Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, January 14, 2005  
Lastly..
Today was a milestone day in the LIfe(?) of Trillian.

I went through the regular motions of my regular days.

And did a lot of things for the last time.

I made my morning Blueline El commute for the last time. I wasn't sure what the protocol is for your last el commute. Do you say something, you know, "good-bye" to the people you see almost every day on the platform? Seems a little weird since we never, ever talk to each other.

"I know none of us ever talk, even though we see each other every day, so this is a little awkward. Eww Gross Girl, Sportz Guyz, Latino Sisters, Obnoxious, Pushy Muppetlike Man, we've been through so much together. Beginning our days together...most days yours were the first human faces I saw. Remember that time, back when had that really bad rain storm and the sewers flooded and they had to run a shop vac in the station and we had to step over swut knows what to get up to the platform? Yeah, Eww Gross Girl, I think that's when your face froze in that position. What about the time they were filming some Bruce Willis movie and the trains were all screwed up and we had to take a bus two stops? Oh, oh, and remember the time they were working on the tracks and the train came rolling up from underground and almost hit that worker guy on the track? Yeah. Good times. See, here's the thing. I'm moving out of the neighborhood. I know, I know, I thought I was going to end up a fixture here, too. But nope! I'm gone. No more Blueline commuting for me. So long, suckers, have a nice ride, I'm a walk to worker now. Enjoy that new rate hike Our Benevolent Leader and Supreme Tax Overlord Daley is going to throw your way in the coming months. Watch out for yourselves, don't get mugged, assaulted, pick pocketed or raped, while your commuting on the el, okay?"

Yeah. Seemed a little not right to me, too. So I didn't say anything. I just got on the train, glared at Eww Gross Girl for spreading out all over two seats and reading her Wall Street Journal as if she were on her living room couch, declined the offer of a seat from one of the Sportz Guyz, rode my few stops and went to work.

So caught up in my routine, was I, that I didn't think about this being my last commute again until after I was off the train and out of the station on my way to the office. "Ooops, forgot to give a wistful look back as I detrained and left the platform. Oh well. That's over. Check Blueline Commuter off my list of characteristics.

I didn't take the train home tonight, so that's it. No more Blueline commutes. Oh sure, I'll still take the train to O'Hare now and then. I wonder how it will feel to emerge from the subway portion of the line, the place where I pull out of my reverie and prepare to get off the train at my stop, when it's no longer my stop. When I just roll by on my way to O'Hare without Damen meaning anything other than just a stop on the way.

I wonder what it will feel to be looked at with disdain and contempt by the regular commuters when I board with my suitcase, obviously not a regular commuter, obviously an interloper using the train to get to O'Hare. Not a "regular" rider.

Coming home from O'Hare, I wonder if I'll ever forget I don't live at Damen anymore and exit the train too early. It's been such a part of me, such a part of my travel routine, I can't trust myself to not exit at Damen and trek the block to my apartment.

My apartment that isn't mine anymore.

The melancholy "what am I doing, why am I moving" has hit. I didn't think it was going to, but today it did.

Ironically, as I schlepped four flights of stairs to the dark, scary laundry room, the melancholy, "I'm going to miss this place," hit me.

I'm really, really, really, really glad to never have to schlepp laundry down four flights of stairs again. I'm really glad to not have to use the crappy washers which at best reach warm water temperature (usually ice cold is the temp, regardless of where you set the gauge) anymore. Ditto the dryers which also have only one temperature setting: Scald and Shrink. I wonder if people will be jerks with the lint traps in my new building. Maybe they have a lint trap overseer there. Maybe the lint traps will always be magically lint free.

I stopped by the new place, keys and all that. I took a look at my Lake view. It's better than I remembered it. Smaller than I remembered it, too. (The apartment, not the Lake.) The apartment is definitely a compartment. My new compartment. Furry Creature and I are going to be real close. Good thing we get along so well.

But. You know. It's nice. It was warm and comfy. In contrast to the frost caked windows in the old place.

The old place.

I haven't even moved, but it's already The Old Place.

Wow.

Guess I've made the leap.

I stopped at my favorite local place for my favorite falafel in the world. "Hey, Spice Girl!" the order prep guy yelled at me when I walked in. "Cold night, you need something to keep you warm! I make extra spicy?" he asked as he began preparing my falafel sandwich without even asking my order.

"Of course extra spicy!" I proclaimed in a you silly goose tone.

"Spice Girl!" he enthused.

I am known as Spice Girl at this establishment. I think any girl who requests "hot" or "spicy" when they place an order is dubbed "Spice Girl." I am under no illusions that I am the only Spice Girl. But. Still.

"Cold night! Hot soup?!" he implored.

"Yeah, of course, sounds good." he ladled the lentil soup into a huge container and swirled some hot liquid spice into it. After all, I AM Spice Girl. He knows the drill. This is enough lentil soup for a family of six. I paid for an order. An. Singular. One person. Small order.

I want to think I'll still frequent this place, and other places in the neighborhood, but I know how it is. It's only 3.03 miles, but I'll get busy, I'll find new places in my new neighborhood, time will pass, and the next thing you know, it will have been months, maybe even a year since I was in the old 'hood. I keep saying, "I'm still going to hang out here, I'm just going to live a few miles East." But I know I probably won't.

Maybe at first.

But probably not.

My Thai place, my pubs, my 7-11, my ghetto grocery...they won't be mine anymore. I'll be a tourist in the old 'hood. Like the commuters on the train, the locals will look at me with disdain and contempt because I'll be interloping on their turf.

Arthur, Bone and I went to my Thai place last night. We sat at our regular table. The food tasted really good. I'm sure it's the same principle as when you get your hair cut or go to the doctor: The morning you have your long awaited appointment, your hair cooperates and looks fabulous or you are feeling all better. Not that my Thai place has bad food, it just tasted extra good last night.

Po, as he has said for the last year, "So gwad you wawk in now! No more dewivewy." pantomiming walking on crutches. He brought my favorite plum wine to the table without me ordering it. I wonder if there will be a good Thai place in the new neighborhood. I wonder if they'll have this plum wine.

I've got a busy weekend. Final packing. The movers show up Monday morning. I intend to be ready for them Sunday afternoon. I won't be out and about in the 'hood. I won't have time for a walk around the 'hood, popping into the places I shop and eat to say good-bye. Not that I would. I don't think too many of these people care if I'm here or not. But I like to think they'll wonder what happened to me. I like to think when I do come back to visit, after a long absence, they'll say, "Where've you been?! We've missed you!" But I doubt they will. I'm not that important. Po and Lani will probably wonder what the swut happened to Miss Twiwian. They kept me alive with dewivewy when I was in bed with the broken ankle. Which is why I couldn't say "good-bye" to them. These are nice people in my 'hood. These are true neighbors.

Better for us to all delude ourselves into thinking the soon to be three mile distance between us won't mean anything.

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6:42 PM

Thursday, January 13, 2005  
Moving sucks, I am being told over and over by people in the know.

The thing is, it's never sucked for me until this move. I won't say I looked forward to past moves, but past moves happened because I was moving to another/better job, better apartment, another city to be with a boyfriend, go to universities...all exciting things associated with moving. This time, it's 3.03 miles away to a part of town which I never go much less want to live in, to a smaller box of an apartment.

I'm packing my stuff in boxes, moving to a building which is essentially a multistory box, into a compartment of that box. Yes. My new apartment isn't actually an apartment, it's a compartment. Of a big box. I'll move my boxes into my compartment, probably won't unpack most of them for a while, so it will be boxes in a box in a big box.

Which is why I've been in my current place as long as I have. Crappy as it is, it's huge and cute and convenient and basically, a nice little home. Oh sure, the muggings*, rapes**, break-ins, arson, gangs, drugs, prostitutes***, delinquent kids in the park****, drunk and rowdy people spilling loudly onto the neighborhood at closing time have all been a bit of a nuisance...but you know, it's home.

It comes down to the same basic issue: This job, this apartment, this city, were all temporary. I moved here because I had to land somewhere in the US, and I had a few friends here, and I knew this one guy here, and knew I could get a job and live fairly cheaply until I formed a plan for my next real move. Ahem. That plan got sidetracked by a certain man whose name must not be spoken.

Since that break-up I've been trying to get back to where I was before him, trying to sort out what it was I was meant to be doing with my life. Problem is, the plans He and I had were more appealing than any I'd had before (or since). I could go ahead without him, of course, but unfortunately, those plans were appealing and desirable because of him and us. I wanted to do those things with him. For us. We were a team. Those plans were the team goals. There is no I in team. Those plans, that life, is impossible, not even desirable without him.

The irony and joke is that this temporary gig (and apartment, and city) is the most permanent one I've ever had.

Which of course gets all drummed up with a move. Moving forces you to look at your life, your possessions, how long you've been there, where you're moving, why...

It's not just throwing stuff in boxes and schlepping them to a new place. Even though that is the new battle cry at my place, "I don't care, just get it in a box, I'll sort it when I get to the new place!" can be heard at least twice hourly. It's making a change, maybe long overdue, maybe not, and change can be good.

I like change. But I don't like the emotional wellspring which results from change.
I stayed in my current apartment because the future was looming with HWNMNBS, we chose and international relationship, so we had to accept the wait and frustrations that come with that territory. Why move? I thought, when I'll just be moving again, with him, hopefully soon. Our plan, my plan, was to leave this apartment and move to our home. He often shared a humorous but happy little vision he had of me, sitting amid packed boxes with Furry Creature, moving to be with him. This vision made him happy, symbolized the end of our single lives and me being emancipated from a temporary apartment and job and life because of him and us. Yes, it's a sort of Knight in Shining Armor Rescue fantasy, the type which I am strongly opposed, but, it made him feel good. It made him feel happy, that he and I were moving forward, that he was making me happy, that because of him (and us) I was leaving all this temporary foolishness behind me.

I lost him, I lost our home, I lost the goals, I lost my future. I've been trying to make my own future, trying rid myself of him, but mostly, trying to rid myself of the idea that somehow, some way, it'll all work out, with or without him. Preferably with. That life, those goals, normal and real and simple as they are, are out of reach for the likes of me. I've been trying to move forward, I really have, but knowing he's such a big part of me, the future we planned was the one I wanted most, has made forward progress difficult. Knowing that when I leave this place, it won't be to be with him in our home. I'm not saying that's the main reason I haven't moved, or the reason for this move, but it's certainly been in the back of my consciousness. Hence Miss Havisham and that bit of painful symbolism.

Now that I am finally leaving this apartment and moving to my new compartment, this is all brought into sharp focus for me. This is it. The final Truth I Have to Face that there is no I in HWNMNBS. I am not leaving this apartment for our home, or to be with him. I'm sitting in that room, amid boxes with Furry Creature, but HWNMNBS not waiting for me at the other end. We're not moving forward together, we're moving much further apart. My new compartment is only 3.03 miles from my old apartment. But we're moving a lot more than 3.03 miles away from each other. This is it. The end of that blissful little vision he shared with me.

Which I know is a good thing. And you're all sitting there thinking, "Finally." But it hurts, okay? It really hurts. I've given in and given up. And that hurts. It makes me miss him. It makes me feel like a huge failure. Here I am again, moving not to a home, but a small compartment. Just another address my friends and family will have to learn. I am back to where I was before I met him, but I'm older and wiser and carrying a new set of baggage and shouldn't be here. It's huge steps backward. Change is good? Yeah. Sure. It is. Change is good. But it's also painful.

*and still they continue

**one in my alley recently, a woman pulled into her garage after work, went to pull in the trash cans and Bam! he got her.

***going to miss stepping over spent condoms on the sidewalks and in the park, you know, where children play.

**** I'll miss them the most. It just won't be the same, going home after work and not having racial remarks thrown at me by teenaged boys. I might find I miss being called a why' bitch, a why' ho, a cunt ho, a bitch ho, or any other kind of ho. The day I was told, by what appeared to be a 15 year old boy, and I'm translating the Ebonics here, that he planned to rip my white cunt open til it bled, was certainly one of the highlights of living in my cool, trendy, million dollar condo neighborhood. The pink pussy remarks are always appreciated, too. "Da why' ho, rip her pink pussy into, she be like all beggin fo more an shi." I'd really like Jesse Jackson to explain to me why it's okay and even necessary for me to have my race held up and ridiculed, for me to be persecuted and threatened, to have MY civil liberties violated just because I walk down MY street, where PAY to live by drug dealing, rude, violent, potty mouthed kids (who do not even live on my street). Can you even guess at how much jail time I'd get if I made similar racial/gender/sexual/violent remarks to one of these darling children? Not that I would, I wouldn't, that's the difference, it would never in a million years occur to me to say anything remotely racial/sexual/gender degrading/violent to anyone. Thoughts like that are simply not part of my consciousness. Well. They weren't until I moved here and had my near daily verbal assault from the fine young men hanging around the park. Oh! The things I've learned! It will also be interesting to hear people speaking English in my new neighborhood. You know, in Chicago. US. Where the official language is, I think, English. I'm not certain, because in my neighborhood I hear mainly Spanish, Ebonics and Polish. Yes. I embrace all cultures and love that we're all here from somewhere else. But. If we cannot communicate with each other, we might as well have just stayed in our mother countries. What's the point of living next door to someone from a totally different culture, with whom you could become friends and learn so much about a different culture, if they cannot or refuse to speak a language other than their native tongue? Yeah. That's been bothering me a lot lately. And, note to girls in the Walgreen's? . Just because I'm white, never, ever assume I don't understand what you're saying. I know exactly what you said about the lady in line in front of me. It was a really horrible thing for you to say in any language, and I did, in fact, speak to your manager about it. She was at least 75 years old and clearly not very well off for crying out loud, those coupons and her change are probably the only way she could afford to buy the off brand tissues and bars of soap. How dare you call her stupid and slow and wasting time and holding up the line? How DARE you? Yes, sweetheart, I understood your Spanish tirade perfectly. You know, I heard jobs are sort of difficult to get in Mexico, long days, hard work, low pay...I don't know, it just seems like you'd be a little more grateful for what you've got, and a little more respectful to your customers who essentially pay your salary. But you know. Whatever. You have to wear a smock with your name on it to work. I don't. Neither does that lady you went off on in Spanish. So you know, I guess really we should be pitying you and your stupid smock with your name on it job. Funny, though, your store manager didn't seem to feel that way. He was not very pleased to hear that you were speaking Spanish at all, let alone yelling at little old lady customers in Spanish.

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10:23 AM

Wednesday, January 12, 2005  
"Hey, maybe there is a God"
Perfect timing, reality Wednesday.
Another one down, too many to go, but still. Another one gone.

Gee, I wonder who will be the heir?

Yoo hoo, Mr. Rancher guy with a small fortune and no heirs, I know a woman who works really hard and is really nice and could use a little financial assistance. You don't even have to die, she'll take your money while you're alive! And, she won't make you go on television and look like a pathetic idiot! What's that? You're an actor? You don't actually have a small fortune and no heirs? Gosh. Too bad the show tanked, you could have used a little extra cash, huh.

5:17 PM

 
Reality Wednesday
Survivor, The Move, Part II

Continued from last week...

This week's installment sees The Mover sitting on a floor amid large boxes and miscellaneous household and personal items.

She is laughing.

But it's not funny.

She is laughing hysterically.

Cut to on screen bullet point graphic:
Hysteric.
1 : a psychoneurosis marked by emotional excitability and disturbances of the psychic, sensory, vasomotor, and visceral functions
2 : behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable fear or emotional excess

Cut back to The Mover, amid boxes.

Emotional excess! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

That's a good one! Emotional excess! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Disturbed visceral functions! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

Insert Beavis and Butthead clip:
Heh heh heh they said vasomotor heh heh heh heh

Cut back to The Mover.
Turn the camera off! I mean it! Seriously. I'm not some ditzy actress wannabe pretending to be a real person vying for a million dollar prize. I'm a real, actual person trying to move my life across town and the movers are going to show up in 144 hours. Yes. 144 hours. Do you see this stuff? Do you see all these boxes I've already packed? I have no idea where this stuff came from! I'm not an accumulator! Well. I guess I am. I didn't think I was. But the boxes and full dumpsters prove I've obviously accumulated stuff. How? When did this happen? When did I become "settled" into this apartment? Before I moved here I had my life packed in a few boxes and suitcases and stored in a corner of my parents' cellar. How did I get this stuff? What is it? I've parted with a lot of stuff, looked on in disbelief that I had some of it, made emotional decisions to rid myself of others of it. The tsunami forced poignantly timed perspective on all of this, they're just things, they don't matter. I thought I was down to the essential or "can't part with it" stuff. And yet, look at all these boxes! I try to not have emotional attachments to many things. But here's MY reality show: I do. (fit of hysterical laughter)

Abruptly stops laughing.

Hey!

Some of you youngsters have probably never seen one of these:

The Mover slides a Mac Classic from behind a box.

I loved this Mac. I still love this Mac. It's an icon of society and my life. It's what set me off on this so called career of mine. Yes. The very career on which I have lost perspective. It all started on here. (pointing to the antiquated Mac) Sure. I could pitch it. They're going for $75 on eBay, if I ever really want one again I could just troll eBay and get another one. But. It wouldn't be THIS one. It wouldn't be mine. All mine. This was the coolest thing I'd ever been given. It was a birthday present from my brother back when none of the other kids had computers. Or if they did, they had those geeky homemade cobalordosorwhatever things. My brother bought one the day they hit the market, thinking it was kind of cool and hoping to use it for work. I visited him and used it and took to it like a duck to water, a few months later this showed up for my birthday. Half my class came over to see it. For a brief (very brief) moment in my otherwise very unpopular and socially marred formative years, I was cool. The guys wanted to be with me (even if only to use me to get to my Mac) and some of the girls wanted to be me. Okay. Maybe that's an overexaggerated hope that maybe I had a brief shining moment of coolness at least once in my life. Still. The kids all thought it was really cool. Even though the fact that I could make that baby sing and dance and produce some very cool art should have put me firmly in the geek and loser group. But. I made art. Really cool art. Okay. "Cool art" considering heretofore the computer art we'd seen was those dumb pictures made from aligning keyboard characters to form "silhouettes" of cartoon characters the computer lab geeks showed off on open house night. Sure. Some of the girls called me Velma. That tart Julie, for one. Her skanky cousin Beth for another. But so what? I had my Mac and I didn't need to go to the dumb dances at school because my Mac was infinitely more fun and interesting...

Oh geeze. Sorry.

See? This is what I'm talking about...moving forces you to stare your life in the face. It's like that really intense therapy where you get confronted and bullied into facing your issues. You are forced to look at every single item you have in your life, from a Mac Classic to a tube of hydrocortisone, evaluate its worth - use, fiscal and emotional - and decide whether or not it's "worth" moving and keeping. Yes. I know. I'm lucky. I have stuff and a place to put my stuff. I am very aware and grateful for that.

But.

I'm still faced with these decisions and the emotional upheaval they cause.
And if, like me, you are moving to a smaller place, it's even worse. Because you won't have an inch of extra space. Physics takes over your life. The new place has less physical square footage than the current physical square footage. There is no choice but to eliminate things because fundamental principles of physics will not allow the same amount of stuff to be put into a smaller place. Physics, my friends. Laws of physics. They're unbending, unwavering and a real pain in the arse.

(Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha - hysterical laughing)

Jostling of camera. Voices of production people.

I don't know, I think there's something wrong with her. She just keeps laughing and pointing at stuff and sometimes she cries. Are we really going to air this?

We can edit a lot of it but we won't have enough for a show.

Screen goes black, then to a test pattern.

The producers of Survivor, The Move, apologize for the contestant's inability to do anything but sit on the floor in a fit of hysterics. You wanted reality. We gave it to you. Reality is not hot babes in a hot tub getting drunk and freaky in an effort to "win" money and a man.

The ultimate reality is: Reality is not pretty. It is sobering. It is ugly and painful.

9:35 AM

Tuesday, January 11, 2005  
Move Survivor Countdown
7 Days to M-Day
Rations Consumed: Leftover Chinese food.
Kitchen: Packed.
Living Room: Packed.
Living Room Closet: Packed.
Bedroom: 3/4 packed.
Bedroom Closet: Packed.
Dining Room: 1/2 packed.
Office: Not packed.
Pantry: Packed!
Hall Closet: 1/2 packed.
No. She did very little last night. Okay? She just didn't. Feel. Like. It.
Sub-lease: Resolved. (fingers crossed)
Cat: Stress eating again, but in better spirits.
Survivor's Mental Health: Along with moving and personal life crisis, Survivor has decided to take this chaotic time to have a professional crisis of spirit, too.
Survivor's Physical Health: Eh, she's okay, surviving on two hours of fitful sleep per night instead of her usual four hours of fitful sleep per night.

I Swear I'm Keeping Them for a Friend

Some how, some way, somewhere in all the chaos of the last six months of my life, I have managed to lose complete perspective on my "career."

I think.

Sort of.

Maybe.

Actually, I'm not sure.

Which is why I think I've lost perspective. If I knew for sure I had perspective on my career, than I wouldn't have cause to ponder if I've lost it.

A stands for my career. B stands for uncertainty. C stands for lost perspective. A = B, B = C, A = C.

At least that's the formula and logic I'm using. But then, maths were never my strong suit.

So this could just be a mid-career crisis.

Or the perspective which has forced itself upon my personal life forcing its way into my professional life.

Or I am utterly void of perspective on my life, personal or professional.

Or I am in an apathetic phase.

Whatever the case or cause, I have enough perspective and integrity to realize professional things are not right in Trillville.

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me outside of work, or anyone who reads this blog. I have long been extremely dissatisfied with my coworkers. I don't exactly "fit in" with the gang at the office. The swutting church lady has made a personal counseling visit, for crying out loud.

But.

For the most part, though not jumping up and down with unbridled enthusiasm, I like what I actually do for a living. Occasionally a project stirs up creative juices. Every now and then I get excited about a project. I can tolerate my clients - I even like some of them. Sadly, I thrive under pressure, deadlines aren't stressful for me. (I'm not bragging, I'm not proud of this facet of my personality. Just stating a fact.)

The fundamental requirements of my job are okay. Not exactly challenging for me, but that's because I know what I'm doing. I have experience, education and talent to carry out the requirements of my job. The fundamental requirements of a job shouldn't be the challenging part of a career, right?

In my career, the challenges should come from meeting the unique and special needs of clients. Delivering a quality, creative and most of all, effective solution to a client's needs, on time and under budget (or on a miniscule budget).

And I have those challenges. I stand up to greet those challenges. I welcome them into my office on a daily basis. I say, "Hello, challenges! Come in, have a seat! How've you been? Care for anything to drink? Let's talk. What do I need to do resolve you?" I embrace them. "Oh boy! Challenges! I love a good puzzle! I love to make those synapses fire!" Sometimes, if necessary, I even smack 'em around a bit to show 'em who's boss. "Okay challenges, this is going to hurt me more than it's going to hurt you. You might feel a slight tingling sensation. Just relax, it will be over soon enough. I'll be as gentle as I can." See? It's not the challenges of my actual job. The challenges of my actual job have been what's kept me going the past few years. It certainly hasn't been the financial, social or "job well done" rewards which keep me coming to work every day.

Gosh, Trill, it sounds like you've got a decent perspective on things to me...
Yeah. I guess.

But.

Along with the typical malaise which sets in after you realize your exciting career is really just a job, like any other job, there's something else lacking. I went through the malaise, wrestled with it, made changes, and still ended up with the malaise. You know that malaise, that bronze age of disillusionment most of us enter a year or two out of university. The age when we accept and maybe even understand the unused potential, the lower than expected rate of pay, the lack of any form of acknowledgement of a job well done by coworkers and higher ups, the buffoons to whom we report, the lack of deep (or any) emotional fulfillment and satisfaction from our careers is just normal professional and personal development.

Very few people have REALLY EXCITING CAREERS WHICH OFFER THEM FUN! CHALLENGE! CREATIVITY! DEEP PERSONAL REWARDS! every day. If you stick around at a job or career long enough, sooner or later, no matter what, it's just a job. Physicists don't unlock mysteries of the Universe every day. Or every year. Or every decade. In between discovering uncharted regions of the Universe or theories, there are a lot of boring days, long days, and unfulfilled days when that seemingly undiscovered quark is just a spec of dust on the lens. Teachers don't unleash the power of educational enlightenment every day. There are a lot of days the kids in their classes are unreachable and apathetic to learning. Musicians don't find an undiscovered and harmonic chord pattern every day, or play a sold out gig (or intimate venue) every day. There's a lot of down time and on the road time and press junkets and dumb record biz execs raping them of their talent and money in between.

It's just life. It's just a job. And it beats toiling at some other job we deem worse than our current job.

Ahh. The beauty of maturity and acceptance.

And so it was that I came to my current job. Expecting very little, hoping for some creative challenges, offering my skill and talents in return for a wage I could live on and health insurance. I quickly discovered there weren't a lot of people I genuinely liked here, that were it not for the fact that we work in the same office, our paths would never cross. But that's just more of the aforementioned acceptance of the malaise. I have never looked to my job or even career to offer me friendships and a social life. Don't want that, in fact. I have always wanted to keep my personal and professional life two very distinct and separate parts of my existence. True enough, over the years, I have stumbled into a few very, very good friendships via work. No one has been more surprised by this than me. But the people with whom I share at least 8 hours of at least five days a week in my current job are people whom I do not like or respect. There are some exceptions. They're not all lazy, selfish, rude, unaware idiots and swut-ups.

But.

A lot of them are.

I'm here on the island of misfit toys.

I set myself up for this, I guess, by virtue of my nature. I'm not really much for making small talk. I hate gossip and refuse to listen to it. I don't car pool. I don't smoke and so don't hang out with the smokers down on the loading dock. (If anything smacks the reality that work is just school you get paid to attend, cliques and all, this does: Sneaking out for smokes in a dingy area out of sight.) I don't care to "do" lunch with the gals I already spend my entire days with and don't really like. In fact, I don't care to "do" lunch at all. After a long day working hard on a project or dealing with a crisis, I do not like to unwind with alcohol with my coworkers down at the local for an unhappy hour or two. They're often the reason I want to unwind with alcohol after work in the first place. (What a good place to be, Don’t believe it, ’cause they speak a different language, And it’s never really happened to me...) I don't have a candy dish on my desk full of treats enticing passers by to stop and chat. I don't have plants which need watering when I'm out of the office for a few days. I don't send around email "jokes" to the gang in the department. I don't dash into work and tell everyone every detail of the past 12 hours of my life and how awful the commute was.

You know.

I'm not like other girls.

Or other people.

I'm sarcastic. And cynical. And do not suffer overpaid fools lightly. And I keep all but my professional self to myself. I do my job and get the swut out of here.

I have made efforts to socialize, not to fit-in, but to get along. I have not actively cultivated a persona of aloofness or indifference or snobbery or apathy. I have let a lot of apt but cutting remarks go unspoken (a lot, hence this blog - these words come from somewhere, mainly my discontent and decorum-leashed mouth). I have even gone to a few unhappy hour get togethers and put on my party manners for the event. (It's happy hour again, I think I might be happy if I wasn’t out with them...) I sang swutting karaoke with our division director in front of my coworkers for crying out loud. What more do I have to do? I have chosen my battles, fighting only for the greater good of the project or client and relenting for the greater good of office morale. I have been patient and kind and offered help and advice to the people who have proven themselves to be completely stupid and unable to grasp even very simple concepts. Even when those concepts are fundamental to their job descriptions. Meaning they are unqualified to perform their job duties. Meaning I have done their jobs for them. (Some people, no matter how many times you teach them to fish, will starve to death and take the village down with them because they can't remember to bring the fishing pole or nets. See? I am understanding. Like the Jesus simile? Perhaps overstating the case a bit, but honestly, sometimes I feel like Jesus - the patience, the enlightenment, the really strict Father, the persecution...)

But I don't really belong here.

But then.

I have yet to find a place where I really do belong. At least in terms of personality and socialization.

I know "the problem" is me, not them. I understand and accept that, too.

Let me state loudly for the record: I don't feel that I am lowering myself to be with them, or that I am in any way better than them.

Okay. Maybe a few of them.

But the whole socialization/fitting-in thing isn't the issue anyway. I think. Maybe. Well. I'm not sure. Maybe it is at least part of it.

The basic fact that's bothering me now is that I think I've lost perspective on my job, what I actually do. And if I think I've lost perspective, wonder if I've lost perspective, than it must be true. Because I've been wracking my mind for a reason why I do my job, a reason why I would willingly do most of what I do 10 hours 5 - 6 days a week for a salary that is not exactly life enhancing.

What's the point?

What's the use?

Who cares? I mean who really cares?

My clients? To a small degree. But like fickle lovers, they'll find someone to replace me a day after I'm gone.

So will my employer.

C'est la vie, Trill. You said you understood and accepted the malaise of work. So why this bout of professional existentialism?
That's the point. I'm not sure. I've hit a point where I can't get enough perspective to accept it. I've tried to change it, tried really hard, spanned the globe in an effort to find another job. And yet here I am. Until I find another job, I've got to deal with the one I have. It's no longer just a case of bracing myself every morning to deal with the people in the office. It's now a case of bracing myself to make myself do my job.

Um, Trill? You know what? That sort of sounds like depression.
Yeah, I know. And that's probably a huge part of it. I've always maintained personal awareness is the cause of depression. But that's another point: If my self awareness and introspection into my career are causing existential depression, then there's a bigger problem than my personal issues. It will effect my job. It will result in lackluster results on projects. Or at least result sub par to my usual results.

Really, Trill, it sounds like all you need is a new job, maybe a new profession. You sound like you might be burned out. Keep trying, something's bound to turn up sooner or later.
Yeah. You're right. I haven't been hitting the job boards as hard as I could for the past few months what with my mum's illness and being assaulted and mugged and moving and everything. I guess I should make myself make time for a full-on job hunt. And you're right, I need to think about other ways to earn a living. Maybe I am burned out on my career. I should try to explore other avenues, whether or not I'm qualified for them.

I mean, that's never stopped anyone, right? Look at my (needs a new nickname) boss! She's completely inept and unqualified to do her job and yet she makes a very handsome salary and puts in minimal hours and doesn't actually do anything! And she's not very bright. If she found a way to get that kind of gig, surely I can find a way to find a job for which I am completely unqualified but handsomely compensated. Right? Being an inept idiot could be fun, right? Okay, yes. I'll do it. I will explore jobs, careers, for which I am not qualified.

So off I go, all hopped up high on excitement about the world of job opportunites just waiting to be hatched.

Job hunting online is like date hunting online. You go to the job sites, get a user name and password, post your resume/CV, and start sending letters of introduction to every ad you see which might vaguely be right for you. Seriously. It's exactly like dating.

Here are a few of the enticing offers I have found thus far. Remember, just like 50 First Dates, I am going to push myself to look at the job market with fresh eyes, consider every possibility, and be open minded about those who seek me out of the crowd of applicants.

Day 1 of the First Day Hunting for the Rest of My Professional Life.
It's amazing how many jobs there are when you don't enter any criteria except city and state.

Driver.
I am a good driver. I like to drive. This could be a good job for me right now. It would give me time to think, time to myself to sort out what I really want to do. And who knows? Maybe I'll discover what I really want to do is be a professional driver. Okay, so, no, I don't actually know what a 42' Freightliner Columbia Mobile Technology Center is, but it sounds cool. I love technology. Okay, so I don't know what a CDL A or B with airbrake endorsement is or how to get one. Okay, so faking those requirements is probably a lot more difficult than faking a knowledge and a degree in marketing. Okay, so my boss, in her infinite stupidity, stumbled upon the one career where you can know absolutely nothing about it, fake your qualifications, and no one except one savvy underling will ever know. Damn that pesky license for bribe scandal. Five years too late for this career path. Where's George Ryan when you need him?

Leasing "Consultant"
Hmmmmm. If there's one thing I know, it's apartments. I can consult on apartments better than anyone I know. I just unloaded my dump, erm, subleased my spacious, sunny, charming vintage unit with high ceilings to a reasonably intlelligent person. I've got this one in the bag.
The catch is that I have to have my own car and be willing to travel throughout the South suburbs.
Next!
No really. There's only so much I'm willing to concede. I am not getting a car for the sole purpose of driving around the South suburbs of Chicago showing apartments. I know, like finding a man, I can't be choosey, because you just never know what might end up being really interesting or The One.

But.

No.

Distilled Spirits Event and Promotion Coordinator. I know a thing or two about distilled spirits. I know several things about event and promotion coordinating. This is actually a really good job for me. But. I'm supposed to be trying to find something outside of my usual career realm. Unfortunately this falls too close the design/advertising/marketing/promotions career on which I have lost perspective. Shame. Getting paid to drink on the job is always a positive perk.

Ahh, now. Here we're talking. Middle management, vague job responsibilities, large corporation, huge headquarter office (easy to hide, easy to blend in, easy to find someone else to do your job), and best of all: Has Government Compliance written all over it. Even if you do nothing, and everyone knows you do nothing, your job is required by the government so no one questions why you do nothing all day. Perfect. I hit pay dirt on my first time out. This truly is job hunt Nirvana:

Foreign National Recruiting Coordinator
(Off to a good start right there with the job title. Nice long title which took an HR person three weeks to devise from the Big Book of Job Titles Which Mean Absolutely Nothing and Have No Relevance to the Actual Job)
Responsibilities
Under guidance of an attorney (this is great, always look for phrases like "under the guidance of..." - no actual authority, you just have to do what someone else tells you to do, you don't actually have any real responsibilities) , candidate will support immigration matters; Assure proper completion of immigration forms, correspondence and applications for filing with appropriate government agencies (Until last Fall, I had two file drawers full of INS, Homeland Security and various other countries' immigration forms and documents and copies of emails to various immigration departments. Oh yes, I know lots about immigration forms, but don't worry if you don't, no one really expects anyone to be familiar with government forms or agencies); Assure integrity and accuracy of database information (Can you use spell check? Great. You're in.); Act as primary liaison between applicants, management and attorneys (blab on the phone); Respond to inquiries from management and applicants (write form letters dashing immigrants' hopes and dreams, yeah, I can do that, I have plenty of personal reference material); Prepare and distribute required reports (make copies and send inter office mail).

Qualifications
BA/BS Degree required (perhaps even more vague and nebulous than an MBA, the BA/BS degree is the most vague and easy to talk your way through at an interview); 1 plus years work experience (not my typo, looks like the "integrity and accuracy" aspect of the position is relative); Knowledge of immigration procedures is desirable (USCIS, DOL, work authorization, etc.) (oh yeah, come to mama and pull up a chair, I speak this language like a native. But don't worry if you don't, it's only "desirable" not required. Desirable means they don't really know what the swut those things are and they're hoping to hire someone who does so they don't have to deal with them. Meaning: You can either fake it and do a little online educating of yourself, or, don't bother because no one will ever know the difference); Demonstrates a sensitivity to cross-cultural communications (yeah, whatever); Demonstrates excellent verbal, written and interpersonal skills (shut up); Must possess strong organizational skills ("I set up an alphanumeric color cross reference file system, Mr. Lawyer, each country is a different color..."); Ability to prioritize and balance workload to meet deadlines (deadline schmedline, this is the INS we're talking about here, give 'em a form and they'll get back to you in 14 months); Ability to work independently with a high level of accuracy (translate: This is a government compliance job, no one in the department actually does much and isn't around very often so you're going to have to entertain yourself. Candidates with lots of friends and family they like to call during office hours are encouraged to apply); Maintains confidentiality as required ("as required" is another great nebulous vague term to look for in your job search. It can be the best of times or worst of times, be sure to get clarification of this during the interview. In this case it means: Keep your mouth shut when the civil liberties guys are around and squawk like a stoolie when the homeland security guys are around); Demonstrates sound business and professional ethics (Have you ever been convicted of an embezzlement of more than $50,000 from your employer? No? Able to shred classified and legally binding documents on demand from your higher ups? Yes? You're in.); Must possess strong computer skills including Microsoft Office and the Internet (gollleee, I know how to work a computer and I can even go on the Internet, I guess I must have "strong" computer skills); Experience with Access and PowerPoint highly desirable (oooh, Access and Power Point? highly desirable. Wow. lesseee, aren't most 12 year olds "experienced" with Access and PowerPoint?); Paralegal certificate preferred but not required (preferred but not required: Watch for this phrase, this is a good one. It means someone somewhere thinks the job should have some sort of certificate or diploma requirement, but no one who actually works with the person being hired thinks it's necessary. So to appease the VP of Who Knows What, the direct manager and HR person looked through their Big Book of Certifications and Diplomas and decided Paralegal sounded like a possible appropriate qualification and they put it as the closing requirement of the job. It means: Don't worry. We don't really want a paralegal. Someone, somewhere in this vast corporate headquarters, would "prefer" the applicant to have some sort of piece of paper saying they completed some course, somewhere. That MFA you have will be impressive looking and qualification enough).

Right. Perfect. My new career for the day is: Foreign National Recruiting Coordinator.

8:41 AM

Monday, January 10, 2005  
Which makes them more intelligent than most of the people in my office.

1:58 PM

 
Move Survivor Countdown
8 Days to M-Day
Rations Consumed: NEW RATIONS WERE ADDED! RELIEF EFFORTS WERE MADE! See below.
Kitchen: Packed.
Living Room: Packed.
Living Room Closet: Packed.
Bedroom: 3/4 packed.
Bedroom Closet: Packed.
Dining Room: 1/2 packed.
Office: Not packed.
Pantry: Packed!
Hall Closet: 1/2 packed.
Sub-lease: New eager, perhaps even desperate, sub-lessor found, money in hand and toting very nice, cute, witty, did I mention nice and witty? brother whose personality, mannerisms and eyes put me in a Judge Reinhold frame of mind that's an okay frame of mind for me. Yes, really. What? You thought my only okay frame of mind is Bryan Ferry or John Depp? Really? No, I love men. All sorts of men. Wanted to say: You can have the apartment if I can have your brother. Actually said: Here's my landlord's number, since you want the apartment for longer than the sub-lease you'll need to go through him, he'll cut you a 15 month lease. While factual and perhaps even helpful and ethical, it's not going to get me any closer to her brother. Note to self: Watch and learn from Mae West movies.
Cat: Came out of closet. Sniffed some boxes. Half heartedly poked at a toy. Went back into closet.
Survivor's Mental Health: Are you, uh, going to use that box? Did I tell you about this guy I met? No really, are you going to use that box?
Survivor's Physical Health: Itching. There were very good reasons why there was a half jar of peanut butter in the apartment. Allergies.


RE-ENFORCEMENTS HAVE ARRIVED! RELIEF AID GIVEN! Friend showed up ready to pack and schlep endless bags of crap to dumpsters and bearing food and potable liquid! Good Friend! Love Friend! Friend rocks! Okay, so the choice of food and liquid may be questionable, but it's life sustaining and numb haze inducing and that's all we really need for the next week!
1 bottle Effen Vodka
1 bottle (2 liter) Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 bottle (2 liter) Cranberry Juice
2 bottles (1 liter) Schweppes Club Soda
1 package Festively Patterned Plastic Cups (Sponge Bob Rocks My World. Yes. Really.)
1 bottle Bordeaux
1 container Chinese Takeaway Containing: Veg. Pot Stickers
1 container Chinese Takeaway Containing: Szechuan Green Beans
1 container Chinese Takeaway Containing: Stir Fry Vegetables
1 container Chinese Takeaway Containing: Family Bean Curd, extra Spicy
There was a Buy One, Get One (BOGO! All the rage!) sale at the local grocery so friend bought one (or two) and gave brought one!
2 cans Campbell's Tomato Soup procured BOGO at the Local Grocery
2 cartons Yoplait Key Lime Yogurt procured BOGO at the Local Grocery
1 box Post Shredded Mini Wheat Cereal procured BOGO at the Local Grocery
1 box Ultra Sturdy Glad Garbage Bags procured BOGO at the Local Grocery

Discovered/Found:

  • 2-50 ml. bottles Loch Ness Whiskey. (Yes, it's crap whiskey, but it's potable.)
  • 1 bottle Sesame Oil
  • 1 bottle Vermouth
  • 1 unopened 28 oz. bottle laundry detergent (Neatly stored on the back shelf of the pantry in a fit of organization a few, well, years ago.)
  • 1 Stain Stik (Also neatly stored on the back shelf of the pantry in said fit of organization)
  • 1 Beetlejuice Lunchbox
  • 1 Nice, Cute, Tall, Witty Seemingly Single, Seemingly Heterosexual Man.

8:21 AM

Sunday, January 09, 2005  
Move Survivor Countdown
9 Days to M-Day
Rations Consumed: 4 cups-ish Sante Fe Corn Chowder, entire packet remaining Coastal cheese, 4 tablespoons of peanut butter, 2 bottles red wine. (This is what happens when you start drinking "early" on Saturday evening. First one glass, then another, and another, and when I woke up this morning the two bottles of wine were empty and all but the wrapper of the cheese remained. There are possibilities that do not include a drunken feeding frenzy of wine and cheese, like maybe there were more mice who were able to get into the fridge and neatly open the package of cheese...)
Kitchen: Packed.
Living Room: Packed.
Living Room Closet: Packed.
Bedroom: 3/4 packed.
Bedroom Closet: Packed.
Dining Room: 1/2 packed.
Office: Not packed.
Pantry: Not packed.
Hall Closet: 1/2 packed.
Sub-lease: Sub-lessor backed out of verbal agreement. Survivor panicked (see above liquid consumption) but resourceful. Placed sign in lobby door, had two inquiries in 4 hours.
Cat: Stress eating. Consuming his rations at an alarming rate. Survivor concerned about his well being and concerned about his what is seeming to be less than ample supply of food rations.
Survivor's Mental Health: Mental Health? Mental health? Are you swutting joking?


11:51 AM

 
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