aplomb!

6:29 PM  

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