Ir Adelante: A Musing

By Amber Robbin

There’s a hard to describe feeling in my chest. Sometimes it passes through the eyes, at other times, straight through the heart, attaching itself to passersby. This song that I love makes me think of it…

Ooh this masquerade

For a foolish vision

Left you wandering

For a new addiction 

Chasing after ghosts in your bed

Reaching out like souls in transit

Shadows in your walls

Loaded like a weight in water

Sometimes it gets to be too much.  Continue reading


Pivot, or Persevere

pivotBy Amber Robbin

I woke as if erupting from a body of water, then lie there floating on top of my sheets. The timer clicked in my head, five hours and counting till all I could recall of the previous night would be retrieved. My soul tasted like gin. And Kahlua. (And poor judgment.)

I melded with the wall and every piece of furniture across my path on the long journey down the stairs. Like a wounded animal, I called out for the one person I thought could ease my pain: “Jimmy Jooohhhns…Jiiimmy Jooohhns!” I called and called for him, too hazy to even recognize that it was 8 in the morning, and he was still asleep.  Continue reading

The Hussies Upstairs: Part 2

J Parker-Skyline-ViewBy Amber Robbin

I emerged from the bathroom, as put together as I’d bother for a humid Windy City day, and merged with the other little black dresses careening around marble corners on a carousel of false, glittering smiles and jewel-toned cocktails. I rounded the bend at the giant glass windows overlooking the seamless lake and passed Nigel on my way outside. He was busy taking orders from a server: “But I had that section last night,” she whined “and I had nothing but two-tops the entire night! Why ya gonna waste one of your best servers on date night, Nigel, when I could be rockin’ that couch section better than any of the girls in here?!”  Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #5 Non-Fiction

Bare CoveBy Amber Robbin

Normally, Whole Foods is a place that brings me joy, boasting a “guilt-free” hot buffet that smacks of buttery goodness and free samples galore left unattended in generous heaps. It’s a veritable playground for the sometimes-vegetarian (that I am) with yoga mats and fancy lip balms that make the yuppie lifestyle almost desirable. The only downer, normally, are the last few minutes anyone ever spends inside the store, when it becomes all-too-apparent that a more befitting name for the place would be ‘Whole Paycheck.’ Other than that, I associated Whole Foods with perfectly lovely memories – until one night in March. 

On that night, my soul collapsed over a brown box of marshmallow encrusted sweet potatoes. I felt myself being consumed exactly as I was meant to be doing the consuming, eaten alive by my inner swarm of lacking purpose, lacking sense of self, and lacking desire to wake up the next day and go to work – a full eight hours before that task even needed to be confronted. Continue reading

Missing Reservations

DSC_0564By Amber Robbin

At five minutes past five, I’d race in through the revolving door and shuffle my way across the floor, shooting a smile over to the corner where the server staff sat half-listening to a dozen suit-jacketed managers, then down the line past the wall of Spanish whispers, and into the kitchen. Only a few minutes later, we’d be waist-deep in hundreds of dinner reservations, hosts rushing up and down the faux-marble staircase with flushed faces and tight fists holding short skirts close to tired thighs. Food runners balanced steaming plates of pasta high above the oblivious crowds, servers worked the floor with their tableside flirtations, and I ran with the bussers, a host not quite in line with the rest, popping up tabletops left and right and hoisting chairs above my head en route from one side of the room to the other.

This is how the dance would begin each and every night amid the small plates and large egos, between the tiled walls and wooden floorboards of that packed two-story.  Continue reading

Merry Christmas, To Whom It May Concern: Part 2

By Amber Robbin

'What do you want to do today --hunt, gather, or just hang out?'

Around week five, Will and I had concocted the perfect business model to save us from our job search (or at least from having to think about it by making ourselves laugh):

“Man, Will. Your apartment is turning into an internet café.”

“Haha, totally.”

“We should just invite people in from off the streets. It could be a café for unemployed people! Think about it: a place for us to meet other pathetic, jobless folks and commiserate together.”

“Yeah, Logan Square would dig something like that.”

“And we could serve food! You make such good sandwiches, sweetie! We could call it…The Well Fare Café…with Sandwich Art by Will.”  Continue reading

Merry Christmas, To Whom It May Concern: Part 1

By Amber Robbin

me and carl

I heard the sweet, familiar sound of Will whispering faintly behind me: “Amberrr…” It was the last time I’d see that crop of wavy brown locks he referred to as his “basket of curly fries” emerge from behind the wall that bordered my desk. I swiveled in my chair to take in the sight of his affectionately nicknamed “gooseneck” arching over the partition like one of the Land Before Time longnecks, but this time, I saw a faint redness in his gentle eyes. “They just fired me,” he said, accent on the “fired,” and the frustration. We knew the company had been thinking about making cuts for a while, but I didn’t think they’d actually cut him. Just me: the inattentive, not-to-be-bothered, please-leave-me-to-my-feminist-blog, yes-this-IS-my-fifth-Kit-Kat-from-the-office-snack-bowl receptionist. “I’m so sorry. They just fired me too.” “Oh really? Ok…I’m gonna go call my mom in the bathroom and then get my stuff together. Meet you by the elevator in twenty minutes.”  Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #4 An Action Adventure

By Amber Robbin

Law Firm 4


I emerge from the boardroom like a bat out of hell, just having endured a painful, two-hour meeting with Georgia and Nancy about the database overhaul I’m “spear-heading.” This translates to: “you’re about to spend every waking moment of your life correcting thousands of mailing addresses so that Mr. and Mrs. Rich Deusch can be sent their gift basket of ass kisses to their current multimillion-dollar address.” I have no time to think about what that might mean for my hopes of not hating my life. I have to get back to my desk immediately if I have any hope of walking out the door at 5:30 to my much-needed therapy appointment.


I have an hour left and a dozen binders piled high on my desk. I’m printing with my right hand, labeling with my left, and hole-punching with my foot. Continue reading

The Law Firm Sagas: #3 A Sci-Fi Thriller

By Amber Robbin

scared-woman-hitting-keyboard-at-her-desk-computer-300x218I was nearing the end of my first month with the firm, and as time had passed, my co-workers had begun to appear more and more like machines to me. They marched past my desk in eerily straight lines, their steely gazes transfixed in the direction they were headed. Sometime before lunch on a routine day, the secretary Nova came to my desk with several case files. “Amber, I need these retyped, formatted exactly as they are now,” she said in monotone, beaming herself back to her desk before I could ask any questions. I escaped down the elevator shaft to take my break, less than eager to start retyping.

I took a seat in the corner of the marble lobby and called my father, desperate for human connection. But I couldn’t get a signal. It was too bitter outside, so I resigned myself to huddling in the corner and opened my lunch. For an hour, I watched people passing in droves through the giant, echoing space. They moved just like my co-workers – a bunch of soulless androids floating in straight lines. I was sucked in to their mesmerizing dance and began to experience some sort of mind-meld with the group. Continue reading