Sometime during a bitter cold February afternoon I sat uncomfortably in a glass enclosed interior conference room at Rockefeller Center. I was present as an unpaid board member of a substantial environmental #NGO. It was a faked smiley meeting of small souls and constrained brains but I had committed to serve (pro bono) the board as communications advisor. Being an aspiring humanist near an altar of ego stupidity is freaky. During the same period I was also a volunteer negotiator for the Graphic Artists Guild (#GAG, another acronym ya gotta luv) and the consciousness contrast between the two orgs was wider than the Texas panhandle or the gap in Limbaugh’s brain.
The artsy group was fun and creative solution conclusions were barely embittered nor did they turn revengeful. As we settled disputes between commercial artists and giants of the communication industry – pub houses, ad agencies, media powerhouses, and Fortune 500 marketing depts. – the parley treatments were satisfying for me and semi-disconcerting to the parties. Issues were about money, performance, and copyrights. My subordinate beast of a position with the enviro group was worse than twenty sequential visits in twenty days to a dentist. I continue to cringe every time i hail a cab to midtown #Manhattan.
That blustery post-Valentine’s day the tedious morning dragged on as I sipped Constant Comment tea, noshed on a shortbread scone and looked like i was listening. I had a recording device going, unbeknown to the legal dept. My stealth restlessness was not projected unless you could see the toes caught in my suede #Ferragamo flats – twitching. One of the older class acts at the table i admired, the remainder were harpy nagging complainers hung up on power tripping, cost of everything, and feathering their guilt nests applying BandAides via the cheapest air drops possible.
Working inside action packed #news rooms ruins one for life. The #Absurdism of reporting tragedies (comic operas) requires one unroll a prayer rug of humor, take up pool playing, and/or eventually succumb to stress keeling over in walking boots while in the field. Today, suffering complications from cirrhosis has declined in the media due to health plans allowing 28-days at a rehab and unions demanding folks piss in a cup. Freelancers working in communications are still f*cked. They receive neither retirement bennies nor #Obamacare but their eulogies are usually works of art.
The #greenies in Rocky II fit no particular genre except they bought their way onto a big time enviro NGO board. I functioned as token escapee from Mad Ave. who was also a respected bi-coastal birder and white paper writer. Chiefs at the enviro table were neither generous conciliators nor particularly versed in the ways and wonders of wild places and wild things. I was convinced they also fell into the Bush baby super market blind spot – none knew the price of milk let alone the cost of renting in SOHO. They acted above it all – because they were.
The guiding lesson I integrated during the 12-month internment on the enviro board was threefold: 1) I needed to materialize a Komodo dragon-lady or transgender with larger fangs and longer painted claws; 2) soul-asleep moguls awash in generational culpability are nasty clones no matter if in “service” to a greenie or foreign policy board; and, 3) a jerk is a jerk no matter how many birds are falsely added to their life list, or which side of the Pal and Israhell issue they inhabit.
From this year long sentence my working perspective about committee efforts ritualized. From then on I watched do-gooders in all types of orgs (including political) without judgment or with much respect. They seemed to be a needy lot (yet, some very stylishly attired) with self-reproach more an unrecognized motivator than compassion considered. They liked to bump up against the system deploying the same tools the system does never realizing what was sorely needed was a total rebuild of human interaction otherwise mass trainspotting will kill us all.
The last couple of days – here from the hut – a dear friend’s reminder “no good deed goes unpunished” has rung way too many times. God’s sense of humor is of conscience design?
#Writers who have broken from the gate too many times are their own worse blameworthy critics and obsessive editors. Yet, we have one tiny tool to stifle the bitches on wheels and the basturds from Bablyon – hit the delete button. I learned this from farming, gardening, and sitting in Rocky Center. Life is about letting go, not hanging on.