Tuesday, November 02, 2004

A Day of Hope, A Season of Change

This morning, Scott and Todd in the Morning began yukking it up from my clock radio at 8AM. I let them banter for a good half hour, while listening to my roommate shower, tromp around the apartment, and finally leave at around 8:30. I was showered and dressed and headed to the subway in my smart black yuppie suit by 9:40. I had a copy of my resume, a sweater, my sunglasses, and enough cash for a quick breakfast. Upon realizing I had left my phone behind, I decided to leave it in the apartment for the morning.

I can’t ever remember feeling so cavalier about being separated from my phone.

I was on my way to a long-term temp job interview at the Enormous Tower in Long Island City. I was excited. I lived in Long Island City for 5 years. I know that neighborhood intimately, and still have a friend or two there. The train was as easy as I knew it would be: two stops to Port Authority, a staircase down to the 7, and get comfy for the short trip to 45th Road/Courthouse Square. I had a good book and a better attitude.

This Company is about as far as I can get from what I want to do with my life. I’ve said many times to many people, “I’ll take just about any job, as long as I don’t land in a financial services company.”

Well, I’m desperate. If I don’t get a job fast, I won’t be able to keep my apartment. My lease renewal agreement is due in a few weeks. I don’t have any money in savings and therefore cannot afford to move. I have to keep this apartment for now - which means I need a job PDQ. That’s why I re-registered with my old temp agency, who sent me here this morning, and why I’m open to a position like this one.

I arrived in Long Island City this morning a half an hour before my interview. I popped into the Court Square Diner for a cup of coffee and a bagel. I ate at the counter and mused on the job. Department Assistant in Project Management. The IT Department.

IT has always been a road not taken for me. I love computers, systems, networks, software, and all that techie stuff. Back in 1982, If my Dad had bought me an Apple IIc instead of a Commodore Amiga, I would be an IT professional today. I took an HTML class a couple of years ago, and I taught myself to create simple websites. I’ve hung out with the IT guys at every job I’ve worked. Hell, I married one once.

The interview went well.

So these guys at the HFSC have this large-scale internal project. They need someone assisting in various capacities through the rollout and implementation of this new system. Nothing I haven’t done before, and nothing I know I don’t do well. I’m pretty much exactly what they need, personality-wise as well as skill/tool set-wise. And, upon meeting the two big shots in charge of this project, I liked them. I could definitely do this job. And enjoy lunching in my old neighborhood as well.

The interview over, I strolled out of the building into the gorgeous day. I couldn’t resist walking the two blocks south to the brownstone where my husband and I last lived together. “FOR RENT” and an email address were prominently posted in the window. I was astonished. Nobody’s rented the place? It’s been almost two years. It’s stunningly beautiful. For a few months, Ex-Hubby and I had been blissfully happy there. I allowed myself to peer into the window of the living room. Bare. Empty. For a flash of a second, my mind’s eye saw our household has it had been, books on the built-in shelves, candlesticks and photos on the mantle, sofa with an afghan strewn across it… and then the vision was gone.

I backed away, took one last look at the place, and walked on, toward the small park, with the dog run, where we used to walk the dog we sheltered for a brief time, getting to know the neighbors, watching the dogs race and play together like children. The run was empty today. I looked at the yellow and red trees, the pink and purple morning glories on the fence. Again, a vision: Our little dog Bonnie running and playing with Chloe, the neighbor’s poodle. I blinked and it was gone. Just wind and trees.

I walked two blocks east toward the apartment building where David and I had lived, when we were engaged and for a time after the wedding. I was slowly going backward in time, retracing the physical steps of my marriage, from breakup to meeting. I looked up at the windows. We had been good friends with the Superintendent and his wife, and I have kept in touch with them all this time. Just for kicks, I rang the super’s bell. He was home. “Don’t you hate it when people just drop in?” I said gaily. “You bet! I guess now you’ll have to come up for tea,” he replied.

A buzz and some stairs, and I was sitting on an old friend’s couch with a cup of chai and a black lab snoozing on my feet. Super-man and I talked for a good hour or two. We have both been through a great deal of life changes recently, including deaths in the family, which have caused us to ask ourselves some hard questions. If we really were to “lose it all,” then what?

A good long talk with a friend. Super’s a great guy, very creative, very spiritual, very compassionate. I like myself better sometimes when I’m around him.

The one thing we agreed upon was that if “the worst” were to happen - loss of job, house, money, etc… we both have families that would take us in. We could get by. Shelter, food, loved ones, pets. We realized that we are luckier than 80% of the people on this planet… and a good percentage of the ones in this city alone. We talked about life fulfillment, work, family, illness, yoga, friends.

Eventually I turned to go, hug and kiss and thanks for the tea. “Stop by anytime,” he said. “I just might,” I smiled back.

The sun was high in the early afternoon sky as I boarded the 7 train to home.

At home, I changed clothes, and went out to vote.

As I was heading to the poll booth, my cell phone rang. It was my temp agency. The job is mine.

I voted.

I called my Mom. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I called my wild gal friend who has been working on the Kerry campaign all this time. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I called my boyfriend. “I just voted. And I got a job.”

I left a voicemail for another friend. “I got a job. Call me.”

I went into a sushi bar where I knew no one, and had lunch. I read my book. I didn't think about the job, the election, my apartment, or my roommate. I enjoyed my sushi and Miso and crisp, clear water.

I start Monday. I have the rest of this week off. I plan to spend it walking, eating healthy, writing, and relaxing in this apartment which I love and have lived in for two years, the longest lease I have ever had, and thanks to this job, will be living in for another year.

The future is a long, wide open space stretched out before me.

I will remember this gorgeous, glorious, perfect day for the rest of my life.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Whoo hoo!!! Welcome back to the 9-5!

It's also a bit unnerving to realize how our minds cross similar paths... I have always said that if my parents had bought me an Apple IIc I would be in programming. Ha ha!

Congratulations!