Friday, June 13, 2008


It's not like I haven't had two beers close together in my life, but today it seems to have snuck up behind me and knocked me silly while I was busy checking my e-mail and phone messages. I am a month and a half away from moving away from Nowheresville, haven't started organizing myself, and am already being torn three ways from Sunday because I have a fast-lane job for the first time in years, am going to have to get dressed, show up in Really Big Cities like I belong there, and pretend, after five years without a gig like this, to know what the @#$% I'm doing, which I'm not sure I do anymore. And now I'm too drunk to get much done...

This summer was all mapped out: I was going to coast to a stop at my remaining morning -only job, get the Weird Little House sorted, start moving things easily moved things like book boxes on my own, and slowly work my way up to a "house-cooling" party and a visit from a couple of gorillas who would actually carry the stuff I can't dream of picking up, down a flight of stairs, and back up a flight of stairs on the other end. It had rhythm, it had leisure, it had... style.

The Goat was going to be around with time to keep me occupied until I had to start moving in earnest, and then when he took off for his summer stint in Vacation-land, I was going to do the moving, and be all curled up on his doorstep in the Big Woods when he got back.

Then lightning struck. I was raised from professional death to professional purgatory: in the years since I coasted out of the fast lane, things have changed completely, it's all computer-based [and I am such a pencil-based life-form], and the software has metastasized to the point that I look at the price of the upgrade and think: I can't do this.

So now it's all about fancy footwork. Years ago, I worked with a charming old codger whose skills came from an era that seemed positively Mesozoic to me [a feeling I am now getting from the other end of the telescope entirely]. One of his mantras was: "If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your bullshit." And he could do it, too; he was the one person on earth who could match the Goat for charming birds out of trees, rats out of gutters, lice out of hair--you name it. One flash of his unnaturally gleaming choppers and the whole world rolled over and played dead. So did I.

I do not have that gift. And I am beginning to believe that I need it, and what's more: right now. I am going to run out of bullshit around the time of the second round of meetings, and I don't care how many planes I have to climb onto to get home: I just want to make sure I don't get caught with my pants down. In front of the whole school, so to speak.

It turns out that one of the Great Client Gods actually remembers work I did twenty years ago and is all gung-ho about my being on the project. Of course, I only heard this because the bean counter who didn't want to touch me with a barge pole was bitching to him about my former boss who had "recommended" me for the job; said bean-counter was then was forced to tell me, with a kind of strangled awe, that the Lord High Everything Else had rumbled and said, "Ah--the Troll. I remember him. Good man." So, two old guys with memories, and I suddenly have this gig.

Do I sound like I am freaking out? I think perhaps I am. It may just be that I have reached Stage 3 of the project. The stages are, as you may have heard:

1.zipWild Enthusiasm
zipComplete Disillusionment
zipUtter Panic
zipSearch for the Guilty
zipPunishment of the Innocent
zipReward of the Non-participants

It is possible to cycle through Stages 2 and 3
for some time before Stage 4 finally arrives.

In any case, my neat little relaxed summer now looks like a @#$%-ing mine-field, and they don't even have the whole team on-board and I don't have all the materials I've been promised. At some point, deadlines will become real.

You know what? In a week or so it will be time to go to P'town with the Goat and pretend I can't be reached, say, for a week... Maybe by the time I get back, they'll be panicked enough that my panic will seem not only understandable, but a sign of wisdom. Well, if panic is wisdom, ignorance is bliss.

Say I. Well, here's hoping...

Hang in there, all.

1 comment:

  1. I suspect that there's a great benefit being invited back to work in the land of big gigs -- and that is the sense of being valued!

    And that, is indeed worth more than the pennies.