Thursday, April 08, 2010

Boxed In and Beguiled By Night

I was once loved in a way that I thought no man could ever love a woman. To me he was the wrap that warmed, the anvil that stood solid, the smile that lifted my spirits. I was touched and held, excited and needed. I was respected and appreciated. I was toyed with and encouraged to ‘stretch’ my limits. I happily complied. I enjoyed it. I loved it, I needed it.

He was lost, and so began my descent into darkness the unwanted transition from happy housewife into something else altogether. I’m not sure whether the two were related whether his passing led to something dying in me but life changed.

In those heady days of wealth and prosperity I was suckered in to living beyond my means, accumulating debt, enjoying the good life but it wasn’t long before the walls caved in, the ceiling came crashing down and like a character in a fairy tale who promises to betroth the ugly or repay a debt with their first born child I was awash with the desperation of my own folly and faced a demise engineered by my own greed.

That demon on my shoulder speaks of ‘consequences’ and tells me that I must pay. I made my bed and now it’s time to perform. It’s time to lie . . roll over . . play dead or turn a trick and if necessary, to beg. Time to smile at the sullen, suck up to the powerful, take it on the chin or wherever else they choose. And so I do as I’m told no matter how demeaning the task.

Touch it, turn it, fill it, stick it, push it, bend it, get it, work it, book it, fetch it . .jump however high and sink however low . . . just do ‘it’.

Now I am accomplished in a craft not beguiled by night but one which takes place in the bold fluorescent light of day. I am humiliated, broken and practising manoeuvres that belie my character, make a mockery of my education. I endure in a profession that belittles, reduces and disempowers. A livelihood as old as the hills dominated by men and frequently borne by women.

Sometimes I work my wiles among many but more often, with one or two or maybe three. I don't discriminate between genders, race or creed. All have their way with me, all are equal in their lack of respect and demeanour. Each smile and pretend that I’m of value to them in the heat of the moment. Both are amenable when they think I have satisfaction to offer and can fulfil their needs. With me, their expectations are met often exceeded. I'm good at what I do, very good.

I don’t complain that I have a headache or it’s ‘that time of the month’ impairing my functionality. I just do as I am asked no matter how slavish that might be. The workload varies, sometimes steamy and hot, never passionate, frequently hurried and fervent, always timed and diarised. It’s largely tolerable, polite and impersonal. They come, they leave. Repeat, rinse, repeat. They share nothing of themselves other than their gaping mouths and flailing arms, their licked fingers turning the pages. They ask nothing about me. My sole purpose is to sate whatever appetite they have and send them on their corporate way smiling and satisfied. They never ask about me, who I am, what I am, they aren’t interested in my personal life or my past, what makes me tick, laugh, cry. Their only interest is in what I offer, how I can service their needs, meet their expectations, save their bacon, and offer gratification.

I have become something I’m not. Submissive and compliant. Whatever they want, they can have. I let them pull and push me, I let them argue over me. I let them dictate the terms of play, lay down the rules while I just lay down. I let them berate. I pretend I enjoy their compliments, flirting and flattery but I don’t care. I am impervious to them. They mean nothing to me. They’re soulless and needy. Demanding and cowardly, conniving and competitive.

In the end, they pay me for my efforts. It never varies and the payment is always made on time. Clean and easy, direct into my account. No emotion, no bouquets, no 'thank you’s' no interest.

Yes I have a degree. And I use it fetching coffee, sticking tabs on board paper dividers, smiling at Chairmen, complying with fools and putting up with patronisation from princesses. I work in a job I dislike but it pays the bills. Prostitution of the worst kind. All the ‘fun’ of wifely duties and none of the benefits! Time to start thinking outside the box!

This is a joint entry in Tenth Daughter of Memory and Theme Thursday thingies so pop along to both if you have time and check out how they're taking on, "Beguiled by Night" and "Box"

I've been a bit quiet on the ether recently thanks to delightful and very persistent young man who has been badgering me daily to have a bash at something creative. He nags worse than any woman I know! Don't worry, I'm not making a habit of it. This after all a personal blog but in the absence of my inner muse, I've stolen him as a fill-in for a while!

Ironically I arrived in my soulless little corner this morning and was given two pleasant surprises - I'll receive a back-dated partial higher duties allowance as PA to the MD and and also an email from the
Chairman of the Board telling me that I'm an "Angel" Thank God they don't read the blog!


Anonymous said...

This is brilliance. I rode the waves emotion here, with you, toes clinging to my inner surf board.

May you find your wings, soon- but always know, your words are uncaged creatures. They sing and fly here, far above the servitude of the job below.

JeffScape said...

Yay! I love the demon paragraph. It's gold.

I knew you could write. It's about time you joined us. ;)

Tom said...

saucy! and who is this badger--as if i didn't know. Helen you are a gem in our little blogger world. Now, about that box of paper clips...

Brian Miller said...

brilliance is the right word...glad you joined 10 DOM as well...and of course the young muse in a box...smiles.

e said...

Wonderful writing, Baino! He's been nagging me a bit, too!

Rowe said...

You are an angel to continue doing what you do in the manner you graciously do it, Helen. I imagine the devil may wish to have her own sweet way from time to time ... and nothing wrong with that, is there?

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

The truth! You only speak the truth and with such eloquence too! BRAVO!

My favorite line 'cause I work with some serious PRINCESSES: "putting up with patronisation from princesses."

GAH...I hate that!

Roy said...

Congratulations on the recognition for your work! Do you think maybe it's because now that the evil bitch is gone they can actually "see" you?

Interesting take on the themes!

Unknown said...


PattiKen said...

There are so many excellent lines here. Really nice job.

And on your behalf, I really wanted to say, "Get your own damn coffee!"

Janice said...

I am almost wordless. I had to read your post several time in order to digest it. I will need to think about it more, but a few thoughts come to mind.

Prostitution comes in many forms, doesn't it? I, unfortunately, know this one very personally. I am thinking, specifically, how it is possible to just lose who I am in order to be with a particular HIM. I think I am over that now, but I struggled.

And, life has its challenges, twists, and turns. It is a curvy road with a potential crash just around the corner. I am just trying to avoid going into the ditch. So far,so good.

Everything you wrote felt so true to me.

Kath Lockett said...

Oh...yes..... I was there in my last job.

For the morons you serve to NOT want to get to know you, they must have dogshit for brains. Their loss, not yours.

It's just the stage in your life where you do what you have to in order to pay the bills. It doesn't *define* you, but the peckerheads you work for think that their jobs *do* define them. Poor fools!

Oh, you've gotta check out my word verification: Copshat !!

RLM Cooper said...

Baino - you never fail to entertain. I'm always glad when I visit your blog. "Prostitution of the worst kind." Nice line - and so true in so many situations.

Ronda Laveen said...

Doing work one doesn't like does make life seem soulless at times. This piece is wonderful. When people speak about writing what you know, this is what they mean. Great work.

Unknown said...

Well, the sad thing is that when I found a "not that bad" girl who I could ... hmmm you know what I mean but I am not talking about sex sex but I hate that word ... I couldn't show much more emotions that usually.

Well, I met my brother's friend who haven't seen me for 2 years and he told me I have quite torn face. So do not overwork! At least in such a nice weather I can ride my bicycle.

Julie said...

I smiled all the way through this, Helen. So good to be able to sustain the analogy for so long and so artfully.

I bow to your immense ability.

Babysis said...

Good to have you back.....I was starting to get bored without you!

Ho hum....welcome to my world...imagine the perma-grins I have to put on day in and day out with the patients....lucky I'm a cheerful thing!

Today I shredded....all afternoon...wacka do!

nick said...

Even if it's an analogy, I find that really sad, that you're doing such a totally unsatisfying job just to get the necessary bucks. Though it's still a hell of a lot better than any form of true prostitution which is utterly degrading. Perhaps you really should try something creative as a long-term alternative, you're obviously a good writer.

i beati said...

your life could very well papallel mine except I need work so very badly ..detest this time of year.. no employment anywhere. but the blooms help defray that cheers

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on all levels - your wonderful writing ability, your back-dated allowance albeit partial, but hey!... and your recognition at work. You are an angel, particularly putting up with that dreadful woman in the workplace as long as you did.Bravo Baino!!

Bimbimbie said...

Well thank goodness you allowed yourself to get nagged into something creative ... there's no way you can get away saying you don't have a creative bone in your body ... liar, liar, pants on fire!!

You just had me tearing up and then pulling them back in and grinning broadly at what awaited you in your cubicle ... I trust you have checked that the man in the chair hasn't got a Victoria Secrets sexy number lined up for you to wear next time your handing coffee around in the board room?

tony said...

Boxes Have Many Tight Corners.

laughingwolf said...

nicely done, baino...

'don't let the bastards grind you down!'

mouse (aka kimy) said...

what a brave, heartfelt, brilliant piece. your opening paragraph simply took my breath away and even know i knew what was to come - second paragraph - a breathless me then had my heart broken with empathy for your own broken heart.

the invisibility you speak of in your work in the corporate world - by working for 'the man' (even if the man is a woman) that is the friggin' by-product of the greedy-patriarchal system the reigns supreme in modern society, n'est-ce pas??

thank goodness you have creative outlets for the feelings which the by-product of the by-product and that the love of your life left behind a woman with a heart as big as the whole of your beautiful country and children which are as amazing as their amazing mum!!

thanks baino for a brilliant and moving piece. hugs.

laughingwolf said...

pete seeger doing malvina reynolds' song:

Dreamhaven said...

Your muse rules. Happy TT

Anonymous said...

Feck! And I thought 'twas just me!

tori said...

this is wonderful and I think you SHOULD make a habit of it! :)
more! please!

Baino said...

Thanks Titanium but I doubt I'll be a 'regular' your comment was pretty creative too!

Haven't joined yet you nag!

Tom - paperclips! Don't get me started on paper clips but if you unwind them they make good toothpicks until they hit an amalgum filling.

Brian I probably won't play every week but it was rather fun

He does that e, very persuasive

I make it sound much worse than it is Rowe, it's a job, it's well paid and tolerable. I just wonder where I went wrong to end up in Admin instead of something more exciting.

Well it can be very demeaning Jill as you know. Fortunately the Troll Bitch's departure has made life bearable and the princesses are few.

Could be Roy, had no problems with anyone other than her and now she's 'history'

Nah a long way from brilliant Dragonfly but fun trying

Don't think too hard Janice. There's a lot of creative license in there although I did have to book an 'eyebrow trim' for my boss yesterday and some of my counterparts have done worse for their bosses even covering for mistresses with the wife!

Yeh I know Kath. That's one really weird thing about where I work, people are just not interested in anyone outside their work persona. Very strange.

Well Angel, I'm always very pleased to see you visit!

Yeh well I 'guilded' the lily a bit Ronda but it's not a satisfying job. I just go, do it and then come home.

Poor Ropi, you don't have a 'torn' face and you'll find a 'not that bad' woman soon enough.

Hi Julie, welcome over. I had a little help from Mr Persuasive.

Hey Lou. Sorry, just been busy and uninspired so realised I hadn't even written anything since last Thursday! I like shredding, I pretend it's not paper if you get my drift.

Absolutely Nick, it's a choice. I get paid well and need the money. I'm lucky to have a job at all at my age frankly. But no, there are many more creative than I who do a better job.

So sorry to hear it Beati, it is very difficult. What about a dog grooming business?

Well necessity is the mother of invention Pam. I had to put up with her but she's long gone and I don't feel quite so ill going into work any more.

I used to be Bimbimbie, I think it helps if you can feed off others as well. Creativity is catching!

Indeed Tony, need to rough my box up a bit. It would be more tolerable if I could stay in one place for a while and put up my pictures.

Nah, not me Wuffa, I'm made of stronger stuff!

Haha! Second Paragraph *snort* Thanks Kim. Do remember it's a creative piece. Poor kj had a caniption she thought I was really in the heart of darkness!

For now Dreamhaven! For now! I think he'll get bored eventually.

Unstranger it helps to write about experience I guess even if it is exggerated

We'll see Tori. We'll see.

Thanks everyone and especially Jeff. I wouldn't have done it without his confidence in my ability and his encouragement.

California Girl said...

Oh Baino, you've poured out your feelings in worthy writing and everyone is responding to it; me too. I am thrilled by your prose and I empathize your plight. It makes me happy to find you did receive recognition from work today. Some never do. They just have to move on.

Lovely piece m'lady. xo

Dot-Com said...

Powerful interpretation of the theme this week. Gosh, if anyone has a thing with words, it's you. Happy Theme Thursday!

North County Film Club said...

All I can say is!!!. I hear ya !!!

marina said...

I enjoyed reading your post! Very nice!

Anonymous said...

That was a bit unexpected - and good.

Dakota Bear said...

Great stuff! There is nothing like a meaningless job. It does sap the spirit out of one.

Vagabonde said...

I don't think my comment came over, sorry if it is a duplicate, here it is again:
The problem I find with English not being my first language is that I cannot tell when a person is joking or not. My family and friends tell me all kind of stuff and I always believe it, then they say “it was a joke.” So I read your post carefully to see if you were doing a writing exercise but I could not tell. It was when I read the comments that I realized you were “telling it like it is.” This made me realize that corporations are the same the world over – peopled by the same robots but mostly by sarcastic ignoramus. This was a great piece.

Mim said...

I left an awesome comment this morning but it seems to have disappeared.

The gist was - awesome writing - brought me to tears in a way

River said...

We do what we must....

Unknown said...

This is superb, gritty and evocative writing, Baino. I'm sure I've said more than once before that you can write. Now, think beyond the box, think laterally, flex those creative muscles, write from the heart and oh, just do it - you can, you've just proved it! Kudos!

Subby said...

Well done luv! I too know the low sinking one has to do to stay afloat ( no pun intended )...

Mrsupole said...

I know that this is just a stop gap for something greater and it will come Hopefully soon, they will discover who you really are and all of your true capabilities and then you will be off to somewhere else. Keep those doors open and keep looking. It is out there. You will find it and it will find you. The fit will be amazing. Have faith woman.

God bless.

Grannymar said...

You managed to outlive the B*tch from Hell, a little more time and the tide will turn in your favour!

Hang in there.

Unspoken said...

"To me he was the wrap that warmed"

I loved this and enjoyed the twisted way you took us down another path!

lettuce said...

such a way with words Baino
nice to have some recognition at work
but i'm glad you're finding scope for your gift and creativity too outside the box

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

fancy style,
tasty and enjoyable!
you rock!