Saturday, April 28, 2012

The rising this time

The stress levels are rising again. 

Where is it written that some of us shan't have a few moments, days, weeks, months of peace? Look, I know that just isn't the way (at least my and probably your) life works. But that doesn't mean that I don't want those moments. There isn't time to photograph and/or write notes to the self about everything good and or bad that one wishes to remember, savor, or encourage to recede into memory and or forgetfulness. Even for the moments I'd like to revisit again someday, where and or when does one really get the chance?

Thanks to computers, we now have the ability to alter and fix up some of our mementos. For instance many years ago now, when I lived in Boston, there were any number of things I photographed. One or two hundred dozen pictures have always been a little better as I prefer to remember them, not as they are. Case in point:

The above picture was taken on the first "Victorian Day" at the Boston Public Garden in May of 1989. Sadly, it was never held again as far as I know. A number of people with an interest in historical couture dressed in restored Victorian era clothing and took a leisurely stroll around an appropriate period setting. It was over in a few minutes. Now, in my mind's eye, the above picture looks a little more like this:

Please understand that I really do prefer the color picture. But the way my mind wants to remember the photo is without the woman in the 1940's blue skirt, and as something I took in a moment when I had become unstuck in time. A few minutes later, I happened to notice a couple dressed all in black, as though they were some kind of Victorian punk rockers. I immediately raised my camera. They paused in their stroll for the briefest moment, just long enough to take one picture.

The problem I have with the photo is the two people on either side whose modern garb quite ruins the perception of an antique hand colored photo of Edgar Allan Poe and the Mrs. It doesn't matter that Poe only lived in his nearby birthplace as an infant, and certainly didn't live there with his child bride cousin (she was 13 when they married) who died of consumption. In our modern world, I can now use fancy computer programs once the province of Hollywood special effect departments to eliminate the folks in the photo who spoil the illusion. Except that the best program to use to accomplish that costs over $180 for the basic version (and that -is- a discounted price) to well over $340.00 for the more complete version. (In my experience, basic versions give you enough of the program to become extremely frustrated at its limitations which force you to buy the full featured version.) And then there are add on packages costing close to $100.00 each. As it happens, there is a "free ware" program which I downloaded which is said to be a near equivalent of the fancy schmancy program. The only problem is finding the time to learn how to use it to see if it is up to the computing task. Until that time, the picture is best observed from my frustrated director's memory, edited to my specifications. Then I can enjoy the moment the way I want.

Sadly, I can't seem to get to a place where I can edit my life to be the picture I want. A quick perusal of the morning news leaves me saddened and a bit depressed. Iran has publicly trumpeted its ability to get some kind of sea going vessel to within 3 miles of the US - perfect for missile launching. It doesn't matter whether or not they are just making gaseous noises. It doesn't matter whether or not someone over there actually said this. What matters is that it has been reported and that it is a threat and that the threat will be used as another notch in the buildup to a potential preemptive military action. Or perhaps that is the anxiety some set of forces in motion from God knows where wants us to have. The Governor of the US State of Maine, a place heretofore thought of as a potential Stevil haven from the masses, has accused his states' governmental workers of corruption, clarified to note only some workers who have been corrupted by union leaders. Considering that this same man had a mural depicting Maine's labor history removed from his state's Department of Labor building, discerning a message there isn't terribly difficult. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in addressing the current economic climate. has just urged young people to go into debt and start businesses - by, say, borrowing $20,000 dollars from their parents. My father earned a decent income, and we were, for a number of years, financially comfortable. Until it came time for me to go to college, an endeavor he had implied he would finance. A few months before I was to begin my studies, he asked me where I was going to get the money. Fair enough - my life, my responsibility, changed circumstances, whatever. But if someone solidly in the middle class in 1968 couldn't afford to send his child to college, who can afford to "loan" their offspring twenty thousand these days? I sell food to senior citizens, people solidly middle class, and people on welfare who often can't afford their bill and who have to have items removed from their purchases. Or who note that the money for this week's food was the money saved to fix their car. Or who spend considerable time going through every pocket counting out several dollars in change. This kind of stuff just makes me crazy. Sometimes, it is best to avoid the news. How do I avoid reality?

There are problems at work. There are always problems at work. Two weeks ago (the properly allotted advance notice), I put in specific requests regarding portions of two days for this upcoming week in which I needed to be elsewhere. On Thursday morning, I am to be a guest on a local commercial radio station program to talk about getting our non-profit community station back up and running. I could work the four hour morning shift they often give me, or I could work in the afternoon. On Friday evening, as our Community station will be having an open house, I asked to be done for the day in time to catch the 4:30pm bus into town. The result was to be given those two days off "by request", and have other days in which I will work until 8 and 9pm - when no buses run and I will have a 45 minute walk home (I need a cane to walk) on a highway at night. This sort of thing has happened just about every time I have put in a specific request to not work at a given time due to a doctor's appointment, etc. Considering the regularity with which this happens (and not just to my less than humble self) it is difficult to see it as anything other than punishment for asking for the benefit of a flexible schedule - one of the touted lures used to snare one into employment there. I made comments to other staff about this. Within a couple of hours, I was taken off register for a minute, and told by the bookkeeper that I had rung up a customer's red grapes as green grapes. The red grapes are on sale. The customer complained and the grapes had to be given away for free, plus one dollar as per company policy. I had cost the company $3.40. They have been noticing such errors creeping into my work, and I was being notified about this as a courtesy before the matter was "out of their hands". Was this real? Was it just to induce under the thumb anxiety as payback for an intemperate remark? Has the campaign to remove me from employment there (as the last person in my "part time" category of 20 to 38.5 hours) resumed? Is that campaign real? In my minds eye, the way I perceive it, the poverty level exploited worker is being crushed for having spoken a totally obvious truth.

Yesterday, someone posted a comment to an article on this blog from last September. The comment reads, "Good bye, considerate soul mate :) ". What to make of it? Is it from someone who is pondering an end to life either naturally or by their own hands? I certainly know people who live in great pain who might fit either description. But the two visitors late that night who could have left such a comment were not from Canada where the most likely suspect lives. Who then? Was it someone who managed to log onto my blog without leaving an electronic trail? Was it just someone reading my blog and saying goodnight? And who considers me a "soul mate"? Why don't I know about this? A soul mate? Really? The smiley face lets me live with the note, but the "Good bye" still leaves me with a sense of unease. Why can't life have editing software?


Austan said...

I wish I could edit my memories. I wish I could edit other people's actions. I wish I could edit a lot of things. But life is uneditable. One can add, but not subtract from it.

That's a very weird comment, btw.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

I wish i could edit out all the embarassing moments in my life, but such is not to b.

I use Photoshop as I can get it free to use with our school licwncw, but I used to use Paint Shop Pro, which I found to be excellent.
Here'sa URl which might help.

As regards being a semi-downtrodden wage-slave, been there. When I worked in retail and our store didn't meet it's target for the 2nd week, our manager called us all in and had a good screaming match at us, but then she said that selling was much more important than anything else in our pitiful lives, and that if we were only there for the pay, then we should leave. Now. I was really, realy tempted, but I needed the money, so stood there (we were'nt allowed chairs)with the rest of the poor cowed bastards and just took the shit.

Sometime life is a bitch.

sdt said...

Sorry it has taken me several days to get back to both of you who were kind enough to reply to my post. I've been horribly busy.

Austan - I haven't a clue what to say, except perhaps to note that yes, your comment was a trifle odd. I used to hope that I brought that out in people. (insert winking smiley.)

TSB - Thanks for the note about the Paint Shop program. I am going to look into it when I get a chance. As for my wage slave situation, yeah. Life was so much easier, if not better, when I had Union jobs, or was the boss.