Friday, July 28, 2006

Last Day at Work

Today is my last day at work – after this, the countdown to my departure begins in earnest. I'll spend most of next week packing, finalizing travel plans, making sure I have a place to live in South Carolina, spending time with friends, freaking out, and playing computer games. Then, the week after that is when it all goes down. A four day cross-country drive followed by weeks and weeks of adjustment to a new life.

This is so different than what I've grown used to over the last year and a half. My life as an out-of-college full-time employee has been anything but busy or unpredictable. Every single day has followed the same schedule, week after week of basically the same thing.

I've worked at this job for nine months. Ironic, isn't it. It's been like my own little gestation period and now I'm ready to be born. I'll squeeze out of this cubicle womb and face the world, covered from head to toe in amniotic fluid.... wait, I guess I'm taking the metaphor a little too far there. The point is, this is my last day at work and the beginning of the first day of the rest of my life. And I'm going to be totally on my own. It's time to cut the umbilical cord.

So I guess I need to eulogize about the end of my career here at this quaint little office. I've become such a lazy worker lately that I was sure my supervisors hated me and couldn't wait to be rid of me. Well, turns out they thought I was moving to Chicago (where the corporate offices are) and wanted to offer me a job there! And they took me out to lunch on Tuesday, and are ordering pizza today in honor of my departure. People like me, gosh dang it, and I just can't seem to figure that one out.

I think I'll look back fondly on my time as a taxonomist, but not so fondly that I'll ever want to return to it. I mean, it was a big word, and fun to say, but it's not really me. I made some good friends here, had some good times, made a bit of cash (which somehow has already been spent) and learned some valuable skills. Still, ultimately its not for me. I don't want the most crucial decisions of my day to be whether “air conditioning” is a “feature” or an “amenity.” I want to grasp life with both hands, wave it above my head wildly, and then smear it all over my chest in masculine frenzy. Really, is that so much to ask?

Monday, July 24, 2006

my time is at hand...

Eventually there comes a day where you stop waiting for inspiration to hit and just write something, anything, to put on your blog. Of course, having a slow-paced job helps quite a bit, but even that has not been enough to get me blogging lately. I did write something last week about the new computer game I've been playing, but it was really nerdy and I thought that we've had enough of my nerdity (its a word if I say it is) for one month.

I've not been up to much in the last ten days. My life is very simple and surreal at the moment. I perform regularly in my play at the local community theater, spend the days sitting here at this desk in this office, go to the gym on occasion, relax at home, and generally avoid thinking too much about all the stuff I have to do soon. These activities are accompanied by the constant pressure to stay out of the insufferable heat we've been subjected lately. Its the kind of heat that leaves you a lifeless, sweaty husk. Seriously, I don't think I'm meant for warm climates. Yet another reason why the upcoming move to South Carolina seems so ironic.

I'm in a period of transition, and its difficult to explain what it is like. It's happened to me a few times before, and so it feels kind of familiar, in a way, but no less scary. Everything is up in the air and I don't know where its going to come down, and there's this tingly feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought that just a few weeks from now my life will be completely different in every way. With the possible exception of leaving the country to live in the Philippines for two years, I've never embarked on a change quite so dramatic and complete as the one now rapidly approaching.

I'm leaving in two weeks and three days. It hardly seems real. What will my life be like there? Will I be happy? Will I have friends? Will I still be me, or will I change in a new environment? Will I fit in? There's honestly no way of knowing until I get there.

Shakespeare was a genius. I know that was random, but bear with me. I've thought a lot about one of his famous lines lately, and I think represents an important reality for us human beings. It's in our nature to, as Hamlet says, “rather bear those ills we have than fly to others we know not of.” Six months ago I was excited and ready for a change, and I think that I still am. But the fear of the unknown future creeps in and you start thinking.... you know, this isn't so bad. My life's not so bad here. Yeah, I hate my job, but its a reliable source of income for now, and I have lots of friends, and people who I can't imagine living without, and maybe I'd be better off staying here.

This line of thinking is safe and comfortable, and it is bad. It is anathema to personal growth and development. It's the kind of thinking that keeps people stuck in crappy jobs in crappy towns feeling miserable about their lives because they never had the courage to strike out into the darkness and make something better. It's the thinking of the servant who would bury his talent to keep it safe rather than working and risking to improve his lot. It is stagnancy. And I for one would rather try and fail than sit around wondering my whole life. That has been the driving rhetoric for my whole new approach to life. I no longer pretend to have ultimate answers, or to express confidence in things which I cannot know for sure. I only know that I must go where my heart directs me, no matter how terrifying, and do my best to be happy. I'd rather be free and wrong than in chains. But I wax metaphorical...

One phase of my life is over forever, and another opens. Such is the way of things. I'll miss you all. But I have to go. It's my time.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Announcing....

I thought I'd take a moment to shamelessly plug the play I'm going to be in that opens this weekend. You absolutely must come to see it, not just because I'm in it (though that should be reason enough for most of you!) but because, for the first time in a while, I'm doing a play that I can be reasonably certain every single person on this planet can enjoy.

It's called “You Can't Take It With You” and its playing at the Hale Center Theater in Orem. You can go to their website and see the performance schedule and buy tickets. I play a young successful businessman named Tony Kirby, Jr. who has recently become Vice-President of his company (his father is the President, can you say nepotism?) but hates the stuffy corporate world and longs to break free (didn't take too much acting there.) I've fallen in love with my secretary, Ms. Alice Sycamore, a very nice and normal young lady who happens to come from a family of questionable sanity. I kind of like the family (despite the wackiness of the parents, grandfather, sister and brother-in-law, maid, maid's boyfriend, random man who lives with them, and very hairy Russian ballet teacher who is constantly at their house), so I propose to her despite all that. When my straight-laced and upper class parents meet the zany and carefree Sycamores, hilarity is certain to ensue!

There, now stop asking me what its about. I'm not going to explain it again. Just get your freaking tickets and come and enjoy yourselves. Maybe you'll remember that, no matter how fun movies are, nothing can quite replace the magic of live theater. Or maybe you can just admire how great my butt looks in the suits I wear (this is not my opinion, but that of many of the ladies associated with the production who decided to share this information with me.)

You have until August 9th to see me in the show, after which I will be heading to South Carolina and the part of Tony will be played by an as-yet un-named replacement. So you better hurry!

Friday, July 07, 2006

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent...

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent.
Though, despite the elaborate disguise
Consisting of a single pair of bent,
Simple specs, they're not two different guys
But only one, still I said what I meant:
I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent.

I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent
I guess because one of them's more like me
And does not always get what he wants
And struggles with our vulnerability.
And does not by his perfection command
The adoration of every woman and man
But sits in the back, with nothing to say
Just hoping that Lois Lane looks his way.

She doesn't - her eyes are glued to the sky.

Wake up, Lois! Can't you see the guy
Waiting to love you with all of his might?
He may not leap buildings, he may not fly,
He may not see through you with x-ray eyes,
He might need YOUR help, if that's alright,
From time to time, when his mortal heart cries.

He combs his hair neatly and fights through the crowd,
Decides what to say, and rehearses out loud,
He summons his courage and paces the floor
And with shaking hands knocks on her door.

But she's not even there. And thats what I meant
When I said:
I like Superman, but I love Clark Kent.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Let America Be America Again - Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!