I'm new to my Macintosh and the two of us haven't really gotten comfortable yet. It's a little hard for me to relate to talk about fine tuning programs because I'm still at the point of feeling lucky every time the thing actually turns on when I flick the switch.
John deserves some credit here. I met him five-or-so years ago at a writers conference, and ever since he's quite persistently encouraged me to take the plunge. So he's saved me from the fate of an IBM clone.
I've been writing short stories and over the years the quality of my rejections has increased considerably. I've been rejected quite nicely now by a number of prestigious magazines and journals. This is fine, but these editors I correspond with are old and, from what I can see at writers conferences, don't take care of themselves, so what worries me is that they're all going to die before ever publishing any of my stories.
I work for a real estate syndicator in a 17th floor office with a panoramic view of Foster City's barren landscape - freeway arteries, shopping malls, developments. It's like a study in concrete and asphalt. But the sky is often blue and the clouds majestic, and occasionally a hawk soars by my window.
I write reports on real estate limited partnerships but spend most of my time talking with investors who call in, primarily to complain about the poor performance of their investments. My favorite investors fall into two categories - the old people who'd rather talk about problems other than their investments, and men from Knoxville, Tennessee, with names like Hunter Watson and Dallas Osborne, whose lilting cadences are quite a relief to listen to, particularly after a string of Bronx or New Jersey callers, and whose complaints always seem to be expressed with a degree of gentility.
So much talking on the phone is hardly natural. I get things like ear burn and earring drag. Sometimes when I'm not talking on the phone I find myself tilting my head toward my shoulder as though a phone is really there, in the way a person who's just switched to contacts keeps reaching up to adjust the phantom glasses.
I'd like to quit the job but it pays well and somehow I manage to spend what I make. I think I'd like to go back to school. One of the things that's stopping me is the idea of being very poor. In an attempt to begin some kind of transitional (or pre-transitional) phase, I've been doing things like buying tubs of tofu and trying to force myself to eat them - and learning a lot about the various stages of decay of tofu in a refrigerator.
My apologies for getting a little carried away talking about my job, but I can't figure out yet how to go back and delete things without getting exit-ed. In the next installment I'll try not to mention it.