Today I finally unpacked my boxes at work. I have a theory about unpacking: if you don’t do it, you have a subconscious desire to be elsewhere. I don’t have any scientific data to back this up, only personal experience.
I was in college, assigned to be an assistant resident director of a co-ed freshmen dorm known for after-hours parties. My room was either directly above or below, I can’t remember, a room of girls who played P-Funk and Grandmaster Flash through six-foot-tall speakers (I never saw them in person, only in my head). That fall, we had two date rapes, two drug overdoses, and a dead man in the laundry room (a janitor who had a heart attack). Because the resident director was getting his doctorate, he was never around and the responsibilities of calling security, housekeeping, ambulances, and the police fell to me.
The night before my last final that quarter was spent talking a guy down from a bad acid trip. I quit my job the next day. I didn’t need to pack—I never had a moment to put anything away but my clothes since the first day.
And a superstition was born.
So today I unpacked my boxes, which have been sitting on the floor and on chairs since November, figuring that I better get serious about this new career change. I had a dream last night that my old boss wouldn’t talk to me anymore; I woke up feeling gloomy. I’ve spent most of the day trying to shake it off. Did I make the right decision? What if I didn’t? Right now, my work is simply focused on not screwing anything up. I’m not even thinking about what I can do to make myself indispensable.
So I unpacked my boxes and settled in, accepting the other changes that have come along since I switched careers—wearing dresses and, as a writer friend said, “ladies pantsuits,” and hose, and foundation (and learning how to apply foundation and finding those spongy wedges to apply it with), and walking in high heels over gravel, carrying a briefcase again, balancing my coffee while I walk. It’s all so unnervingly new.
…Ten years ago, I never would have dreamed that I would be living in Pigspittle. That it would be 2008 and I’d be married and my dog Finnegan would have a cat named Kobe for a pal and I’d look out my kitchen window to see a herd of deer in the snow. I hadn’t imagined any of this. Don’t get me wrong (especially you, sweet Husband, who will think this writing is sad)—I like this little dot on the map, far enough away from the interstate to make me think twice about hopping in the car to go to Barnes & Noble. I just keep hearing “Once in a Lifetime” a little more often in my head…And you may find yourself in another part of the world.
Welcome, 2008. May you be joyous.