A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ODE TO THE 80'S

I work with lots of young people, hey, who's kidding who, I quit drinking in 1983 and most of the people I work with weren't even born yet.  It's kind of hard to follow them sometimes, they have all these texting shortcuts and outside of LOL I don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Many people come from a retail background, Best Buy, Staples, etc and often tell stories about life in those organizations; how managers managed, working times etc.

So the other day I started talking about when I worked in 'retail', for ComputerLand in Dallas, well, Carrolton actually,  back in the mid 1980's.  And, as most of my imaginary readers know, once I get started I just start rolling.

Life in the 1980's was seriously different.  I pointed out to my coworkers that if I was on the floor I always knew when it was noon because I could here the beer cans popping open in the back area.  Which was great because by 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I took all the walk in traffic because the others were too sloshed and stoned.  I was stoned too, but you could never tell when I was stoned.

I spent the entire decade stoned.  Not bragging, just thought in the spirit of fairness you should know that.

Lunches were often at restaurants with bars and took several hours on many occasions.  I usually drove back, since I was sober and mostly never paid for my lunch since the bar bill always exceeded the food bill by a multiplier so I made sure everyone got back to the office, or to home if necessary.

Sexual harassment consisted of, well, I guess it would have to be actually physically rubbing someone up because first of all, no one heard of sexual harassment and in Dallas the women usually dressed to the 9's and didn't mind when red blooded heterosexual men acknowledged they looked hot today.

What is 'dressed to the 9's' anyways, why not dressed to the 8's or dressed to the 10's?  I'll have to look that up later.

And, there was a lot of coke, and I'm not talking about New Coke or Coke Classic, but the powdery stuff.  Me, never did it, well, once in college and once after college but I really didn't like the stuff, weed was good, but coke was evilish so I stayed far from it.  I remember one salesrep always did a couple of lines because it made him 'sharp' and I asked if he went to the doc or dentist and the doc did a couple of lines before cutting him open if that 'feeling sharp' thing would sound so smart.  He didn't like me much and was later shot and killed in a restaurant in Dallas in the late 1980's.

But he did have a nice car.  Fully loaded BMW 3 Series, cost him 18k.

Now pull yourself back off the floor and into the chair, because that is another thing about the 1980's.  Thirty thousand a year and you lived well.  One bedroom apartments, nice cool singles places, were under 500 a month so one of those every other week paychecks didn't just pay the rent and the other check covered car payments, credit card payments, utilities, and you had 1/2 a check left over each check.  Health care?  No worries, companies paid 100%

The adage back in the 70's and 80's was make your age to have a good life.  Now you have to make at least twice your age which would be okay except wages haven't doubled,  just the prices of daily living.

And these were the years before cellphones, texts, voicemail, and all those other things that really don't make our life easier but make us more and more droned to our jobs.  I mean you could learn Lotus 123, WordStar, and DBase III and be a seriously always employed computer geek and have time to read novels, take art classes, cook meals with non GMO foods, and have a life.

There were no HR Departments that ran companies, some had personnel that dotted the i's and crossed the t's once you were hired.  Workplace rules were 'don't be an ass' and that about covered it.  Bosses and employees played together afterwork, volleyball, basketball, softball teams, and bars. Hell, I had one boss that when he decided to leave early would ask if Uncle Joe was around, his term for pot, and take me out of work to go to my apartment to catch a buzz before he went home - meanwhile I had to go back to work stoned to the gills and then a week or so later he'd warn everyone about not coming to work stoned.

Always made me giggle, though that might have been the weed.

And, as long as you were not living in the rust belt, the economy was booming.  Taxes were low and jobs were plentiful.  You could quit a job, take a month off, start looking for work and be employed again in 30 days.  Just walk around and knock on businesses with your printed resume and 1/2 the time the owner would look it over, say nah or come on back to my office and talk.  Or get the paper, back in the 1980's, the Sunday papers in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver and other places had three or four full sections of nothing but jobs.

Music was better too, the musicians were strange looking, but it was still some good music. I remember having a debate whether you'd want your kid to idolize Arnold or Boy George and the girl said Boy George.  I wonder if she had kids; frankly I wouldn't want a kid to idolize either of them.

Okay, it wasn't all roses.  A computer cost 6 - 8k but then, no one really wanted them at home.  VCR's and fax machines were all the rage alone with answering machines.  And AIDS was booming, well, not really booming but boomed enough, okay, too much.

Time moves on and things do change.  Lots of things are better about the world today, I guess if I used twitter with that 150 word limit I could list them there, but not going to waste 1/2 a paragraph in a blog. But with all the better thing we have today, we lost something in the process.  And old geezers like me, it's not that we don't like the improvements, it's just that we miss what was lost.

Nothing stays the same, no matter how many times you see it in life, it's still tough.  I recently was promoted and just finished the training period.  Next week I have a new job title, a new manager, and a new team.  I really got on with my now old manager, he understood how to adapt to each employee and fit his style to what they needed.  And I fit with the team, which truth be told isn't something I always do.  So it's a pretty big adaptation ahead, figuring out how to work with a new team, a new manager and starting over with a new job.  It's all good, it's an improvement, but, well, it would be nice if sometimes things just stayed the same for awhile so we all could have a chance to breathe.

Yea, I know, I'm getting old.  Enough for tonite, going to take my Geritol and drink a glass of water with some powdered fiber and go to bed.

Winding your way down on Baker Street
Light in your head and dead on your feet
Well another crazy day, you'll drink the night away
and forget about everything

This city desert makes you feel so cold
It's got so many people but it's got no soul
And it's taken you so long to find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything

You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're tryin', you're tryin' now
Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy
But you're cryin', you're cryin' now


Gerry Rafferty