Monday, September 25, 2006

We Don't Need No Steeking Topics

Work is not driving me crazy, work is not driving me crazy, work is not driving me crazy…

Okay, maybe just a little, but mostly because I’m just going with the flow of everyone else around here losing their minds.

It doesn’t help that I’m still not used to my new space. I miss the little things, like a private, clean bathroom less than 20 feet from my desk. In the spirit of adventure, I’ve been wandering near and far to try out other bathrooms in the building, ranking them by closeness (for times of necessity), privacy and comfort. This being a “major arts organization” incorporating a stage, the large building is maze-like, so while I’ve discovered that the closest administrative staff bathroom on my floor is acceptable, if dark, I was intrigued to find the second closest loo on the floor contains two lockers, a bench and a shower, which makes one wonder. I think that perhaps the set-paining studio might be near, thus rendering a post-work shower desirable, but I’m not sure. I had heard tales that one could easily live full-time in this building, but who knew? But seriously, besides atheletes and top-secret government project workers, who wants to shower at work?

I can tell you, however, that the star artists’ dressing room bathrooms? Not very fancy – even if it does give one an elicit shiver to pose on the piano-side, threadbare, upholstered chaise-longue, après-ablutions. The public restrooms, however, when it’s not a busy night, are nice, if large, but the last time I ventured to stage level to try one I’d forgot we were having an open house and was confronted with a snaking horde of the great unwashed glaring at me suspiciously as I exited the elevator. Oh, alright, they may not have cared a whit whether I was there or not, but being a shy, paranoid type I couldn’t help but chirp a frightened “eep!” and retreat to the nearest stairway – through the house management office, where the staff told me I was about the fifth person to have done so just that morning. Groundhogs, back to your cubicles!

In other news, Mrs. Nator is giving a big presentation to the board of her honourable NGO this evening, wherein she will be one of several people representing the staff in their wishes to remain in the townhouse their little, but important, organization has made history in for over 150 years. The board has a committee that is trying to convince them to sell the building and buy another or rent, but a retarded rhesus monkey (more on that later) hearing the sales figure offered – by an eeeevil developer, no less – for a large, historic townhouse in a desirable area in Manhattan should be able to figure out that it’s not fiscally sound to do this, even if it weren’t extremely demoralizing for the small and dedicated staff.

Looking at the particulars of the case over the last week or so, as Mrs. Nator and others have been eroding their stomach linings away over it, I just can’t see how the board could vote to sell given the information she’ll be presenting them with. However, I’ve never claimed, nor do I now, to understand rich people. It seems to me that it’s all the rage these days to sell every asset as quickly as possibly to make a fast buck while you can, with no serious thought to ten or twenty years in the future. This may be a smart way to handle real estate or stock if you’re a flip specialist, but it’s no way to run a venerable, unique non-profit organization. If things go the wrong way, I may be snapping on my brass bustier and hauling out my battleaxe, because homey don’t play that – especially when it comes to the feelings of Mrs. Nator.

With all that worrying going around, one has to distract oneself, and I think I found a new, engaging show that will both touch me and... well, make me worry about other things. It's a program on Animal Planet called The Little Zoo That Could, and it's about the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, a small facility that has been struggling to rebuild and go on after being hit by three major hurricanes. If that wasn't heartwrenching enough, the first episode centered around a little monkey named Trey, who had suffered brain damage after a fall. (See? I told you I'd get back to retarded rhesus monkeys. Although, in this case, it's a brain-damaged capuchin - but close enough.)

The strength and love for animals the people at the zoo exhibit is totally engaging, and even when it's upsetting, it's worth watching. Not only that, but it should prove personally important for me, as I can get a closer look at what zoo workers do before I make my decision on going back to school for an animal-related career. Naturally, things gave me more cause to worry - could I take the stress and the hard physical labour involved in such work? At the same time, however, I just love seeing the animals and how people can really make a career of devoting themselves to helping them. I'm setting my TiVo on Season Pass for this one. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Finally, within both the realm of entertainment and brain damage: To answer the question you’ve all been on tenterhooks about, Jackass Number Two was gross, shocking, and hellaciously, howl-out-loud funny. If you can’t stand the sight of bodily excretions or are prone to sympathy pains, buyer beware, but otherwise – holy crap. In fact, I may have to see it several times, since my synapses were so shorted out by some of the stunts involved that my memory couldn’t hold them. All I can recall are horrible, squirm-inducing glimpses, forcing me to shriek “NO!” and cackle simultaneously. On the upside, afterwards one can spend countless hours pondering just what psychologically motivates the stunts' participants: money? Curiosity? Bravery or stupidity? Finding the Eulenspiegel Society not radical enough? The world may never know.


Ken said...

As for your crazy job...What is it you do at l'Opera? Are you a tenor or a bass? I once worked for a large arts organization and -- like sausages and laws -- seeing art get made from up close was not a good thing. I concluded that arts is a four letter word.

As for the office per se, lucky for me it was in Southern California and it was a corner office with 25 feet of windows and eight bosses. The bosses were all artists, crazy and some fairly famous (in their rather narrow fields) -- so they MUST know a lot about how to manage projects and people.

Follow my example and retire early.

To stay sane on the job here's an opera-related trick. Just chant the aria from Einstein on the Beach that goes, "I was in this prematurely air-conditioned supermarket and there were all these aisles and there were these bathing caps that you could buy that had these fourth-of July plumes on them and they were red, and yellow, and blue and I wasn't tempted to buy one but I was reminded of the fact that I had been avoiding the beach."

It is also useful to murmer this softly on the street; no crazy person on earth will approach you for a handout.

Da Nator said...

Hi, Ken.

Yes, I am a bass. I had the first ever reverse-castrato operation on a female to become one. Now, not only can I sing Mefistofele, but, much like Buck Angel, I have a mangina.


Actually, I work mainly on the website and, as of this week, scheduling our new plasma screen programs. Mostly I whinge at other people until they give me the info I need or do the things I need them to do. Hey, it's a skill.

I'd love to retire early... like, right NOW, if I could only afford it. Alas, I've got starving children (of the feline and chelonian type) to feed.

I wonder, however, if chanting that aria constantly would at least get me laid off with a severance package? Probably not, as we've enough odd ducks in our particular little pond, anyway. I've not seen Einstein, but I'm curious. Maybe I'll see if anyone around here as a VHS or DVD I can borrow.

Thanks for commenting - I needed a little attention today! ;o)