This week I have started three new jobs. They say that starting a new job is one of the most stressful things a person can endure, that and death and divorce and moving house. I have caught buses without being sure of just where exactly to press the dinger button and alight. I have risen earlier and earlier each day to drag combs through my hair and locate something respectable to wear. I have argued with my digestive system to avoid doing strange things in strange toilets. This week is wearing me down, erasing my sketch marks and shading to leave only the vaguest indicators of my own personal shape but I'm beginning to think of it as a kind of inevitable fated voayge. Call me Ishmael and locate Ahab, I need to have a word with him.
Job one was a job for one day and one day only, it was planned that way. I sat with my back to the ocean until I realised that the ocean was not just at my back but all around me. Jelly fish floated beneath my feet. If it was not the world's most inconvenient office to travel to I might have wished to work there like a lighthouse for a day or two longer. I performed a single task over and over until even my thoughts were stilled. I turned off my ipod and experienced the absence of sound, thought and reason.
Job two requires me to stand outside the Olympia Milkbar to catch a bus every morning, this is the one and only highlight of the job. The toilet is on the other side of the wall from my supervisor, I have learned the art of silent weeing. Cigarette breaks are not permitted, there is no soy milk for tea of coffee, the company mugs are made of plastic and the walls are all painted grey. I have to ask for work every three minutes. I am given a small and simple task, complete it half an hour before they expect me to then ask for something else to do. I am not convinced that they need me.
Job Three is not technically a job though I do have a deadline, an editor and a publishing date. It is an intermittent sort of thing where I email the editor something I might like to write about and then he goes through a mysterious process of deciding and organising. Ordinarily this is something I might imagine, like opening the wardrobe to find it suddenly a thriving fish tank or walking out the front door and ponies, tea pots and cup cakes instead of cars.
What I really want to talk about today is Gemma. If was The Captain of Giving Out Gold Stars then I would award 53 to Gemma. Gemma is the most articulate person I have ever met and I am strangely blessed with articulate friends. I could stay up til fifty three a.m. writing about Gemma and still not be able to explain her goodness, but still another day I might attempt it.
When this week is over, when I have pressed send late Sunday afternoon and my review is vanishing and reappearing somewhere else entirely, I will have time to sit and ponder with a tea cup or two. I will have time to sit on my chair on The Peach Deck under the mulberry tree and count silently along with my breathing while the cat sleeps curled as a question mark.