Romance vs. Intimacy: The Eternal Battle

I’m *not* a Romantic.

That’s actually a conclusion I’ve been somewhat hesitant to come to, because… I’d *like* to be. I have tried… and I’ve failed, miserably. That’s okay, I now come to terms with it. I am horrible at Romance.

What I am good at… is Intimacy. (and I’m not talking about the Sexual context… get out of the gutter. Or at least get out of my spot!)

Okay, maybe that’d be up for debate when you start getting the opinions and feedback of my Exes… but at the very least I’m *better* at Intimacy then Romance.

Some might be looking at me oddly (actually, that’s not any different from what I’m used to…) and wondering “What is the difference?” Normally, I would have figured them the same, or pretty damn near the same thing. But no more shall I do this… I shall now get nitpicky.

As per what I usually do when I start to differentiate between specific words… I look them up in the “pocket dictionary” I’ve had since Grad School. (Yet, I’ve never had pockets that big in my life.) Sure, maybe it’s a bit cliché, but why the hell not? So, I looked up “Intimacy” and found this definition:

1. To make timid; fill with fear. 2. To coerce, inhibit, or discourage by or as if by threats.

Is it fairly telling, the fact that I said, “You know, that makes sense…” and THEN realized I was looking at the definition of “INTIMIDATE” instead? (Sure, it says the two words have different roots, but I think they just don’t want to admit it.) Hey, I say it’s an honest mistake. Anyhoo…

in∙ti∙mate adj. 1. Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity. 2. Essential; innermost. 3. Comfortably private…

As for the other…

ro∙mance n 1.a. A love affair. b. Romantic involvement (thanks, redundancy really helps… he sarcastically says in a sarcastic manner); love. 2. A mysterious fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous…

Ah ha! That’s it! I *knew* there was a difference! It’s #2… that’s what I believe people are really talking about when they say they want “romance”. That’s what I’m horrible at.

I don’t know if I can say I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I can say I’m pretty damn honest, even from meeting me right away. I’m not cultivating any kind of “mystique of a secret past” or brooding and looking all deep like some kind of pathetic and sparkly-stalking-vampire (modern teen ideas of Romance are majorly Fucked up, BTW). I’m the kind of person who, if you want to know about me, I’ll tell you. Ask any question, and I’ll answer it. No problemo. (I don’t have a lot of pride in that area, and very little embarrasses me.) While I love reading mysteries and watching them on TV and movies… I myself am no mystery. Hell, if you’ve read even a few of the posts on this blog, you know a pretty good amount about me. Sure, you may not know my actual identity… the whole pen-name thing… but you’ll know me. The name is really just a minor detail. Even then, you send me a private message on here or Twitter… Hell, I’ll probably send you my Facebook page, if you’re really curious. Has pictures and everything.

Yeah, I’m a sap like that. But I like people knowing about me… just as much as I like knowing about other people. I like the familiarity, I like knowing the real person… I like them knowing the real me. I like… the Intimacy. Hell… I love it!

That leads to the big kicker… and what seems to make the two terms (dare-I-say) polar opposites, rather the similar kind that was assumed before:

The more you get to know someone, the less Romance you have with them. But it’s not a bad thing… because the trade-off is… you gain real Intimacy. (Personally, I think that’s better.)

Alright, I’m sure I just opened myself up to some comments saying, “No, I can have both! I want it!” Sure, because everybody wants everything.

Intimacy is a long-term satisfaction… and it takes work to get there. It takes time. You get to know the real person… and hopefully you actually *like* that real person. If you don’t? Well, you should know not to waste anymore time, right?

Granted, in some ways Intimacy might be a bit of an unseen trap. About 7 or 8 years ago, I knew this gal (of whom I had a slight interest in at the time I admit) who was chatting about her Ex and how she “loved him, but wasn’t *in* love with him”, and trying to explain that paradox. She’s more then willing to go out and date other people, but when she hits a personal crisis, or something really bothered and upset her… she went running to him to talk and get comfort. Her reasoning was, “we just know each other so well anyway that it’s just easier to go to him because he would understand without me saying that much.” Sure, that’s sound logic… but at the same time, I wanted to tell her that she should just pack it in and marry the guy. Because she didn’t seem open to the idea of getting to that level of intimacy with anyone else… because the Ex was easier. She was looking for romance elsewhere… but the real intimacy was always with the Ex. I couldn’t see her finding a new relationship that would be okay with that… which is why I allowed my own interest to fade. If you know the real person, and really know that person isn’t for you? Recognize that you need to look elsewhere. (Just don’t say “I do” until you figure that part out.)

This might also help explain why I’m in contact with so few of my Exes… I don’t like the reminder of NOT having that particular Intimacy anymore.

In some ways, I think Romance is a bit about the short-term satisfaction. The quick, immediate excitement. Sure there’s also the parts of candle-lit dinners, thoughtfulness of birthdays, declarations of love that people call “romantic”… but I think those are things more tilted into the Intimacy category, then true Romance. Romance is… exciting. It’s the unknown. Sorry to repeat myself… but it’s Mystery.

Like I said at the beginning… *I* like Romance. Excitement can be fun. Surprises are peachy-keen. I think everybody likes stuff that is new and exciting… maybe even feeling a bit dangerous. It’s a neat thrill.

And maybe I just uncovered an element that might give an insight as to why some people choose to cheat in their relationships. They’re looking for the Romance. Unfortunately, they’re doing so at the complete expense of the Intimacy they had in that relationship. Being an admitted Non-Romantic… I cannot condone that. I might be able to “understand” it… but only as far as to know to recognize it and not submit to it.

(Meanwhile: In the Gutter: The one thing I can NOT understand at all is why certain celebrities would cheat on their spouses… when the spouses are Hotter and more Beautiful then any of the mistresses. That just seems pointless. Don’t you at least want a visual upgrade? If you’re in that powerful a position in life, you should be able to find a mistress that would make your emotionally-suffering-wife say, “This is a horrible ordeal for me and the children… but to be fair, that other gal is *waaaay* Hot. If I was a lesbian… I’m just saying…” And the kids saying, “Dad, how could you do this? By the way, high-five!”)

I’ve never been one to take Intimacy for granted. I’ve been broken up with far more then I’ve been the one doing the breaking up, and the few times I did, it was because I was starting to see the real person, and knowing it wasn’t a good situation for me to be in. (One instance looked downright unhealthy… but that’s another story.) Plus, spending more time in my dating life single rather than in a relationship (healthy or unhealthy), personally I put more importance on the Intimacy then Romance. I can’t do the short-term satisfaction… I’m a long-term kinda guy.

Unfortunately, it appears that I’m also NOT the kind of guy that single women want to actually date.

In High School and in my 20s… being the patient sort of chap that I am, I theorized that all the women at my age were still wanting their kicks with the “Bad Boys” and Deep A-holes, that when I got into my 30s… I was going to have the greatest dating life in history. Because by then, women would know they don’t want the Bad Boys, and being in their sexual peak during the early to mid-30s… I was optimistic the best years were ahead of me.

This was even encouraged by friends of mine who would even tell me, “Dude, trust me… women are going to *want* a guy like you when they’re older.” You know… if I had a time-machine, I wouldn’t go kill Hitler or witness the great historical events of the world. I’d go back to those instances of encouragement… and I’d kick those people in the face. (Come to think of it… some did show up later those days with mysterious injuries. One had a footprint on him with the treads that looked remarkably similar to a pair of shoes I just got…. Hmmm, I wonder….)

It has NOT been the prime years for dating, no-sir-ee. It’s a subject I’ve gone over a few times before… but the last time? The whole eHarmony fiasco? Yep, it is officially a complete dud. I ended off that post with an air of hopefulness, as I was in contact with one gal… and we had gotten to a 3rd date. The only one from online that I had gotten to that point with. We even got to a fourth date. We even made plans for a fifth date. Now #5 was 2 weeks from #4… I didn’t mind waiting. I’m sure you, dear reader, know that I go slower then a snail through a tar pit. My reputation may not precede me… but moves alongside me.

4 dates… no kissing, no hand-holding… not even any hugging. Hell, we barely touched. Now, I didn’t see any opportunities to take such movements… but hopeful they would come in the future. I was enjoying my time with her regardless, and figuring she was either respecting my slow-ass-pace… or went at that pace herself.

Well, the day before the scheduled date #5 (this past Friday), she calls me. I’m happy to hear from her, figuring we would solidify our specific plans for the next day… and then she tells me that she “didn’t see a future for us.”

…Ow. I felt like I just got kicked in the gut (and not by my future self).

She said she really enjoyed spending time with me, and always had a really good time… but didn’t feel anything “Romantic” with me and… (here it comes) only thought of me as a friend.

You have no idea how loud I wanted to scream, “Go Fuck Yourself!” to her… and I think I actually came close to doing so. But I didn’t. I do think it was apparent I was audibly upset… and when she said she thought of me only as a friend, I replied:

“Yeah, I get that a lot.”

She giggled at that… and I know it was an uncomfortable thing for her to do, and it was probably more of an awkward-trying-to-relieve-tension-giggle… but still; I wasn’t joking. Honestly, if she hadn’t said that… maybe I wouldn’t be so upset here.

I have seriously heard that same speech far too many times in my life, and I am sick to death of hearing it. Where are all these women that are supposed to want a guy like me? They all want the Romance. And I offer Intimacy.

She said she had given it time, but didn’t feel Romantic feelings with me. I can only think that if she wanted Romance, why didn’t she try walking a little closer to me when we strolled, to give me a chance to take her hand? Why, at the end of our brief dates, did she quickly get into her car or house door, saying “goodbye/good night” over her shoulder, and not stop, face me and look at me for 2 seconds, to give me a chance to try for a kiss? Why not even try for a date longer then a mere 2 hours at a time? Why not give me a chance to provide that Romance?

No, I don’t think she gave it enough time. Especially not with me. For other guys maybe it’s enough time. But not me.

But here she was, giving me the age-old rejection speech. Additionally frustrating in the fact that it wasn’t even original. So, the fifth date did NOT happen. In fact, it ruined not only the rest of my night, but the whole weekend, as I’ve been pretty much stewing in it since.

Sure, I’ve been going through the thoughts of joining a monastery… but I don’t think I could do all the praying and chanting. I *have* come to the conclusion that the Internet dating doesn’t work for me… not one bit. So that’s one more road that is closed off. In fact, it really just seems that I really don’t belong in the world of Dating. I know that’s an extreme, because you can’t get to a relationship without the Dating… but when everyone seems to want the one thing I’m not good at giving, how can I get to giving what I *am* good at? (Or at least better at) Sadly, it’s the one thing that the evidence seems to point to, from this view.

I don’t know if I’ll feel better or different in a few days… hopefully I will. But this conclusion is feeling more definitive then ever before.

Just don’t say, “Wait until your forties! THEN they’ll be breaking down your door!” Because you’ll get boot to the head *right now*.

And the next single woman that says she only thinks of me as a friend WILL get the very loud volume-turned-to-11-FUCK YOU!!!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to the gutter for awhile. At least it’s more entertaining there.



(Hey, look… my first sequel post. Here’s the first part.)

So, I was forced back out into the cold, cold world of job-searching. Confused, shocked, depressed, filled with dread… and I was still in the parking lot of my now ex-place-of-employment.

After a few deep breaths, I said, “Well, no use sitting on my ass.” (Yes, I said this to an otherwise-empty car.)

I started to drive back home… stopping off at the Temp Agency that got me placed at that company in the first place. I went right in, told them what just happened, and asked to re-open my file, which they did. I was now back in the Temp Loop… which is better then being in no loop, for sure.

Now, they told me how jobs were slim, but it would *hopefully* pick up fairly soon. It certainly wasn’t going to be the only method I used, but it was a start, at least.

Over the coming days, I would start to reflect on the reasons I was laid off. And I know it wasn’t “anything personal” (to the company, although definitely personal to me) or any performance-based reason why I was laid off (that I was told of). I did my job, and I think I did it well.

No, this was an accounting issue (for lack of a better term… I don’t mean it was the Accountant’s fault). So, in that context… I still tried to find some reasonable explanation. And since I have a tendency to over-think things… and think in odd ways… the standard answers don’t seem to work for me.

The first standard answer is “profits are down”. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean they are LOSING money? Meaning… no profit at all. The operating costs exceed the income. Then yeah… I can understand that. Or does it mean what it actually is saying… “profits are down”… they’re just not making AS MUCH a profit as they’d like to? They’re still making a profit… just not as big as they want. (Aw, poor baby) So, after all operating costs, and subtract that from the income you make, you still have money left over.

This is actually the situation that I think most companies are in. Profits are simply a little less. So… why the need to fire people? If you expect your employees to be loyal, and they continue to bring in a positive profit in an ailing economy, why do the same rules not apply to the company? In my fantasy world, if I own a company and I can afford to pay everyone, including myself, pay for everything I need, and at the end of the year, NOT owe money to anyone… then it’s a good year. If after that, the profit is only 1 dollar… its still a profit. Sure, you won’t be able to give any raises, or be able to “expand” like you wanted… but that’s the fault of the ailing economy! Sure, we got this ailing economy because of some greedy Mother-F-ers grabbing for every penny… but doing the same thing isn’t going to get us OUT of it. If you stay even, and weather out the storm, and you’re not *losing* money… when it does turn around, you’ll be in a better position to cash in. Not to mention what it does for the esteem and loyalty of your employees… you’ll actually be Walking what other companies are Talking with that subject. You’ll really have your “(Insert company name) Family”.

“Oh, but the Shareholders are demanding large profits.”

Shareholders, huh? Granted, I oversimplify a lot of things. Business acumen is not my forte. But it appears to me that things like “dividends” and whatnot, in regards to Stocks don’t mean a whole lot, monetarily. No, the primary flow of cash comes from the buying and selling of said stocks.

So you have someone that buys a large number of shares… partially owning the company… wants heavy profits so the stock value goes up… so he can sell off his shares, and NOT be an owner of the company?

Why should the rest of the company be so concerned with someone who really wants nothing to do with it?

I admit, I don’t normally meet owners of companies that honestly have no long-term interest in how their company does. Nor do I meet ones that are willing to do NOTHING to help it thrive. But that’s what shareholders do… they become part owners, then sit back and do nothing waiting for the value to go up.

If you honestly have a vested interest… and want the company to, oh I don’t know, get more clients… get off your ass and help find more clients for YOUR company. That’s not how being a shareholder works? That’s fine… but you shouldn’t have the right to complain, then. Stocks are like gambling… you can gain money, and you can lose money. But you can’t go to the dealer and say, “Hey, I put down a large bet, so give me a straight flush. I demand it.” You take your cards and you live with them.

And realize that after you buy a stock… you don’t actually gain or lose money until you SELL it. So what if it drops to less then you paid for it? Don’t sell! Give it time, and it will go the other way, and you’ll make a profit. Oh, you want money *now*? Well, McDonalds is hiring. Yes, there’s a chance the company could tank and fold… you were gambling in the first place. See last sentence of previous paragraph.

Alright, anyone that has a personal knowledge of stocks and business is probably thinking I’m a huge idiot right now, and that’s fine. This is just one layman’s take on it. And I’m not talking bad about capitalism… that’s our system, no problem. I get that, and am fine with it. But it does breed some greedy mother-f-ers, and you may think it does nothing BUT breed greedy mother-f-ers. I don’t think so. I think there is room for compassion and loyalty in the system… but it does seem to be hard to find. Hence why I became one of many “victims of the economy”.

Regardless… I had to re-start the job search. Updated the resume, got about 6 weeks of coaching from that career-transition service that talked to me mere seconds after receiving my pink slip (which wasn’t actually pink, by the way… nor was it a slip)… and was on my computer for 6+ hours each day looking for work and leads. I wasn’t having luck. (Also part of why I wasn’t finding time to blog… I was tired of looking at my computer!)

I even tried a few job fairs… the first one even made it on the news, because it was so insane. They expected 40,000 people… and about 200,000 showed up. Including me. I showed up at 9:00am in the parking lot, and the show was to start at 9:30. I didn’t even make it onto the shuttle bus until after noon. (I felt like I was back in a cattle call audition in L.A… on one hand it was a good thing, because I was used to it) Then, when I got to the site, I had to wait *another* hour in *another* line to get into the building where the fair was. Ugh... just thinking about it makes me shake my head. I had a list of about 30 companies I had planned to talk to, and the longer I waited in line, the more names I had to cross off… distilling it down to my absolute essentials, figuring that’s all I’d have time for (figuring about 8 minutes of waiting at each one, and a few more minutes of talking to the representatives, etc). Turns out I got to talk to *every* company… because each one took about 13 seconds. “Oh yeah, you apply online. All that info is online. All the descriptions are online. You can give your resume online.” I wanted to grab each person I saw and just scream, “Then… WHY ARE YOU BOTHERING TO BE HERE???” It was so pointless and frustrating… and only served to show that actual “job fairs” are pointless and outdated. I was making more progress futilely job-searching in my pajama pants.

And boy, does it seem futile. Frustration just seems to pile up more and more every day. It racks its toll on your psyche, your esteem… pretty much any angle you think of it, it impacts it negatively.

(Not to mention it made the whole dating thing (even more) awkward for me… sure everyone seemed so understanding because of the economy, but I can’t imagine it’s a big plus to hear that your dating prospect is “between jobs”. Usually that’s a euphemism for “Deadbeat Loser”.)

I will say, one good thing that came out of being laid-off… it got me to think. I’ve always been able to exist in an office environment, and even make a positive impact. But it’s not *me*. That’s not what I love doing. Hell, I have 2 degrees in Theatre! Though, knowing that industry is suffering just as much, if not more then before… I sat down and started to think about “what would make me happy?” Because I’d rather not go into another job that I only tolerate… I want something I can look forward to, and actually enjoy the work I do. So what “realistic” job would fit that description?

And then I remembered… I enjoyed teaching.

Back when I taught Theatre at a small college just outside of Los Angeles, I really liked it. Sure, the bureaucracy was frustrating… and it wasn’t perfect. But being there in class, teaching 40+ students… was fun.

Looking back, I got out of it for pretty silly reasons, and I shouldn’t have. But the individual I was dating at the time (who would soon be NOT the person I was dating), mentioned how I hadn’t been making as much progress on getting to be a professional actor/writer as she thought I should, and I had been thinking she was right… the teaching took up quite a bit of time, and I was thinking it was getting in the way. (Yes, I was actually thinking that it interfered too much with my “Starving Artist” lifestyle) Considering how the next year went (after I stopped teaching)… I would definitely have done it differently.

But now I’m thinking I’d like to get back into it. It’s a subject I’m passionate and enthusiastic about… I have fun with it. I enjoyed passing it on to willing ears. And dare I say, I even found it a bit fulfilling. So, I’ve decided to make that my new goal: To get back into it.

Thus far, the progress I’ve made in the past year… I’ve been approved to teach online classes through a local university. I’ve gone through the training… (an online class to learn how to teach online classes… appropriate or redundant?) Now I’m just waiting for word of when the class starts. I’m listed as faculty on their website, so it looks like *eventually* something will come along… I just hope it’s somewhat soon. If for nothing else, I’d like to get back into practice. I’m approved to teach “Intro to Drama” and “Shakespeare”… things I’ve taught before, thankfully. But for now… I wait.

Was the lay-off a blessing in disguise? Eh… hard to say. I’m doing my best to treat it as such. But it still feels like hassles and hard times that were just thrust upon me without good enough logic.

But… I am now currently employed. The temp service found me another company that liked me. I’m back doing Administrative Assistant-work. I’m still there as a “Temp”, which means that it could technically end at any moment… but my boss has stated her intent to hire me on permanent. (Which is a plus) No, it’s not teaching… it’s back to corporate America… but as a day job, it’s a good one. And it will do for now.

And it’s something I can do in conjunction with the online teaching (whenever it starts)… hopefully it will give me back some of that security I lost last year… as well as some of the personal fulfillment I’m searching for. And hopefully, the sooner it starts, the sooner I’d be able to parlay it into a regular face-to-face teaching job somewhere. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t… but it is my goal.

And it is nice to have something to shoot for again.


Not what I meant by “Getting Laid”

Exactly one year ago today… I got laid off from my job.

I had just passed my one-year anniversary with the place, too (about 2 weeks earlier). I had started there as a temp replacement Admin Assistant because the regular one was going on vacation for a month. I was just tooling along for a few weeks, when I was approached by the head of the “Export Compliance” department. (Though, it would also be accurate to say I was approached by the ENTIRETY of the Export Compliance department… as it was just him.) He said he had heard that I was a pretty detail-oriented and focused guy, and he had just been approved to hire an assistant… so he wondered if I would maybe be interested.

Now, I didn’t know what was entailed in “Export Compliance”… but it turns out, it’s really just making sure the company is following all of the gazillion laws that the U.S. Government has, when shipping things outside of the country. Ever since 9/11, it’s been a growing necessity for companies, frankly. They’d give me the training and all… which wasn’t that difficult, I thought. Mostly just repetitive paperwork and “busy-work”, frankly. But it would free up him to work on the bigger, more specialized tasks for important account, while I took care of the day-to-day stuff.

It would be a permanent position, with a bit of a pay raise, benefits (medical AND dental… and it’d been a very long time since I had insurance for those!) and apparent employment security. But admittedly… none of it was the biggest reason for accepting the job. But, rather:

I would be able to tell people I work in “Exports”.

And saying that you work in “Exports”… I think we all know what that is really a euphemism for, right?

That’s right. Secret Agent.

What, you don’t see the connection? Hey, James Bond’s standard cover story was that he worked for “Universal Exports”. This is pop culture people! It’s ingrained in our psyche!

Sure, in this case, it *wasn’t* a euphemism, but I could FEEL cool, dammit!

But yeah… that was seriously the biggest attraction to take the job. That probably says a lot about me.

Still… I actually liked the work. At times, it even felt more like “Secret Agent” then I thought it would… especially the time I was subtly threatened from a man in Iran because I was “asking too many questions”. I even got to go on my first honest-to-goodness business trip (a cute little story on its own). The people were nice, and just the act of keeping mentally busy actually charged me creatively in quite a few ways. (The blogging regularity heyday of 2008 occurred during this timeframe.) I was saving money, feeling pretty good, and even having occasional random fun.

What random fun, you say? Well, I had fun planting some of the Victor Riley business cards around. I didn’t put out that many… but I figured I should stop when I saw a company-wide memo from the President that solely addressed this; saying, “for those that don’t know, it’s an anonymous way to congratulate someone on a job well-done. While such reinforcement is positive, we ask that this stop, as we have our own company methods for such rewards…” Yeah, I found it a bit confusing myself… and it appears to have been grossly misinterpreted (especially since I was actually trying to subtly and innocently flirt with the Beautiful Romanian gal from Archives), but nonetheless, I figured it may be wise to stop.

One day, another company-wide memo came out… basically saying that due to the troubling economy, the parent corporation that owned our company, was going to be cutting 15% of the workforce. I admit I didn’t get involved in any water-cooler talks with people about this, so I never heard fellow concerns or anything. I also admit… I thought I was safe. The entirety of the “Export Compliance” department was my boss and I. That was it. The two of us were doing everything, and we had more then enough work to occupy ourselves. So I didn’t get into any water-cooler talk, not because I didn’t care… I was busy getting work done. I logically figured that since that’s the situation for us… that I wasn’t going anywhere.

How wrong I was. A few weeks went by, and then came March 5th.

Earlier that week, my boss had been out of town on a multi-day business meeting… so I was covering his daily tasks as well. This was his first day back. I went in that Thursday morning like I had for the previous year, and noticed nothing different. After about an hour, I saw my boss. I gave him a quick update on the status of things, handed him a few folders that he’d need… and then he asked if I’d come over to his office for a minute. (All things we’ve done a dozen times before) I first started to raise an eyebrow when I walked in, and he closed the door. “Okay, something’s wrong here… did I mess up something big? What’s going on here?”

That’s when he brought up the memo about the 15% cuts… and that I’ve been “affected”.

To say that I was “shocked”… probably doesn’t begin to cover it. Within seconds of this news, I was given a packet of information, with forms in it that I was to sign (but didn’t have to do so right there), and 2 checks… one for the previous pay period, and the period we were in, which actually paid me for the next day, *and the next week*, too. (We were in the middle of a pay period) And another check that included 2-weeks severance, and pay for the 2 weeks of vacation I had accrued (but hadn’t taken).

Sure on the plus side, I now had a couple thousand bucks in my hand… but the security, the certainty, the hoped-for plans I had for that year (like getting an apartment), were out the window. (Not to mention, this wasn’t that long after the “2nd-date Denial”… so I *really* wasn’t having a good couple of weeks.)

One thing I think I’m pretty good at… is staying calm when I have every reason to NOT. Yes, I was sad and even hurt to be tossed out like this by the company (I could tell that my boss did NOT want to be doing this, and I even had that confirmed later. I had made his life and job a lot easier, and was the reason he could take Fridays off. He just walked in that morning and was told by the higher-ups that he had to let me go… right then)… But I do have my pride. Even if I don’t like the work I do… I like to do my best at it, anyway. So, I asked if I would be allowed to finish out the day. My reasoning: I will never have it be said that I left people in a lurch. Even when having no reason to do a good job… I do it anyway. I like to think I’ve got some integrity, and I prefer to live up to that. (Even though I can hear my dad’s voice saying, “To hell with them” if he were in that situation… just one more way we differ.)

My boss actually said that… no, I wasn’t allowed to. In fact, my computer was going to be locked out by 11:00am. He said not to worry about any of the work on my desk…In fact, I could even leave now, if I wanted, and not wait until then. All I had to do, was just gather up my stuff when I got back to my desk.

This wasn’t right away… because my now ex-boss directed me to the conference room across the hall… where another gentleman was waiting, one I’d never seen before. He was an outside guy… a “career transition” counselor that the company hired that basically helps prepare us for the new job search. (Keep in mind, this is all MINUTES after getting the can in the first place) He gave me more packets of information, and how he’d be working with me in the coming weeks to help in this time, etc… Everything seemed to move so fast… because it was. This was the highest level of efficiency I’d seen in a long time… and thinking back on how that all tooled along, and how I wasn’t allowed to finish the day, and whatnot… everything was absolutely set-up with the expectation that I was going to take an absolute nutty. Sure, maybe *some* people might (I wasn’t the only one getting cut that day… I even found out later, to my surprise, the hot Romanian gal got cut too!), but knowing how *I* am, and how I’d rather stoically bear it, Clint-Eastwood style… it did feel a bit extra degrading, being “processed” so quickly.

Still… to my ideals, I don’t want to leave people in a lurch. So, yes, my boss said to not worry about the unfinished work… but I did finish up a few in-progress things on my desk. I separated into two piles… the finished and the unfinished (even put sticky notes listing them as such), I clearly laid out the folder I made called, “How To Do My Job”, with all the procedural things that I had detailed out (in the case that someone would one day have to cover for me, and not know exactly what to do), and then gathered up my belongings.

I had to be gone by 11am… but I had everything gathered up by a little after 10. I wasn’t going to be allowed multiple trips… only one. My security pass was taken, so one time was going to be it. Now, I don’t know what would have happened at 11am, had I stuck around… if I was going to be actually escorted off the premises or not. But as I was finishing, I looked up and saw the other people in my section going into the Marketing VPs office, quietly and quickly. I had a few duties that I did for that department, and as such, was considered a part of Marketing. So, I could guess what that impromptu meeting was about. As I had no more reason to stick around… stuff gathered up, everything I needed off my computer is off… I wasn’t going to get to say a polite goodbye. (Like I said, it was set-up like I was going to take a nutty.) Even my boss’s office was closed, so I wouldn’t even get one final handshake.

Then… came the most stereotypical, clichéd situation I can recall being part of, in about 10 years. That being, the “long walk”… we’ve all seen it in movies and shows… all the cubicle-possessions, calendars, desk-food stash, stress relievers, small decorations, etc, gathered up in one medium-sized box, carried with both hands, and walking it all out to the car for the just-revealed final time.

I honestly felt like I was in the beginning of a bad comedy film.

The sun was bright and high in the sky… not normally a time of day in which I experienced that parking lot… as that was usually the growing light of the morning or the fading light of the evening. The concrete was dry, and large piles of snow still scattered around the outlying areas of grass.

I got into my car, and before I turned the key to start up the engine and drive off this lot for the last time… something went through my mind. And I said to myself something that I think a lot of people feel when having major news thrust upon them in such short burst of time. When events unfold through no workings of your own and a rapid confusion seems like the only reaction you’re capable of…

“What the Fuck just happened?”