To Live and Die In New York

So, I was at my desk at work and some saliva went down the wrong way. Now, you know when that happens, it’s horrible. Not terrifying, because you know that you’re not going to choke to death. But for a few seconds, breathing is almost impossible and you end up making these wild noises as you try to suck air into your lungs.

My co-workers saw me in distress and asked if I was all right. I couldn’t speak so I gave them hand gestures to indicate that I was okay and they should go on about their business.

My co-workers are off-the-charts insane (all women, by the way). A lot of zany, wacky, sometimes juvenile stuff happens. Well, at this point in my story, one of them decided to feign serious concern and came up behind me to do the Heimlich maneuver, practically lifting me out of my seat (she DID lift my boobs up to my chin). Then she blew in my face, patted my back, and fanned me. I was helpless to do anything but laugh.

Afterward, she said that she didn’t want me to die at my desk. I told her that was probably going to happen anyway. And that got me thinking.

April will mark my 5th anniversary at my job. This job was supposed to be temporary, something to pay my bills until something better came along. And here I am, 5 years later, still sending out resumes, trying to make contacts, struggling to build my credentials into something that will be attractive to prospective employers.

It’s frustrating for so many reasons, but it’s particularly hard when I see people with jobs that I would kill to have and I ask them how they got their job and they tell me, “Oh, I got lucky. I met so-and-so at an event and she told me about this position.” Or they give me the old “I was in the right place at the right time” thing.

There’s a person who I used to work with who was the only one not laid off in a massive downsizing. We were a very small staff of editors editing and writing 4 travel magazines per month. They outsourced all our jobs to India and kept on this one person as a staff writer. She was the least experienced (and by that, I mean NO experience), was the last one hired (in fact, I interviewed her), and had a difficult time with the work. So, what is she doing now? She gets to travel around the world (like Africa and Australia), stay in some the finest 4- and 5-star hotels, do things that the average person doesn’t get to do (like go on safaris and ride elephants), then gets to write about it all and get paid for it.

It makes me want to put my fist through the wall.

This applies to writing as well. There’s one author who told me that she pitched an idea for a book to a publisher who, simultaneously, just happened to be looking for such a book to publish (we write in the same nonfiction genre). Of course, she got a contract, has put out 5 books in the last 3 years, and is now being represented by one of the biggest literary agents in the country. Really? I didn’t know that serendipity like that really existed. Consequently, I hate her. She makes me seethe. I have no real reason to hate her. She’s never done anything wrong to me. But she has what I want and, by her own admission, didn’t work very hard to get it. I’m not saying that she doesn’t work hard to keep it, but I still hate her.

In fact, I hate them both. It’s completely unreasonable and irrational, but that’s how I feel. And it pisses me off that I feel that way because I always try to rise above my emotions and act logically. But in this situation, I am failing miserably.

The only solace I take is that I’ve made some very good friends at my current job. A few of them will always live in my heart, no matter where we end up. This is why I’m always talking about the idea of whether or not things happen for a reason (I talked about this on my own blog as well HERE). Getting laid off from that other job was really a blessing in disguise because it was making me sick, literally. I was actually relieved when my boss gave me the news. And maybe the relationships that I’ve formed in my current job is the reason I was brought there. I don’t know.

And if I really do die at my desk, I know I can count on my co-workers to put some flowers on my head.


  1. It is so embarrassing when saliva goes down wrong. One minute everything is OK, the next, you feel like this is how it ends LOL! All because of some wayward saliva.

    I really enjoyed this blog, though. Everything happens for a reason. We might not know what that reason is in the beginning, but sooner or later, the answer comes to us. I completely understand the feelings when someone who is unqualified gets what you deserve. It’s maddening, frustrating, annoying, a lot of “ing” words 🙂

    It’s good to hear that you have such a fun and zany cast of characters to spend your work days with. They make it fun and, in some cases, easier.


  2. Well I think at some point we all are where you are right now….I am 47 today and when I look back at my life I think of how uninspiring it is..never been far from home, never been on an airplane while it was in flight..I was on an airplane in grade school on a class trip and it just sat on the tarmac. I didn’t accomplish my dream to be a veternarian, the one I had my entire childhood..I did go to college, have a Degree in Science and half a degree in arts..took the entrance exam, had two interviews but never got into Vet School…worked for 20 years in a vet clinic and there I learned I wouldn’t have liked being a vet anyway…they had a tough job dealing with the public and feeling they were charging people too much money to care for their pets, when in reality it was their job and everyone is enitled to get paid for it..but somehow people think it’s like paying to have your child medically taken care of…yeah I am a Canadian and here in Canada we can go the doctors and have most of our medically needs taken care of without paying out of our pockets..people seem to forget pretty quickly where all our tax dollars go and since they never see a doctor’s bill they’re jaded into thinking the vets who take care of their pets are ROBBING them….
    Anyway I think it worked out somehow that I would have been miserable to not be a vet….now I am what you would call a retired woman or in some circles a KEPT WIFE..I don’t work because it’s almost impossible to get a job where Iive now unless I want to work for minimum wage and never see my wife..which would mean we’d pay more taxes..likely exactly how much I would get paid…so what’s the point???
    So back to where is the inspiring things I have done….well while I worked at the animal hospital I took on many orphans; baby birds and kittens. I have singlehandedly raised over 200 kittens that may not have had a chance if I had not handraised them with a bottle when they were abandoned or orphaned. I saw many a bird be released back into the wild and a kitten get a great forever deeds touched many lives.
    The vet I use to work for, once said ‘If heaven does exist, you will most definitely be there when you die, because a person like you who saves the innocents always gets a place in heaven.’
    I can look back today and see what he meant…and if I never get on plane or see all the exotic places I only dream about…I can say I did do something noteworthy.

    This year I also embarked on realizing another dream I have had for years now, I have started to write…will I be an author who people want to read my books?? not sure, will I write a bestseller?…hard to say. Will I even be published?…again who is to say? But I will have touched many lives in my lifetime and even if one person reads my stories I would have done it for a reason….we all have a purpose in life’s grand scheme of things, what it is and not will only be revealed when we’re ready to learn.

    Sorry to ramble on like this….but what I was so long-windedly(not sure if that’s a is now) trying to say is that you have already did great things and have touched and been touched by many people in your lifetime..what you do with the rest of it…will only making you a better person


  3. The best-laid plans…

    or however that saying goes. I don’t know many people today who are doing EXACTLY what they wanted and making EXACTLY the amount of money they dreamed of and living EXACTLY how they thought they’d be years ago. I tend to try to stay open to opportunity, so when it presents itself, I’m in a good position to jump on it if I think it’s a good fit. I sort of have amorphous plans, but I learned a long time ago that things often never work out the way you’d like. So I decided to be open to possibility and to find happiness within and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.

    And Ronda, maybe your first plane trip should be to the Golden Crown Literary Society conference, held each summer. This year, it’s in New Orleans!


    • Wow that would be a dream come true..maybe something to plan for another year though..this year it’s the same time as our Pride Week Dance and my wife and I are planning to go stay a few days in a hotel and pretend we don’t have 6 furbabies at home and next winter my wife has promised to send me to Florida for a month to get away from all this cold and snow(so I’ll be taking a plane then)…know when the GCLS will be closer to the North Eastern States??


  4. Have you read Bird by Bird? I stopped feeling so guilty about my jealousy once I realized it’s pretty universal among writers. (Didn’t say I got over my jealousy!) I got my present job as a temp. I never would have been hired based on my resume or my age, frankly. Life can be weird that way. I hope things work out. If you like the people you work with, heck, that’s 90 percent of it, really.


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