Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Today there is no crying, but have long conversation with woman who seems to have a small case of alpocia; strange interactions with two professors--one of whom is very upset about the restrictive copy machine rules followed by another who would like to Register her Disgust at the wastefullness that goes on around this place--agree fully with her, but can't stop uncharitable thought that would not cry if she suddenly threw a clot. Also, throughout day--when answering phone or dealing with a student--Libby makes strange huffing noise which sounds like a horse in distress. Says that it is an Acting Exercise meant to calm. Though it may calm down Libby, it makes me very very tense. For a break, call the Contessa. She says, Oh, Mr. High and Mighty has time for me today. Tell her not to be silly. Ask how things are going with the New Man. She says they are Fine. Ask her if I am right in detecting a certain coolness in her voice. She says No, but it's not like they are dating. They are just having fun. Nobody is involved or anything. Think that this is a very modern way of looking at things; am impressed and tell the Contesssa so. After hang up, cynical side notes that claims of uninvolvement very likely not the pure truth.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

First Day of Classes

Classes start today. There is very much to be recommended for working in an office in the , i.e. former office from which the Contessa calls to say she is so-o-o bored. Tell her curtly that I will call her back as I have a student in my office. Do have a student in office, crying, because the professor Yelled at her for coming in late and told her that she shouldn't bother. Further discussion reveals that also she is in the middle of moving and that her cat very likely has cancer (Note: Contact health department about possible epidemic of cat cancer)and that she has a cold. Tell student that will Speak to the professor. Also urge her to take care of herself and to try class again next week. Crying student is followed by irate professor who claims that she still hasn't been fully paid for last semester, how can she start teaching this. What kind of place are we running? Feel that she is making things a big personal--can commiserate but do wish that she would quit waving her pay stub in the air for emphasis. Also wish that when talked spit did not fly from her lips. Feel self wanting to become personal in return. Libby is brought in to make sense of the pay stub. She explains it all in an impressively firm tone. The professor says I See, meekly. This makes Libby momentarily my favorite person. She very quickly loses this position when she sends in a student who wants to take a continuing education class. Libby says, Fritz can help you choose. Student a large, tall man who two times refers to himself as a patient, as in, When I was professor Grant's patient, I mean student...After mentally exhausting conversation--are you interested in Dickens? Oh no! I like movies! Then attempt to explain focus of an English Department which prospective student counters with, Yes, but what if I want to read something in another language? Are you saying that English is the only worthy language?--student is extricated from office.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sin City

Libby packs up very early today, pokes head into my office and says she is catching a plane to go to Las Vegas for the weekend. Ask, inanely, To gamble? She says, yes, she has a system.


Thursday, May 25, 2006


Once again, revise opinion of the New Man. Revision (this time) is for the better. At the bar he is charming and funny. He and Dave have a long and--it appears, fruitful though have no way of truly assesing--conversation about comic books and graphic novels. They seem to agree on the major points and have only negligible, natural disagreements about specifics--conversation seems to consist mostly of prhrases: yes of course, exactly, strange that you should say that... The Contessa and I are in complete agreement about topic as well-as she says, Both forms Make Her Eyes Tired. Say Exactly, Like trying to read French...straight to sleep. (note: Remember this for next time insominia strikes.) So while Dave and the New Man talk, the Contessa and I attack the US weekly, which, no matter what its faults, is not dull. As usual many celebrities look like skin-and-bone, a few look like they could use a Diet and not much of anybody looks just right. Drinks turn into dinner at Italian place. The New Man orders a very very nice bottle of red wine. Become loquatious and witty though am not sure exactly about what. Lighting in restaurant just right, making everyone look quite beautiful. Dewy. In cab on ride home, Dave says, mildly, You made him seem much worse than he is. Say, he is at his best in a situation like this. There is a pause. Ask, You didn't find him even a little bit difficult? He is almost too nice, say. Dave replies, Really? Feel that am a very bad person. Much later as we are falling asleep Dave says that he will find the New Man annoying if I want him to.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Attend meeting concerning the curriculum. Prior to meeting, with the help of dear Libby, prepare copies in colored folders with printed labels and also sticky tabs on each different section, which Libby says are essential. Get very excited about organizing (Later think that it may just be that got to use stickers--act of which must have awakened pleasant childhood memory of collecting the kind of stickers that smelled--favorite of which was the Skunk. Though sticky tabs, naturally, have no intentional smell.) As am carring well-organized folders down stairs feel that Libby's influence has indeed been for the good--at least this time--as am very ready to talk about classes we plan to offer next spring. Feel supreme pleasure that days of going to meetings about office supplies are far behind me. Congratulate self on coming up in the world. As soon as meetin gstarts, the representative from the Math department begins to talk droningly and incomprehensibly-the chair of the foreign languages department bristles and tries to interrupt at which point there is what appears to be a vicious skirmish. Become slightly interested, but as have no idea what the fight is about and because Math continues to drone on, without letting Foreign Languages press her point, fight fizzles out. Last bit of original feeling of triumph trickles away and familiar sense of dread and restlessness set in. Idly watch myself draw a grizzly bear, a ponderosa pine tree, and a very passable wolf howling at the moon. Think--not for the first time--that life might have been better spent as a visual artist--though this latest crop of drawings surely suggest that if had followed course would have ended up a specialized Western artist--like the kind who burns images into sliced pieces of tree stump. Am chagrined at image of self, but become very involved in fantasy anyway. Buy pickup truck. Set up house in Montana. Am roused by the Dean calling my name. Superior organization (note: remember to thank Libby) saves the day. Own presentation to the group very very brief and unmarred by fights of any kind, which is slightly disappointing--perhaps fighting denotes higher status in group? After meeting, am met on the stairs by the Contessa who says that I look tired. Never find this turn of phrase uplifting. Can only wonder what face actually looks like. (Probably best not to wonder too much.) The Contessa says, Hey, want to get a drink? Think that she is talking about now and say with too much enthusiasm, Oh yes please! She explains that she meant after work--am I free? I am. She says it would be great if I'd ask Dave if he can come--and she will ask the New Man. Ask her if she doesn't think it might be weird. She says, oh yes, of course. Since she's already made me admit that I have no other plans after work, can only agree to meet at local wine bar.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Arrive in office, hang coat on hook behind door, turn on lights. Discover large hideous stack of papers on desk. Poke head out door to ask Libby where the papers came from. She says, They are invoices. You need to sign them. Tell her that when had former job as secretary that always signed Vice-Boss's invoices. Libby sniffs, says, You are not the Vice-Boss, and I am not you. She says this last clause with a shudder. Indeed we are not the same and am perfectly willing to dislike Libby, but find it very painful to think that she does not like me. Go into office feeling tearful. Call the Contessa, who answers and then says in dreamy voice, Remind me who this is? I don't know where my brain is today. Tell her that she needs to snap out of it, I am having an Emergency with Libby and that she needs to come intervene. She says, Oh it's you. I'll be up. She arrives, looking sleek and as though she hasn't eaten in days because of near constant sex (this diagnosis later confirmed.) She says in languid voice, Libby, Fritz has Carpal Tunnel syndrome, didn't you know? Libby, maddeningly, takes back pile and smiles at the Contessa. Feel that she even performs a small curtsey. (Privately, feel that I will have to pay later.) The Contessa says, You'll excuse us? Then shuts the door to my office. Says, See, you just have to ask nicely. She folds herself into chair. Am treated to detailed recitation of what she and the vice-boss have been up to, sexually, which feel that ought not to be interested in but am. Feel that it is my responsibility to ask if It is Going Anywhere, so do. The Contessa frowns, says, It is definately going somewhere...don't all things? Think this displays a worrisome lack of self protection. Keep thought to self.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Take Jenny for customary walk early this morning. Day windy but sunny. Jenny sociable with other dogs and even seems to be a calming influence on excitable Jack Russell terrier who usually see barking his head off at bits of trash being blown down sidewalk, small children in strollers, etc. Feel that could very easily spend all day in park. Begin to hatch plan involving thermos of coffee, salami sandwiches, large bag of chips, bar of chocolate and a couple of oranges (if put plan into effect, must also build in time for long and brisk walk.) Could call and say that I am sick. But know very well that Libby will be able to tell that I'm lying and will (what is worse) make me feel bad about it. Also have creeping dread about what need to do at work. New job has alarmingly caused pending file to become pending office. Feel that brow definately furrowed and can hear sighs escaping from body. Run into Serena and dog. How are you? Serena asks. Say, Oh Fine, in grim tones that do not care for at all. Attempt to smile. Wish that we won't have to talk about my Book, but of course we do. Lose head and say It is Almost Done in falsely bright voice. Serena raises her right eyebrow and says, Yes, of course you are. She probably does not mean to be condescending, but I become very angry and have to leave. In apartment take drawn out shower and dress for hours, but it is finally time to go. Jenny chews the shoelace off my one remaining pair of acceptable shoes, which I interpret to mean that she sad that I am leaving, so at least the feeling is mutual.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Last night, the Contessa says, Sometimes you need to do something naughty to feel alive. She says this as she shoves a large chicken finger into her mouth and do not know if the naughty thing she is referring to is the chicken (should be more accurately described as Chicken Fist, though that sounds nasty) or if she is refering to what she called her affair with the New Man. We are at the reception after graduation and haven't yet had a chance to talk, despite three phone messages left and two text messages sent, all unanswered by the Contessa. Right now she is more interested in finding another chicken finger and in telling me about how this year she insisted that she escort a female board member instead of a dirty old man. Ask, Did you actually say dirty old man to the president's secretary. The Contessa says, No, but she knew what I meant. A caterer carries past another large tray of chicken fingers. The Contessa performs a sort of acrobatic feat, snatching two off of the moving tray held above the caterer's head. She hands one of the chicken pieces to me. She says (maddeningly still speaking about the board member,) It was going fine until I had to take her to the bathroom. She needed help getting up. Have bite of chicken in mouth--chicken not very appetizing to begin with, takes a turn for the worse. Say, Yes, but what about the New Man. Place chicken on tray of passing waiter. The Contessa's eyes dart around. I'd rather not talk about it. Say sternly, You can't just call me a drop a bomb like that and then not say anything. She says, Get me some wine. Bring back to tiny plastic cups or white wine. She says, OK, this is really embarssing. We had one of those dinners with potential donors. I had to take notes and be my charming self. I was not going to be my charming self unless I had a Martini, so I had one and then wine with dinner. Everyone else did too and it turned out to be lots of fun---the donors were a sort of cool Italian couple who have money like you wouldn't believe--after dinner we went to ther apartment and looked at the art work. There was more drinking and then the man donor rolled a joint. It was inevitable, the Contessa says, draining her glass. Ask, What was inevitable? That I would go back to his apartment? But why? To see what it was like. Am momentarily sidetracked by own excitement over what the New Man's apartment looked like. Ask. Very nice, she says glumly. Real art on the walls and lots of books, but still manly--but I didn't see any of it until the morning because we went straight to the bed. Know that the story has been headed here, but am still shocked. Say, But we don't like the New Man. She says, I know, that is why I'm trying to put it behind me. There is a pause. Though, she says, he might not be as bad as I thought before. She counts on her fingers, 1. good in bed 2. nice kisser 3. took me out for breakfast the next morning and then we took a cab into work 4. asked me for a proper date this weekend. Ask, What did you say? She replies, I said no, of course. See the New Man out of the Corner of my eye. He smiles broadly and strides over Hi Fritz, enjoying your new job? The Contessa stares at the floor. He tries to give her a kiss on the cheek--she turns her head and it looks like he gets a mouthfull of hair. Oh, Sorry, she says. No, I'm sorry, the New Man says. Nobody says anything and have uge to do a little soft shoe. Thankfully, urge stifled. Do you--? The New Man says. Yes, the Contessa replies. He and the Contessa leave together. Am stunned.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Despite the fact that have worked at the school for the past six years, am asked to attend all day orientation in Human Resources. Before orientation begins, try to reason with Human Resources--in the person of a short balding man who is wearing a white short sleeved button-down shirt and who alarmingly refers to me as Fred even though am wearing an Hello My Name is sticker with Fritz written very clearly in block letters. Human Resources is utterly unmoved by assurances that I know where the library is and that I've already filled out all of the required forms. He says, unsmilingly, It is required. He continues, Don't worry, the orientation will be fun. Feel that perhaps he is trying to convince himself because as he says the word fun he sighs in dejected way. We are all herded into conference room where HR does his presentation -- presentation consists of holding up a form and then explaining that we are to fill it out. This takes an oddly long time. HR makes what think may be jokes about each of the forms. When he holds up the dental insurance form he says, you can choose either the HMO or the PPO. Of course if you have a root canal you won't want to have to go to the Russian doctors who don't give you enough novocaine. I learned that the hard way. But the choice is up to you. Or when he holds up the life insurance form he says, Before you we're done here, give this back to me with the name of the person you want as your beneficiary. Notice I said person. You can't leave it to your cat. I tried. Just kidding. These are merely the highlights -- HR something of a motor mouth though very, very hard to pay attention to. When begin to try to figure out exactly why he is so hard to listen to -- is it maybe that there is very little inflection in his voice? That his eyes seem to not quite ever land on anybody? Begin to think that maybe he has stopped speaking english and instead is muttering in Klingon. But feel this is a bad attitude and that will not make the time pass any more quickly. Sit up straight in chair. Look around room. All eyes look as glazed as mine feel. Feel self slipping back into stupor. Wonder, idly, what would happen if stood up on table and screamed. Instead of getting up -- would take far too much energy, energy which do not have and have likely lost forever -- draw concentric circles on back of dental form. Feel that anything figurative would end unsuccessfully. By end of orientation, discover that have filled up page with not only circles, but also numbers which did not intend to write and which have no memory of writing and which probably signal imminent mental collapse. Picture Dave visiting me at Bellevue. Hope that he will remember to bring me chocolates. Enter long negative fantasy in which dress self in hospital gown and force self to eat pills out of horrible little paper cup. Next part of orientation does not improve mental state--HR dims lights and puts dvd into player. We watch a propaganda piece about the school. Do not know exactly who this video is intended for, but find it very very compelling. It is edited in jump cuts: here is a pretty girl riding her bike on Fifth avenue, here is a class of attractive and engaged students gesturing, here is a jazz improv class, here is a fashion show--feel, but am not certain that all the images repeat themselves for maximum effect--which works. Have very strange moment when feel burning desire to work at the school that is being advertized on the screen. From dimmest depths of brain, sanity reminds me that I DO work for this school and am in fact sitting in it. Not sane part of brain--high from the video--shushes its cousin, says, Look at the pretty pictures. The lights come up and HR says That's It. Can hardly believe it. Other orientees blinking in light. It takes us all a few minutes to regain use of limbs. Leave room feeling that years have been added onto life. When stop to get coffee at deli, catch glimpse of self in mirror. See that have indeed aged--skin gray and dry and hair looks exactly like a toupee. Am also wearing name tag, which snatch off, quickly. This seems to break spell. Walk out into sunny day. When get back to office, call the Contessa. She is not as sympathetic as would have wished. Become short with her. She says, don't have a hissy fit, I'm just a little bit distracted. Why? ask coldly. She says, The New Man and I are having a little affair. Say, What?! The Contessa replies, I can't talk right now. I'll tell you later, I promise, and hangs up.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Late Spring Storm

Emerge from the subway just as storm reaches its apex. Umbrella becomes squirrely and very unhelpfully turns itself inside out. Probably would not have done much good anyway as rain coming sideways and raincoat only reaches to waist. Arrive at office very wet, hair in eyes, pants sodden. Libby says, You look like a Drowned Rat. Do not care at all for characterization, no matter how accurate, and say icily, A simple Good Morning would be Fine Libby. Continue magestically on to office. Shut door and call the Contessa. In heated and excited tones tell her how I did not bow before Libby's unpleasant manner and that I think that from now on she will very likely change her tune. In the retelling am afraid that give the impression that wasn't merely snippy, but actually gave a long speech approximately the length and quality of the I Have a Dream Speech. The Contessa very kindly doesn't not contradict anything and only murmurs, good for you and About Time. Hear a knock on door. Tell the Contessa that I will call her back -- it seems that miss Libby has decided to apologize. Libby comes in and she does apologize. Feel very proud of self. Pride withers a bit as Libby continues, She knows it isn't an excuse, but she just got the news yesterday that her cat has a tumor on her pelvis. Cat, name of Vivian, has to be put to sleep. Volunteer to look at pictures of Vivian.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Spend nice weekend working on Pie Crust technique. Make rhubarb tart and quiche made with bacon, asparagus and two kinds of cheeses. Asparagus and rhubarb from the Farmer's Market. On Sunday night Dave and I agree that we really Ought to watch what we eat. The era of the afternoon cookie has ended. We do however, have very small slivers of the rhubarb tart. Dave serves tart a la mode. This morning, wake up feeling that Mystery has been woefully neglected and feel that ought to take advantage of new flexibility in job so call and tell Libby that will be in late this morning. Add, I will be Working from Home, email me if Anything Comes UP, because think it sounds impressive. Libby, however, snorts derisively and says Whatever. This makes me very angry indeed but can think of nothing to say but Well. After get off phone think up several sharp and witty speeches to put Libby in her place. Try to lodge speeches in brain to be used next time the opportunity comes up but know very well that very likely language will fail me once again. Because am angry, it takes me a while to settle down to work, but finally find comfortable position on couch--pillow wedged behind lower back, Jenny on feet at other end of couch--can't think that this is comfortable for her--get busy revising scene in which the river is rising in a flood, threatening to wash away the Evidence of the crime. The main character and his sister are close to figuring out who dun it, the boy playing the foil to the girl's Sherlock. Emerge from experience ravenous. Eat hefty portion of left over pies from this weekend. Feel that writing very draning that thus must burn heaps of calories (Later in day logic does not hold up at all.) Jenny begs but am greedy for the quiche and feel, hypocritically, that she is due for a diet herself. After licking fingers, give her a bite of her own dry dog food to try to trick her into thinking she's eating a treat. This ruse naturally doesn't fool her for a second.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Quiet Friday

Libby back at work today. Says she is fine. Her mouth just hurts a little and only if she Moves it. Urge her to rest her jaw. She does, but this doesn't stop her from bringing in tall stacks of papers--forms, teaching application letters, the overdue budget document, and the galleys for the course schedule. Feel that afternoon spent actually underneath the papers. At three, go downstairs to drop off important forms in the dean's office. Am alarmed and chagrined to hear from three people in quick succession, Have a Nice Weekend, as they are headed out of doors and I am headed back up to my office. As am now, technically a sub-boss, tell Libby that maybe we ought to leave early today. Say four. She gives me an icy look. Why? she asks. Why indeed. Go back into office.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


New job not so trying yesterday as on Monday and Tuesday because Libby has to have emergency Root Canal surgery. When receive call -- on cell phone -- at 6 a.m. -- am uncharitably pleased. Work study student Billy has followed me to the Humanities department. He gets the phones while I settle myself in. Oranize files, dust off bookshelves and desk, purge desk of detritus -- snapped rubberbands, pen caps, stack of old receipts, half used jar of vaseline. Wash hands with scalding water and vast quantities of soap. Late in the afternon, receive telephone call from Dave who says We are Going to a Party. Become excited, but then have panic about clothes -- am wearing jeans that are about to go in the crotch, wrinkled button down shirt, and treed coat that purchased at Salvation Army. Tweed once very fine, but this several decades ago. Ask Dave how one is supposed to dress for party. Oh I'm sure you look fine, he says breezily. You always look cute. This disarming and forget, temporarilly about clothes until arrive at location of party, extremely fancy apartment building on Fifth Avenue in midtown. Try to straighten back so that don't get mistaken by doormen for a vagrant. But doormen (dressed in outfits blazing with gold braid) are very very polite in the way that only vast sums of money can buy. Apartment on 46th floor. Entrance hall size of a small gymnasium. Floor is white marble. White marble motif continues on spiral staircase that leads to the upstairs and into floor and walls of living room to which we are shown. Am desperate to poke around, but feel suddenly nervous. Hiss at Dave, "Where are we?" He says, I don't know, Weird, right? We are descended upon by very tall thin creature wearing gigantic gold necklace made of heavy gold disks hung from a thick chain. Am kissed on both cheeks. She introduces herself as Carolina (or Silvana, but also perhaps Chiara.) Am assured by Carolina that she is a very very old friend of his and that she adores him and adores me too. Tell her that she has an amazing apartment. She laughs and says It isn't mine, it is Marco's. Don't I know Marco? Do not like to admit that don't know Marco so nod yes, firmly. Go to bar with Dave. Ask for a red wine. Bar very sensibly does not have any red wine. I can have white wine or a vodka drink. Dave says Vodka, Two. We move to sitting area next to window. Windows stretch from floor to ceiling. Try not to look directly down as makes feel slightly dizzy. Am not bothered by looking directly out. Ask Dave quietly if he knows Marco. He says he Thinks so. Am not convinced and feel that at any moment will be thrown out of the party as imposters. Dave nods his head at very young man approaching. Marco, Dave murmers, He's lost A Lot of Weight. Shake hands with Marco and repeat line about Amazing Apartment. Yes, he nods. He hopes we will make ourselves comfortable. Think, Comfortable for what. Mind provides many graphic and scandalous images. Drink vodka drink very quickly. Room becomes full and while on second drink suddenly feel chatty. Talk to photographer who says I must go to Palermo. You will love it. Can't think how he could possibly know this about me as am not even exactly sure where Palermo is. Ask how he knows Marco, but photographer is vague, instead says that he used to come to this apartment all the time in the eighties when it was owned by an Arms Dealer and had a swimming pool exactly where we are standing. At this am definately excited and try to get photographer to give more details, but instead he talks about his wife (or possibly son or maybe boyfriend) who is a painter. Ask, What does s/he paint? Bodies. Figures. Say, inanely, That sounds Nice. He nods. Also dismembered bodies. Feel that we have reached the end of our conversation. Meet up with Dave again. Ask, Where are we? He says impressively that he just heard that Marco has ties to the Vatican. Nobody ever knew he was this rich until recently. Stick around at party waiting to hear more gossip, but nothing at all scandalous happens at party and am reminded how dull the very rich can be. Drink more than ought. Am very glad to go home to small apartment with familiar rug, comfortable couch, and books and well worn wood floors.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Office

On monday morning am shown into new office. Office has door and window but lacking most other charms---walls smudged, carpet shamefully stained, and window looks out onto shaftway--but, needless to say, an improvement over last arrangement (except for loss of the Contessa.) Keep thoughts to self because am being shown around by Libby and am afraid of what she will say in response. Had previously not let self think that Libby and I would now be working very closely together indeed--she is the secretary for the department. I am to fill the role of setting the curriculum for the year. This job usually falls to the Chair, but as Svetlana not so kindly said last week, The Chair, He is is getting the Alzheimer's. The Dean used more subtle language, repeating the word Glue several times--think--though not entirely sure, that I am meant to be the Glue. Libby much less vauge than the Dean--she tells me as she takes me to see the department copy machine that the Chair sometimes falls asleep while You (though not me, not yet anyway) are talking to him and that he forgets what century he is in. They should fire him. Libby says. They should fire him and get somebody new in, then they wouldn't need you to Pinch Hit. Do not care for baseball metaphors as am usually unsure what exactly is being refered to, but catch Libby's drift exactly. See that own tenure in the humanities department is going to be trying. Make weak joke about copy machines never working properly. Libby says that This Machine doesn't have the same problems as Your Old One. Declaim ownership or association with old machine but can tell that Liibby thinks that any mechanical problems it might have had were entirely my fault. Privately think that have never seen any copy machines that worked for any amount of time and--in fact--this machine is making a noise exactly like an Airplane getting ready to take off. Libby says that she Has Never Heard that Noise before and looks at me with narrowed eyes. She deposits me in my office and says to buzz her if I need anything. She sits directly outside my door, close enough for us to talk to each other in normal speaking voices but know that Libby prefers technology to people. (Note: Get tutorial on this new phone system from somebody other than Libby.) The Contessa enters with flowers after breezing past Libby's desk. Libby appears at door, says, Do you have an appointment? The Contessa laughs heartily, says, Libby you are So Funny, perhaps putting her trust in the power of suggestion. Libby frowns and crosses her arms. We try to Keep things Professional Here, Libby says. The Contessa places the vase of flowers on my desk and sits down in one of the chairs. With a gleam in her eye, she puts her feet up on the desk. Am in awe of her boldness, but unfortunately the vase of flowers gets tipped onto the floor. Vase evidentely a trick vase as office is flooded by thousands of gallons of water. Libby says, I will call maintenence, in chilly tone.

Friday, May 05, 2006

New Job

All is cleared up about job today. Am not, in fact, headed for position in the CIA or other secret organization, but to job in English department which was discussed with Dean ages ago. Method of getting information is brisk conversation with Svetlana. Svetlana very very informative about job--in the middle there is a side conversation about who the Chair of Photography has been sleeping with--his defining feature is a very bad comb over--remaining hair a nasty unnatural brick color--and he often looks sweaty--Svetlana says bitterly, It is the power that they are attracted to, not the man himself. (Privately, think What Power?) We get back to the matter at hand, new job, which will make me not a secretary and I will be paid what seems like an enormous salary. (am sure that will have no trouble disposing of any extra that comes in.) Svetlana hands me piles of papers to fill out for new job, also job description, a book that the Dean would like me to read, and some fliers for her primitive instrument performance. Make a move to go. Sventlana then turns chatty and actually smiles. Am finally allowed to leave. When go back upstairs, am carring files and spending money in head. Open door and hear Surprise shouted by many voices. Throw files in the air and turn what feel must be a violent magenta color. Think cynically, that Svetlana's niceness merely a ruse to get me out of the office so that surpise party could be sprung on me. Revelers have apparently begun to celebrate long before I've arrived. The Contessa is sitting on her desk next to the New Man. Both have their feet up on the Contessa's chair and are drinking red wine. The vice-boss makes an obvious show of drinking seltzer out of a clear plastic cup and refusing all offers of other refreshment. Libby is using brusque tone with Billy, hear her say, "A Monkey Could Transfer Calls." Billy very impressively nods and smiles without any apparent ire. Am fiercly curious about how he manages this, but am handed glass of Champagne and expected to give speech. Wish very strongly that had been allowed to drink Champagen before speaking. Mouth very dry. Think grimly that if had a stroke at this instant would not be expected to give speech. All eyes are on me and no blood clot gets thrown, so say bare minimum, which is acceptable and everyone claps. The Dean, chair of photography, Susan, and even Romeo arrive, followed by hordes more. Can only believe that they are here for the booze. Party becomes very lively, especially when am given and very unwisely open bottle of Macallen. After several fingers of the whiskey feel emotional and think that might want to give a second speech, but the Contessa--thankfully--says that I need to Eat Something and sits me down with a large piece of cheesecake.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Dean

Earlier this afternoon Billy the work study student shouts from the back room, Yo Fritz, the Dean is on the phone. (Note: Talk to Billy about how to transfer telephone calls. Second Note: Try not to dread, have bad dream about, and avoid execution of task.) When get on phone, Dean says, Why don't you come down to my office for a minute? Say -- to my horror -- Why don't I. Walk down back stairway feeling strangely nervous and exactly as though have been Called to the Principal's office. The Dean's secretary a terrifying Eastern European woman named Svetlana who favors cinnamon colored lipstick. Go on in, she says, without looking up from her calendar. The Dean stands up. Fritz, he says heartily. We shake hands. So I see you spent time in washington dc. Would very much like to see where he has Seen This. Last time spent in DC was in high school. As do not know what is going on, decide to let the Dean take the lead on the conversation. Try to remain alert but brain intervenes and have wild thought that am going to be asked to join the CIA -- do not agree with the politics of the CIA but do like the idea of sneaking around and having a purpose in life -- even an evil purpose -- eventually discard line of thought this as extremely unlikely and realize that the Dean has been talking (I think) about DC for the past several minutes. The Cherry Blossoms, he says in conclusion. Yes, say firmly. We shake hands again. You will start your new job on Monday, says the Dean.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where There Is Smoke

Yesterday wake up to smell of burning rubber. First thought is brain cancer. After leap ingout of bed and peering out window, seeing huge column of black smoke rising to the northwest think apcolyptically, It Must be The UN. Find out that fire is, instead a warehouse fire in Greenpoint, own former neighborhood. Take fire personally. Spend morning feeling nervous. The Contessa very quiet, but sighs frequently. Think that perhaps what we need is more coffee, which I go get. This an ill advised choice, coffee naturally makes nerves worse and by middle of aftenoon have killed self and most of rest of island off, and have composed news reports about Tragedy. Day on the whole mentally exhausting and sleep very well last night except for dream about Nurse shoving very large needle into arm after she give me the warning that if You stand up to quickly afterward you will die. After dream (perhaps arm went to sleep?), wake up, drink water and fall back to dreamless sleep. Wake up refreshed. Work on revisions and feel definately virtuous. Am propelled by feeling into blissfully hot shower. Hair cooperative for once, also pants and shirt feel becoming. Also hit on idea to wear overcoat unsuitable for any other time of the year but now. Decide to take quick peek in mirror. Hair bushy, coat four sizes too large--has apparently grown since last worn--skin rough and in all healthiness which trip to Mexico lent it. Leave apartment in dejected mood. Feel that all could be solved with the purchasing of a few items. Make up list in head: two pairs of pants, weeks worth of underwear, two new polo shirts and three long sleeved. Also light coat to be worn in summer if need to look unslovenly. List depressing--would run me into the thousands, which don't have. On train see and have jealous thoughts about cream canvas blazer with thin blue stripes worn by four year old and wonder if it would be creepy to ask mother where she found the coat and if they had larger sizes. Further consideration of coat maes me realize that coat cute because it is small, if any large would make look like in barber shop quartet--not what I want. Decide that problem is with hair. Brace self for battle with Dave.

Monday, May 01, 2006

International Workers' Day

Morning spent dealing with Pending file. Lying on top of folder is bill for printing of Schedule of Events. Bill apparently due in February. Stamp with the special large stamp that provides lines for the budget number, date, and three signatures. Sign the Vice-Boss's name. Think cynically, that when am on othere end of stick--waiting for money--feel nothing like the same indifference--rather the contrary. Find several other extremely overdue bills, which take care of. Also find written request for brochure of Spring events (throw this in recycling bin.) Recycle fliers from events in October and January, also recept from deli, strange note to self that says, C. Mtng in April, see that file is empty. Decide to reward self with walk. It is beautiful outside. Go to local health food store to salad bar. Get Vitamin A salad, black bean sald, some sort of nutty red rice, and chicken leg. Take lunch to Washington Square Park. Sit on bench in location which allows filtered (through tree) sunlight to fall on face. Find everyone else in the park very decorative--man who looks like a dancer doing yoga on the lawn, european couple sitting across from me, man lying down on bench, woman talking on cell phone, even very pretty tall girl wearing old-fashioned basketball shoes (the kind that have two strips of velcroe at the top) talking into phone and sobbing, but walking briskly. Chicken leg perhaps not the best thing to eat on a park bench. Feel it is a small miracle that do not end up with chicken on shirt. (Small miracle only because it is relatively unimportant. Am only able to say relatively today because weather and mood equally nice.) After blissful lunch, walk through park. Lots of dogs and wish that had Jenny. In center of park around the fountain, there appears to be some sort of protest. Group of about twelve young people holding large red flags. Young woman on bullhorn giving speech about Workers. She seems very agitated. Everyone else in the park looks on with a lazy sort of interest, but nobody gets up to join. In fact, once the woman on the bullhorn finishes her speech, she hands the the bullhorn to her Comrade. She then sits down on the edge of the fountain and turns her face to the sun.