Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hunkering down

My faithful fifteens of readers know that Miss Tasha has been having herself a bit of a tough time with the whole money situation. Business is slow, I still have all these goofy-ass medical bills to pay plus my own insurance costs, etc. and so on, and due to all that, I was getting into a bit of a panic, though I wasn’t quite there yet. As my dear friend Adrienne told me, “This is no time to panic! Unless it’s a perfect time to panic.”

It’s time to panic.

You see, while as my resume will attest I’ve done a lot of great contract work over the past number of years - work that my clients have been thrilled about - my one truly steady source of income has been the market research work I’ve done for one particular company that specializes in such things. For ten years now – yes, ten – I’ve researched and written reports on a vast range of topics, from soup to gardening to footwear to oral care. You name a consumer good, chances are I’ve written about it. All the editors I’ve worked with have loved my work – and no wonder, considering some of the other writers they’re dealing with.

I have seen some of this other work. It has not been pretty.

So imagine my surprise and shock when I discovered just yesterday that I’m not being assigned reports due to…..who knows. Some random concern about timeliness? Which begs the question – if a report that’s turned in on time is deemed by the company to be not on time even though it is on time, in how many ways can one’s head explode? So that’s clear as fuck-all.

Concerns about quality? Hmm, let’s see. There was a report that I did in November that the QC guy (who needs to justify his existence to the company) took issue with. Living as he does in the tony enclave of Kenilworth, he apparently was unclear on a few concepts as far as research that I put into the report were concerned. What? People are struggling with a poor economy? Business at second-hand shops is booming? No!

And then there’s the work for the company that I’ve taken on the past that’s consisted of rewriting – yes, entirely rewriting – the shoddy work that other writers have done. There was the entire consumer section for one report, which consisted of statements like the following:

“Black people buy more biscuit dough because it goes well with their fried chicken, which they love and eat constantly, which is also why they will purchase items with the Aunt Jemima symbol, as she with her nappy hair and broad features represents the down-home cooking of their childhood, with chitlins and other black foods.”

No, I’m not making this racist shit up.

Then there was another report where, also in the consumer section, the Asian consumers were referred to as “boat people,” or, for a cute little colloquialism, just “boaters.”

Clearly, that’s some quality writing there.

So it’s unclear why I’m suddenly and inexplicably and with no warning persona non grata. Hell, I didn’t know there was a problem until the report-scheduling guy ignored all my emails, and didn’t respond to one until I called him and left a message, as he ducked that call too.

I can only conclude that their new research director, a woman with editing experience but no background or experience in actual market research, is perhaps fearful that The Cancer is contagious – kind of like cooties. Or maybe she thinks I’ll suddenly be stricken by a sudden bout of The Cancer! Like gout or something. That’ll render me somehow unable to complete my assignments. This is the kind of forward thinking I suppose the company wants to be known for, always alert for any possible problems on the horizon, no matter how remote. After all, that report that I was assigned that happened to coincide with my cancer surgery, bike crash, broken collarbone and brain injury two years ago – yeah, I finished that one. Even though I couldn’t even type at the time. But you never know, so one must always be alert for potential shirkers.

Now, I know what you’re all saying. You’re saying “Now Miss Tasha, be that all as it be, we ain’t here to hear ‘bout your problems, we be here to learns abouts the training and stuff, and fo sho to be some kind of entertained!”

I realize this. I’m one of billions of bloggers out there, a minute speck in the Blogosphere, and I’m sure if I depart, by tomorrow there’ll be six wanna-be bloggers to take my place: The Shake-Weight Route to Pasadena, and so on.

So in that vein, I present to you my latest in diet advice, that I’m sure will hone my already-almost-perfect-athlete’s physique to an even greater state of perfection. We all remember my Stillman's diet, which proved to be a bit tricky on those long bike rides:

The there was the liquid diet, which was certainly a happy one, though perhaps not the most productive.

My current one, therefore, is borne out of Need and Opportunity, or as we call it, Neeportunity. This is akin to when you’re on a bike ride and need to do some intervals, and you see a hill so you ride up and down it, even if said hill is on someone’s property. Or when you’re on yet another long ride and need some quick fuel, so you stop at a nearby donut shop. This is the kind of opportunistic thinking that’s made me the goddess I am today.

So for my latest diet, it occurs to me that I need to a) not spend money I don’t have, and b) get my ass in shape for this summer’s cycling adventures, to include my Crazy-Ass Bike Ride Across Iowa, or CABRAI. I think that’s what it’s called. And who is it that has enough food stored in her place to last through the next millennium, due to her Ukrainian-bred tendency to buy food in bulk when she sees it in a store? Yep, yours truly. I honestly think I can go months living on what I have in the house, between the cans of tuna and frozen chicken breasts, and so on. Oh sure, scurvy might be lurking around the corner due to a lack of fruits and vegetables, but you can’t have everything.

Because you see, the timing of all this – and the unexpectedness of it – is really shitty. Not only do I have the regular bills, plus what I’m sure will be an early property tax bill (unlike the fall one, which they delayed by several months until after the election), as well as the root canal that I need, but…. I also found a lump in my breast this morning. The right one. The cancer one.

Now, do I really think this is anything? No, I honestly don’t. I really think it’s scar tissue or the port that I still have in there, or even a frisky meandering implant. Though it’s a bit of dejavu that I have my every-six-month mammogram schedule for Monday – which is just what it was like for my original cancer diagnosis.

So I don’t think it’ll be anything, but at the same time, it pisses me off, because my first thought was, oh for fuck’s sake, can’t I get a fucking BREAK around here once in a while? And I don’t mean a break that’s just a lack of bad news, as in “oh whew, it’s not cancer.” Or like the Ukrainian National Anthem, Ще не вмерла Українa, which translates to Ukraine is Not Yet Dead. Gee, yay.

And I don’t even mean I need the seriously amazing luck, like winning the lottery. No, I just want a garden-variety decent something happening in my life. Oh, you know, like say having one of the many potential projects I have out there actually come to fruition, where some company realizes – hey, you’re exactly the kind of brilliant person we need, you with your fan-fucking-tastic resume and your amazing experience!

Seriously, is that too much to ask of the universe?

Apparently so.


Ultragrrl said...

Ah fuck. Why can't the universe leave you the hell alone??

Cassie said...

Seriously, Tasha? A lump? Fucktastic. And I canNOT believe anyone thought that racist "research" bullshit would fly. -Cassie

Tasha the Triathlon Goddess said...

*snort* - Cassie, I swear to you I am not making the Aunt Jemima stuff up. Hell, I think I'm toning it down. the ENTIRE SECTION was like that, page after page after page! I had to scrap it and start over. It was pretty amusing, in a totally appalling and horrific way.

though I'm sure THAT writer is still at this company....