Friday, February 5, 2010

my teeth, my career

I'm still in the middle of all kinds of dental stuff. In addition to whatever I've already described, the walls of a weak, on-borrowed-time tooth in the upper right came loose and started to hurt. Last time, the doctor removed the walls and the filling, all the loose stuff above the gum. Today, he had to go in for three roots. Barry has been a major champ, coming with me to these dental appointments and sitting there with me when I'm in the chair, sometimes stroking my hair a little if I seem tense or in pain. The only thing that really hurt when I was there was the injection of the novicane into the upper palate, and I expected that to be pretty painful. I didn't make a peep; I usually do some whining or loud gasping. The rest was even kind of interesting; I could definitely feel him pulling out one of the roots, but with no pain. And he put in sutures.

Then, of course, at home, the novicane wore off and I bit on gauze for three hours and dry-swallowed some Tylenol with codeine. I also used an old-fashioned pain remedy that is not now legal in this state but is in 13 others. Barry bought me some bananas and some vegetables that can be cooked to squishiness.

I lose track of the days. I have less and less energy and recently went through a bout of sleeping badly and having a lot of nightmares that seemed interconnected: I was on a job where I had already been fired or was about to be, I had a mean boss much like my last one, I was horribly late on some big project for which I still felt responsible, or somehow she had given me an impossible load as a cruel joke. I was a pariah.

The truth is, even though I had some historically lousy bosses, I generally enjoyed my co-workers. I made some friendships that lasted beyond work. And from 1983 until around 2006, I usually worked for high-level people so I got to meet interesting people and do interesting things, or at least meet a lot of high-level people at the company. I worked at the Metropolitan Opera House for about seven months, which was fairly amazing. It's all there in that one building, with the exception of some off-site storage: orchestra rehearsals, ballet rehearsals, set design, the whole thing. Placido Domingo gave me the eye, which apparently doesn't land me in anything like an exclusive club, but still. Bad boss situation. Oddly enough, I got a job there for a friend of mine from my NYU job and she got a wonderful boss and stayed there for years.

I like to think I'm a kind person and on a couple of occasions have passed on or set up jobs, and passed along my ultra-cheap Manhattan apartment to an old co-worker when I moved in with Barry.

On one job, Bill Small, the former head of NBC News, introduced me to Charles Kurault, saying, "She keeps everything working around here." At the NYU History Department, we had McGeorge Bundy. At NYU Law School, I had close encounters with both John-John and Jackie, and once saw Mario Cuomo in the student lounge; you could see his charisma from a mile away.

There have been cool little things at a lot of these jobs. I wonder if I'm wishing that I could do them again. More likely, I'm trying to figure out how to write these things. Or where. I'm still proceeding as if the summer and school stuff is going to be the first book so that's not going in here, but a lot of the work stuff would probably have to be a novel or something and maybe somehow fictionalized.

I can't write plot, people. I cannot invent stories. Every story you ever hear me tell is one about me, or one that someone told me. I am interpreting existing material in a subjective manner. This is probably why I have never managed to get started as a writer. Can you tell that I've kept journals, diaries, and now a blog since age 8? Can you imagine what kind of letter-writer I was back in the pre-e-mail days?

Which just gave me a really good idea for a short story.