best friend

My best friend called me tonight.

She lives in Atlanta and we usually communicate via email. She emails me from her work and I respond while at mine. It’s a system that has been fine-tuned over the past couple of years. We only talk to each other once every few months.

Tonight we actually talked.

Well, we took turns talking, anyway.

My best friend, we’ll call her Belle because I’m always joking that she’s a Southern Belle, is getting a certification in Spanish/English translation. She calls me whenever she has some serious homework due. I tease her about how her southern accent sounds when wrapped around Spanish words and she nags me about my lack of ‘entertainment.’

I wonder what her husband thinks about the fact that her favorite tutor is a one-hour long-distance phone call away?

Belle and I met my first quarter in college. We had French 101 together. I’d like to say, with that melancholic tone of voice preferred for these moments, that we became best friends instantly. Unfortunately, that would be a lie. We started to become friends over French 101 and became good friends over French 102. It was Political Science 101, however, that bound us for life. I think it had something to do with all that deep conversation at 2 a.m. study sessions. Or maybe it was just that we’d know each other for a while by then. Either way, we have been close ever since.

Belle and I have an easy kind of friendship I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in his or her life. It’s low maintenance and doesn’t require a lot of work. Because we are so far from each other, we tell each other the big stuff and gloss over the little things. Of course, sometimes we can have conversations that last hours and talk about nothing more than how her cats are doing and what my niece’s new word is.

I can tell her things I would never voice to anyone else. Things about sex and fears and lies and lives that would never, under any circumstances, make it anywhere near my family. I can tell her almost anything without the fear that she’s going to judge me harshly. I know that she will give me her sympathy and support. I know that she will kick my butt if I’m being stupid, but she will also talk me through the consequences. I know that she sees me, with my shortcomings and failures, and manages to see my successes and attributes.

I love Belle dearly.

I miss Belle a lot.

It’s been seven years since I moved from Atlanta to Houston and I’ve yet to make serious friends here. I’ve met lots of people, and have even become close with quite a few of them. But none of them have reached that special status where I wouldn’t hesitate before telling them something.

They’re not Belle.

In the years since I’ve been here she has come to visit me, I went to her graduation and then to her wedding. We took a trip to Jamaica together, before she even met her husband. Just last year we went to Florida for a long weekend and we left hubby in Atlanta. He doesn’t like the sand anyway. She has sent me job postings and found me a place to stay so that I can move back to Atlanta. (Her sister owns a townhouse and is willing to take me on as a roommate.) I’ll assume that means that she misses me too.

So we worked on her presentation for class and laughed and talked and worked some more. We actually got it done in under an hour, which has to be a record for us. Then we said goodbye for about five minutes, promising to email each other tomorrow.


My manager from my moonlighting gig is quitting and the company is bringing in a new manager. I’ve met the new manager, worked with her for a couple of days. She seems nice enough. Competent. Capable. Pushy.

New Manager has already told me that I’ve had a bad week. Never mind that I almost hit my quota on my very first week working and that the second week of employment I was out sick most of the time. Never mind that I’m still not at 100% and that’s probably why I’m not doing well. Never mind that she’s been giving me the lead list, list of people to call, and she’s been choosing those lists of people who have never donated and never bought tickets to the symphony. Oh yeah, they’re going to donate.

I can pretty much tell that my days are numbered at this point.

Oh well. I’ll tough it out as long as I can. The idea is to get as many hours as I can before they send me packing. I haven’t really had any luck finding an alternate part-time job, so I have to rely on this one until further notice.

I contacted this placement agency that contracts web work about a job that was posted. I got one of those ‘thank you for your interest but’ emails back. The contact suggested that I give him a call even though there isn’t anything ‘matching my talents’. Maybe I’ll go ahead and do that.

I have to admit that I didn’t really think that I had a chance with that job. I have no formal web training and I’m not even a designer. I think that I do good work. And my loyal friends agree, mostly to keep me from pouting I’m sure. All kidding aside, though, I think that I have potential when it comes to this medium. I just need an opportunity to better develop my potential.

Do I sound like a bad PSA yet?

I’ve applied for several receptionist positions for weekend offices. You know, real estate places, quickie loan firms, etc., etc., etc. No luck yet. A friend of mine suggested that maybe I haven’t had any responses because the hiring personnel know that this wouldn’t be my primary concern. I don’t know if she has a point or not. All I know is that nobody will hire me.

I’m gonna start taking this personally.

practical things

I have always been a practical person. Even when I was the one flirting with other girl’s boyfriends and racing my car on the highway outside the little Mexican town where I used to live, I always made sure that the consequences were manageable.

Taking a close look at my parents, I have often wondered where I got the ability to sit down and make things work no matter what. I know for a fact that I couldn’t have gotten it from them. That would require that they be something other than the emotionally draining, selfish people that they are.

But that’s a separate issue.

So here I am, in the aftermath of the complete chaos my parents have created, trying to make sense of it and trying to make sure that nobody is completely destroyed by it.

Things have to change.

I sat down and figured out what money comes into our house and what money goes out in bills, food and other stuff. We might make it. Barely, but we might make it. If the car doesn’t ever break down. If nobody ever needs to go to the doctor’s office for anything. If nobody needs anything extra. Ever.

Taking that into consideration, I figured that the most sensible thing to do was to bring more money into the house. That is, more than was coming in. That means that I have to find a new job. One that will pay me enough that I can take up the slack, the void in finances that this catastrophe between my parents has created. That means that I’m going to have to stop being so damned picky and actually choose a job based on more than just whether or not it’ll be fun.

Does anyone know how long it takes to find a good, semi-interesting, well-paying, full-time job in the communications field? No. Well, neither do I, but I’m sure that it takes longer than a couple of weeks. And, armed with this knowledge, I went in search of a part-time job that would give me the extra cash we need while I look for a job that pays enough that I don’t need a part-time job.

Am I making any sense?

Never having looked for a moonlighting gig before, I didn’t know how limited my options were when I started. Basically, I could wait tables, I could go to work at the mall or a fast-food joint, or I could go into telemarketing. Yuck. Things sure have changed in the four or five years since I started doing temp work in college and said good-bye to the part-time life.

When presented with these possibilities, and with the fact that I needed something NOW, I chose telemarketing. To be more precise, I chose to do telefunding, which is a little bit different. Telefunding is calling up people who are affiliated with an organization in some way and asking for donations. I know, I know, it’s still calling strangers and bothering them and asking them to give me money, a credit card or an order for a pledge packet. But at least this way I’m affiliated with a known arts organization and I’m not actually selling anything. And that makes a difference to me.

Today is the week-and-a-half mark of my part-time employment. I work a four-hour shift three nights a week and both weekend days. I’m no longer considered to be in training, but they haven’t begun to bug me about making my quota yet. It hasn’t really been that bad. The manager is very nice, the people I call are usually very polite even when they decline to donate, and the other people working there are all doing it as a second job. As moonlighting gigs go, I could have done a lot worse.

And, for those of you interested in such details, it pays six dollars an hour plus bonuses.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to work part-time. I don’t want to have to leave work at 5 o’clock on the dot and drive in the opposite direction of my home, down the most congested freeway in Houston at the busiest hour of the day. I don’t want to have to rush and miss dinner and wonder what else I’m missing. I don’t want to have to call strangers, giving them a combination script/ad-lib conversation designed to make them give me money. I don’t want to have to worry about when my manager will start expecting me to produce above my quota. I don’t want to have to cut my recently emerging social life because of financial responsibilities.

But I figure that at the very least I can stick it out telefunding until I either find a more interesting part-time job or I get that full-time gig I’m actively seeking. Or at the very least until I find a part-time job that doesn’t require a 40-minute drive home at the end of my shift. Either way, the most practical thing to do is to continue with this job and use the extra money as a buffer for the “in case” scenarios I keep coming up with.

And I am always so practical.

Image source: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay