Sitting here about to get ready for work, unsure of whether I actually still have a job. Had a blow-up on Sunday night with a customer. There are a lot of things I can say in defense or in mitigation or as an excuse of my behavior--I was at the end of a long shift, at the end of a long week that included both mandatory overtime and a mandatory schedule change, my ears were ringing after 9 hours on the headset, the customer was much ruder to me than I was to her, and I still ended up solving her problem--but the reality, for all its nuance, still boils down to two things: no employee of any company can hope to speak that way to a customer and keep his job, and I was never meant for that sort of job in the first place.
I've been applying for other jobs for weeks now, and have been on the verge of quitting a few times. Insane in this economy, I know, but that's how miserable I am in this job. How miserable? I have played hooky, purposely missed work, multiple times. I have never skipped work on a job. Not at the TV station when my marriage was falling apart, not at TV Guide in those miserable final days when I felt under siege from all directions, not in the freaking U.S. Army. The last time I ditched work was in 1987, when I missed one day because of a hangover, and even then, I was legitimately unable to function at work. It was just my reason for being unable to work that was not legitimate.
So I'm planning to go back to work today, but I may not be there for long. Meanwhile, I've started wearing one of my wedding rings again.
Yes, I said "one of my wedding rings." I've never really liked wearing rings, so when I got married in 1990, I chose the flattest, smallest band I could fit on my finger, hoping that my other fingers wouldn't find the interloper too intrusive. This worked pretty well until I entered the Army. In training, I learned that rings were a no-go in a tactical environment--too shiny, and they pose a physical hazard when working with machinery or camouflage netting. A super-titanium-alloy ring may save your life when you need to stop a closing bulkhead door in the Deepcore oil drilling rig, but a regular gold ring is just an easy way to lose a finger on most other physical jobs.
So when I went over to Korea, the ring came off, and because it was a pain to put on and take off again, it stayed off (and yes, being a geographical bachelor may have played into that somewhat). After I got back from Korea, I discovered that my knuckles had thickened, apparently from all the physical labor, so that it was now really hard to put my ring on and almost impossible to get back off, so my wife bought me a new ring at a medieval fair, of all places.
See, the other reason that I had gone with the flat ring was that she had this idea that she might get a dragon image or something engraved on it, but it turned out that was much easier said than done. So when we were at the fair and found a silver ring with a dragon on it, we bought it for $20 and that became my new wedding ring. Bonus: it fit less tightly than my old ring, so I could still take it off when I needed to for work reasons.
Both rings have come and gone in the years since. My daughter went through a phase of hiding things, and the dragon ring disappeared. So after about a year, my wife took the old gold band off her thumb and I started wearing it again (I was long finished with the Army by that time). Both rings have since been lost and shown back up and been lost again. I just recently uncovered the dragon ring, so started wearing it again last week. The wife commented on it the other night, and mentioned (referencing the old Seinfeld episode) that it's supposedly a chick magnet.
To which I replied that I have neither the time nor the energy nor the money nor the self-confidence to think about having any women in my life right now, not even the one I'm still married to. I do still have the urge though, at least subconsciously. I've dreamed about meeting someone several times in the past week or two. But in the light of day, it's not going to happen.
Time to get dressed for my firing squad.