Lost cardigan. Stolen sunglasses. Everywhere: younger, prettier, faster, smarter. Sitting in traffic jams with children who hardly even role their eyes at your bad jokes anymore. Please change the color, size, shape: again. Letters from the accountant. January.



It is comforting to know that in the era of spellcheck there are other people out there who still make embarrassing mistakes that completely change their intended meaning. I stumbled across this alluring offer recently; I think they meant massages. Don’t ask what I was looking for.



Certain days, certain jobs seem less than fulfilling. I find it helpful to remember some of the worse things I have done for money. The waitressing job where the cook threw a battered chicken leg at me comes to mind. Or the gallery job with the annoying, loud film loop where minutes became hours and hours nearly unbearable.

And then there was the guy I worked for who left himself little notes on index cards; Dao around the house and Rock-On, Holy Warrior are two I remember. I took two buses and a train every Saturday to get to his house on the South side of Chicago. He always drove me home. We always had lunch at Burger King. My job was to transcribe his journal entries into the computer, and when I had done that I was supposed to fold the laundry. He was trying to finish his dissertation on the weekends – something about Paradise Lost – while holding down his job at a company that installed water filters. For Christmas he gave me a copy of his self-published book of poetry. Oh, you’re his amanuensis, a smirking editor told me at a party.

He had a pale, weepy wife and two children: a very fat little girl and a mean-looking boy with coke-bottle glasses, both immobilized in front of the television whenever I saw them. One day I finally found a better job. Not sure how he would react, I waited to tell him until he dropped me off. The motor of his Buick was running and the door was open; I had one foot on the pavement. Ok, fine, was all he said.




My approach to the coming year is to wait and see…




In the pre-holiday, post-meltdown doldrums, I find myself in need of motivation. The only answer is to keep busy: sign-painting meets self-help. This truth was revealed to me in a fortune cookie. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.