Really, talking is not so difficult. I think it's a little trickier to do gracefully, but I do pretty well with just sort of barging in and starting the conversation with whatever I want to talk about.
So I have this conversation coming up with my boss tomorrow, because on Thursday my project started to get pretty deeply and obscurely fucked up with things beyond my control, so I had to tell him it wouldn't be done by the end of the day, and in fact it was just done today. The vibe I got from him, and I get this constantly, is that it should already have been done and tested, and I've just been sitting around slacking; yet, every time I ask if I'm doing my job okay, is there anything I need to be doing differently, say that if he thinks I'm not working hard enough, he should speak up, he always says everything is fine. This ties in to other things that set me off about work, like the feeling that nothing has changed in the time I've been there, I don't have more responsibility or more money or anything...but that's not a good way to start a discussion. I'm starting with how I presented the problem to him, and the possibility that maybe I could communicate things initially in a way that might encourage him to react, um, like less of a jerk, I guess. My underlying complaint is in part that he still treats me like a rookie, and seems to assume both that I haven't tried the obvious things, and that I'm not trying very hard; but mostly that that feeling clashes with all the meager feedback I get, which inevitably says I'm doing a fine job. Or at least an okay job. Far be it from anyone to really tell me what I'm doing well. I'm not especially attached to the outcome of his opinion of me, but I do insist on knowing clearly what it is and having that be consistent in my experience. I mean, great, think I'm a slacker or whatever, and we can talk about that, but don't go acting like I'm a slacker and tell me something different. My boss is a genuinely good guy, though, so I figure we'll work it out. And I'm starting to hit up the network of friends for a new job, anyway, because I feel unchallenged and underpaid, and I'm now utterly convinced that Windows kills brain cells.
I also had a nice bit of communication with my friend who is coming up with me to the campout this weekend. Our relationship is more than a little nebulous, and we know all these things that it's not...and we can't really say what it is, either, except that it's very clearly there and very real, so it demands acknowledgement, but not description. So we laid out very similar expectations for the weekend, basic stuff about logistics, and just sort of stopping to notice the things we don't have answers for, and that's okay...it's at least as important to be aware of what you're leaving unresolved as it is to actually resolve things.
As a footnote, I got a taste of carbon monoxide poisoning today! I'm fine, just the expected dizziness/headache/nausea. Just from playing with a propane torch for about 5 minutes without moving air around. It doesn't take much, and it takes a few hours to wear off, and it sucks, so be careful.