After a year away from it generally relaxing, behaving badly and being selfishly feckless in small measures, I found myself back in the world of full time work again this week.
I can't tell you what a shock it felt like to be rooted in the same place for such a long time surrounded by the same people. What's that about? Robinson Crusoe didn't choose to be shipwrecked did he.
I survived, although by Monday I was rather convinced my sorry ass would be canned before the end of the week, reminding me of a former friend who landed a job in public relations only to quit on the first morning after she was asked to do some filing and another friend who went running out of her first teaching job, foaming at the mouth at the end of the first week, and never returned.
Journalists have a lot of transferable qualities, as I like to tell former LA Times star writers who now wait tables. But realizing we are right back at the bottom of the food chain again, fighting for mutant pieces of plankton isn't one of them. It's hard to realize we can no longer pick up the phone to the mayor of wherever and put the fear of God into them by talking about backhanders.
"Don't you know I have four Pulitzers" cuts little ice in the private sector as someone is asking you to shove 400 business cards into pocket books.
It's not all bad. I have my own office for the first time in my life. I even succeeded in setting up the printer.
My boss' favorite saying is "Little by little" which a semi diplomatic way of saying I am slow.
Today I learned the most important lesson of office life that employees are afraid to ask; namely where the toilet paper is stored.
I am happy that I have survived a week without going crazy. The woman I was throwing Styrofoam peanuts at in the middle of the Interstate during the soggy morning commute deserved it. She cut me up.
Anyway, what I thought might be the most depressing day of the year so far was saved by an amazing sunset that took my eyes away from the ugliness of the houses and the lumpen school, the play equipment rusting in the cold and the whine of kids.
Maybe things are getting back on track. Little by little.
TODAY'S PIECE OF OBSCURE TRIVIA
1 - Styrofoam peanuts feature prominently in which famous American novel?