I FINISHED THE "CROOKED LANE" TAG. It's taken me just over a week. At one point, "just over a week" would have been a pretty fast timescale; at this juncture, however, it feels like it's taken several lifetimes - especially considering I managed to undertake both the snow!fluff and the Millennium Eve chapter in a few hours each time, not to mention the "House of Monkeys" tag and all of the chapters thus far of the "19 times..." story.
Anyway, IT'S FINISHED. I kind of had to beat it to death at the end, though - I got stuck in a perpetual loop of conversation because there were Things That Had To Be Said, but once I'd written them in I sort of had to put the brakes on. It's broken 5K words as it is and I already have two 12K+ stories on my hands. So I'll probably go over it tonight with fresh eyes and edit/amend as necessary, as I think the ending might be a bit abrupt!
Ugh, that episode. SO MUCH FAIL. I'll say this now even though I know I'll probably repeat it when I get there, but: it's basically like Renwick wanted to get the characters to that point, perhaps out of some inkling that that's what the fans wanted, but when he finally got there he chickened out / didn't know where to go with it. I half wonder when the script was written, in relation to Caroline announcing her departure, and whether the fail is a result of a subsequent hasty re-write. That being said, a character disappearing should not be any excuse to brush the relationship under the carpet; it would still have been nice to end things amicably, you know? (Canon wise, I mean, notwithstanding my version of events!)
Meh. I think it's my very least favourite episode, for precisely the reasons it should be the opposite. I am dreading watching it so much, I can't even tell you. I'm glad the tag is over and done with, though I fear it still doesn't adequately address what happens in the episode and/or some of the WTFery of the dialogue (namely the "favourite uncle" comment - seriously?), and my best approach will be to pretend some of it doesn't happen. Which is a cop-out, I know, but the fail breaks my brain, and my heart, too much to think about it. :(
Anyway - next project will be to update the Doomfic timeline as we progress through series 4 (just so I have a vague idea on months/years/seasons) - I'm working on a basis of episodes airing about five or six months after they're set, or thereabouts. I had another little ficlet idea the other day too, just because the Millennium Eve story was so angsty, but it would have to be an alternative universe.
I suppose I should also get back into the mindset of ALTAF and throw some more words at that one, too! I will also continue to work slowly through "19 times" as we re-watch, as I'm pretty sure I can use every incident of J/M interaction to my advantage. *evil laugh*
Okay, not quite so short as I expected!
Now for the dilemma. I... have been holding off on posting about this because, well, it's kind of dumb really, because by now I should have figured out how human beings work. But, you know, I haven't. So.
You may recall I used to work with a girl called Sharn - I'm sure I mentioned her on here before. She left Legal in August 2011, which I think was probably the point where I started getting it into my head to job-hunt, even though it took all the brain-breaking stupidity / colleague drama of 2012 to kick me into doing anything about it. Basically, Sharn was one of the only people keeping me sane, along with most of South Team (hence why moving me away from South Team once we moved to Woodcock Street was the final nail in the coffin), not to mention one the best friends I'd managed to make in Legal.
At her leaving drinks I took her mobile number, fully intending to text her shortly afterwards because I'd just moved to Oldbury and she would be working in Dudley. The leaving drinks were pretty epic anyway, to be honest - Fizzy Fridays at Colmore's Bar meant everyone was hammered within about two hours, and we ended up having cocktails at the Victoria. Because I'm a clingy drunk, I seem to remember hugging Sharn several times because I didn't want her to leave (obviously), and everyone who was still hanging on at that point made all the appropriate noises about staying in touch, etc., etc. - though of course, nobody ever quite manages to do that with busy lives and whatnot.
The thing is, I am pretty awful at reading people in a work environment, and I always find out-of-work friendships with colleagues very difficult to manage. I think starting my Council career at Ladywood did not help in the slightest - I didn't make friends with anyone at that job because I was so much younger than all of them, not aided by Sandra's one-woman mission to make me feel inadequate. At Legal it's different because most people are my age or similar, so there's a very different vibe - it's amazing how much difference a decade can make. But yeah - I have people whom I would consider "friends" at work, but outside of work they become colleagues again. I find it very, very difficult to cross that boundary. Legal Services is quite a close-knit community, because of the nature of the work. I'm friends with some fee earning colleagues on Facebook (because that seems to be the done thing these days), though I've always been careful not to moan too much about my job on there - Twitter and LJ are my main vehicles for that - even after I'd deleted the colleagues I was moaning about. :P
Anyway, because my life disappears at a rate of knots, I kept forgetting to contact Sharn. Then suddenly it was October 2012 and I realised it had been over a year since she'd left Legal, the building move / desk relocation was grinding me to an emotional pulp, and I decided to email her on the address she'd left in the goodbye card to South Team. So I emailed her. And got no reply.
She has a tendency to forget her passwords all the time, so I let it go. Then I applied for the CPR job and got it, and that put the idea of contacting her back into my head - because Sharn was always one of the people who said I was so much better than the stupid typing job, and I felt like I should let her know I was finally getting out. Plus I know full well that had she been around during the ill-fated Legal Assistant job debacle, she would have been a willing sounding board and shared in my frustration - let alone all the other awfulness of last year.
Having forgotten to transfer her number when I changed phones, I got it off Kemi. (Side note: technology win! Kemi sent the contact file from her iPhone to my email account, which I opened using the Y!Mail app on my Android, which saved the contact straight to my address book! Smartphones are awesome.) That was about... three weeks ago, I think. I still haven't found courage to use it.
Then, the Facebook app updated itself and kept demanding I "find friends". After three days or so of pressing the "Not Now" button I finally got bored of it pestering me so let it chug through, and obviously it found a load of randomers / friends of friends who I didn't know. Except it also found Sharn, because I had her phone number.
Several things: this means the number is still correct (because her last activity on Facebook was a month ago.) Her Facebook is now public again, after ages of being invisible, unless it's the app being creepy - although I went to find it on the PC the old-fashioned way and still got the same search result, so it's more likely Facebook in general is creepy (yup).
Except NOW, of course, I'm paranoid that she did get the email and decided I was a loser, or an awful person for neglecting to get in touch, or didn't know who it was from, and in any of these cases decided to ignore it, and if I text her I'll get the same non-response, or if I add her on Facebook she won't add me back and just WHY IS THIS SO BLOODY COMPLICATED?
I want to get in touch to share the job news and let her know I got engaged. That's all. I want us to stay friends and share job grief and occasionally "do lunch" like grown-ups are supposed to do. I am sick of people slipping away from me because I'm not brave enough to get back in touch, but I've had so many bad experiences that it makes me shy away from the challenge. Like, I got back in touch with Angela from uni via Facebook, both she and her husband added me back, I sent her a message when CBC was performing in Worcester (because she lives nearby) asking if she fancied meeting up for lunch or a coffee, and got no response. And then she deleted me (her husband didn't; I've met him all of once; as a result I deleted them both). We were such good friends at uni, sharing in our mutual love of POTO, and she was one of many people who got me through my first year without going insane; it was bad enough that we lost touch in the first place, without the awful realisation that she obviously didn't care any more. This was around October 2011, the first time I was going to contact Sharn to invite her to my ill-fated birthday drinks, and as a result of the Facebook deletion I was overcome with paranoia and was too scared to do it. I do not deal well with rejection, and am not comfortable in potentially setting myself up for it. (I also saw her get on my bus back in January 2012, which gave me another kick up the arse about getting in contact, and then I kept forgetting. Because I'm useless.)
This should be easy. The internet quite deliberately makes these things easy. But it's really, really not. I am not the sort of social butterfly who collects people's phone numbers out of habit - the only reason I have Kemi's number is because of some work drinks ages ago when she was meeting friends and wanted a heads-up when we would join her at the pub. I promised Jas I'd swap numbers with people when I leave, but will I actually use them? I don't know. I'd like to think so, but sometimes I wonder if it really is "out of sight, out of mind" when you leave a job. I like to think I've made enough waves here that my reputation will outlive me, but that has no bearing on personal relationships.
I just... I don't know. Help?
Mrrg. Life is complicated. Advice please.
I suppose I ought to do some work now. Going to the gym later so stuck here til six - hopefully the work will hold out that long.