Saturday, April 25, 2015

Honda FW 4.25.15

I am having my car serviced today and waiting the three hours while that happens.  I don't really mind all that much.  It's mostly quiet and without the distractions of writing at home.  If only there were better coffee....sigh.

As I am reading USA today (what a rag) and organizing my cubby to writing specifications, a young woman walks by chattering excitedly about an interview she has at the place where I have worked the last 30 years.  Was I ever that excited?

Ayup.  And mostly I still am.  I have felt like that every time I started back there in a new lab and have felt what it's like to have to walk away from it twice through no choice or fault of my own.  I recognize that each of those leavings was necessary and good, but man did they smart.

The woman is young and starting her career.  Everyone is excited at that point.  The thing that interests me is how have I hung on to that feeling for 30 years?  Good question.

The most obvious answer is that my job and my personality are a perfect match.  I see younger people at my job, trainees working on a PhD or toward a career, get burned out and move on to something else.  Sometimes it's about money.  You don't get rich doing research, not as a research tech.  Sometimes it's about the hours.  Research takes some long and grueling hours interspersed with weeks of reading and boredom.  It's just not for everybody.  Some have the desire but have what we call "bad lab hands" meaning everything they touch turns to shit.  Some have golden hands and bodacious luck, but lack the drive.  There are countless other reasons.  So how have I managed it?

Because there are these magical moments where it all comes together, the curtain opens and the answer is revealed.  For that split second, I am the only one who knows this thing.  That feeling is the best drug on the planet.  And like a monkey trained to push a button to receive the food pellet, I will push that particular button over and over to get to that reveal.

As to why I am still at the same institution?  I drank that Kool-Aid long ago.  I believe in what they do and anything I can do to forward that, I'm all in.  Oh, I may bitch and complain about it sometimes when people are slobs or I get stuck in the backwater eddy of protocols and forms, but I really do love my job.  I am the luckiest woman on the planet to be so happy in my work.  Not many people can say that.

I hope the young woman gets her job.  And I hope that 30 years from now she is just as excited about it as she is now. It was nice to be reminded of my fortune on a random Saturday while waiting for my car.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy BD Da 2015

Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday.  He would be 94 if he were still alive.  But he died in 1984.  Those 31 years have gone by so quickly for this daddy's girl.  I have written about him many times - sometimes on his BD, sometimes on the day he died, rarely on Father's Day.

I miss him.  The way he smelled of Marlboro Reds and Old Spice.  The way he salted and peppered his entire plate before tasting it which drove my mom nuts.  His trick knee that I recognize now as a bad ligament just like mine.  His love of hair tonic that seems an age past.  The way he worked constantly as if he had something to prove to the world, to himself.  His resolute dedication to the Virgin Mary.  His love of my Mother for better or worse.  A worse in which he never abandoned those vows.  He took vows and promises seriously, as do I.

Sometimes I find it difficult to see him in me.  I look like my mama.  But inside I am a more equal mix of both. That romantic emotional side of me - that's all my dad.  I think that surprises a lot of people, that my squishy mushmellow insides did not come from my mom, but it is what it is. My mom is a strong fierce Valkyrie.  My dad cried at episodes of Lassie.  To the world I inherited the Viking horns and breastplate from the mama.  And I keep them.  They are a good protection against a tender paternal heart.

I am now  a mere 10 years younger than he was when he passed away. And I ask myself, if all I have left is ten years, what do I want to do with it?

Whistles and walks away from the computer................


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