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Saturday, May 20, 2006

That's the way this wheel keeps turning now

So I had a funny day today. One of those questions that seriously stumps you when someone asks you "How was your day?"
You have the urge to laugh in the face of such irony...you had a pretty sucky day.
But then at the same time you're still happy despite all of it. It was kind of fun.

Me and Steve were hired a week or so ago by a guy who needs to sell some gadget for kids that teaches English. Apparently it has a bunch of nifty functions, but whatever.
So the thing is, he's this arrogant, self-absorbed guy with a puerile sense of humor and thinks all his ideas are great. He has like, NO past experience, and wants to pay us, like NO money. Keeps asking us to do more and more. First he wants us to learn a Japanese pop song, play it on the guitar, and then come up with a bunch of clever ideas for skits for his little marketing seminar. So we graciously come up with a few really good ideas for him, but he, thinking he's the best and everything, waves off all our ideas saying "that's too extreme", "that's not funny". So Steve and I resign ourselves to just another one of those "let's endure this" projects.
So we have to indulge him with all these toilet humor skits that NO ONE laughed at in the end. So he puts in these absolutely DUMB skits with punchlines that would be embarassing to AD LIB much less perform along with sound effects and a running translation to make it obvious it's all preplanned. Steve and I are thinking we could be funnier just sitting up there making faces. Steve's like, "My God, I felt like such an idiot." And I consoled him by saying, "Yeah well, we knew we would."

The day before, he comes over to go over his script with us, and he gives me the once over and says, "Florence, please wear make-up."
I whip out my charm and laugh it off. "Haha, of course. Sure."
And he looks me up and down and says. "Yeah, and wear some nice clothes. Some nice feminine clothes. And yeah. Definitely wear make-up."
Me: "Uh, huh...ha ha ha...gotcha."
Him: "Yeaaaaah...so just don't come in rags or anything. Try to look clean. Yeah, Steve, could you make sure your sister wears makeup?"
Steve: "Um, yeah. Okay. Ha ha."

So we...
Sigh this is getting long.
We go to the place and Screwed-up Suzuki (that's Auntie Faith's name for him) tells us whilst he's giggling to himself that he wants us to pretend like we can't speak any Japanese just cause he wants to see his employers try to speak English to us so that he can have a secret laugh at how he's much better than them. So Steve and I try, via some very suggestive, "What is it exactly you want us to do? Lie?" Questions that go way over his stupid head. So we're like, fine. Whatever. So then he asks us to lie about our age. "Steve you're 23 and Florence you're 20." Once again, "Um, so if anybody actually asks us, you really actually want us to say that?"
Him: Snort, giggle, yeah it'll be funny!!!
Grrrreat.

So we get there and just when Steve and Suzuki go downstairs to bring up a box, a man comes down and sees me and says in Japanese, "Oh I'm sorry, it's this way."
So I have to pretend like I don't understand what he's saying. And via handmotions I make him understand that there are people downstairs bringing stuff upstairs as we speak. He finally gets it, he's very helpful, but I feel like a total INFIDEL. A total slimy sneak.

So we do the stupid little thing, and halfway through Suzuki decides to deviate from the plan and takes half an hour off (whilst about 20 or more kids are sitting there) and feed the minus 10 or so parents a bunch of intellectual stuff about English and how it's so important to learn it properly. He even draws diagrams of the brain and what part of the brain must be activated in order to properly absorb English, etc. I'm watching these ladies' smiles getting bigger and bigger; they're fascinated by how he can be SO boring and so OBLIVIOUS to it.
We get up to do some stupid skits. Just to put things in perspective for you, I have to shove Steve's head in a toilet, and I have to act like some kind of dinosaur and pounce on Steve, and I also have to get killed by an assasinating Mr. Suzuki (somehow accomplishing this with the utmost stealth, by poking a pen into my neck.)
Just when I'm feeling sick and tired of contorting my face into evil expressions, the show ends. Thank God.

Steve and I spend about half an hour talking on the stairs waiting for him. And then we move to a tiny room with boxes piled to the ceiling on all four walls, pungent with cigarette smoke. So I stress about getting lung cancer for a bit and then we talk for another while, and then we go back downstairs and get in the car and come home. Hurray. We're both wiped. Not cause we did anything strenuous or anything, just cause...

I get into thinking about the sort of people that have to do this stuff everyday: work for a boss who thinks he's the best, who doesn't know half as much about how to do your job as you do, who makes you wait around or do extra work for him above what he's paying you, where you have to work in an office piled up with boxes and heavy with cigarette smoke, drive to and from work, on the same road...
every day...
every day...

Steve said, when we were in the tiny room: "People ask you why you stay in the Family, and you have a bit of a hard time answering. Like, 'Well, to save people from sadness. To preach the Gospel.' and it goes way over their heads. But if they asked you, 'Why don't you want to be in the System?'...I think we wouldn't even have to open our mouths before they found the answer just inside their own heads."

I guess some people would find some personal satisfaction in snickering at Steve and I for this story. They can call us ignorant, sheltered Christian kids who have never known a life in the real world--a life of hardship, getting ground into the floor, surviving whilst everyone is stepping over you, stepping on you, or just stepping past you with their eyes on the ground.
I don't think I need to feel that. I have felt it, if only for a few brief moments here and there. I have felt like nothing in a big world of a thousand people. I do know what it feels like to walk down to the 7 eleven whilst holed up in an apartment in the middle of Tokyo, to get breakfast. I do know what it's like to have people mad at you for messing up--to putting effort into something that seems so futile in the big scheme of things--to toiling away all of one day, and then waking up the next morning realizing that, even if you spent a lifetime doing what you were doing...you wouldn't get anywhere. I am blessed to have these realizations that only last one moment, because they make me so thankful that there's another option. That I don't have to settle for a life where I say "from dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return" every night before I go to bed.
I'm so blessed. And days like these make me want to share this blessing with everyone else.

(Okay, Steve, so you were the one that kept urging me to post this on my blog. I don't think you intended me to wax sentimental about it. Sorry.)

18 comments:

Blogger Joan said...

Ahee, that was nicely written. I like this post very mucho..

5/21/2006 6:00 AM  
Anonymous babylove said...

Screwed up Suzuki was sure good for something...one of the most enjoyable posts in awhile!! Bravo!

5/21/2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger lils said...

but but..working can be quite fun. If it feeds and clothes you and takes you trips around the world it just becomes part of life sometimes and it doesnt become every day every day. It's just life...That's from devil's advocate pov.

5/21/2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger Florence said...

oh oh, sorry lils, i realize i gave kind of an ignorant nuance to that there.
of course working can be fun. there are tons of jobs i'd enjoy experiencing, tons of things i'd like to do. the ones with more variety to them, the ones that you gotta be kinda lucky to get, the ones that are challenging and still let you get your sleep.
i was just talking specifically about the kind of people you think about when you're driving through tokyo and you look up at all the office buildings. there are enough people slaving away behind desks, in each of those buildings to occupy a village. just...those people with those jobs, where you get into thinking about all the thousands of people under you and on top of you and wondering how many of you are going to have a legacy that outlasts a month of your death. i'm sure glad i ain't one of those people. that's the sort of life i would die trying to live.
i'd rather have something like YOUR job.

5/21/2006 10:35 PM  
Blogger lils said...

Yeah I figured it wasn't a general sweeping statement. IT's true, I look around at other ppls jobs and the PAIN of driving to and from work every day, having wretched bosses, we're very lucky to do what we do and I can certainly say we are the minority.
And you are lucky to have your job as well! FUll of variety and love.
just make sure you don't come accrss as saying the only alternative to family life is mundane jobs. It can wreak havoc ;)

5/21/2006 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

It was terrible... The worst reaction I got from a audience after doing anything. No Polite laughs even. flo you forgot to add the sound effect man was way off.

5/22/2006 12:32 AM  
Blogger Alyx said...

Hey Flo this is a really good post, you should send it in.

5/22/2006 8:48 AM  
Blogger Florence said...

um. wow.
send it in to...

this is kind of a nebulous sentence that i get a lot. nice song: "you should send it in!" nice blog post: "you should send it in!"
where does it all end? nice boyfriend: "you should send him in!!!"

where exactly is this hole in the ground that people are "sending in" their stuff?

5/22/2006 9:58 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

yea.....I think I'd laugh (really hard) at you guys making funny faces then the other thing you were doin' that you mentioned. (creeeeapy!!!)

You McNairs!!! Maaan..... you guys can make so many different faces lookin' like totally different ppl. This talent....it's....it's.... incredible!!! (neeehehe)

5/22/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger lils said...

Yeah the mcnairs are the playdough face ppl. It's amazing how many different acts they can put on lol.
When i lived with they'd congregate in the kitchen and we'd just look on as a full blown production was playing out ;)

funny story btw. Suzuki sounds fucked up :)

5/22/2006 1:50 PM  
Blogger Florence said...

hahaha. i love you lils.
not ALL of us mcnairs can make funny faces. most, i'll grant you, but that's not because we have more facial muscles than other people, it's just cause we're a little less afraid of looking ugly.

just for the record, i cannot make any cute ugly faces. only ugly ones. i seriously look ugly. like, you're laughing, you're lauging
*ugly face*
...you slowly stop laughing. that kind of embarassingly ugly face.
it must be the teeth.

5/22/2006 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a good post

5/23/2006 12:06 AM  
Anonymous mua said...

McNairs?? haha you should see the Robertsons ugly faces their pros. sniker

5/23/2006 1:35 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

but, we don't know who the Robertsons are....

5/23/2006 5:45 AM  
Blogger ditzydevil said...

haha, i luv Florences teeth.
yeah Flo, send it in. you know..IN? like..IN??

5/23/2006 9:07 PM  
Blogger lil ninars said...

EY!!!
I'm a Robertson!
who's giving uncalled-for publicity to the Robertsons?

5/24/2006 2:18 AM  
Blogger Florence said...

yo, everyone knows who the robertsons are.
they make funny faces. yo.

5/25/2006 11:58 AM  
Blogger Joan said...

okayyy, so I don't know who the roberstons are...

5/26/2006 1:50 AM  

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