Monday, I had my cute little new-fangled phone sitting nice and flat on top of my little desktop speakers, on vibrate. A. sent me a text (which said “call me,” by the way) and my phone began to shimmy, working itself off of its resting place and plunking itself directly into the glass of water below. Like a perfect little cell-phone high dive. The rest of the story is boring but involves the dismantling of the phone and laying it out piece by piece on my windowsill to dry, like a little beach for cell phone parts.
Tuesday, I got the standard “what’s your story” questions from my coworkers in the break room, and became acutely aware of how I sound like a compulsive liar when I give my employment history. “I graduated from college, got accepted into a competitive Master’s program but didn’t go, worked with the crazy and homeless for 7 years, worked in an ad agency until it dissolved, had a baby, worked with people who happened to be dying from a cruel and rare terminal illness, and then landed here to be a writer. Oh, and I’m also a massage therapist.”
I have suffered from awful allergies this week, beginning Wednesday– sneezing, awful congestion, continually dripping nose. I know I’m a really welcome addition to this open-floorplan creative department, with my scronking and snurgking all the live-long day. Wednesday I took some generic Allergy meds and maintained a paranoid, clumsy, fuzzy high for 2 full days. My patience has been short with Bird (though she’s contributed enough “TWO” this week to last a month) and I’ve been bumbling around like an idiot, not choosing the right words, the right shoes, or the right cross streets. My job pretty much revolves around my being clever, and clever I am not when I’m stoned on generic Claratin-D. Thursday morning I told Andy my head was full of snot, but what came out of my mouth was “my head feels like it needs to take a shit.” which, come to think of it, is the most accurate thing I’ve said in a while.
My job is going well. When I’m being really honest, I’ll tell you I’m a little lonely. Sitting in a quiet little room with nothing but words to think about shifts my brain into a different gear, like when you’ve been reading a novel for four hours and the phone rings and you kind of forget how to talk to live humans. Sometimes I’ll put my two cents into a conversation, but I usually return to my office slapping my palm to my forehead and wondering how I have existed this long in the world and am still unable to make decent small talk without revealing my own weird shit. I find as I walk down the hall to the bathroom that I’m starting to narrate my own movements in my head, and sometimes I even narrate my own thoughts, like I’m describing to myself whatever it is that I’m thinking, which is kind of a messy process. And no, I have not been dropping acid.
And no, that doesn’t mean I regret taking this job, either, or even that it’s going badly. My social skills have always been weird. I’m ready to be six months into this and be able to stop explaining myself and telling the back story to everything. I’m ready to be comfortable, but it’s only been two weeks.
I’m also just having to re-condition myself– I haven’t written in this kind of a marathon since college, really, and that was a while ago. I’m out of practice at being this acquainted with my own brain, being required to use it this way.
Oh, also at work this week someone was talking to someone else about kids in a kind of know what I mean? tone, and I was standing there a little in and a little out of the conversation, and this person said something to me like, “Well, you’re not old enough to have any kids yet, but when you do…”
And I just sat there kind of stunned, not sure what to say, because WTF? So I came up with these three options:
- I got my period when I was thirteen, so technically I’ve been “old enough” to have kids for almost twenty years! Suck it!
Okay, I really only came up with one option, that was it. There was another option but it involved a very simple, one-fingered hand gesture. I’m not sure why it all bothered me so much.
Maybe it’s because I’m adjusting to working in the creative field again, where everything you put out there is judged in some way, evaluated, chosen or not chosen. And feeling like a bad mama to boot, walking around all high on Claritin and ignoring my child until she acts out and I can’t cope with her two-ness. And here is this person questioning my ability to be a mother? Or is it about questioning my experience on this earth in general? In any case, that remark freaking flew all over me.
What I actually said in response was, “I have a daughter. She’s two and a half.”
And then of course today, because I am the way I am, I had to start some totally unrelated conversation with the other person that had witnessed this exchange that called into question whether or not I should be birthing babies or trying on prom dresses. Some stupid, awkward conversation that I crafted to give myself the opportunity to state my true age. As you might imagine, this exchange was not gracefully executed on my part.
In other news, I got to hold my friend J’s sweet and teensy little baby this evening. I could have eaten him in one delicious bite.