Monday, January 21, 2008

Howz It Goin? (Pt. 1)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Today Traci and I head back home to Louisville for a surprise birthday party for her Mom. (As popular as My Space is, I don't worry about letting the cat out of the bag here, but if you know Traci's Mom, shut your buzz-killing trap, Okay? It's a surprise.)

On the J TRain last night, thinking about the visit and conversations that could happen, I worked out some things. Serious things, not the least of which was the usefulness of String Theory. But let me start from a place with a more natural beginning.

Naturally, going home leads to giving the ol' update on life, which is something I enjoy immensely, even though the agony of the FAQ: "So, Ray, how are things going?" Truth told, I can give a smile and say "Learning how to live in New York City" and I wouldn't be lying, but that's not really what's going on. Then again, if I said I'm dangling with all my dearest posessions by the thinnest of threads which is both terrifying and intoxicating and occasionally good for intimacy with my wife, well, that's too much for the average "How do you do", now, isn't it?

Before you jump to your own answer, consider that the enduring the experience as I speak to you a live, in-the-moment response to your "How do you do" question calls for a completely different investment than what's required for you to read my blog. Getting the story from me doesn't come easily 73% of the time. You are most often subjected to the well-intentioned narrative spirit of a guy who read 15 pages of Joyce and thought he "got it" and then speaks with the word usage of a dyslexic scrabble player.

Matter of fact, getting to the bottom of seemingly innocent questions like "How's it going?" or "What's up" can really ruin my day. I mean, do people really think that's a conversation starter? Do they know what they're asking of me? Have they no regard for my time and energy? How dare they be so callous and insensitive as to ask me - soooo casually - "How's things"? HOW'S THINGS? Well FUCK YOU, TOO, BUDDY!

Okay, so anyway, I'm working this out as I ride the J Train because I feel that my Father In Law deserves a decent response when he asks me how things are going. I want to tell him just like I want to tell you the truth to "How's it going", but I haven't got quite the angle yet.

But that's not to say I'm without a paddle. There are a few key developments that have happened here lately that I know will impress upon him that things in New York have definitely taken a turn upwards.

I got a job. With a big player in the industry no less.

Perhaps you've heard of them. Macy's. Only that's not what I call them now that I've been in the door to sign my name on the line. I don't have to be so formal anymore. I have real people's names that I can use like Bob and Candi. These are the names of my soon-to-be employers who worked with me at length over the negotiations and paperwork. The care with which we measured up the pros and cons of the merger between me and their organization proved to me beyond a doubt that they were really invested in me not just as an artist but as a person. We inked the deal.

I'm gonna be an elf.

Yes. I know. Santaland Diaries. Everyone tells me to read the story of how the guy who worked his way up from being a Christmas Elf to become a successful published author and public personality. I'm hip. And so is Bob, my boss, who was very professional when I mentioned Santaland Diaries.

"Yeah, about that," Bob said, hands on his desk so he was facing me head on. "The thing is, Ron, what happens in Santaland stays in Santaland."

Bob is a cool gent of 23ish who recently moved to the city. As an elf under his direction, I aspire to only bring merit to his act of hiring me. I understood immediately the situation he was in and told him no problem. What happens in Santaland stays in Santaland. I can't promise what happens in my mind will stay in my mind, but I'm not out to be a booger in the ointment.

Besides, why on earth would anyone want to dis Santa? And I'm not being cute or nostalgic here - every year I ride my rusty sleigh through the pervading temper of Christmas Dismas. Bob and I discussed how there are many a soul who run around acting like the Christmas Season is the most terrible atrocity ever to be inflicted on the soul. Commerce, greed, lies about Santa, whatever....look. I'm gonna say this now and probably a few more times this season. YOU GOT BIGGER FISH TO FRY THAN CHRISTMAS, PEOPLE. Give it a fucking break! Evils of capitalism shattered dreams commercialism scam...Christmas? Horseshit.

Maybe you're frustrated that you've grown too busy to enjoy yourself? I'm with you, but don't take it out on people who can, K? (And by taking it out on others I mean thinking that your shitty Chritmas opinion belongs anywhere outside of your My Space blog. Shut it!) If you've never siezed the opportunity to consider the people close to you and actually give them a gift that says something about your feelings for them, I relate - that can feel a little, well, less-than. Just don't blame the season. That's for pussies. And you ain't a Christmas Pussy, are you?

My friend Steve said this to me one year. He said, "Christmas gift giving is the time when we see how well we don't really know the people close to us." Know what Steve got me for Christmas the next year? A holiday tin of fucking Altoids. I'm still working through that one.

But I don't think "knowing the people close to you" is a fair thing to lay on anyone. I mean if you're a friend of mine and you can't get past "How's it going" with me, how are you going to know what to get me? That's why people like me make it easy and we tell you what we want. We make a list. We hint. I won't be upset if you don't give me something that resonates with every fiber of our relationship. I love gift cards.

Just don't dis Christmas, okay? Because I am an elf with CONNECTIONS and you don't want to make me angry. Christmas is not a time to start bitching more, K?

Where was I? Oh yeah. String Theory. Another time perhaps.

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