March 29, 2003

Dear Dell

As a loyal Dell user, I have a little favor to ask.

For you, it's nothing really. For me--and the thousand or so people who read my weblog every week--it's pretty big. You see, last week I found out that my employment longitude is being quite dramatically altered--as in, instead of having a job, I don't. In some ways, this is good news. I can finally focus on my own consulting business, which already has three clients.

The problem with this change in job longitude is my Latitude. I have to give my Dell Latitude back to my former employer April 1st. It's going away. And, quite honestly, I'm devastated.

She's old in computer lives--I've had her more than two years. But she's mine, and she is inextricably linked to my brain and my eyes and my fingers. This is where I write. This is my axe. And I have to give her back...I'm sure she'll never blog another post, never see a blogger window again unless it's by accident. She won't get emails that set her on fire. She'll be relegated to a cube under florescent lights with wisps of perfume and magnetic word games assaulting her with every keystroke.

When I walk out the door of the firm where I've worked for the last five years, I have to leave behind my Dell. It will be re-circulated to someone else, and I'll be left without a computer to write from. To see for yourself that I can write, check out this weblog, and review some of my accomplishments for major brands like IBM (het-hem), Cingular, Nokia, AMS, and others here. Take a look at what others say about me here.

Now see, you probably think I'm hitting you up for a job, but nothing could be further from the truth!

(Unless, of course, you want to give me one.)

My business challenge, quite simply, is that I can't do what I do without my Dell.

I considered running away with her:

Up into the North Georgia mountains, nothing but green buds unfolding in thick woods, nothing but red clay and open roads, and that smell with the window rolled down just enough, nothing but the ashes flicked out the window of the Escape, our escape, making our escape, drive until night, when the sky unwraps the stars for us and puts on the shock and awe show we deserve. And we'll keep going. Winding our way up into the mountains--can you feel it getting cooler--nice, and you can smell winter taking its leave, leaves dissolve into the ground still, dampened from the cold and rain they continue their journey home.

When we get to the cabin, don't say a word. It's what I've learned. Act like you're supposed to be somewhere, have something, take something, and its yours. Just let me handle it. If anyone asks, it's a weekend vacation, up to enjoy spring in bloom up that trail to the cabins no one bothers with. I'll carry you, you just relax. When we get there, I'll sweep away the dust from the old pine table, give you a nice place to rest for a while before we turn on.

I've been creating on my Dell since before I began blogging. I blogged my first post with her back in 2001. She's online 24/7; she is my brain-station--the place where I think, the place where I invent, where I write, sometimes the only place I've been able to breathe. (It's been a tough year. I'll spare you the gory details.)

I'm not sure how much you know about weblogs and how they're fueling human connections, why they matter, why they should matter to Dell. I'm not sure if you know that weblogging is changing the way businesses--in fact made up of these blogging and blog-reading humans--interact with markets, or how businesses can participate as these micromarkets of shared interests and passions become more and more compelling (and the top-down elevator pitches of big business become less and less tolerable).

That's some of what I was trying to explain in The New York Times article [or pdf here] on Women and Weblogging, which featured me as the founder of the 100-member women's weblog, Blog Sisters. My core ideas didn't quite make it into that article, but the Times' coverage serves as an example of mainstream media trying to figure out how all of this works.

[Be sure to click the article. You see my Dell Latitude?! It's right in the picture. That's me, with my daughter by my side and the kitten over my shoulder.]

I can help you understand more about weblogs; you can help me keep writing.

All I need is a laptop so I can keep thinking and inventing and crafting and connecting here, just like I have been. I'm hoping you have a spare laptop you can send to this loyal Dell user in Atlanta.

I sure would appreciate it. And so would my readers.

Thank you in anticipation,
Jeneane Sessum

blog sticker or sticker blog

Well just when you're feeling blue, a package comes in the mail from some-net-someone to cheer you up. In this case, it was from Srini at stickernation who saw that I had posted about him way back when and asked if I'd like a few stickers on the house. HOUSE being a now-more-sacred-than-ever thing for me-of-the-newly-become-consultant variety of worker, I said, "Hell, Yah."

George and I talked about what the heck is. we never decided. but we came up with a clever little moniker that describes the music and word parts of "us," thus, Rhythm and Rhyme.

Srini's stickers are cool. Not big and over obvious like regular bumper stickers. More like hard-copy blog stickers with sticky backs, you know, for actually sticking to things. My camera didn't capture the best shot--they are that glossy kind of black on white that grabs your eye. But with the glare of overcast sun on my deck, I think you can see some trees in the reflection.

Anyhow, thanks Srini for making my day. We're off to stick em!


I didn't run away with my laptop, made famous by the New York Times, although I'd still like to.

I approach her a little differently each day, knowing that in a few days she'll be in someone else's hands. No control over this one. Nothing I can do. I don't look at her the same way anymore, knowing she's not mine. I write here. Sure. But it's not the same. It's tentative. temporary. flat now. I'm noticing her flaws--the popcorn pieces stuck under the CTRL key, the crack in the frame of the screen, right on the "e," that makes the word "Latitude" look like "Lattitud." I don't know how, when that happened. I'd never even noticed it. Or the other specks of dirt and lint wedged in the corners of the mouse pad.

Never noticed before because she belonged to me. She was mine. She was perfect. Never hung on me. Never a problem, never a virus.

Just don't feel like writing. Maybe later. More research to do.

from the good news board...

It's rare. Let's celebrate it whenever we can!

March 28, 2003

so, shit.

Son of a bitch. Job gone. Health insurance going. Life insurance, dental, vision, vacation, all gone in a flash. April 1 is my last day working at the global PR firm where I've worked for the last five years. To the day. I mean April Fools day was my hire date; five years later my fire date. Well, it's not exactly a layoff. They wanted me to stay, they say, but their actions spoke loudly. So I chose door number 2.

Coming face to face with what it means to have a primo job in this country--coming face to face by losing it--has inspired me. Not to be thankful to corporations, but in this solitary moment of looking back and forward I realize that I have been right. That everything is turning upside down--or more appropriately right-side up. So I guess I'll be working from here for a while. Here I'm free to make my own future. It's mine to screw up. It's mine to make bloom.

It's scary. I don't know if I can do it, have the energy to do it. But I have a couple of clients, already loyal, and think I can make a go as a consultant, writing from my couch, much like I've done for the last five years, but without the safety net of my employer. I'm old. I don't want to go back to a 9-5 gig. If I have to I have to, but what if I don't? What if I can make a go of this? What if I can put into practice all the things I've been preaching in blogland the last almost-two years? What if more and more of us start doing this? What kind of network could we *really* build this into?

So wish me luck. The moment's almost here. Yikes....

Please, Give Me a Sign....

As if I needed another one.

I typed in my blogger URL wrong when I looked up my blog tonight. Instead of, I typed

Ed. note: hey wait a minute... any time you type in [someblog] you get this site. Am I the only one who didn't know?

Holy cow.

laptop separation anxiety: plan B

Okay. I went out and had a smoke. Now I'm thinking rationally. I have a plan... I have to tell it to her. I think she'll go for it.

Tomorrow, it's me and you. We pack up tonight--don't worry, I'll take care of everything. I have your food--the power supply fits in the pocket of my maroon backpack, just like it always has. We'll find a way to steal some connectivity along the way--I'm not gonna sweat the small stuff. So just get ready. You get some rest, right here, on the arm of the couch, while I get our stuff together. Watch a little TV; you won't like it much. It's boring compared to where we've been. But just stay with it until sleep mode kicks in. Trust me on this. I'll take care of the rest.

By midnight I'll be ready. Have my meds, my t-shirts and jeans, my folders, my phone--I'll have it all together. I'll get gas in the car on our way out of town. And we'll drive. Just you and me.

Up into the North Georgia mountains, nothing but green buds unfolding in thick woods, nothing but red clay and open roads, and that smell with the window rolled down just enough, nothing but the ashes flicked out the window of the Escape, our escape, making our escape, drive until night, when the sky unwraps the stars for us and puts on the shock and awe show we deserve. And we'll keep going. Winding our way up into the mountains--can you feel it getting cooler--nice, and you can smell winter taking its leave, leaves dissolve into the ground still, dampened from the cold and rain they continue their journey home.

When we get to the cabin, don't say a word. It's what I've learned. Act like you're supposed to be somewhere, have something, take something, and its yours. Just let me handle it. If anyone asks, it's a weekend vacation, up to enjoy spring in bloom up that trail to the cabins no one bothers with. I'll carry you, you just relax. When we get there, I'll sweep away the dust from the old pine table, give you a nice place to rest for a while before we turn on.

As soon as they can get away unnoticed, George and Jenna will meet us there. They have to go quietly, the next night or the night after. People will be looking for us. George can handle them. Leave the bills and the house, bring the dogs and the cat, some firewood, some stuff we need. Jenna will bring her toys--we'll hear her voice soon enough, leaping and jumping from the hearth to the chair--"I can FLY!" she'll chant from mid-air.

I think we can pull it off. What choice do we have? I'm not letting you go. Can't. Not yet. Too much of me in you, too many files, to many places and nooks and crannies filled with my words, voice, poetry, prose, loss, life--your keys welcome the shape of my fingers. Your screen welcomes my eyes. You are one of us.

See you at midnight.

oh no, laptop.

March continues its rampage. I called HR today and humbled myself to ask if there were any way I could keep my laptop--pay something for it or trade off some work--and they can't or won't or for whatever reason. This is what I was most afraid of. Losing my Dell.

She isn't much to look at. She's old in computer lives--I've had her over two years. But she's mine, and she is inextricably linked to my brain and my eyes and my fingers. This is where I write. This is my axe. And I have to give her back.

I told George last night, what if I can't work something out? What if I have to hand it back to them to turn over to some non-writer--it would be like you giving your favorite bass to some lame player and never getting it back. Oh god. What will they do to her. Not excel matrices of media names and ed cals! FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, anything but that. I'm sure she'll never blog another post, never see a blogger window again unless it's by accident. She won't get emails that set her on fire. She'll be relegated to a cube under florescent lights with whisps of perfume and magnetic word games assulting her with every keystroke.

I cried about it.

You probably think I'm kidding.

My hands and brain are shaped to it, the money has to go to health insurance and the like, and the only other working computer we have is a three-year-old generic PC I bought from work for $100 -- and that's about how fast it is too. That's the one patient George and Jenna work on.

What to do. What to do. I applied for amazon line of credit--maybe too honestly--didn't get it. I was thinking of switching to Mac--from whence I started perhaps I should return. I need help. Dying over here. My best friend has to go back to that place without me on April 1st. It's like taking your kitten to the pound. It's like cutting your brain in half.

Yes, there are people dying in Iraq, yes I feel blessed every minute for the health and well-being of my family, the house we thus-far have to live in, the talent I've been given, and the talent I've worked like crazy to develop; I'm thankful every minute for the understanding from my husband, for my sweet baby Jenna, for my friends, for this place. And yes, losing your laptop pales in comparison to all the other things people are going through.

But it's how I make a living and it's also where I live. And it hurts. And what's more, I really don't even know what to look into buying, why, where, how much. Ugh. Ugh Ugh.

Thankfully, at least through blogging, my personal endless notebook lives on the Web. Hey Hey they can't take that away from me. Nonetheless. I'm a little sad today as I wind down writing on my old friend.

3,000 SARS Cases in Toronto???

This is not good at all.

Michael, is this true? It was linked off Drudge.

Please be careful.

March 27, 2003

Okay, anyone have any good news?

[note to self: check comment box frequently in hopes of finding some.]

more death stuff

The young man who helped me carry my things out of work last week, in passing, while we were on a completely different topic, mentioned that he'd never lost a loved one to death, that he had no idea how that would feel, that he couldn't put his head around what that would be like.

And it occurred to me, just then, with him juggling to fit my cardboard boxes on top of six changes of clothes for Jenna, five stuffed animals, and a couple of old happy meal boxes, that I've never not known what that feels like. As long as I can remember, that's been my default. We have two completely opposite defaults when it comes to loss.

Lots of cool realizations like this come to you while you're carrying your shit to your car after they tell you to go.

Thank God!

march madness

It took a lot out of me to write the stuff about my father and the me-child back on the 17th. March is a hard month for me. My father died on the 17th. My grandmother died on the 17th. Did I mention my grandfather died three weeks after my father--completely unexpected, a young man himself. Yes, well, a little hospital error. You know, like two doses of the same medicine because the first doctor to administer it never noted it. That was interesting. Funerals all around. To top it off, in the middle, is my mom's birthday. My mother has been through a lot. Her birthday was yesterday. We haven't spoken, except for brief brushes, for six months. It isn't what I wanted, but it is desparately what I need. I used to breathe for my mom, and know that she would willingly give her last breath for me. But I started losing my breath, and she got more and more of it, somehwere along the line.

And that in the long run is the problem. Someone lives, someone dies. Smothering. Choking. Too near too long. Always afraid that separating would mean death, hers or mine, and knowing that it still may. The death of something, someone. A lifelong fear for obvious reasons, and for not so obvious reasons. And also the birth, which, if you haven't noticed, I've been in the middle of for some number of months. Individuating the therapist calls it. It sounded immediately like something I need to do on a few dozen fronts. Talks of triangles as a powerful dynamic, relationships in threes, they're everywhere you know.

So I'm trying to get through March, on the other side of which I expect to find my voice again. I breathed a lot into my posts earlier this month. And I ran out of breath. Just then, I got the sock in the gut I should have expected, losing my job. And in the very real every day concrete world place, I don't officially leave my job til April 1. So there's a lot I'm holding back. Not details, you know. I won't talk about those. Can't. But for the first time I'll be posting here as a free agent, and I am so ready to roar. I can say whatever I want to whomever I want. I can remove my little disclaimer at the bottom. This place will really be mine.

Yes, it's always been mine, you're right. And no, I rarely pull back on saying what I want to say. That's true. I swear I smoke and I fight here without giving a shit about the fact that more than a few folks at work know where this place is. But there have been times, on what I'm guessing are a couple dozen or more posts, where I've self-edited based on my role at work. I've pulled up short. Had to. There are certain things unbecoming an agency chick, you see.

So hurry the fuck up, March. I'm sick of you're annoying, traumatizing ass, and if you don't roar on out of here like a lion, I'm gonna tear you off the calendar for the rest of my natural life.

Change the time, spring ahead, whatever needs to be done. Just hurry up, will ya?

dr again...

Well, we're taking Jenna to the docs again tomorrow--one we saw from some time back whom we liked. The two in between--not so great. Our family doctor is a good coverage guy but not an over-time problem solver. This is the pediatrician she's gone to who seemed to really connect with her. Wish us luck.

She's has had "that look" as you know, and today I greeted a blister on her tonsil, yellow, you know. Circles under the eyes. Hoping it's not strep for the THIRD time in a row, but more concerned that she's lost weight, not looking right. As a mom, I know something's off. And I'm not the kind who feels this often about her--usually I say, she's a Sessum--she'll be fine, because all of the children on George's side are rough and tumble tree climbing far falling kids. Sturdy stock. Not sickly, not to the drs much. She was pretty much the same way, give or take her asthma (which I have too), until a few months ago. Before the winter from Hell.

Send good thoughts. And also, the advice from electricliz about the mouthwash was tremendous. George got some last week for her. Now we do it twice a day--she swishes and rinses. I dillute it with a little water for her, so it's not so strong on her gums. It is STRONG mint though. Jenna first swished it and said, "This tastes like hypermint!" I was like "Hypermint? That is just what it tastes like. Cool word." She's already a branding pro like her mom.

I think the anticeptic mouthwash has helped beat back this round of whatever throat and related crud she has, because it's looking pretty much the same, not remarkably worse, and she hasn't had a fever this time.

If I could only get her to take chewable vitamins. We've tried Chucky and Barbie and Scooby. She hates all of them. Yesterday she says, "Mom, let me help you with the garbage bag--I can crush it just like Daddy!" And I see her looking guilty, you know. I look on the table, no vitamin. I watch her mouth, no chewing. I say, "Jenna, did you just slip your vitamin in the garbage?" She shakes her head no, but by the time she gets back to the table it tumbles out: "Well, OKAY. I did," she says smiling like an innocent angel. "Don't throw away your vitamin," I try. "You have to take it. It makes you feel better." And the usual reply: "But I HATE it!"

So we are off to use the good insurance while we have it and try to get to the bottom of this bug, germ, infestation or whatever it is.

Send good thoughts, and thank you.

Dear Selene

I noticed tonight that your blog is acting funny. I hope blogger's down. Because I'm really concerned that you let this stupd know-nothing whom your esteemed and slightly psychotic father took a beating to behind the woodshed this evening seriously. I mean, I'm worried you took your blog down. Don't do that. Kay?

I don't want you to--you know why? Because you are interesting and you do have something to say and we need to hear it. And when you don't have something to say (that's us most of the time... shhh... don't tell the rest of the world... they just got to thinking we're kind of important...) you go ahead and say nothing. Or something. Or you post a picture. Or one word. Or whatever the hell you want.

That's why we--stinking what's-his-loser-face not included in the "us" in we--are here. Believe it or not, and you might not believe it because of the venomous fiddle-faddle (do they still say fiddle-faddle?) our wanabe blogger friend posted, we're just a group of people trying to make our way across this rocky planet a little bit easier, with a little more fun and a little more caring, than we would have if we stayed outside this web of voices we call Blogland.

You know why else I want to read you? Because you speak for me too. Because I wish I could have blogged when I was 13. Because my family life and my school life and my heart had me, shall we say, twisted up in knots when I was 13? Yeh, that works for me. Knotted up inside. And if I had been writing out loud then, I think I might have found my voice--myself--before I hit 40, before I had a daughter of my own, and I might even have come to understand and love myself sooner.

That's heavy, I know. And I'm waahaaay on the other side of 13 now. But there's something in this writing out loud thing. And it's something big. And you ARE important and strong and smart and funny enough to join us. And when you don't want to be smart or funny, we'll read you and talk back. And when you do want to engage us and jolt us, we'll be there then too.

Just don't go to your father's blog too often. He posts some, well, slightly objectionable material from time to time... But then, what would one expect?

All I know is that if I could be 13 again, I'd like to come back here. Online. And I'd like to know that I could withstand the garbage from brainless, spineless idiots. See it for what it is. Say, hey, I'm better than that. And I would have liked to learn to do that that through my words, my writing, my wit, my intellect sooner. Don't forget, I talked to you on the phone and read your blog, and then throw in your parents' genes, and well... just understand that I know you have some stuff to say.

It's risky here too. People will come along and push you around because 1) they're jealous, 2) they're stupid 3) they're stupid and jealous. It's kind of like real life that way. But it also gives you a chance to say NO. You can't do that to me. Screw you. And mean it.

Finding your voice does that for you. Practicing it here--that's what we're all doing. We're just practicing. We don't know a damn thing, and don't let that idiot imply that anyone here--him especially--does. We don't know what were up to. We're just doing. We're just making music by swapping links instead of parts, jamming with words instead of notes, rapping if you will. And we make mistakes and screw up. We pull posts and we even take our blogs down for a while.

But we come back talking. We come back with our voices even stronger than when we hushed up. And that, Mirage, is the point.

See you on the flip side? I'm betting I do sooner or later. ;-)

This isn't all that's on my mind...

So, has the snow melted away everywhere? What's the temp where you live? It was about 70 here today. Too hot too soon.

I punched the numbers in six different times and still got this:

well, it's not really a layoff...

...because technically they didn't want me to go. They also made me an offer I couldn't not refuse. And so I feel like this:

This spiffy graphic comes from this article. While I relate to some of what the article says, I'll tell you this: as a telecommuter, job separation is a piece of cake. The stress issues don't come from a change in routine, because you're home, on the computer, and that *is* your routine. Unfortunately, I think that makes the jump to focusing on the hard financial realities that much quicker.

Since I'm already working for two clients, I'm doing the same thing I've always done. So far I haven't even had to go out and hard sell. Word of mouth is working. For now anyway.

So I guess I'm saying, to avoid the stress of layoffs, start telecommuting. It quickly disolves any illusion you have that your company is your family.

Which helps when they cut your nuts off.

sleep tight!

-the manglement

March 26, 2003

Can you tell I'm still biting my tongue?

no, really. it's starting to hurt.

the thing that makes me angry

is losing my health insurance.

I am currently welcoming suggestions on good PPOs or other health insurance plans that take humans as well as corporations. I've looked into the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia's plans and think that the PPO looks pretty good. I don't know how much it costs--only reviewed the stuff online. It looks far better than the HMO of Flex programs.

Dig this caveat though: "Pre-existing conditions are not covered for 12 months from the effective date of your contract. Naturally, there's no waiting period for new conditions that may occur after your contract effective date."

Does this mean that everything from the common cold to Jenna's asthma isn't covered for a year? Even if I don't lapse with the current plan? OYE!

Our current plan is Primary Select/Doc First (formerly commonwealth) -- part of the Beechstreet Network -- and the BCBS National PPO for hospitalizaton. The COBRA is $991 a month. Needless to say, I'm checking around for a more affordable plan. I hate to lose it though. Doctors love to see us coming. The plan is very good about paying and there doesn't seem to be a usual-and-customary-care limit for docs. They smile at us sometimes even.

All of this is to say, Thanks, Tom for helping out. And yes, I'm still on the face of the earth. For what that's worth.

March 25, 2003

You don't want to want to give them any credit...

But you do. When you get email from "Breaking News" and you know you've signed up to receive breaking news email alerts from CNN and others, you have to give the spammers their props for thinking it up.

The last two days I'm getting my Breaking News spam, today's delivering this startling development from the Middle East: GULF WAR II: the Art market in turmoil! "Keep connected to the art market to find out who the winners and the loosers are: Artists, works, sale places, key figures and trends, latest auction results, price levels and indexes…"

Thanks for saving my life. I almost ran for the duct tape.

Smart bastards.

busy bee

Been busy busy today getting some work underway for client number 2. Keep em coming. You know. So I'm staring at the pile of bills on the piano carefully sorting out which should go in pile A (never), B (doubtful), C (wishful), and D (soonish?). It's kind of like Monopoly bills instead of Monopoly money. None of it seems real. But it all works out after a beer or two. Yah, wish we had some in the house. Must be a suitable RX around here somewhere.

Man, I must be impressing you with my marketing know-how so far. I'm so hot I can't touch myself. sssssssss!

Excuse me, but our daughter is spinning herself into a frenzy, on her belly, in blurry circles around and around on the piano stool.

Disaster pending.

I'll be back.


March 24, 2003

tick tock tick tock

So my last day at work is 4/1. That's five years *to the day* that I started with the company. Five years is a long time. I carried some stuff out today, with one faithful soldier by my side, helping me with the wheeley cart. I hadn't unpacked from the most recent office move, so packing wasn't a huge deal. Seeing the faces left behind was a pretty big deal, but I'd been working with them virtually for so long that it wasn't as sad as I expected it to be.

I come home, yahoo IM launches, and there they are. Their little smiley face icons are what I see them as every day; that and their telephone voices and emails--life as a teleworker kind of warps you that way. So I guess I feel like I haven't lost anything. Unless you count health insurance, life insurance, vision, dental, paid vacation, two-years left til sabbatical, my laptop (soon), and a prestigious big-agency brand to attach myself to.

oh dear.

That's a downer.


After all, I've been building a brand here since 2001. It's not glamorous; it doesn't have a detailed methodology or fancy stones in the lobby. It doesn't have a color printer. But other than that, not too much is missing. Well an Intranet. Or is that what we're building as we weave ideas, inventions, and work here among one another? (you know I think so.)

Time will tell. In the in-between, check out my online portfolio and testimonials up there on the right if you need my most esteemed creative assistance or regular ol' verbiage.

Pass it on.

We aim to please.

March 23, 2003

caring commerce

I checked her throat today. I know what's coming. The fever's there. The strawberry tongue. The tonsils that look like pre-historic rocks. And this time her asthma's got a jump on her. Strep? We'll see. That's my guess. Usually doesn't start off with breathing treatments, but this round is starting that way, whatever she's got. She just finished on the nebulizer, with the puffers, nasal spray, and with a nasal swab of zicam in hopes of it just being a virus.

Well, I guess we don't say "just" a virus anymore, do we?

And the only thing rolling round my head is fury. Fury that next week I lose my health insurance benefits that I've worked my ass off for the last five years to have. It's business. It's a down economy. We've explored other options. These are facts, but they're not truths. The facts don't upset me. I don't begrudge the facts anything. I can do business with facts. No hard feelings on the facts. And I mean that.

The truth, however, is that until human beings bypass these institutions, form their own networks, with caring inherent in the links among me and you and him and her and them, we're all one sad lot. I believe the move toward caring commerce is already happening. When I'm not tired, gearing up for child sick days bound to follow the next few days, I see it all very clearly. Staking my future on it, so to speak. But more about that another time. I do have more to say. Not now.

In the mean time, when I look at that sad little face with the circles under her eyes, the mask over her mouth and nose with steam bubbling through the plastic holes, I understand what somebody once meant when he said corproations aren't human, they have no heart.