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Call Center Purgatory
Saturday, April 15, 2006
  Anonymous Cog Finds Love Part VI

(click the link above to start from part one)
Things continued on with me and Amy for about six months before things soured. I believe the majority of the blame was my fault. I'm not proud of the young man that I was. I was a horny jerk who did not appreciate her kindness. Fortunately, we never had sex. Somewhere between my own moral upbringing and a consummate fear of getting her knocked up kept me from going too far.

I remember my dad warning me that he wasn't sure she was the right girl for me and that I needed to be careful to not get too physical. Dad was really wise about this because just telling me not to see her would not have worked, instead he approached it like I was another man about to make a mistake that he wanted to warn me about. When he said that I had this eyes-wide-open daymare of her pregnant, us living in a lousy mobile home with dirty faced kids running around our feet and me working at Radio Shack to bring home barely enough to live on. Meals of Kraft macaroni and cheese placed on a dirty particle-board table and her looking more haggard every day. I saw her becoming less and less kind and more unattractive every day, and my plans for a good life ebbing away. I don't know where the vision came from but I shuddered and re-thought my plans for carnal pleasure.

The other thing that may have caused me to break up with her was that I didn't respect her. She allowed me to be rude, she always did what I wanted to do, and she never spoke up for herself. She was kind of a doormat, just so she could have a boyfriend. She was actually as desperate to have love as I had been.

I discovered we were such different people. I loved books, writing, and programming computers. She was just a teenage girl who loved to gossip on the phone, buy new clothes and listen to top 40. When we weren't making out or on a date, just talking, I had this feeling we weren't on the same page. She didn't like to talk about anything particularly deep, or understand that much.

Before I broke up with Amy, I had become the equivalent of a married man. What I mean by that is that other girls flirted with me because either they thought I was safe and wouldn't respond, or because they were interested. I started wondering if the grass would be better on the other side of the fence. I remember one of the girls I used to eat lunch with called me one night, and we had a conversation that made up my mind for me. I trusted Sonya because she had always been straight with me and turned me down as a boyfriend the year before, but stayed a real friend.
"Hey Sonya, What's up?"
"So, you and Amy are pretty serious I hear."
"Well, we're going steady, but nothing more than that."
"that's not what I hear."
"Oh...Go on."
"Amy and her mom have plans for you. Big plans."
"What do you mean?"
"Marriage, dummy! She's telling other girls that you're in the bag. That her and her mom are talking about how you guys will get married after you graduate!" I said bye, and hung up the phone numbly. There was a re-run of my daymare, then I knew what I had to do.

The next day I told her I didn't want to want to go with her anymore, I didn't have any good reasons. I told her we would still be friends. She cried, and I felt about two inches tall. Of course, after this all of the girls that had flirted and acted so friendly all became cold and irritable. They had all circled the wagons, and I was the lone Indian in their sights. It was a rough couple of months until summer break.

More after Easter...
Thanks for reading,


Click here to read part VII

Anonymous Cog

I've just discovered your writing and very much enjoy reading it. Your description of your fondness for roundy women - women in general, actually - made me feel just wonderful and I had to thank you and to say 'amen' to what Spring and Brownie wrote.

On (is it another site? I'm new to all of this) you were talking about poverty and what the Jewish and the Christian Bibles have to contribute. I just want to quickly point out that the biblical use of the word for poor (Mercy, I can remember how to say it but not spell it in English) anyway the word doesn't mean lacking in material goods - that word is usually translated 'poverty' as in "poverty is the ruin of the poor" Nope. Poor means unpretentious. And the question of Christian response. Well, it's pretty clear: Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty. Pay righteous wages, encourage others to do the same.

But gosh, you know? I've been a Chaplain in the streets of a major city since forever and I have yet to see someone who is naked, or actually hungry or actually thirsty. Saw a *lot* of that in Asia and Africa. But not in the US.

The other issue is the issue of co-dependency. Church folk run to co-dependency, which makes outreach about meeting their emotional needs without negotiating1 the deal with the recipient/victim: Here, I'll give you a voucher if you make me feel good about myself...

So next off, if we are to believe the Bible and our own eyes, folks with an excess are pretty blind to the well-being of others (except Bill Gates). I shudder to think that we would leave the well-being of our workers in the wretched hands of the wealthy and the incorporated. No. The workers need to unify. There is not a single corporate entity in existence that can have value without its workers. And yet workers can do without capital - our labour is our capital and it is the capitalists' capital as well. We just need to unify in our quest for safety, salary, and salud (health).

Our Constitution's preamble, laying out its very premises, said tha all humans are created equal. Yet if you promote that, folks say you're a communist, not a patriot (Pete Seeger).

Thank you for you paen to women! Yum.
"Poor" in biblical usage doesn't mean material lack.
A handout is not a hand up.
There's nothing wrong with capitalism unless 'market forces' are turned loose on human need; when medicine, food, shelter, elementary education are traded as commodities - then it becomes exploitation.
Workers should learn to unite and stay united, and quit believing that they are "Management Trainees"

Mercy, long 'comment'! Thanks for writing. Thanks for reading.
Ciao - Susan
Thanks for the great comment and the insightful thoughts about the poor. You are either in or from Seattle-love that town-its a gem of America.

I am indeed both in and from Seattle (4th generation). Been three times around the world (I'm 62) and always wind up in Seattle. What with one thing and another I'm tied down by my nose which is connected to oxygen. The rest of me is equally entangled with devices.

We do not tell people that Seattle is wonderful. We talk about gray skies and endless rain and high suicide rate and it's really awful. Mostly aimed at SoCal types: "Keep Washington clean, don't Californicate it."

The problem with such a negative campaign is that only the righteous take it to heart. The other yayhoos can't believe you wouldn't want them as a neighbor.

So. Well. I guess since we didn't create it we don't 'own' it. We'll join with the Duamish and the Lummi and the Muckleshoot and try to repent of having been so obnoxious ourselves.

Ciao! Susan
My wife and I spent about four days in Seattle with rain only one day and a clear view of Olympia and a beautiful sunset enjoyed over the most expensive meal I have ever bought at Jack's Boathouse(I think that's the place) looking over the Puget Sound. I had a wonderful time in Pike's Market too. But don't worry, your secret's safe with me.

I assume you don't mind people from the Midwest coming in. We're polite, not too noisy, and don't want to make yuppie laws like some Californians.

We adore people from the midwest, for all of their virtues as you have expressed.

mmmm. By the price, that was probably Anthony's Boathouse. It's been a long time since I've been to any of our restaurants. A number of years ago there was a lawyer man who adored me for my red hair and long legs (days when I could still walk). He took me to high-dollar restaurants and bought me flowers. I did not know he was courting my silly self (I'm married but don't wear a ring). We laugh about it now and are fast friends, but he doesn't take me to high dollar restaurants or buy me flowers anymore.

I am the Chaplain in the Pike Place Public Market and live in a high rise just two blocks south, opposite the Art Museum.

Now here is some great comment from a labavitch chabad Rabbi.

"A tyrant can steal everything from you but your knowledge of who you are. That only you can give away.

"When someone else imprisons or enslaves you, you still know who you are -- even if you are prevented from expressing it.

"When you make your goal in life to be someone you are not, or to be part of a people that are not your own, that is the ultimate surrender. There is no greater captivity, for your essence and being have been locked away in a dark cell.

"It is an oppression of the worst sort, but also the easiest to escape. After all, you admitted yourself into this place. So who is preventing you from signing out?"

There. Now. Quit side tracking and get on with the love story! I quite adore what you're writing and it's now after Easter so tell us about those rough couple of months and the summer break.

p.s. have you ever read "Penrod", "Penrod and Sam", or "Seventeen" by Booth Tarkington? It's set in the midwest circa 1910 and, typical of Tarkington, half cynical and half comical. It's an account of being seventeen years old and of the male pursuasion. Tarkington had a real gift for character, wrote a lot between 1902 and the 1930's. Wrote 9 bestsellers, got a Pulitzer prize. Rep to Congress from Indiana once and hated it.
Anthony's Boathouse! That's it! The ambience, the dessert and the coffee were worth it and the food wasn't that hot. We had better food in a little greek place in Kirkland called George's, but I still adored all of Seattle.

Back to Pike's Place. I remember at eating wonderful soup at a little hole in the wall with some sourdough bread and buying a George Orwell bumpersticker at a little shop there,
"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

No Sue, I haven't read any Tarkington. I know that will be one of my regrets when I die is that I never read as much as I should have.

I'm kind of been in a rut the last few years, devouring anything by George Orwell, Harlan Ellison and C.S. Lewis, and some assorted poets. But when I read for utter pleasure, my favorite is James Herriot.

Enjoyed the quotes,
Thanks for writing.

Soup and bread at the Three Sisters? Was it in Post Alley or inside? Oh well. Left Bank books for the bumper sticker, maybe.

Ah! James Herriot! Forever and anon, my favorite. We've sworn we'll visit those moors befor we die. I'm currently 'fasting' from Herriot so I can go back for a third round.

Do read Patrick O'Brian! Oh, my. My husband and I hit a space warp once. We were working in a pipe organ factory in Kansas and living in a trailer way out in Douglas County. We started in on these books - tearing them in half so the other could start reading right away. We just tumbled through such a different time and place! Falling, falling like Alice down the rabbit hole, through time and place into all of his books in sequence. (English navy, Napoleonic wars, wooden sailing ships were the background) Then we discovered Linda Greenlaw, the lady swordboat Captain whom we first met in "The Perfect Storm." She wrote "The Hungry Ocean" and lots more.

Until a few years ago, most of the people coming to the Chapel were Spanish-speaking members of the Bering Sea fishing fleet. Then Arctic Rose sank, all hands lost including four of our guys. Then three years ago "Galaxy" blew up and Capt Dave saved all but three of his people; Starbound (her sister ship) steamed to the rescue so when our guys called from St Paul Island, they were really really freaked. Since then I find that I can no longer enjoy 'saltwater adventure.'

Right now it's all about Hu Jintao, President of China. There's drumming in the streets. Our community of China people is large and complex. Taiwan protesting, Fulan Gong reminding us of China's lousy human rights record, the foreign press corps already filling the hotels and restaurants in China town, lots and lots of drumming - the big, resonanting drums we don't get to hear all that often. Huge big banners! Red, really red, and gold! Dragons climbing up the light poles already here to welcome President Hu. He will have dinner tomorrow night with Bill and Melinda Gates. I may call my friend to help me into my wheel chair and sneak out just to see the China people rejoicing because I like that. Some day maybe I will tell you how I came to be a dragon person myself.

Q: What is the definition of an actuary?

A: It's a guy who really wanted to be an accountant, but he lacked the sense of humour.

Ciao! Susan
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Exploring the mind numbing insanity and childish corporate culture of an unknown call center employee.

Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.

Email:anonymous.cog at

"One must know oneself, if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life, and there is nothing better." -Blaise Pascal

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"Wake Up"
By Rage Against The Machine

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