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I don't mean to toot my own horn too much, but I am good at what I do. I've worked in a couple of really good technology stacks in Silicon Valley as well as having paid experience and a good track record in two current, hot-button, on demand tech stacks. I've done technical reviews of technical books. I know my stuff.

I went for an interview a couple of years ago with a very large well known company, and it went well. Surprisingly for both myself and the recruiter in question, they passed on my application. I'm not bothered, it happens. Most people don't realize that a job interview is a two way street. I have rejected companies in interviews, and/or thoroughly realized if they weren't interested that they were looking for XYZ and I'm XYA or whatever. Or either I wanted too much money, or they needed experience in something I didn't have. That is totally okay.

But they didn't tell the recruiter why. And I wasn't the only A-game candidate they passed on. To make things blunt and forward, recruiters don't get paid until they sign a contract. So they put in a lot of unpaid work sifting through resumes and arranging interviews, and if they don't pan out, there's nothing coming in. So whereas they didn't expect everyone they sent over to get hired - they damn well do expect some kind of feedback or information because they're not interested in doing a ton of legwork and just getting back "can you find more people?" with nothing to help them as to why the good people they found didn't work for them.

So the recruiter dropped this company as a client. They fired the employer.

I've slowly watched the Rake's Progress of this company. It used to hire a dedicated firm that was a contractor of that company to bring people in for days of intensive interviewing. Then they went with just the standard, known, good players in the interview game.

Just now I got a call from a Mid-Western state.

The accent on the other side was so thick it was incomprehensible. I have nothing against people of Indian origin (hello, West Coast?) and can understand quite a few Desi accents but but for me knowing the words he was trying to say, I wouldn't have been able to parse the stream of half-strangled syllables with letter shifts (v for w, for example) coming at me through the phone.

So, being a very experienced and skilled IT guy, I started asking him questions. I had to ask twice where the job was located. "At-a-lan-tea-ya, Gee- yah- gee- yah." Yes, that's nice, but metro Atlanta is a big place, is it Alpharetta, Duluth, Midtown, Downtown? I finally just settled with "Well, who's it with?" and lo and behold, it's that company.

I told them flat out I wasn't interested. They didn't seem surprised in the least, they just hung up.

And then had a woman call back 15 seconds later, asking me if I wanted the same job.

Usually when you get a call from the Mid-West for another market (California, Seattle, Atlanta, New York) it's because the company in question wants the cheapest possible body shop to perform the "Mongolian Hordes" technique to just find anyone who they can talk to. They have no idea what you, they have no idea what the company wants, they have the barest command of English possible. That is not a bigoted comment, when I answer the phone "Hello, this is TheAnglican, may I help you?" and their first question is, "Hello, eh, yes, am I speaking with TheAnglican?" it means that they didn't understand the import of my first sentence.

Which means either the company has a job that nobody wants ("Are you available for a two month COBOL contract in North Dakota, eight dollars an hour, no relocation provided, must fly at own expense to interview?") or the company has such a poor reputation in its own market that it has to try to find people in other cities to come on over.

Or it's gronked off enough reputable companies that outsourcing it to an underpaid, abused, exploited call center is what they're reduced to.

I had sympathy for both people who called, and unlike many in IT I don't have a knee-jerk racist reaction to hearing a Desi accent. (That's for another node, suffice it to say I had to walk away from my computer when Slashdot posted about India starting a space program and the comments section looked like Stormfront). But I knew full well what the import of that call meant. It meant they'd tried other avenues, and they couldn't get any interest.

Which is terrible, because even though their mere call is a red flag that you don't want to touch their client with a 10 foot barge pole, they too need to get paid. God love them.

EDIT: HOLY SHIT, as I was hitting the submit button on this, I got called AGAIN.

EDIT 2: AND AGAIN TODAY

Today is Mardi Gras day, and I'm feeling more than a little bit homesick. I'm needing to speak to Andrew again, even though I can't say this in dialogue, I still have to address this to him. There are two days that I need to remember with you, someday, face to face. But there's so many other parts of a bridge that need to be constructed first before you can construct the part that could be reasonably called "road" or "travel" or "connection" and from where we are, that foundation is not in place. I should probably be writing this down, in my journal where I don't have to concern myself with things like safety or exposure, but alas: here I am.

(I'm simply not accustomed to pedestrian whining, publicly or semi-publicly. Please bear with me.)

When we do reconcile it won't be to do work. It's not what we've done as friends, and I'm sensitive enough to realize what makes you comfortable and I'm soft enough to allow us to stay inside your comfort zone. But if it was up to me, we'd spend our theoretical time doing heavy lifting. We'd have the hard talks, we'd start the repairs, we would put in the work to call the connection between us a real relationship...romantic connotations of the word notwithstanding.

But you never wanted to focus on the big picture. You would rather reminisce, talk strategy, talk theory, compare reality against what you had expected, you would always rather focus on your immediate surroundings than on their implications. I would like to think that you were just afraid of the process, and afraid to express yourself, just like I was afraid to take the first steps down the slippery slope, afraid to apologize. I would like to think that you're just more willing than I am to do without the things you need emotionally. But I'm afraid that you're not afraid at all. I'm afraid that you don't need the same things I do, that there really can be such stark differences in the way human nature applies to each of us. I'm afraid that you can't see practically anything beneath the surface, the same sort of way that I can't feel practically any of the surfaces that I touch.

No. I really did feel like you didn't want to deal with the multiple elephants in multiple rooms, like you didn't want to evolve with our relationship, like you wanted everything to stay just as charming and simple as it was at first. Like it wasn't worth it to sort through the mess. Like it wasn't worth it to handle things like men. As if we were ever men. As if we had become responsible enough or mature enough to make decisions like grown men. As if we were anything more than just adventurous boys, setting off the last few fireworks in the last days of summer. Wanting nothing but to be lost.

But no, this is were our differences show themselves again.
Because I wanted to be lost.
You wanted to lose yourself in adventure, sure, but what you wanted was...a challenge.
I wanted to perform,
You wanted to learn.
I wanted to create, from the ephemeral, using improvisation,
You wanted to build, from the material, using technique.
I wanted to make pictures,
You wanted to solve puzzles.
I wanted to dominate, in an instance. I wanted to be seen and to be admired and to be victorious. I wanted my time in the light.
You wanted to climb the ranks, not to be undefeated, but to learn to be the best, and to go with confidence no matter the outcome.

But we both shared that strange bloodlust, that competitiveness and want of conquest. It's just that you were a terrible teacher, and I was a terrible student, and there was no way to reverse the roles. If there should be a future, then hopefully a way will reveal itself. But here's the golden question: when our future comes to us, will we be fighting for the same thing? There's a purposeful ambiguity here. Will we be fighting alongside one another, for the same collective cause and with the same goal in mind? Or will we be fighting one another over the same territory, for the same individual cause and with the same goal in mind?

But the thing is, all of these scenarios are secretly playing themselves out, just beneath the surface. I wonder where you were on a certain night last year and how you felt. I wonder if it was anything like December 23, 2014. July 13, 2008. August 12, 2016. July 7, 2014. April 22, 2011. None of these were the days I needed to remember, I promise. But the fact that they ever happened means that they are happening forever, like love itself.

I wish I could say that writing this down didn't make a difference, didn't make me feel any better, but the humbling reality is that it does, it does. Today is Mardi Gras Day, and neither one of us is home anymore. I don't want anyone else to help you find me. I don't want anyone else to help me find you. But if that's the only way, then is it better than nothing? I hope the expression doesn't sound sexist or bigoted, but I'm afraid that I'm not man enough to answer the question. Not yet.

Me: "I think the Blue Jays are going to win the World Series in 2019."

Him: "Okay, what about 2018, oh wise one?"

Me: "Plan for 2019."

***

Me: "I will always remember your kindnesses and pray that God blesses you because of them. I told several people about you offering to be a reference for me without any prompting. Really restored my faith in humanity."

Him: "Thanks Jess. Others have done this for me. You also went to bat for me at one of the worst points I've had in several years. That meant a lot."

***

Me: "I think the Blue Jays are going to win the World Series in 2019."

Him: "Whoa--Jays, eh? *places Vegas bet*

Me: "I thought about Vegas, then I decided God wouldn't look favorably on that behavior. I don't need to win a bet. Them winning is enough for me."

Him: "I am impressed enough by your conviction."

Me: "You are a true friend."

***

Me: "I said a prayer that you would get your tiny house. Have you ever thought about building one yourself?"

Him: "I would love to design and build my own dream home. But I'm not a carpenter, or an electrician, or a plumber, or an architect. Lol.

Me: "Neither am I. But we know people and can learn. Let's do it."

Him: "I appreciate your ambition!"

***

Today I was planning on hanging out with a friend of mine. About forty-five minutes before she was supposed to text me I was having some mood issues. I had felt restless all day long, I reached out to my Twitter friends and they came through for me. One guy that I had interviewed several years ago told me I could call if I needed to, he had a son that committed suicide when he was seventeen, this came up in conversation because we were talking about events from the past that still haunt us today. I spent some time listening to Tango to Evora even though I'm not wild about either Angelina Jolie, or Brad Pitt. I've never understood what people see in either of them, although this may be because I'm not a movie person. I'm not crazy about the scene, but I love the violin rendition rather than the guitar original. I told my friend that I felt stuck emotionally. He picked up the phone, asked what was going on, and it took me a couple minutes to get into it, but once I did the floodgates opened and I cut loose. By the time our conversation was winding down I was completely exhausted. I was in no shape to drive anywhere or leave the house. He had gotten me through the stuckness and I was so incredibly grateful for the friends that I have at this point in time. 

My plan to take a nap was derailed by the creative visualizations although I may have slept for a brief period of time. I had left my phone on the counter. As much as I love that thing, sometimes you just need a break. I can't really remember where I started, but eventually I saw myself laying in an old bed in a dimly lit room. This super scary looking guy was sitting next to me. I took one look at him, and then went back to sleep. The next time I tried to get out of bed he pushed me back down, not in a mean way, but in a way that meant business. I obeyed him and laid back down to pacify him. When my family came to see me they wanted to know who the guy was and I wasn't sure what to tell them. He told them that he was someone I knew from the past, I didn't recognize him so I was understandably confused by that. Then he smiled at me and I saw it was really the guy from work that I had given the poem. When I asked why he was dressed like that he told me that a lot of people see him as just another pretty face, but I was someone who looked past the superficial. I had helped him during a time of great distress so he had come to help me when I really needed it. I started crying and gave him a hug. This time when our wrists met they didn't fuse together, we looked at them and noticed that all of our previous scars had been removed.

Either I invited him to go to see my former PT, or he stopped there by himself, I'm not really clear on that part. Let me back up and say that I think he should be a massage therapist. I kept seeing this turqoise lagoon, I assumed it was Hawaii, but now I think it was really Costa Rica. My middle sister and her then boyfriend took a trip there one year, at first I really wanted to go myself, then I realized that this was a career for him instead of me. We meet and he gets introduced to my PT. They know each other from the store, but I think this is the first time they are formally meeting each other. All of a sudden I see my PT laying down, this guy is pressing his fingertips into his back, and that's all he's doing. The PT seems to be getting worse instead of better. We lay him down on one of the benches there and sit down on either side of him. I'm on the right, he's on the left. As soon as we do this our arms go out, almost involuntarily, and then we each have a new wrist stuck to ours. It's as if we're supporting the PT and there's a transfer of life giving energy from us to him. Only the wrists that used to have scars on them will work to do this. Gradually the PT recovers, then he says he doesn't know how he can thank us. I tell him that my part is a thank you to him for his helping me in the past. When he says he didn't really do anything, I tell him he did, but I can tell he doesn't believe this.

Then the PT turns to the guy (at least this is what I vaguely remember), and asks why he did it. He doesn't really answer him directly, he looks at me and tells the PT to ask Jessica. I don't know what to say, the moment fades into a scene where we are gathered around a small conference room table. A square sheet of paper keeps turning, there's a black and white geometric sequence, and pretty soon the three of us are meeting with another guy I know. Something happens to him while we are discussing the future. The wrist thing happens again, only this time I'm not a part of it, it's just these two guys helping another. When the guy thanks them and asks what happened, they both turn to me and tell him to ask Jessica. This time I know what to say. I tell him that he saved my life and had compassion on me after I got out of the mental hospital back in 2015, and this was a partial repayment for his selflessness. He acts embarrassed and tries to minimize it, but I tell him we are all in this together, and we need to set pride and emotions aside so we can plan. The four of us sit down at the table, that scene fades and then I see all of the guys at a party where they are wearing tuxedos. I  can't tell what we're celebrating, then I see a white dress and realize that we must be at a wedding.

I never do get a glimpse of the bride's face, and I can't tell who the groom is supposed to be either. I don't know anyone else at the wedding other than these three guys, then that scene turns into a full blown locker room celebration with champagne spraying all over this place. The World Series is over, the Blue Jays have won, and we are all ecstatically happy. Everyone is laughing, hugging, people are kissing each other, we're soaked to the skin, and nobody cares. One of these men has two daughters, he leaves our group to walk across the room, he's talking to them, then we meet in the middle, and suddenly I saw what I couldn't before. The PT is going to marry one of the daugthers, but unfortunately, I don't know which one it is. One has red hair, the other is dark. They're younger than he is, but he's ready to settle down and I think this might be how they meet, but of course I can't be sure. I try to picture my friend with the crush and a sky high wall shoots out of the earth and separates her from my PT. This isn't a wall like the one I saw before, this one stretches as high as I can see, it's final, it's not very thick, but there is no getting through that thing no matter how hard one tries. 

I see the World Series ring and it's so clear and vivid. I'm happy and I want to go to sleep, but now I'm having trouble stopping. I start worrying about where I'm going to live, what job I'm going to have next, I see the tiny house that I want, it seems like it could go to me, but then I ask if it can go to a friend of mine who never sees either of his children because his wife has corrupted them. There's an identical scene to the one I saw with the metal wall where he's on one side and she's on the other with the children in a bubble in between them. Once again her side of the earth starts sinking, I don't know what to do and I turn to God for help. He shows me the hour glass and I understand that to mean that these people need to get to church. I see my step-dad and then I see my friend being introduced to him and then I see all of us working on a tiny house together. I see my youngest sister, then I see a guy that I used to go out with talking to her. They keep talking, they want to go out, or at least it seems that they could, but I know him and he will never move anywhere this cold. Suddenly I see his house being dragged toward where she lives. I don't know if they get married or anything, but it seems as if they are a potential couple.

I'm so tired I'm begging for sleep. Normally when I stand up the visualizations stop, this time they won't leave me alone and I can't stop seeing what could happen next. Unfortunately I'm so tired nothing is making sense and my thinking brain gets mixed up with the creative side. I see myself being put to bed like a child and someone's hands hovering over my back as if I might start fussing and need to be soothed. I'm about to close my eyes and then I sit up and demand to know where I am. I'm told that I'm in a safe place, it smells new, but good. My ear is so sore I want to start crying. People start flooding my mind and I can't keep them straight. It seems as if everyone I know wants or needs something. I feel myself being pushed back down toward the bed, I feel the covers being pulled up and tucked in around me, I should be grateful, but then I'm cranky and irritable. I can't settle down so somebody has to lie down next to me, like I'm a small child whose parents know that if they just lay next to their progeny, he or she will calm down and fall asleep within minutes because they really are that overly tired. It would be ideal if this was the scenario, but then I hear my phone and I'm jolted out of my nice comfortable dream like state.

I try to turn on my computer to write, but it keeps on crashing. I eat, then I fool around on Twitter for a while. I get a reminder text, the place where I live is serving wine and chocolate in honor of Valentine's Day so I drive down to the clubhouse to see how people are doing. There aren't very many people there. I've been crying on and off for most of the day. I have a couple sips of something that isn't very good, toss the remainder of what I was served into the drinking fountain in the hall, get in my car, and drive to the library. On my way I think that I should be listening to some of the short story audio books I checked out yesterday, but this seems like too much work. I get to the library and once again I'm frustrated that I didn't get any fiction writing done. When I was on the phone with my friend he told me that as much as it might suck, I might be better off letting my ex screw me financially one final time. It hardly seems fair that he's going to get away with this, I decided that if our roles were reversed I would tell my teenaged daughters that while I understood they wanted to live with me, he was their father and until they were eighteen, he was going to be parenting them every other week. I would never pull what he is, and I despise him for even suggesting that he would pull child support from me at a time when he just sold the house we owned together.

I don't know what he got for that, and he did pay many bills, but something seems very wrong when he and his girlfriend are shopping for a home with a separate downstairs kitchen area, one of the homes they looked at had a sauna, and I might be evicted if I can't come up with rent money before my lease is up in July. I would suspect that they're looking in the $300K range because that's what we were shopping for when we were still together. I'm so angry at myself for continually exonerating him. One thing I forgot to mention, when I was visualizing things a voice inside of my head told me to do something now. This is Mean Jess and I told her to shut up. When she wouldn't I pulled out duct tape and wrapped it around her head many times. This morning I was so relaxed when I woke up, I felt like I was on vacation and told myself to keep acting like I was. Laundry and dishes are not high priorities when you are on vacation so I did minimal things on both fronts. I kept up with the Perfect Health Diet, I really need to buy groceries, but I'm so worried about the money that I keep telling myself to make do with what I have. I feel like I've gained a lot of weight since I quit working. I used to walk a lot at work and I've pretty much sat around since I quit, but I know that this is a temporary state and I will get moving again soon. 

Today I learned that sometimes people are jerks, or suck, and being more loving and forgiving is simply a waste of your time and demonstrates a lack of self esteem on my part. Cutting your ex wife off financially, especially when you are sitting pretty is a monstrous thing to do. In the past I've tried to take the high road, today I'm calling a spade a spade. I understand that we are divorced and owe each other very little, but this is outrageous. I am mad, I am resentful, if she wants him she can have him, I'm not asking for tons of money even though it may seem that way. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am an incredibly generous person. I like to live well, but I can also be extremely frugal, and this guy is completely forgetting what he was before I came into his life and believed in him enough to help him get a job at the company of his dreams. I was the woman who took time off of work to go help him fight for custody of his daughter, we didn't have the money to do that so we borrowed it from his dad. I was very far from a perfect wife, but I believe that if we weighed the faults and sins of each party, he would still owe me. Obviously this is my side and he has his. He did support me for many years when I wasn't working. He also charged more than fifty grand on credit cards he couldn't have gotten without me and refused to tell me how much he made at his job when he was self employed.

We had an abusive relationship and there was fault on both sides. I'm still gun shy and leery of dating people because I kept telling myself that I was such a rotten judge of character, and I had so many flaws that I had to keep working on me. Guess what, we all have flaws, and I am going to start judging myself as gently as I do other people. I consistently build others up, I am very quick to forgive people. I admit when I have made mistakes and will even go to people and confess what I've done even when there is a possibility I may not be 'caught'. I haven't had enough self esteem to stand up for myself in the past, I really just don't want to fight with him anymore. I never win, I have no idea what I'm going to do for money, or how I'm going to pay bills if the girls decide to both go live with dad and he cuts me off financially, but I can also see my role in all of this unfortunately. I wanted to work at an organic grocery store while I had the opportunity because it was something I believed in even if it didn't pay well. Some part of me regrets that while another part can see how good that job was for me. Without it I never would have met some of the people I know now. 

I trust that God has a plan, and his plan might mean Jessica is out of work and needs a place to live. If worse comes to absolute worse I have family members and can beg them to let me stay with them. Across from me is a young woman with a fussy baby. I remember being the mom who carted kids around town. For so long I've lived under his rule, careful not to do anything that might possibly upset him, I'm done. He can keep the money and have things his way. This is probably some form of laying down and letting a train hit me, but I don't feel like I can do this anymore. It's sad, but fighting with him sucks every drop of life and energy I have. I'm still largely in denial that this is happening. I shouldn't be shocked because this is the pattern. I thought the worst of it was over after we got divorced. I thought that the car accident would be the end of this type of thing, and now this. It doesn't matter what I do, I never see the next thing coming. I thought about trying to reason with him, I could go to his dad and try to talk to him, but I of course I can always see the other side of things and I know at the very root of it all I'm fearful and don't think I deserve anything, not even a place to live when I knew for a fact that we couldn't afford the house or car he went ahead with anyways. It feels like I dug my own grave, but winners take the least glorious, most depressing, blackest, bleakest moments and turn them into gold.

Thank God I'm a winner.  

Xoxo,

Jess

P.S. Thank you to the many people here who have been supportive. This is hitting me like a ton of bricks and it's not the best feeling in the world. I feel so alone, so scared, the future looks dark, and very uncertain. But I know that even if things do not turn around, I am better off than many who have it much worse. 

j

***

Him: "Always remember that failure is an essential component of success. I saw an incredible example in the Olympics. It was the start of the cross country skiing and a Norwegian fell. Four people fell on top of him. The entire pack of 60 skiers passed him. By the time he was untangled he was dead last. He made his way to the front and won the gold medal."

Me: "Wow. That blows my tiny mind."

Him: "Mine too. He took the most soul crushing moment of his life and turned it into Gold."

Me: "You just stated the difference between winners and losers in a single glorious sentence."

Him: "A saint is just a sinner who never gave up. Remember that Jessica."

Me: "Truth. I will. Thanks for the reminder."

***

Library is closing, I feel better. I'm still very unstable emotionally, I keep almost crying and will probably start again on the way home, but tomorrow is another day...

j

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