I’m rolling out, leaving, parting, bidding adieu, and in short, bouncing up an out of here.
Integrity in tact, I’m weaving my way through the crowds. In a renewed exercise attempt, I choose to stand for the duration of my train ride, bobbing away.
As a rule, I cannot bring myself to say “Good morning” to anyone in my nuclear family. I cannot ask “how are you?” The reason is deliberate refusal. Going against the grain, even when anyone in my household directs one or both of the above phrases in my direction, I respond begrudgingly with a nondescript grunt.
They expect my less than friendly excuse for acknowledgement as opposed to habit.
I refuse to partake in formalities among my closest compatriots.
Today I have finished a stint at a publication. I would get more experience, leave the surrounding neighborhoods around my home, venture into the city, and have one more feather in my cap.
The magazine deals with New York City real estate. I was covering the lifestyle side of it, although, the head editor did not feel my position was a necessary one. She made that clear the first day I had met her, during my interview. She, however, was not the editor in chief. No one likes a sore loser, but apparently, she didn’t like the winner either.
I had to fight my way to do something and to earn my first actual paycheck. If it were up to them, I would be paid for doing nothing at all.
I had applied here out of sheer ambition. That is to say, I was getting panicky in early February. What if I didn’t gain admission into a single graduate school? I can’t keep willing myself to write in the confines of my own mind and under the gaze of my own editor’s vision - a long term project.
I needed to do something then and there and so I sent my resume to at least ten publications.
Two weeks later, having my admissions decision to my top choice staring back at me via my iPhone, I signed off all the places to which I had applied.
I would continue to act as my own superior.
The day after I received my best Valentine yet - a promise for a master’s degree, I heard from the only paying editorial internship I had applied to. They wanted me.
Already a venerable veteran of internships and assured of my vast capabilities, I had vowed to only pursue paid opportunities from then on. Reality warrants a desire for money, as does, ironically, climbing the rungs of the intellectual ladder. After all, a willingness to work for free is illogical.
My monthly stipend was exactly the amount I had to pay for my graduate school deposit. A lofty sum and a nascent adult post-grad school acceptance, I took them on. Here I am, deposit paid and then (a very little) some, or sum. The homonyms, “some” and “sum”, are interchangeable in this case.
This morning I left later than usual.
“If you don’t mind me asking you this, do you care that you might run late?”
He knew better than to ask this overachiever said inquiry, however, I suppose my less than shaken demeanor seemed at odds with my norm.
“Apparently I don’t care. The lady is rude. She doesn’t dare to let her line of sight include me in it.”
“Do you greet her when you go in?” he asked, probably expecting the worst due to my stubborn stance on remaining informal at home.
“Yes, but she doesn’t respond.”
No one speaks to each other in this God forsaken place. Prime New York City real estate, the place had just underwent renovations and what a shame that the new layout is the equivalent to an antiquated newsroom; a maze of cubicles where one does not see the other. Communication is lacking and exchange of knowledge is absent. The small-scale magazine that manages to rake in money from Million Dollar Listings reality television realtors, is contrary to present-day journalism.
My head editor begins and ends her writing with questions that she finds “cheeky” but that are instead juvenile. She’s talking down to the readership. The whole scenario is a silent version of The Office should the original sitcom be anthropomorphized into a depressed entity that forgot to ingest their dose of Prozac.
I told him that even if I had not greeted her it does not fall on me to take the initiative. I am no less than anyone.
My father, well-read in my tendency to revolt into full-fledged diatribes when feeling criticized, took the whole scenario upon himself:
“I always greet people. I never expect that I will be greeted in return,” my father said.
*Let it be known that I too don’t have any expectations. It is solely a matter of initiative.
Cont. “ I always say Sat Sri Akaal. (Punjabi greeting that is rooted in the Sikh faith.) I tell each of the younger men who work there and now they all say it. It has become habitual. Anyway, think of it like this. You are praising God, or saying a little prayer when you greet.”
This time I was acting “cheeky,” and told my father that that reasoning didn’t flow in the English language.
“Even so,” my father continued. “I always say ‘Good morning!’ You’re actually just remarking on how pleasant the day, or nature is.”
I get it. The whole greeting process is just a matter of manners at face value but when dissected, is actually something larger than myself and Other.
My mornings tend not to be good anyway. The subway ride is inherently bad. This morning I had managed to get to the workplace on time despite leaving thirty minutes later than usual. I rushed to order and pick up my medium decaf coffee only to come three city blocks later to my place of work. The coffee was inedible. I asked for very light, or extra skim milk, and one sugar. Instead they gave me black coffee void of any sweet traces. About to throw the almost two dollar beverage away, cursing the morning in all its glory, I got up and walked back to the storefront, demanding a new coffee made correctly so that I would not have to feel guilty for the transaction resulting in my loss.
That was how I rolled, and was just as soon as how I’d bounced.