b Papa Dog's Blog: Ratbastids at Work

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Ratbastids at Work

There’s a story – which can comfortably assumed to be apocryphal – that when the British left Sicily after WWII, the commander addressed the troops assembled at dockside, saying: “It is time now, once again, for us to leave our loved ones behind and go back to our wives and children.” I thought about that yesterday as I was headed back to work for the first time after three months, and mainly what I thought was: “No wonder I’m not in the military.” I mean, I appreciate as always the inversion of expectation in the phrasing, but the sentiment expressed – that ain’t me. Man oh Manfred Mann, that ain’t me.* If I could, I’d be home with wife and daughter today, tomorrow, for the rest of my natural born days. Of course, then I wouldn’t be getting paid to write this faversham, as I am now, but what cold comfort that is. What a bitter trade-off. Whatever corners I'm able to cut here, in order to do my part in sustaining the lives of my family I have to miss sharing in those lives for eleven hours a day, four days a week (not five - they’ll have to pry my Wednesday off out of my cold dead hands).

I thought I hated going to work before. I’ve always resented like a dose of clap the necessity of getting up every morning at a time not of my own choosing to go to a place not of my own choosing and do things not of my own choosing in the company of people I’d never otherwise have any reason or inclination to meet. (Uh…those of you at work who have this url, or course I don’t mean you…just them others. Ratbastids. I mean, would any of you actually CHOOSE to spend time talking to that Kenny Rogers-looking guy?) I always thought people who claimed to derive fulfilment from their work - or even any kind of diversion or pleasure or social life or anything other than a paycheque - were a bit on the loony side. But now…jeezus louiseus, I’ve got every reason in the world to stay home, every last instinct I’ve got telling me that home, like Green Acres, is the place for me, and instead of staying there and watching my little girl learn to lift her head up all by herself – she’s about to get good at it, too! – I’m getting up before light, squeezing into a miserable overheated BART sardine car, and whiling away eight hours typing, as Charles so trenchantly put it, about dirt.

Well, that’s the way it is, and this is the new paradigm until further notice. I’d go back to the methods I used in bygone days to compensate for having to waste my life in wage slavery (page in that link is laid out stupidly, but all the alternatives come with an onslaught of obnoxious popups - scroll past the links after the title), but there aren’t enough swipable office supplies in the world to make up for the fact that story time is probably going to be only a thrice weekly event for the foreseeable future, for the fact that Mama Dog has to run herself ragged trying to get done everything we’d done together ‘til now, for the fact that at 4:31 every Friday afternoon I can’t at least mean to wish Baby Dog another week’s worth of happy birthday (I always seemed to remember up until 4:15 and then not see a clock again until 4:45). All there is for it is to do what’s always been done. To work. To earn. To go home and hope to hell I have sense to appreciate every leftover moment I still get to call my own.

In less weighty matters: ol’ paul S, inspired by my newspaper updates, has been updating me via email regarding his progress through my own archives. As of last night, he was up to August 20, which means in his world we’re still in Santa Barbara. Go paul. I’ve let the newspaper updates lapse myself, mostly because I fell so mercilessly behind when we took that trip down south. I’ve had a bit of a chance to catch up some, though, and am happy to report that I’m about to start in on the paper from Sunday, August 8. More than a month behind. Can I catch up with paul at least? Stay tuned and find out.

Also, since the BART commute means I have reading time, I think I’ll be making a little more progress with Nana than I have been. I’m almost finished Chapter 4 and enjoying it, though I find some of the translation’s slangy word choices kind of suspect.

Also also – it seems that the Blogger toolbar w/ the links tool and various formatting options is for some reason unavailable to me on my work computer. I’m either going to start posting incomplete versions from work or wait ‘til I get home to finalise them. Haven’t quite decided how best to work this yet.
* I'm implying here that the commander was assuming an esprit de corps that borders on the creepy. In fact, if he said this at all (and if he existed at all), the "loved ones" he was referring to weren't the assembled comrades at arms but the other families and lovers they'd acquired while occupying Sicily. Not wanting the facts to get in the way of a good rhetorical device, I fudged the meaning. Feeling guilty that I was misrepresenting the meaning of an apocryphal quote, I compromised with this footnote. I hope we're all satisfied now.


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