Hello, my lovelies.
Here it is, the first day of November, so I’m going to get this NaBloPoMo thing started. Thanks to everybody who asked a question; I’ll answer them pretty much in the order I received them (copied & pasted directly from the comments section of this post without any editing, as much as I sometimes might want to edit them), but I may skip around a little bit or write some non Q&A posts once in awhile, or skip the ones about Vincent Price. Mainly because I remember writing a post for LitKicks and I linked to an article about Vincent Price’s cookbook and will never be able to get it out of my head that Vincent Price wrote the following: “There is nothing more soul-satisfying than the first succulent bite into the juicy frankfurter.” So now every time I think about Vincent Price, I think about juicy frankfurters (not a euphemism), and the fact that I am inclined to disagree with Price’s statement. I’m sure there has to be something more soul-satisfying than eating a hot dog. I don’t even like hot dogs. I’m just saying.
Anyway, when it comes to the posts this month, sometimes I’ll write a question-and-answer post, and sometimes I might write something else, and we’ll all find out what’s happening together. Ooooh, adventure!
Anyway, part 2: the interesting thing is that the day I wrote that post soliciting questions from you was the day that my life got flip-turned upside-down. No, I didn’t have to move in with my auntie and uncle in Bel Air (who doesn’t love a little Fresh Prince reference?) but it was the day that I got hired for a job. An actual job. I know!. I seem to have forgotten to mention this on my blog, so I figure I’ll just mention it now. When I wrote the post, I had no idea I was going to be hired for an actual job, but by 4-ish that afternoon, I’d gotten the offer, and I took it. It’s a job I interviewed for about a year ago, and didn’t get, and then the same position opened up in the same organization, albeit in a different location. Some friends who work there heard about the opening and told me to get in touch with the people in charge of hiring and let them know I was still interested, and I figured I might as well, because one of two things would happen: they’d either hire me, or I’d continue on in my long unemployment, and whatever happened was alright with me. So I got in touch with people, played a bit of phone tag, kind of forgot about it, and then one morning — while I was still fast asleep, mind you — I got a call from the woman who would be my boss, and in that hazy half-awake/half-asleep state, my brain somehow grasped that oh, she was interviewing me. So I got out of bed and walked around the house while we talked, trying to wake myself up. I still don’t really know what she and I talked about, but that afternoon she called back and offered me the job. The takeaway lesson here is that if you ever have a phone interview, try to schedule it for a time when you know you’ll still be in bed, and then spend the majority of it standing in your kitchen (still in your pajamas, of course), thinking about how much you wish you had a cup of coffee.
I started on Monday, and so the past week has been a radical switch from my cozy routine of doing whatever the hell I wanted, and has involved a lot of getting up early, commuting, having people throw a lot of information at me, and then commuting again. It’s been overwhelming, but in a good sort of way, and I like it so far. So hooray for me.
And now I’m going to go back to my strict rule of not writing about work on the internet, which will be extra strict now due to the privacy laws that govern everything, and since I don’t want to get fired and then sued, let’s not talk about it. I’ll give you a hint, though: it’s not with the CIA. Or am I just saying that?
When I wrote my annual birthday post, I wrote that I was certain I couldn’t imagine what would come of this year, and oh man, I’m so good at being right all the time. Yeah. And now that I’m committed to writing a post here every day, I have way less free time, but isn’t that always the way?
Well, this post is getting long, isn’t it? I’m going to answer a question, too. I know, I could’ve just counted all those paragraphs I’ve already written as an entire post and gotten around to the questions tomorrow, but I’ve always been an overachiever. Or something. So let’s get this party started…
How does the automotive-driven Michigan economy effect you now; also, do you think it had a impact on public schools in Albion and thereby your entire education?
Well, the economy in Michigan is a sad state of affairs, but it’s been that way for some time, long before all those auto industry bailouts were on the news. I’m no expert on the subject and I never could pay attention in economics classes, so my answer is entirely my opinion, based on my own experience and observations.
In terms of the first part of your question, I live in a rust belt city. (Yes, it’s a city.) Its decline has been slow and painful, like watching someone with a terminal illness struggle. I believe very much in this place’s potential, and I know there are a lot of people doing a lot of good work to make it a good place to live, but while I don’t believe in trash-talking this place, because I have a deep affection for it, as weird as it is, I do believe that it’s not the place it could be. It’s been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs, hit hard long before anybody was talking about bailing out GM. The city’s largest employer and the biggest contributor to its tax base (an auto parts manufacturer) folded nearly a decade ago, and though it wasn’t exactly an exciting, happening town before then, after that happened, it was like the city got gut-punched and never could quite stand upright again. A lot of people lost their jobs because of this manufacturer’s closing, people who weren’t even employed there to begin with, because the ripple effect of something like that is wide-reaching. I don’t know. Things are different now, and they’ll never be the same again. I think it’s okay if things are never the same again — shit happens, we change, that’s life — but I’m still not exactly sure what this town is changing into, and I don’t know if anyone really does know.
When I graduated from college I worked as a reporter for that stretch of time I lovingly refer to as the worst eight months of my life. Though actually even after I quit reporting for good, I still had to make it through the next year, which was also pretty fucking terrible. Really fucking terrible. I’m okay now, but sometimes I look back on that phase of my life and wonder how it is that I just didn’t give up.
Anyway, while I was working as a reporter, I got to cover really exciting stuff, like school board meetings. Despite all the other crap that was going on in my life at the time, if there was anything in the world that made me want to drive a stake through my eye, it was school board meetings. They were so boring that they somehow eclipsed boredom and moved into the territory of burning agony, largely due to that one guy who was in love with the sound of his own voice. But anyway, the meetings during my life as a reporter were largely centered on how in the hell they were going to address the issue of a massive budget shortfall, due to the loss of students to schools of choice, and therefore a big drop in state revenue sharing. They settled on layoffs and a massive buyout of teachers. I felt sorry for them as they grappled with it.
But I went to those schools. I don’t feel like I was shorted, education-wise. I believe you can go to the richest, most well-funded school in the world and still come out a complete dumbass so even though money is necessary to educate children, it isn’t the only necessary thing. I had some really great teachers in my K-12 years, teachers I will remember as long as I live, teachers who made me use my brain and made me like it. My school wasn’t fancy, but it prepared me for college, which was what it was supposed to do. I guess I believe that you get out of your education what you put into it, and if you’re determined to learn, then you will. I was encouraged to be smart. I was encouraged at home, and I know I’m lucky to have that, because not everyone comes from backgrounds where they’re encouraged. And actually, in my case, it was more than encouragement. My mother expected me to do well in school and to be an intelligent human being, and you don’t go against my mother. During my so-called formative years, my friends and I didn’t call it The Wrath of Anne for nothing. But there were a few teachers along the way who encouraged me as well, and I am grateful for it. So when I got to college, I was more than ready to be a total smartypants, anyway.
So there’s that. I feel like I babbled a lot, but maybe there’s an answer in there somewhere.
Until tomorrow, then.