Wide Awake in Wonderland

We’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

Sleep habits of the disenchanted November 20, 2008

So when I first got home from Turkey, I was widly jet-lagged and fighting to stay awake at 2pm.

Now the pendulum has swung dramatically the other way. I’m going to bed at 2am and rising at the equivalent of 7pm Istanbul time. What a difference three weeks makes.

Stepping back and looking at the situation objectively, I think I’m suffering the effects of no job, no schedule, and no real responsibilities. It’s fun for a few weeks, but there’s a nagging voice in the back of my head that would like to see me get my @ss in gear and develop a plan for managing my time.

Part of the problem is that I can dick around like nobody’s business. If there were a “who can waste the most time surfing the internet” competition, I could very possibly take home of the gold. Ditto for channel surfing, magazine flipping through, phone chatting, book skimming, and dog tug of warring. Alas, this is not how best selling novels are created (at least I doubt it), so starting next week I am developing a time management schedule and sticking to it! And calling all the people I need to call! And writing back to all the people I need to write! And commencing my plan for world domination!

To quote the famous time management expert Alan Lakein, “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”   Amen to that.


Stylist to the Gypsies October 10, 2008

So every country has its class system. Sometimes it’s overt (take for example, India), and sometimes you have to read between the lines. A few nights ago, I was talking to a man from Malmo, Sweden (I’ve actually met three people from Malmo in the last week…and they’ve all been delightful, but that really has nothing to do with my point). Anyway, Rob was telling me that a lot of the Swedes go to Norway to work because the pay is so much higher. And then he added, with a particular glance in my direction, “We’re the Mexicans.” Touche.

For better or worse, where America has its huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the Balkans have the gypsies. In the various warnings I received to minimize my time in Bucharest (if not avoid it altogether), I was told in hushed tones, “It’s a town of 2 million people…and 500,000 of them are gypsies!!!!!!”

They stand out a little without even trying as they have a darker complexion than many of the Romanians and Bulgarians. This probably poses a challenge to any tourists with a St. Tropez tan.

However, it”s not all brown skin and black hair. What makes the gypsies notable is their fashion sensibility. If you ever wondered what happened to the hideous clothing of the seventies…look no further than Romania. Essentially, think about the ugliest couch you ever saw. And then imagine the polyester afghan your threw in the dumpster after the aunt that made it finally died. Throw in some fluorescent colors, bad mattresses, and maybe six or seven competing floral patterns. Don’t forget to use a large plastic bag as a suitcase! Now your gypsy look is complete.

So I started wondering, WHY ARE THEY DRESSING THIS WAY!? If you knew your blond hair and all-denim outfit made you the target of racism and prejudice, wouldn’t you maybe consider some black slacks or perhaps a subtle pair of khakis with a turtleneck? Would you still slip into the acid wash jacket with the same cavalier swagger?

And that’s how it happens that I find myself walking down the street behind a couple women looking like a 1972 flea market. and it dawns on me: THEY NEED ME. And if things don’t work out with my would-be illustrious and award-winning writing career, I’m thinking there could be a niche market as a  Gypsy  personal stylist? I could be their Coco Chanel. My mission would be to teach the value of flourescent floral patterns as an ACCENT. Sure a hot pink paisley head scarf is kicky, but maybe it would be better tied around the neck of your dog? Just a suggestion. No need to pull a knife. Maybe sleep on it?


You’ll never (want to) work in this town again September 23, 2008

I had one of those days where things just come into focus. That’s more than a little ironic, because I also have a killer migraine (is there any other kind?), such that literally nothing is in focus. When I get them, they are relentless. They last at least three days, which renders me half-blind and flinchy. I’m having to squint my eyes down to pin pricks to tolerate the light coming from this monitor as I write this. How I suffer for my art.

Anyway, I was looking at a calendar last night and realized it was almost October. This got me thinking about the ‘real world’ and my eventual return to it and actually making money and punching a clock and all that fun stuff. Meanwhile, even though I am largely out of touch, by simply logging into my Yahoo mail, I am bombarded with dismal news about the short-term financial outlook for the U.S. Being an expert in the banking industry (payments and credit cards, specifically) one can’t help but muse that all this probably lessens my options for a simple return to the type of career I once knew.

When I set out into the city this morning, some of these thoughts came back to me, and I remember wondering for a moment if I should get into contact with some of the people I know in the industry and start to put out some feelers. I also noticed the thought of that turned my stomach. If there is one thing I learned in hypnotherapy, it’s that if you realize that you feel bad or uncomfortable or just ‘wrong’, to stop and check it out. There’s important info (usually that you’re getting off your path) in the rotten feelings. What I realized in that moment was that banking consulting makes me want to puke.

Meanwhile, one of the main north/south drags in Florence pretty much shares its name with my old boss (for those of you that weren’t around in the summer or have bad memories, I’m referring to the sniveling weasel who would never talk to me again after I told him I was taking this trip). It didn’t bother me or anything, but perhaps that’s why I got a hankering to log into the e-mail I use for sending out resumes and pretty much nothing else? This is an account that, from the looks of it, i haven’t been in since I left on this trip. .

Anyway, in with some notices from LinkedIn and some receipts rom PayPal, there were two e-mails from the ex-boss’ secretary. Seriously, junk mail and something from them (and I never gave them that e-mail. They must have dug out my old resume or something to find it?). Color me stunned.

I suppose it goes to show that I never learn, because I didn’t feel the least bit of trepidation or fear or anything as I opened it. I should have, because here’s what i found:

On Wed, 9/3/08, The World’s Worst Secretary> wrote:

From: The World’s Worst Secretary>
Subject: Next time you are online, please answer below;
To: VW
Date: Wednesday, September 3, 2008, 1:24 PM

From: The World’s Worst Secretary
Sent: Thursday, August 21, 2008 9:23 AM
To: VW
Subject: Business books purchased

The ex-boss asked me to check with you in regards to any books purchased by or for you for business during your employment w/us that they be returned to us

Also, all binders, books, documents that were given to you by the ex-boss should be returned to him.

Please advise.
Thank you
The World’s Worst Secretary

I don’t even know where to start with this. Ticking down the most obvious:

1. Who asks for shit back over a month after an employee is gone?

2. Who bothers them on a trip overseas – said trip over which a dispute caused them to quit in the first place?

3. Nothing he gave me was valuable or irreplaceable or even all that interesting. Half the time I would leave stuff in the hotel room because it was too heavy to lug home, and I knew I’d never look at it again anyway.

4. Is it me, or is this like asking for all the Christmas and birthday gifts you gave back after you break up with someone?

5. I will never answer this e-mail. Hell will freeze before I reply to this crap. I might burn the handful of books and papers and send them a video of me dancing around the tiny pyre, but I won’t send them a single scrap of paper.

However, the one upside is that this little incident has solidified a reality in my mind: I can’t go back to the kind of work I’ve done for the last eight years. It’s like a sign. .Like when you go into the Amityvillle Horror House and a voice says, “GET OUT.”

Plus, the mere thought of it makes me nauseous, and – and perhaps most importantly – I simply don’t want to. Life is too short to be miserable, and my talent is wasted on that boring bullshit anyway.

I met some people tonight who asked me what I would do when I got home. Although I used to murmur about how could probably go back to the type of work I had been doing, the answer I gave is the only answer I can give, “I don’t know.”

I guess I’m just going to keep writing this blog and writing my book and putting feelers out there and focusing on this trip while I’m here now, and trust that the rest will fall into place when it’s time. I may not have a good plan, but I’m okay with that. I am pretty sure that no one has ever looked back on a situation and said, “Wow. I’m really glad I worried about that!”


The Short Story July 31, 2008

Filed under: humor,Life,Travel,work — wideawakeinwonderland @ 11:32 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Okay. I’m working on about three hours of sleep here. I’m one of those people that is zombified on five hours sleep and more or less comatose with less. How does Donald Trump do it!?!??! Is that why he thinks that hairdo is in any way acceptable??? Anyway, in order to minimize the wacko punctuation, spelling, and irrational digressions, let’s just drill down to the hard facts:

1. Meeting some dude a solid forty minute drive (each way!) from my house at 8:00 in the morning to turn in my company car, computer, and phone. Awkward.

2. Boss NEVER called me. NADA. Not an e-mail, a text, a postcard, an IM, a smoke signal, or an ESP message. Zero. Zilch. Dick.

3. Grappling with inner monologues such as, “Why do I feel I need to take a 13-week trip? How come everyone else is so satisfied where they are? It would be nice to just sit around and do nothing. What is WRONG with me? It won’t be summer when I get back. I love summer. Was that my exit?”

4. Got some insane idea to start a companion blog. It’s Patton Oswalt’s fault. And Lewis Black. It’s called “Random Thoughts From a Disorganized Douche Bag.” I know, I know.  I’m not from Long Island. What do I know about being a douche bag (or baguette)? It’s got ‘bad idea’ written all over it…

5. Tomorrow is the big pack. If I get enough sleep to remember and am thinking straight, I’ll make my first video for you. That’s right. Try to hold it together: A VIDEO OF SOMEONE PACKING!!! I think I hear the porn industry grinding to a halt…


Protected: A box of rain will ease the pain, and love will see you through July 30, 2008

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Protected: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out July 29, 2008

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Protected: I’m sick of this…so you’re probably totally over it July 28, 2008

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