On Bubbles of Acquaintance and Fleeting Irritation

In 2009 I wrote a rather maudlin blog entry about my position in the world. On that sunny July day I felt as lonely and isolated as I had since I was a child. I was a fish in a bowl that sat ignored on the doorstep of humanity. It was as if the entire world was mocking me with its collective glee. To put it in the most cliche way possible, I felt like I didn’t have a friend in the world. Life rather sucked, to place description of that time-frame firmly in the vernacular.

Fast forward to the current day and the picture is different beyond any reasonable recognition. In ways that involve relating to other people, the world has turned, but for the life of me I can’t tell you with any accuracy WHY it has done so. For quite some time Laura has been gently teasing me about my lunch calendar. To be specific, the phrase, “you have lunch with other people more than anyone else I’ve ever known!” has been bandied about repeatedly. Given my rather fishbowl existence a few short years ago, this is a reasonably impressive turn of events. Today was a particularly impressive example of this odd change in circumstance.

This morning I kissed my delightful and beautiful fiancee goodbye in the morning. At lunch I met up with an old friend and just as we were pondering wrapping up another of my old friends walked in and joined us. Two hours or more of lunch later, I get in the car to go see a movie with someone else and I get a text from yet another person that I haven’t talked to in a decade. Clearly the fish is out of the bowl and gone are the days when I could tick off on my whiteboard the days that have passed since I spoke to another human being. My life is full of people and as happy as I am about that I cannot begin to tell you how or why it happened.

Switching gears dramatically, I move to today’s moment of irritation. Ages ago I did some free artistic work for a company where I worked. This was work that was clearly outside any reasonable expectation but I did it because I enjoyed it and I wanted to contribute to the company. Well, not long after that I was let go in a layoff. At the time I bent over backwards to be magnanimous about the whole thing and I remain so. Business is business, no reason for acrimony. However, I’ve started seeing my artwork popping up in various places and I must admit that it rather digs at my soul to see my work, which I provided in my own time and for free, used by the company that fired me. Logically, I realize that I offered myself up for free and that I have nobody to blame but myself, but it does rather irritate me and dissuades me rather strongly from ever taking such a gracious stance with my work in the future. Society does not respect generosity but instead merely takes advantage of it until it no longer has a need for it. Lesson learned.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “On Bubbles of Acquaintance and Fleeting Irritation

  1. Glad to hear things have so completely turned around for you. Glad to be part of it. 🙂 It was great running into you today in other words! We need social interaction, whether we can explain it or not. Like we need exercise, we may not really know why but that does not change the fact that we stil need it.

    “Society does not respect generosity but instead merely takes advantage of it until it no longer has a need for it.” — exactly right, though perhaps not society, but definitely business. What you see as a gift, they see as work provided gratis, like it’s nothing more than promotional swag. F’ing consumerism.

  2. Love your post and glad you’re out of the bowl now! Don’t be irritated if the Company is exploiting your old&made-for-free artistic work (‘cause you can’t change it) and try to see it from another point of view: it was done ages ago but is on stage again, well, it means you did a great job, something that goes across the time. So, tell everybody it was made by you and take advantage of their move, you too. 🙂

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