So my passport arrived this afternoon, with something like twelve whole hours to spare. Way to scare the hell out of a girl, people. I get it. When we procrastinate, things can get sloppy. The nice Consular of Affairs guy with the spy accent told me on Thursday that my new passport would leave DC that afternoon, and arrive Saturday, or Monday at the latest.
I called the Passport Office on Monday at 5 pm. “Your passport was approved. It left here twenty minutes ago,” they told me.
But my passport came today anyway. My paycheck didn’t, but I’ll have to work around that issue. More correctly, my paycheck has been sitting on the desk for two days, but For Various Reasons my office won’t do direct deposit, and now we’re sitting around waiting for someone authorized to sign it to show up. I did find out for sure we’re closing; nobody’s actually stated it yet, but a friend-of-a-friend ran into a guy he’d never met, sitting at the PR drinking beer, and THAT guy had the inside scoop that we’re closing next month. So I suppose it’s true, according to the word on the street thirdhand from strangers in bars. If any of that is correct, I’ll fly back from Europe, work two weeks, and then start job hunting.
I don’t like the way any of this has unfolded, and so yesterday I got stuck on songs about “leavin'” and “freight trains” and “runnin’ away.” This one by Tift Merritt was exactly how I felt, wistful and blue and all tied up in knots. That line about “gonna buy some flowers at the grocery, with my last five dollars again” says it all. And when she sings, “gonna think hard about leavin’, see if the afternoon can tell,” well, that was me.
My hair therapist and I came up with a plan last week. It involves leavin’….but not for long. I’m stuck, and have been for ages, and now I’m about to be between jobs, and the absolute worst thing that could happen to me would be to end up taking another job in a hurry, and end up feeling trapped. It’s still a recession, for architecture anyway, and I don’t know that I’ll have the luxury of picking and choosing. I also don’t know that architecture means anything to me right now. What I want is a van down by the river, and a place to write, just for a while. I think a month would do. I think I can buy myself a month, once I disentangle from this situation, and go try and remember what it was I was looking for when I changed careers in the first place. I’m taking Dawg and my guitar and a laptop, and I can’t imagine I’ll need much else for a few weeks, if I can make it work.
So after a bout of looking, hard, for that perfect place to go, I’ve narrowed it down to a handful of options. Airstreams, or studio apartments, or little cabins in the middle of nowhere. I may try to tag on a drive on Route 66, as is my fantasy, but my amazing hair therapist and I went back and forth on this. “What you need is to go sit still somewhere. AND WRITE.” I told him I thought he was right. I was feeling low about likely not getting either of the jobs I’d just applied for, because they just weren’t the right fit, but I also told him I was afraid of finding something so fast that I wouldn’t have any space to breathe in between jobs. “You hear yourself, right? You hear what you’re saying? Go find some space to breathe.”
Hair therapy is the best. I highly recommend finding yourself a stylist with a PhD in psychology. Worth his weight in pure shining gold.
Today my playlist has changed a little. Less “thinking hard about leavin’,” and more “she puts a line in the water when the sun come’s up, start’s drinkin’ when it’s going down,” and doesn’t that sound great? and then I played this one about ten times in a row, and I just plain felt better, when she yelled “from the Crescent City to the Great Salt Lake, it ain’t what you got, IT’S WHAT YOU MAKE.” (As a cautionary tale, I also listened to Railroad Lady. Note to self, go, but do not stay gone long enough to become That Girl.)
Whatever happens next month is still a giant question mark. What is certain, though, is this: I take off tomorrow for parts unknown, three days in a gorgeous place I’ve never seen. It might be snowing, please let it be snowing. And then after that I get to lay my hands on my baby nephew for the first time, and I am going to kiss all over his chubby little newborn cheeks and zrrrrbbbttt all over his belly. And the feet!! Baby feet just slay me. And I’ll drink dark Belgian beer and be with family in far-flung parts, and bring home chocolates,
and then figure out all of the rest when I get back.