Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Allure of Office Supplies

This morning I got an email that made me want to vomit, just a little, but not in that way you’re thinking of because I know you’re thinking that my violent reaction is due to some strange repulsion or perhaps the gaudy display of sandals worn with pantyhose or even a picture of small children being beaten with stilettos (because both are equally repulsive). It’s not even the vomit initiated by a bad piece of tilapia or an undercooked chicken sandwich. It’s the kind of vomit that I get on First Days or when I’ve blatantly told a lie that I know deep down in my soul is so going to come back and bite me in the ass. It’s the quivery stomach-on-strike feeling I get when I’m waiting for a boy to pick me up for a date or when I’ve got a job interview that literally forces my entire gastro-intestinal system to clench in fear.

The timing of this email couldn’t have been worse. I mean, I just sat in my car the other day and looked at one of my best friends and told her how content I was. How everything felt like a Lithium bubble- perfect and clear and guaranteed to give the world a glossy, shiny hue of rose petal dreams. That’s not to say that I stopped feeling things altogether because I’m not really on Lithium, I’m just sort of floating. It’s a nice float, don’t get me wrong. The water’s nice and the fish don’t bite too hard. I’m not sure when it happened but one day I woke up and realized everything really was okay. Not like a pretend okay but really okay. My new job is nice, my apartment is nice, my hair is normally agreeable 4 out of the 7 days in the week and I get to write here, as often as I want.

And so I’ve been pulling up this email for the past two and a half hours, periodically re-reading it, memorizing every word, trying to get my head around what it took for him to write it.

The thing is, I don’t hate you, Jack. I never did. I mean, there was that pesky incident where I stood up in front of your class and told you to go fuck yourself. And, okay, there might have been a wee bit of hate that day but Aunt Flow was probably visiting. By the way this doesn’t give you free reign to make jokes about menstruation. I’m just saying. What’s strange is that three weeks ago I looked you up on the internet and found that movie you made listed on and I wanted to send you something congratulatory because after like a bazillion years it was finally done. Or at least the imdb gnomes think so.

Anyway, sorry ‘bout all that.

So I’ve sat at my desk and stared at my green speckled cubicle walls in between viewings of this email. I thought I’d gotten rid of that urge that makes me want to scream in the parking lot at the top of my lungs or throw the cats in the car and never come back. This urge used to be so strong it was an act of whatever deity you pray to just to get me out of the car in the mornings. Many an hour has been spent with my head resting on the steering wheel with silent inner monologue running rampant in my head.

Here’s where I actually explain why I got that that feeling listed above, the heinous nausea that makes me want to crawl under my desk and retch silently into my trashcan. It’s because I so desperately want it to be true. I want it I want it I want it. I want it like a fat kid wants cake. Like a drowning man needs air. Like a girl needs a shoe sale. Whatever analogy you want to use, just know that I Want It.

I just don’t know how to get it.

And that’s what makes me sick to my stomach. The fact that someone thinks I’m talented and that someone isn’t my blood-sister-BFF or genetic relative, not to mention someone I strangely respect (the whole fuck-you university incident not withstanding).
It’s almost more than I want to think about this Thursday morning.


oakland heidi said...

confused. Confused. So confused.

colter said...

For the record, I think you're a talented writer. But then I'm just a lowly freelancer. I do read a lot, though, and I enjoy your speedy stream-of-consciousness style and I'm appreciative of the near-absence of anything resembling a grammatical or syntactical sin.

birdie said...

it's just there were Such Nice Things written in that email, and the Such Nice Things were written about ME (which is obviously super awesome) and how I could be something more than I am. God, the cheese today is choking me, just a bit. Even with the nausea it's still a nice feeling, though.

Carl from L.A. said...

The first time I ever read your blog I thought you wrote exceptionally well.

But what got me to come back again and again is your ability to put every molecule of your thought (or at least the ones that you want) on paper.

If I have to describe your writing in one word, it would be "moving".

Jenni said...

I think your writing has a very unique flair with punch. You can reach out and grab me and shake me and make me see it just like you want me to. Most of the time it's with an acidic humor that I can't get enough of.

Adam said...

So the e-mail was nice?

Coyote Mike said...

I think I'll wait for the Brit-translation for this post before really commenting

meghansdiscontent said...

Okay, crack-monkey-biatch:

Just because someone is your blood-sister-BFF doesn't mean what she tells you is untrue, even when you're crazy-ass is floating in a lithium bubble.

You're amazing.
You're talented.
You can write better than anyone else I know . . and hundreds and thousands of people I don't know (Jayzus, we've read some of the same books, you put these people to shame).

We both know you won't write for a living.
It gives someone else too much damn control.
I don't like you edited.
I don't want you censored.
I don't want someone taking something so natural and crafting it until it's ready for the masses.
Fuck Unca Cheese.
And you KNOW what I'm saying there.

You ARE content.
Stop looking for reasons to be the Robin I've known and loved for years.
Completely discontent.
Leave that shit to me.
You stick with the happiness you've been floating in for a while.
Finally enjoying a job for once.
Having things to do, people to do them with and money to support the endeavors.
Living in a fantabulous apartment with one of your best friends right upstairs, her boyfriend who does everything manly you need done and two psycho cats that provide as much entertainment as despair.

Jack's email was wonderful.
You needed it.
You need to hear from OTHERS that you're a walking miracle.
That you touch others beyond your comprehension.
That your skill with the written word surpasses millions of others.
That YOU are an inspiration to others.

Don't let him convince you . . this person who knows you so little . . this person you screamed Fuck You at in the middle of HIS class . . that you're not where you need to be.
YOU know you better than anyone else.
And YOU know you would be unhappy struggling as a writer.
We've discussed it many, many, many times.

I love you more than about anything else in this world, lady.
I will support you in every decision you ever make, even the stupid ones - like those track pants sophomore year . . oh God.
If you want to be a writer, you can live your cracker ass in my house for free and struggle.
I promise.

But don't give up the happiness you've finally managed to find for an unknown.

meghansdiscontent said...

Christ that was long.

I know you, the minute you start reading good things about you aired in public you'll hit the trashcan icon.

birdie said...

To clarify, no one is encouraging me to get rid of the day job. I like the day job. The day job pays my bills AND allows me to feed the cats on a regular basis.

And it WAS nice having a compliment from someone who DOESN’T love me- not that you say those things because of the love but think about it- if you were a fashion designer and a New York Fashion Week coordinator complimented you on your work, you’d be happy. Not because the gushings and ooohings and awwwwings from friends and family hadn’t made a difference.. because you appreciated that. But that added oomph comes from it NOT being someone who has seen you eat M&M’s and ice cream for breakfast.

I’m still happy. I didn’t loose that. I like my little pseudo-Lithium bubble and I intend to keep it as long as I can. But that email was kind of like an impetus to do something better. What’s preventing me from going home every night and working on a book instead of going home every night and staring at the walls? The fact that it might not be good, hell, that fact that it might not be great. I WANT people to love it. I WANT people to think it’s fabulous.

But I had been so intent on not damaging my little Lithium-bubble I didn’t want to rock the boat, so to speak. Which is why I wrote that the email came at a bad time- my little bubble and I are friends and I didn’t want to burst his, well, bubble. But it turns out that my bubble is still intact. So it’s all good.

Barry S. said...

It is always good to get emails such as these! Good, and sad at the same time.
I am sad to see you so torn and confused - and so nauseous.

Anonymous said...

Get a grip, people!

All I said was that she was talented and should consider writing. I didn't tell her to quit her damn job, I asked if she was doing what she wanted to do and implied that by referring to her job as "ass-wiping" that perhaps she wasn't all that happy with it.

As a matter of fact, in the second email I went out of my way to say "don't quit your job" and offered up the example of a friend who wrote at night and was actually able to parlay that into a career.

Or maybe this is some insidious Dr. Evil plot -- revenge for the classroom "fuck you" incident.

Damn, I'm good.

Or am I?


Carl from L.A. said...

The New York Fashion Week coordinator analogy doesn't fly, unless Jack is a publisher of some kind and is offering you a book deal.

That said, I will buy anythng you write.

I've taught step classes for 12 years now, and I have an amazing following. My classes average 50-60 people a class and had as many as 100. People have said that I should open my own gym, make videos, etc. As tempting as these propositions are, I'm not about to give up my day job which pays well and is extremely stable.

There is nothing wrong with being content. Sure, in some parallel universe you could be Madonna and I could be Tiger Woods, but instead of considering the "What if's" why not just focus what we've got and make the most of it? (right, Britt?)

birdie said...

Ok, seriously. I’m not talking about giving up the day job, or being unhappy because someone sent me an email or any of that. Brittany has COMPLETELY the wrong idea about this- I don’t want to give everything up to write or book or anything kooky like that and Senor Jackknife certainly isn’t a proponent of that, either.
And yes, I do consider Jack in a position similar to the Fashion Week Coordinator. Someone who’s in the business, per se. Someone who’s at least seen more of it than I have.
I think everyone read too much into this- and that’s probably my fault. I didn’t really give a good back story on the Jack-ness, or why I would enjoy his compliment so much. Back in the day I thought Jack was the shit. Not because he’d moved from into Arkansas from LA or because he was some crazy New Yorker. He had good ideas and has a strange ability to show you a one-dimensional side but fucking shock you with the facets, oh the facets! Like a shiny pretty diamond! Only with a perpetu-stubble and a backwards cap! Of course, there was a bit of, um, a personality clash at times. I was a Crankypants Bitch and he was a Wanker.
So that’s it. No hidden meanings. I get nervous about surprises and this email was most certainly a surprise. That’s it. Done deal. Xoxoxo- Robin

rob said...

I think you should quit your day job and become a sherpa.

An naked sherpa.

Just a thought.

Drunken Chud said...

i'm with rob on this one. i think i may need a naked guide on my treks into and out of detroit. i know, it's not nepal... but hey, you gotta start somewhere right?

Texas Roxy said...

I am so confused. But hey, I do that on livejournal allll the time.
Just to get it out...makes you feel better.