Fanned Out in Triplicate

Dear Adam Powers,

You may be aware that back in 2005-06, I wasted two years of my life as an assistant manager for Starbucks. While the job did teach me a lot about keeping my mouth shut in every frustrating situation imaginable and surviving in long sleeves in hundred-degree heat in order to pretend I did not have tattoos, I’m not sure that McBucks’ intended lessons of entrepreneurship and corporate structure ever made it past my stubborn ears (which could only boast one earring a piece, quite a departure from my usual setup of seven in each).

They weren’t sad to see me go. They declared me “Non-Starbucks Material.”  I thanked them without a trace of irony in my voice.  Ten minutes after I put in my two weeks’ notice, I saw an announcement scrawled in my manager’s juvenile bubble script on the dry erase board. It said, “Congrats to our assistant manager, Mandy, who will be leaving Starbucks to pursue new and exciting business ventures.” I said this sentence aloud the entire ride home until it acquired a sort of iambic cadence and ceased to make any sense at all. Mandey was spelled incorrectly. I was partner number 1271551, now retired.

“New and exciting business ventures.”

“NEW and exCITing BUSiness VENtures.”

Sounded so. . .glamorous. So fancy. So. . .unlike me. . .because I knew that instead of pursuing business verntures, I was instead sitting in my cluttered little ranch-style rent house eating three day old fennel salad straight out the Tupperware while my dog chewed her butthole on the sofa and my roommate screamed at the computer screen in the background and there had been a dead mouse on my porch for two days and there was a crack deal happening across the street.

The next day, while I scrambled for a business venture without actually pursuing one, I experienced my first bout of “Settled Life Envy.” Primo and I went over to Mike Benson’s house to watch the basketball game and have brunch. Mike owns several restaurants here and in DC. He is very good at life and at business ventures. When I got to his house, there were married couples and beautiful children and polished oak banisters and foyers and silver serving dishes and doorbells that played special songs. I had entered a realm I did not recognize, one full of spouses and careers and coppered baby booties and sunrooms with grand pianos.

Did I miss out on this? I always wondered. I’m 27 now and while I’m not freaking out that I’ve been single for years, other people are freaking out for me, and THAT freaks me out.

“Don’t worry, hun. Someone will come along and he’ll be lucky to have you.” I keep hearing this, unsolicited, from people every time I choose to bring my brother to a social event.

I don’t rely on luck. And I’m not worried. I am not waiting for a someone to come and sweep me away and keep me from using “Picket Fences” as an expletive. I can brainwash myself on my own. I don’t really know exactly what it is that I want. I just want everything to be settled. I want to stop hanging up the same posters and the same pictures wherever I live. I feel stunted, young. At the basketball brunch I felt lost, a little. The husbands were all watching TV, so I gravitated over to the mommies. The mommies were well dressed, fashionably harried, talking about where they buy their babies’ clothes and when their babies started teething, talking, walking. I had nothing to contribute.  All I could think to say when one woman said her baby was 8 pounds when she was born was, “Oh, I was four pounds!” They didn’t want to hear about me. But all I could do was pull from my own babyhood. So I didn’t.

And it’s not to say I want to have a life that revolves around the texture of my baby’s shit or one that revolves around my afterbirth descriptions or the hassles of breastfeeding. The only thing I know about breastfeeding is I’ll have to take my nipple rings out first to do it.

I really just want stability.  I want to have wooden decks in my backyard and framed black-and-white photographs on my walls and copies of “DC Luxury” fanned out in triplicate on the armoire in my parlor. I want to hold regular Sunday brunches and be able to invite the types of people who will bring Bloody Mary ingredients without prompt. I want perfect angel children who fish for plastic piranhas and play with Technicolor mobiles and wear tiny corduroy suit jackets. I need a car equipped with Bluetooth technology that will recognize my telephone ring and display messages on my dashboard alerting me to the call. I need a dog trainer and a sense of stability. I need a cobblestone or two or forty to build a wall around my front lawn. It’s all stuff, just stuff. Just thingamabobs. I don’t need it. But I want it. .

I want it. . .

You know I bought that bar shortly after the Starbucks debacle. But now I don’t even work there anymore. I’m just a sad, silent little partner. Gone are the days when I thought it’d be nice to run a family during the day and a bar at night, gone are the days when I thought it’d be cool to be recognized at Better Business Bureau meetings for my contributions to small-town economy.

I want to pursue new and exciting business ventures. But I’m so tired of looking for them. If I don’t find something soon, I’m gonna end up being an Avon lady, forever in search of a large house with mysterious shrubs shaped like various people and animals in the front yard.





Filed under adam powers, life, relationships

8 responses to “Fanned Out in Triplicate

  1. sj

    I don’t know about you Mandey with an E. You say you want stability, yet just the other day it was nice that ‘Boring Tuesdays got all shook up’. I, for one, am moving to a stage that some would say is more stable yet my stability feels a little shaken up at the moment. Stability is all in your point of view I guess. Perhaps your life is very stable in other ways, hmmm? Really, I find that best thing is to just buy thingamabobs by the dozen until your stability level has increased.

  2. I know that post completely contradicts itself a whole lot. I guess what I really mean is I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck, and I also don’t want to subscribe to traditional ideas of stability. The “when will you get married” thing is everpresent in my life generally from my very-extended family and complete strangers. In other words, I get shit from the people who don’t really matter. BTW, we had another Mandey-Jane 80s iTunes dance party last night, and we turned off the PA. You proud?

  3. sj

    Just wait until you are thirty-something. The ‘when will you get married’ starts coming from every one of your friends…wink wink nudge nudge. And even though I wasn’t there, I can almost see the dance moves happening, PT singing his heart out, and Mandey making ABSOLUTELY SURE the PA got turned off afterwords. So I am proud, and I thank you from the bottom of my bloomers.

  4. You will find it. Er…it will find you. That is usually how it works. I had a friend of mine once tell me that things don’t happen to those who wait. You have to take it, steal it, acquire it any way possible. But he is the most self centered person on the planet and I would rather cut off my lower lip than be like that. So, be you and good things will happen. I promise.

  5. kittymao

    I want that too.
    I think- with such an unstable life that was beyond my control in my youth, I desire balance and control in my adult life.

    I crave to be a soccer mom.
    I want to wear mom jeans and serve a perfectly rounded dinner meal before I take the girl child to Piano Practice.
    But I want to be ME too- I wanna have my crazy dog that licks too much and my medium-rare steaks and too much laundry and an unkempt bed.

    The second part’s easy. The first- not so much.
    But come what may, right? Things come.

  6. Yeah. I’m not really worried. But there’s no one in my age range puttin around Chapel Hill in search of lifelong happiness that they want to stick in a bucket and hang precariously over a door frame in hopes I’ll walk under it. I’ve seen lots of ads for manchildren in search of urban cougars on Craigslist lately. 18 yr olds are so cute!

  7. Oh, and Kelli, as far as your mama comment’s concerned, I decided I’ll have a kid as soon as I realize that my number-one reason for breeding has changed into something more substantial and less morally bankrupt than “so I can dress it in funny hats and teach it Tool lyrics and cuss words.”

  8. kittymao

    point taken. As cool as it would be to teach it bad words, it’s also corrupting the poor little mini-me.

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