Friday, January 21, 2005

Sob Story

My last day at City Hall went pretty well, and very fast. I found I didn’t count off the ‘lasts’ like I expected I would: the last misdirected call for the County Clerk (why are you calling the City if you want the County? What’s wrong with you people?!), the last batch recalculation sheet, the last close-out, the last photocopy, the last water bill entry at Lee’s desk, the last handwritten Purchase Order, the last booking of the Machine Shop. At least, I didn’t realize their finality while they were happening. Only later. Only now.

The last goodnight to everybody, the last hug and wave as we all pulled out of the parking lot, was harder. It’s not like I’ll never see them again. I just won’t see them as much. We still all work for the City, but I no longer belong at City Hall. Three years is the longest I’ve ever worked someplace; it’s no wonder I’m so attached. Besides, I am, like my mother before me, extraordinarily sentimental. I’ll miss my chair and fighting for my special blue clay mug, and the twenty-year-old microwave and the monthly third-Thursday potlucks and Frankie and Nancy bickering while they sort the mail, and Mikey wailing my name from his office when his computer doesn’t recognize that it has a mouse attached when he turns it on in the morning. They’ll be glad to have me stop by, but still. It won’t be the same. To my credit, I didn’t start sniffling until I was safe in my car, and even then there were no tears. You should be proud of me.

One of the many consolations here is that I’ll have my very own restroom at the Water Plant, since the three guys use the men’s. No more “you’re young! You should let the old ladies go first!” as they cue up behind the door, or vaguely wondering about the droplets on the seat, because City Hall’s is a coed potty, and there are a few men. And the big, the huge, the greatest consolation of all: I’m going to go, every morning, somewhere I want to go. Someplace I can’t wait to get to know. Maybe in a few years I’ll be longing for something new, but we can’t always look so far forward, now can we?

In the midst of all this, I’ve nearly finished another painting. I’ll post it here and you can tell me what you think. I’m not as shocked at how good it turned out this time, because I did one this summer that I just had to show everybody and I’m not usually eager to share my work unless I know it’s good. But it’s getting to feel more natural, easing the oily pigments into shapes and shades, watching the subject gain demensions and life. I’m glad I didn’t take any classes and just figured it out for myself, because I don’t want to paint like anybody else. Like everything artistic I do, I’m not very competitive or comparative. If someone thinks your art is good, it’s because they see something in it they like, and not everybody likes the same things. A work of realism is the only time I expect a consistent reaction, and that’s because the viewer is comparing it to the concrete things we all see the same. How much does the painting resemble the subject? But even then, someone will say “wow, you really captured…” they pause. What? The expression, the hue, the spirit of something. Honestly, sometimes it’s an accident. But even then it’s a success.


Blogger Libby said...

You never did post a picture of the beautiful painting of your neice after you had completely finished it. Can't wait to see this one!

January 22, 2005 at 8:32 AM  

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