We’ve Got A Floater!

Lido, 1924, Max Beckmann

Lido, 1924, Max Beckmann

In Europe a lido refers to a beach where people can swim, lie in the sun or participate in water sports. On a cruise ship, outdoor pools and the surrounding facilities are referred to as the lido deck. The term lido is an Italian word for beach and forms part of the place-name of several Italian seaside towns known for their beach, as in Lido di Pirano. The above Max Beckmann painting is entitled Lido. The following is the museum’s synopsis:

A white-capped woman in profile and a figure in a striped bathing suit walk along the beach, or lido, in opposite directions. The bathers behind them are tossed around in the sea, their limbs jutting out of the water at strange angles. Max Beckmann painted this work as a memory of a 1924 vacation at Pirano on the Italian coast. The disquieting atmosphere of the picture suggests the artist’s future interest in Surrealism, which focused on the imagery of dreams. For the critic Curt Glaser, this work represented the “fantasy of the real.”

Anne was a floater at the Early Childhood Center today. This job title always invokes the joke by me of a life guard calling out, “We’ve got a floater!” Like the white-capped woman, Anne was able to float above the day’s occasional bouts of ‘disquieting atmosphere’, as she flitted from one classroom to the next. In all likelihood, this was her last school day of the year.

Tomorrow is my last work day of the year. It is also likely when my annual performance appraisal will occur. In years past the prospect of this evaluation was enough to get my undies all in a bunch and lead to a rather restless eve of the event. My past reactions were totally irrational, because these appraisals were almost always non-events. These reactions were likely no more than my own fantasies of the real.

Management has always seemed enamored with the peanut buttering of raises, so as to not offend the largest number of employees. A raise that is a tenth of a percent more or less might matter if you have twenty or thirty more years of work in which to compound it, but for me that ship has sailed. Now those tenths are on the order of those pennies that you placed in the cashier’s jar and hope that she remembers next time. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you catch my drift. After tomorrow I will have worked thirty-six years and I have finally decided what I want to be when I grow up, a retired floater.

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