what started out as a glorious friday went to hell in a hand basket when the wrath of god (or john safran) decided to unleash the second coming of the great flood into our apartment. after spending years living in various basement domiciles, i had grown used to a certain life style. in basements, you expect floods, mold, and to lose your belongings to such inconveniences, which happened often in my different subterranean dwellings. but we live on the 10th floor here. a flood i did not expect. and yet, it came. and went, everywhere. and i was the only one home, murphy\’s law.
we only have five towels here. those were quickly made useless. completely and utterly useless. so soaked with water that i could barely lift the lot of them and carry them out to the balcony. i have regained my respect for manual labor. it is so easy to forget that for thousands of years people have done their washing by hand. that for some people, it is their job, all their lives, to do nothing but washing. to lift heavy, wet cloth, and wring it out with their bare hands. every day, for all their lives. and we complain when we have to carry our clothes to the laundromat or the washroom or whatever. jesus christ.
after spending the better part of an afternoon with wet towels and sloughing water around with a mop (causing waves — waves!), god… working on a client\’s site felt like a vacation. a goddamn relief. easy living. the good life. throw in a more than healthy amount of codeine and i can nearly forget the amazing amount of pain (4-7) that has set back into my neck, butt, left knee, right elbow, and joints of the two middle fingers on both hands. nearly, but not quite.
staring at php. php and tablet pcs and financial aid and dropcash and wikis and scheming. scheming, in the back of the mind, and working in the front. well, partially working in the front. the other part of the front is drooping and drooling like a frontal lobotomy patient.
five more days til this site goes live. then i get a week off before classes start. thank fuck. i hurt so bad, combo of working too hard on this recently (this was working, but wait, this would work better, redo, redo, redo — all my ideas, mind you, and not the client\’s, all perfectionist tech nonsense) and the weather getting colder and the fucking flood fiasco.
my head is all wrapped up in issues of disability and work: i take longer to do everything because of needing to move at a slower pace (re: brain fog and physical pain which requires breaks to offset/prevent). by taking longer, it therefore takes me much longer to accomplish tasks. therefore, i am not an \’optimal\’ employee, neither for a contract nor for a position. by law in the usa, in some instances, this can\’t keep me from getting hired (and it can\’t be a reason for firing me) but only for companies with a staff of more than 25 people (or was that upped to 50?). it does not apply to contract work at all. and for positions which have strict on-going deadlines as part of the job requirements, being a slow gimp is not going to let you get the job, no matter how skilled you are.
obviously, it\’s better to find a way to work than to sit on your ass and be unemployed, and to therefore find a way to manage the pain and other problems so that you can work. the question is, once you reach that stage where you have balanced your physical pain with the tasks at hand, what sort of work is available? is it work that is full time? part time? is it work that will provide health care and retirement benefits? is it going to be work that is emotionally and mentally rewarding? enjoyable? will there be room for promotion, and if so, will the promotion be more physically taxing and draining?
i enjoyed doing the drive-bys last year. it wasn\’t full time, but it was great money, exciting, stimulating in all ways. unfortunately, it completely compromised my ethics and made a wreck of my body to boot, but being limited hours it made the wreck manageable. as for the ethics… god, who can really afford to be true to themselves, other than the young? not getting into that right now. but doing the job gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about the city, research a lot of issues, and gain a lot more insight into things i already cared about. of course, none of that had anything to do with my job — the job was just get there, get the pictures, get out — but all the right opportunities were there for everything else.
working on sites again has really… well, it\’s brought me back a few years, in some ways. physically, i haven\’t felt this rotten in years, since before i started physically therapy in 2002. back when i was using voice recognition for months. hardly used the computer at all (well, for me) for about a year, didn\’t do any sites or anything like that. felt much better physically. but other than the physical downside, i\’ve really enjoyed the tedium of geeking out over the past two months. augh, i shouldn\’t, but i do. i feel like it\’s some sort of weird fetishization of brain function. \”aspy pride — don\’t cure it, use it!\” again, not getting into that right now.
but the geeking itself — that feeling of really having something to do every day (even if i do take it way overboard and do it all day, like, 18 hours a day, every day of the week) and feeling that awful sin of pride at doing a good job at it — that i enjoy. sitting there staring, slack-jawed, doc asking me if i\’m sick, and i\’m just in the goddamn zone: don\’t talk, i\’m finding god, god is in the machine, he is in the rhythm, in the algorithm and i am going to find him…and here he is! fitting together the right pieces so that they work, such a thing of beauty.
i am not great at visual design at all, not even good, but man, i do love that feeling when the understanding comes. when the page unravels and the database works and there are no errors and no warnings and it is all clean, good code and one hundred percent strict w3c compliant… oh, god, i am getting aroused. that is why i would sit there, back in the 90s, for 18 hours a day, sometimes more than that, page after page, site after site — finish redesigning everything, wait a few weeks, then start all over again. i love to create and make all the pieces fit. i just wish they looked better when i finished. guess i\’m more of a backend administrator than a front end designer. sigh. i always wanted to be the front man in the band, but i was chickenshit and learned how to play the drums instead, because everybody needs a steady a drummer and flash is replaceable. tell that to adobe.