how in the movies the guy says to the girl, "You make me a better man" and you
cringe because it's such a hackneyed thing to say, but you're also kind of
hoping that you'll end up with someone who brings out the best in you instead of
encouraging all of your bad habits like chasing a bag of Doritos with a pint of
Ben & Jerry's while standing in the kitchen?
You definitely want that person
around. That person makes you feel capable and powerful and fabulous. That
person is the one who's going to man up when it comes time to dislodge the fried
chicken that's stuck in your throat - and won't make you feel like a gluttonous pig
when an entire wing tumbles out onto his plate.
Where was I
going with this?
am a spoiled, white, middle class American, I've always thought that work should
make you feel the same way a nice boyfriend does - safe, stimulated,
challenged. Your best and most authentic self. What in the world is that kind of work,
if such work exists?
Leaving aside the fact that I fell into the pool while
fully dressed* at the company outing, my first three weeks at the new job have
passed without incident. I've been working hard and watching carefully as the
ferocious politics of this place emerge. It doesn't take long before the freaks
and sadists and ego-maniacs reveal themselves; a parade of weirdness is
inevitable at any organization. The trick is to keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your ears open so
you're not branded too early in the process. (Also, it's good to have candy on
You can't imagine the amount of psychic energy it usually takes for
me to behave myself, instead of, say, crank calling partners or leaving fake poo
under someone's desk. But I don't really feel like myself here. Suddenly, I feel
gangly and awkward and introverted.
Maybe the job is a bad boyfriend. The job is jealous of
my time and watches my every move! The job slaps me around! I fell down
the stairs, I reassure my boss. I don't want him to know that I'm worried. The
job seems to encourage all the undesirable bits of my personality,
including (but not limited to) shyness, negativity, gnawing my thumb until it's
a bloody nubbin, and over-indulging in things that are bad for me. I'm wondering
if the job and I need to go to couples therapy, because I sure as hell can't afford to break
up with the job.
Messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand; the modern equivalents are the funny, sad, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless, poetic posts on Missed Connections websites. Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I'm trying to pin a few of them down.
What a wonderful idea for this series of witty illustrations. Having a rather unhealthy obsession with Missed Connections myself, I love Sophie Blackall's tender appreciation of the humor and the fragile humanity and behind these anonymous love letters.