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San Francisco Carnaval parade (2004).

April 13, 2007

Pattern Developing
Friday. Another week done, seventy-eight days left until retirement. I attended a meeting at the local state supported “you're out of a job” office with twelve fellow soon to be cut loose employees. Evidently there are programs available from both the feds and the state that provide re-training money if you've had your job moved out of the country. There are issues with IT workers - the law was evidently designed for people primarily in manufacturing who lost their jobs when their factories were moved overseas - but we were let go because our jobs are moving to Asia so maybe we qualify. Of course there's the fact I'm going to retire at the end of June and not look for another job, but what the hell? The more information the better and it got me out of the office this morning for an hour.

There's been a certain pressure cooker reality at the office since the layoffs were announced. People who've never expressed themselves about art, life, cubicle culture or increasingly more global corporate America are coming out of the closet and saying things they've obviously been mulling over about work, what it's becoming and where it's going (in a hand basket). Everyone's obviously been keeping watch and more than aware that something fundamental is changing in the way we make a living. All of them are unusually skilled and the job market is cooking, but it's probably a good time to be retiring.

I too am feeling a certain amount of strain. I know I'm not in the same category as my compatriots who have kids in school and mortgage payments, but then again I've never retired before. Maybe there are emotional dues to pay I'm only now experiencing. I do have more than a half formed idea where I might go and what I might do when it happens, and that's good, but there's still a certain wobbly quality about the coming day when something I know is ending without quite seeing what's on the horizon.

I've been secretly hoping some of this aching head - punch drunk business is related to stress and it will go away when my company and I are parted. What is it that mothers go though right after having a baby? Postpartum depression? Doesn't work that way from what I've seen of friends on their first day out of the company. Postpartum high! Higher! Smiles like you wouldn't believe. I'm ready. I can smile. I remember how to smile. How could I not remember, being this full of bull? Or has this gone out of control? Maybe an out of control pattern is developing here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2004 Carnaval parade with a Nikon F5 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens on Kodak Ektachrome 100s and processed by New Lab in San Francisco.