The Walking Red

Wait, if I’m going to have a title like that, I need to redye my hair, because the red has faded over time. Guess I’m going to have to go to Walgreen’s……… because as I always say, “you cannot find the color of my hair in nature, but you can find it at Walgreen’s.” It’s part of my personality now, and people have called me “Red” or “Spike” since college. Because that is my style- bright auburn and cut my hair until it stands up on its own. My former boss at University of Houston, Scott, is the one that originally named me. I had his number, though, because his last name is Reval. I called him DrReval for the entire time I worked there. 🙂

Speaking of University of Houston, when I worked there I did a host of jobs. I was hired originally as a computer lab monitor, and then they saw that I was really good at helping students go from “this is a mouse” to competent quickly and promoted me to the Graduate School of Social Work lab, where I taught grad students how to hit Save for a living. Just FYI, I had one student who lost an entire thesis because his floppy crapped out on him and he’d saved his work to it and deleted the copies on his hard drive. The floppy issue is no longer, but removable media in and of itself is going to be more likely to fail than your computer. Make sure you backup to the cloud with documents, because then they’re accessible from any computer with Internet access and you won’t run the risk of saying “oh, fuck” and all of the blood running out of your face when you realize that your entire graduate education is now smashed into oblivion. Think about it. All those keychain drives are going to be roughed up way more than a stationery hard drive. Use the Internet, people. Saving you from dumbass attacks one document at a time. Both Google and Microsoft provide excellent web apps for documents- so much so that you probably won’t miss LibreOffice. If you do, you can use Dropbox or Boxee or whatever to sync your documents folder. The only drawback is that if you upload .odt files, they won’t be viewable or editable. You’ll just have a repository of documents that you can’t do anything with while mobile.

I use Google Docs because at Marylhurst, we had Google Apps for Education and used it all day, every day, so now I’m married to it. I don’t think that it has as many features in the word processor as the Microsoft Web Apps, but I don’t need them. This is what I do. I type. I don’t really use formatting tools so much as collaboration. It’s kind of cool when the whole group signs into one document. Everybody has a different color cursor so you can tell who is changing what instantaneously. The first time I saw it, I nearly fell out of my chair with awe.

And, as usual, I have drifted off into ADD territory and told a story that is informational, but has nothing to do with the topic at hand. I’m just that way all the time. As the bumper sticker says, “I like non-sequiturs and peanut butter.” Yup, that about covers it.

Yesterday all I did was walk. For ADD people, movement encourages brain activity and it helps keep me thinking about what I need to do and how to do it. My mental health is also a hell of a lot better, because I am high on endorphins all day every day. I don’t know exactly how FAR I walked, but I know it was at least seven or eight miles, because the trek from my house to the Metro and back is four miles all by itself. It makes me feel good to walk, so every time I pull out my card for the bus, so far I’ve thought about it and said, “nah. I’ll just walk” And then I put my card back in my pocket and move on.

You are probably asking what I did on said walk. I ate at Panera Bread and asked if they had any jobs available, because I got a broth bowl with couscous, greens, and eggs that was literally the comfort food I have been looking for my entire life (get in my face OM NOM NOM). I bought pseudophed at the pharmacy and asked if they had any jobs available (especially after being a medical assistant, pharmacy notation is easy). I went to Lillie’s in the evening for a house Malbec that made me cry, it was so good. Then I went to the server’s station and asked if they had any jobs available. This is the one that may work out, because they’re looking for people and I left them with my contact information and said I was looking for work as a line cook or a server because I have experience in both. Later on, I went for a redeye at Starbucks and asked if they were hiring, too. Starbucks is key here, because their employees get health insurance from day one. Out of pocket, my plan now is over $300 a month, which is just unsustainable for me.

I absolutely do not care where I end up, only that I need a job and all of these places said they had spots open. I have said many times that the goal is not to get a high-octane job because all I really want to do is write. It is not fair of me to give my time to someone else when I am building my own dreams instead of theirs. Being the chip and pickle guy at a deli is fine. Just don’t put me on call.

There is no shortage of low wage jobs in DC because most people can’t afford to live like that, but I can. As I have mentioned, my house only charges $800 all bills paid. It’s insane, but Hayat’s daughter explained to me that her mother was an immigrant in this country and feels a duty to help other people acclimate as well. She is the mother hen, and I couldn’t be happier about it because I have someone who worries for me that I don’t have enough towels. Her generosity in rent allows me freedom, and for that, I am so grateful. It’s funny how I found exactly the right place for myself by clicking on an ad on Craig’s List randomly.

God is in the details. I learn that every day by slowing down. People with cars and road rage are moving so fast that they cannot see those moments where they break down under all the pressure of running so hard and inflict emotional damage on the people around them. I am trying to understand me, so that I have appropriate reactions and boundaries because I inflict emotional damage when I feel threatened. I just pop off and say things without thinking about it and people cry and I don’t know how to handle it, because I was just angry in the moment and not trying to fuck up relationships but I do. We get to the point where I can’t apologize enough, and I just let go.

In fact, I just walk away.


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