Finding a Job and Selling Out.

When I moved to Chicago last fall I had a few hundred dollars to my name, a decently priced apartment on the south side, and a whole lot of debt staring me in the face. To combat this I worked all over, bookstores, bakeries, coffee shops, you name it. I was working around 55 hours a week between 2 jobs and just making enough to cover rent/bills/and the occasional friday evening at the bar.

I was working at a Borders in Hyde Park during its final days of business when one of the customers asked me to work for her. She thought I had spunk and showed initiative and asked if I would be an office administrator and receptionist for her company. She offered to pay me 1 and 1/2 times the salary I got at Borders, full-time employment and weekends off. To me it sounded like heaven.

Several months later I have come to the realization that I hate office life. I never thought I would say it but I actually miss food service. I miss being the quirky coffee shop barista who always dressed in a vest and tie.  I miss making latte art, mixing teas, creating something tangible, something real. I miss interacting with people. I miss being a poor hipster kid with a shit job and very little responsibility.

But I have graduated and become a nine-to-five-er. It’s better pay, it is more versatile, and frankly, even if I wanted to continue being a barista, fewer and fewer places will hire me at this point. In the realm of coffee shops I am an old man so I suppose I have graduated to being a suit. That having been said I would like to share with you all a simple truth that I have discovered.

Working in an office is a lot like working running a race waist deep in chocolate pudding.

Working in an office is a lot like working running a race waist deep in chocolate pudding. It’s slow, it isn’t that interesting to watch, and somewhere in the back of your mind you know it is messy, wasteful, and probably morally questionable. I suppose if you went to some sort of business program you would be used to the psychological abuse, the lack of judgment, and the mindless inattention to efficiency that is required to move up in an office setting. For the normal Joe Liberal Arts Graduate it is a horribly vexing exercise, which inevitably will end in blood shed and a tyrannical Machiavellian takeover of the water cooler and the surrounding coffee pots.

That being said if anyone would like a beverage they must first swear allegiance to the Beverage Baron!

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Post Fathers Day Post

It seems the prerogative of old men to speak without giving care as to what they say. Not a second thought given, they just open their mouth and speak their mind, loudly. They speak without subject, they speak without direction and they speak without knowledge.

Across America at this very moment there are countless old men regaling one another with completely fictitious stories about ‘the war’ or ‘the church’ or ‘the craft.’ They use phrases so cliché that words cease to be words, phrases leap from their mouths so readily that no words remain. All that is left are grunts, guttural noises where words used to be, designed to get a rise. Noise so delightfully vague so religiously incoherent bystanders cannot agree or argue. All one can do is listen.

In bars they meet telling stories with no punch lines. Preachers speak to congregations from atop holy bar stools muddling their words with greasy offerings. And punctuating each holy ejaculation with a vodka chaser or a draw from discount camel light purchased from the fill station down the street.

There they stand arm in arm speaking broken phrases about ex-wives ex-lovers lost children and forgotten dreams. They clap each other on the back yelling “and if I hated you I’d introduce you to my sister” or “you do just like I say and then tell me… you’ll see, you’ll be surprised. “

They hide in little hovels being ‘men.’ Greasy spoon, where a man is a man without having to be anything at all. Just as long as there are no women around to remind them that words, stories and indeed life itself deserves a point. Just as long as there are no children around to remind them that words imply consequences, that utterances backed by meaning inherently create responsibility.

It seems the prerogative of old men to speak. To speak with such tenacity that they are heard and with such wanton frivolity that they are not listened too. They spout and spew and kick and guffaw and we just sit and hear and hate and wonder.

Where have all the fathers gone?

Posted in Coffee Shoppe Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments