Third day in a row blabberblogging at a cafe in the general vicinity of the middle school on the eastern edge of downtown. The weather’s beautiful and it just feels wrong to be at home when I should be out at a job somewhere. This is a recent and fairly sudden shift. All of a sudden I am wanting for a strategy, because these calls from recruiters with nearly impenetrable Indian accents don’t feel like they’re actually going to go anywhere. I feel as though my name has fallen into a database owned by some second- or third-tier talent firm and that just isn’t good enough.
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That was all I had to say. Now I’m home, no longer at a cafe, getting thoroughly sick of phone calls. Beginning to decide that any recruiter who calls rather than sends an email is worthless. Especially when I can barely understand what they say. Is it racist to have a hard time with some impenetrable accent? No, it isn’t, though a scam artist tried to manipulate me into such a position yesterday. I said he didn’t sound like Microsoft technical support and he started to argue with me. I stuck to my guns, though, that he was being unprofessional. I never said a word about accent but that’s what he was fishing for. Clearly I was in whatever state we are in when we give time enough for that
It’s depressing. Monster sends word of contract engineering jobs in Sacramento. Five came up today. Four of them are in software, and the fifth clearly at the company I can’t go to. (And wouldn’t want to. I was there for years and years and never wanted to be a Verification Engineer and there’s no way I’m going to suddenly apply to do that as a temp.) I don’t think software, for all its popularity, is a great gig either. You spend your entire time on your ass coding or in meetings, and from what I know the contract jobs are sweatshop positions with impossible deadlines that eat up your life. At least in hardware and board designs the work is sometimes visually appealing.
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Speaking of the annoyance of phone calls, an old old friend gave a rare comment and then sent a PM. The PM was nothing but some anti-Trump article. I wrote back to ask how he was. He said fine and asked for my number and a good time to call. I know the problem is me, but that effectively killed the conversation.
Which is weird and anti-social of me. He lives in Puerto Rico. We roomed together in the 1980s. It was because of his outgoing nature that I met my wife.
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Do you ever wish you could go back to before some event or other and start over? After a couple three years of marriage I understood that we should have broken up after our first year of dating. We didn’t because a) I have a strong loyalty / longevity-of-relationship strain that probably grew, like the hard wood on the lee side of a tree, when I was a child and my brother died and my father moved away and my mother busied herself with 1960s dating and 1970s self-empowerment and b) she was convinced we belonged together and I held her opinion in higher esteem than my own and c) I was at that age (~30) when the nesting instinct overpowers all reason. When Jose picked up on her and then I went out with her (breaking the bros before hos rule but there ya go) she was perfect for what I needed at the time. I cheated on her a year later though and when that went sour took the wrong lesson, i.e. that going back to her after cheating meant we were meant for each other rather than that cheating on her in the first place meant we were not. Still we had two incredibly wonderful children and lived a mostly happy married life of twenty-two years, marred only by the inescapable leakage from somewhere deep inside us both that we knew we wouldn’t last. It sprang from different sources. In me, that I was unsatisfied and Just Knew that the woman I was meant for was still out there mixed with a lack of any real conviction for the permanence of marriage, and in her from picking up clues that I had no idea I was revealing.
That’s one interpretation. There can be many others.
So, if I could design a trip back in time, what would I change? Thing is, if I retain memory of the life I’ve lived, then a trip back would be such an incredible experience that questions of specific relationships would not be the most interesting aspects; whereas if I did not, everything would go the same way. The thing is to go back with just a few snippets of wisdom somehow implanted, and I don’t know how to do that. The important thing is that it could form the basis for an interesting story.
When I was younger and even less mature I frequently daydreamed about a magical trip back in time so I could fix or change things. I don’t do that anymore. But I used to and pretty soon they turned into ruminations on the possibilities in fiction, since sometimes writing fiction seems like the only way to live out a fantasy. In these cases, the stories would inevitably turn into moral lessons on the futility of second chances. My favorite second-chance story idea is actually still kind of creepy-cool. I should use it for a writing exercise.
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Up above when “That was all I had to say,” I had found myself sitting at a table at Weatherstone falling into negative spaces I had no business writing about, across from an impossibly adorable blonde about my own age whom I chatted with briefly, and I just couldn’t come up with any blog-worthy ramblation. Instead I sat there distracted by Facebook and my job-search and pondering the for-me eternal question of how people meet each other. I met a woman at a cafe in Austin, TX, once, and took her to dinner that night (nothing else), and my sweetheart back home was fine with it (of course, or I wouldn’t have). But that as it turned out was an exceedingly rare sort of occurrence. People like me need a lot of small things to line up fairly perfectly for that to happen. I still have, and probably always will have, a strong reluctance to break my perception of the social contract whereby a woman, especially an attractive one who therefore gets lots of unsolicited attention, shall get no unsolicited attention from me. Even after all these years, my instincts tell me they have had enough of that shit and don’t want any of mine. It’s too bad because I know it isn’t true. But I only know it academically. I’m shy, you know. It’s a terminal condition. And anyway, she was with a dude; albeit a dude twenty or thirty years her junior who was probably in no way a social obstacle. Doesn’t matter.
These are the random moments with which I add up my days.
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Friend of mine works for GoPro, which from the outside looks like an enormously successful manufacturer of products everyone wants and uses, but is really a sweatshop. Of course it is, there’s no other way to succeed. So I look at the highly attractive wording in an electronics design job at Fitbit, and think, uh huh, it’s all right here: “You will work on system- and circuit-level modeling, PCB design and layout, hardware bringup, and embedded FW development to rapidly build successful prototypes.” That looks like a whole lot of fun, and includes skills I either have, or that I would have if I had spent my time in smaller companies doing what I wanted rather than fitting in to the pigeonholes of a huge corporation. But there’s this one alarming yet absolutely necessary word: rapidly. This tells us that their campus of “modern buildings located at the heart of SOMA” is pretty much home for the energetic young visionaries who work there late into the night with just enough time for a shower and a nap in their shared artist loft in the Mission before they head back for work. No place for an old guy with a house up in another metropolitan area.
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You ever write a bunch of stuff and then forget all about it until the next day? Publishing whatever this is now.