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Nocturne Aeterna

[everything. constantly. temporary.]

11/21/14 12:49 am

There’s something different at work; it’s changed. There are more transplants from the North office, true, and the nepotism seems poised to exit the stratosphere, yes, but there’s another thing. It can’t easily be explained but it can be felt, the same way dust motes in the sunlight can be felt.

I’m pretty sure they call it ‘a change in the ether.’ Whatever that means. Or is it spelled ‘aether’?

And I’ll admit that I’ve been on autopilot lately. These days when I come into the office everything is so petrifying and plain. Everything is automatic from the moment I walk in, where
I hear my footsteps across the hardwood floor first thing in the morning before I’ve even made them;
creak of the staffroom door as I shoulder it open;
footsteps across the tile, hang coat, straighten tie, tuck in shirt;
fip-fip of case sheets as I find my assigned room and equipment number;
hear a case.
Go home.

Cases are still different. You’ve had an interesting past week that proves it. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re the same; every accident occurs a physically different way. Their suffering is exquisitely unique. And fundamentally, so is the way that they lie.

What else can you expect when everybody just rhymes off the same damn things? “I have a headache everyday at 4pm” and “I can’t sit stand walk run climb stairs lift push pull or move weight without pain so I can’t work”? It jades you.

Listen to yourself. The job is listening to others complain in vast detail: that’s all. You know for all the fancy accoutrements that comes with it the firm is still, above all, another job.

It isn’t just another job; it’s the best job, or at least the best I’ve had yet. Everything is perfect, the people are beautiful and amazing. And they like me. They do. I feel like I’m in this whole other pocket of space and time, full of intelligent, inspiring men and women that I have unlimited access to in a formal yet informal setting. The food is delicious. The brains are ripe for the picking! For now I’ve landed amongst the good graces of the Directors’ extended families, and the Directors’ themselves love me. There all these super hot women around. And now something’s changed and I don’t know what it is. Have I fallen from grace? The Directors, do they abhor me? The food is still tasty, the lawyers still free to chat, the women still hot! WHAT IS DIFFERENT?

Listen. To. Yourself.

Well I’m not going to just listen to you, if that’s what you mean.

You have to focus. I’ll put it to you now that there are two reasonable, obvious and highly rational ways of examining this sensation you’re experiencing. First of all, if none of these things have changed, and you’re still being assigned cases 5 days a week including higher profile ones — don’t question it. Just focus on your work: keep delivering quality work and they’ll have every reason to keep you.

Even if I’m a spiky-headed stretched-ear weirdo?

Even if we’re a spiky-headed stretched-ear weirdo.

I’ve really got to get rid of those.

In due course. Secondly, perhaps there isn't so much a change at work as a change of your place within it. You have to get out of this heliocentric attitude, the office isn't a place for you to feel like you're being dealt some kind of grave injustice. You're not Edmond Dantes, you've just been given a lot more responsibility. That's all.

Monsieur Morrel was about to award Edmond his own ship when his closest friends betrayed him.

Yes. Captain Leclère and Noirtier de Villefort hadn't meant to but they both played roles in Dantes' downfall. You have got to calm yourself down. No one is going to betray you. If you lose your shit now just because you got “bored” again you’ll put the whole damn plan at risk; don’t argue, because I’m right. It’s a job, so treat it like one. You wouldn’t curse aloud at a job you had respect and appreciation for. You wouldn’t openly engage in dissent against the government to colleagues you liked. You wouldn’t come to work high …

Well. I might.

Then don't expect to get away with it for long. You have a job. You LIKE that job. So smarten up! It’s a shit-ton more than some people can ask for. You know, like people that you know, that you care about? Your brother, maybe? And plenty other well-meaning, smart people that are capable and could succeed if only they had reign to practice what they were most passionate about?

They’re hungry.

Yes and so are you, so go on. Eat that apple.

So many transplants from the north office. Can’t tell which of them … they most certainly were brought in by that girl, E. She’s responsible. I heard she got into a fight with the Director’s pregnant daughter’s husband, you know the kitchen guy, and that’s what she’s here in the south. It’s like they couldn’t get rid of her or something so they sent her someplace else. A timeout.

You couldn’t possibly find her attractive.

Could make a guy nervous though, not knowing their skill level, quietly assessing their game, checking up on their connections, you know, tracing their involvement with the company back by who it was that got them in. I feel lucky enough that my link comes from an original source. New hires come few and far between unless referred by an employee with seniority or a familial connection. So either you’re a Hired Original (HO) with true seniority accumulated at the very beginning, or you’re a Biologically Referred Occupant (BRO) with no seniority at all but the blood in your veins (evidently thicker than experience and time spent on the job). I am neither, since Kat got me in front of my manager, and there are precious few of like us, except most of them were actually just HOs. I think that makes me pretty awesome in that respect. But still, not termination-proof …

The apple. You’re letting it turn brown.

Right. The oxygen is getting to it. The apple is the job, and by achieving in 3 months in what all new hires must complete in 12, I took the first huge, ravenous bite out of it. And now my jaw is tired. The fruit's gone soft and I’m rapidly losing interest in a second bite.

So find a new apple. There’s jobs out there for you, right?
You know things. You can do them.


Yeah …

Know what I’m thinking?

Tiny cactus?

Tiny Cactus.

12/20/13 03:28 pm

It's a Barnum and Bailey world,
just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn't be make-believe
if you believed in me

12/10/13 09:44 pm

You're only a generous, honourable, well-meaning & selfless individual right up until the time comes that you have to make a decision that benefits yourself.

11/11/13 05:31 pm - read aloud for best results, part 1

I've almost finished reading most of this back catalogue, and to celebrate n firm affirmation of Irvine Welsh's superiority in fiction I'm grabbing a few snippets that inspire me whenever I'm gnashing through one of his books and I'm near my laptop.

Daniel 'Spud' Murphy in Porno:

"June's shakin n ah offer her a fag and light it for her. She pits oan the kettle n cannae find any clean cups. She tries tae rinse one, tries tae squeeze oot some Squeezy in at it, but aw that comes oot is a fart sound. She goes tae one ay the bags and gits a fresh bottle, but she cannae git the toap off wi her shakin hands. She bursts intae tears, no jist sobbin, proper wailin this time. -- Ah'm sorry, it's ma nerves, everything's gone wrong here ... look at the place. It's the bairns ... thir such a handful ... ah git nae support, ah mean Frank's back oot but eh's only been doon once tae see thum, never even took them oot! Oot ay jail fir ten minutes n wearin fancy new shirts n clathes n jewellery ... they sovereign rings ... ah cannae cope, Spud ... ah cannae cope ...

Ah look at the pile ay dishes. -- Tell ye what, ah'll gie ye a hand wi thaime, let's just blitz the kitchen here. It'll make ye feel better, man, when they aw go, cause that's it, when ye feel like shite, like drained ay yir energy, n ye see a big pile ay washin in the sink; that is the worst, man, the ultimate worst, it's like aw the energy jist sortay goes doon the plughole, man, jist doon. So a problem shared is a problem halved n aw that, June, man.'
-- Naw it's okay ...
-- Hey! C'moan! Ah stick oan an apron. -- Lit's blitz, man, lit'z blitz!

June's protestin as ah fire intae the dishes, but it's half-hearted, n se picks up a bit when wi start making headway, and in nae time at aw, it's gone man, the problem is gone and everything is clear and possible again. Jist clear the heid and do it, man, just dae it. Ken? Like me wi the writin, man, jist git in thaire n dae it!

That's me done good, man, simple practical good. Ah'm buzzin, man, buzzin like ah'm oan the strongest speed known tae man. It's goat tae be said thit the June lassie is in better mental shape thin whin ah found her, man, too right."

10/22/13 09:24 am - back to you, Ovid

Suppressus dolor suffocat; furit intus in pectore, et vires multiplicare cogitur.

10/13/13 02:31 am

It's just that tragedy is tragedy; we don't gain anything by comparing whose is worse. Though I know precisely zero people who will claim that the average white person has experienced more discrimination than the average black person, that doesn't mean that their discrimination doesn't exist, that it doesn't suck, and that we shouldn't be trying to get rid of it along with every other type of discrimination. There are lots of ways to be discriminated against in this beautiful, infinite world, and being a "visible minority" is just one ticket into the Discrimination Palace. Try ordering MacDonald's when you're obese, or using the women's washroom when you're trans, or being in a Spec-Ed class for five years, and then come back and tell me that just by virtue of being white you're immune to discrimination.

Nobody can "understand" anyone else, one-hundred percent. We're too different for that. But we can try, and we can come close. If we limit the dialogue to those who have experienced the exact same form of discrimination, we're losing out on a lot of diversity. Let people into the conversation if they feel that they have something to offer and who knows, maybe when we present a united front against discrimination instead of setting a minimum bar of shittiness experienced prior to being able to use the R-word we'll be able to make some real progress against bigotry.

9/15/13 10:53 pm

I really need to revisit that list of Don'ts.

8/29/13 12:00 pm

8 days, 8 hours, 53 minutes, 46 seconds.

I think that's long enough to certifiably smash an old record. 

8/23/13 07:36 am

Spelling errors, I hate 'em.

8/17/13 02:05 pm - sophrosyne

After 0033232 I understood that the highest state of being had nothing to do with spiritual or mental enlightenment and practically everything to do with stoicism: the development of self-control and individual fortitude as a means to surpass and overcome destructive emotions. The theory was, if I could accurately emulate that level of disconnection, I could save myself a lot of impending grief in the years ahead.

To learn more I turned to my professor Ken Dorter, a brilliantly humble man who could fill me in on the history behind the Hellenistic philosophy, it's tenets, practitioners and practical applications in today's world. Dorter seemed skeptical; the Stoics' belief in the connection between human nature and cosmic determinism was problematic for him, and the belief that one's will must be in tune with nature in order to be considered virtuous seemed too vague for his world view. Dorter did not discount the relationship between stoicism and virtue, however. As the school became more refined it taught that living virtuously was the minimum requirement for happiness, and extends to one's interpersonal relationships, declaring that a life of virtue (defined as a person's will being "in agreement" with nature) is to free yourself from anger, envy or jealousy, and to accept all other individuals as equals.

Wisdom, courage, justice, temperance.

In the end Dorter, whose wise words and Woody Allen-esque bearing taught me the mysteries of Taoism, uncovered the origins of Buddhism, and revealed the stunning beauty of the Bhagavad Gita and Vedic texts, pointed to the second highest shelf above my head to pass him a copy of Epictetus' Discourses where a passage had been marked against a worn and crinkled spine:

"Philosophy does not promise to secure anything external for man, otherwise it would be admitting something that lies beyond its proper subject-matter. For as the material of the carpenter is wood, and that of the statuary bronze, so the subject-matter of the art of living is each person's own life."

If one's own life were a constant work in progress in that craft analogy it has to follow that a constant review, or checking up on of one's progress, is essential. The examination of one's own judgments and behaviour in order to determine where they diverge from universal reason. Dorter didn't mention it but the Stoics also held the belief that suicide was permissible in situations that barred an individual from living a virtuous life. But they probably had dire circumstances in mind at the time. Living passively under tyranny would've been one.

I don't suppose the Greeks would have considered living under the tyranny of one's own heart and mind to be acceptable grounds for offing yourself.
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