Monday, March 27, 2006

Cameron Crowe, Deliver Us

Today was one of those days that you imagine you’ll have after reading an obscure horoscope. Something like, “Casual communications cause you to rethink short and long- term goals.”

Lately, I’ve been rather homesick. I go to bed wondering when Boston will feel like home while at the same time nervous that it will indeed become “home,” rendering the Northwest the very “home” Thomas Wolfe claims we can never return to. In the morning I usually wake up surprisingly content, but by default. There’s nothing like feeling lost, down and uncertain when hitting the pillow to make the morning seem welcomingly bearable. And today, the sun was extremely bearable; the week has started off warm (mid-50s) with full sun and blue sky. It’s no Alki Beach with the Olympics framing the horizon, but it’s practically perfect.

Apparently, the weather was the first indication of a somewhat unusual day. First of all, I’ve talked to more family and friends today than I have in the last few months. And, it’s Monday- the day where I don my “single mother cap” while Ed’s gone from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM and the day the only human contact usually consists of Jack crying after I drop him off at daycare and my students fight sleep in class. But, for whatever reason, the universe listened particularly close to my near-acceptance of lonerville and BAM! I actually have a long conversation with a friend from West Seattle (we’ve been playing phone tag for about a month). I also got a hold of my sister to talk about my mom’s visit to Kansas and the military ball and then, my mom called too. When one of Ed’s teaching buddies from Seattle called to say he’d be in town this weekend to check out Harvard, I couldn’t offer our futon fast enough. I tell you, all of the calls were the equivalent of having a great date and WILLING the guy to call- the kind of thing that *never* happens.

But, there were other calls and emails today: two in particular that we gave up on. A while ago, Ed applied for an internship at an eating disorder clinic. Because he’s becoming a licensed psychologist, he can’t just hang out in the sports psych world – but wants to expand his experience. Of course, expanding experience means learning something new and often putting yourself in uncertain circumstances – something you’d think we would have become accustomed to by now, but no- naturally, Ed procrastinated a bit getting the application in, and because of it, was certain he had no chance after not hearing back for over two weeks and after calling to basically hearing the “we’ll call you” tone. Well, tonight, they called and want to interview him.

I also got an email I didn’t expect. A while ago, I emailed the woman who hired me at North Seattle community college in a desperate attempt to find out what the hell it takes to get an interview for a full time job – we got along swimmingly while I was there; she mentored me through my first year of community college teaching as well as my first pregnancy- as she had been pregnant the year before (she also set me up with my online classes so I could be home with Jack last year). So, I was a bid dismayed when I didn’t hear back and went on to write two cover letters for two full time positions here in Boston. Tonight, after having turned in my resume and cover letters, I did get her email. Of course, her advice would have been more effective had I received it before I got my application materials in, only adding to the confusion about what the *hell* I should do with my own career – yet, the fact that Ed & I both heard back from people we pretty much had given up on highlights the fact that the universe is fucking with us. That, or, it’s trying to keep us (me, in particular, from turning into complete cynics).

Regardless, I will say that I have been a bit mad a Cameron Crowe for perpetuating the idea that greatness comes at extreme risk (and by “greatness” I mean *merely* living the life you’ve imagined). We watched the end of “Say Anything” last night. You know that line John Cusak says after Ione Skye says “no one ever thought we’d actually do this” – the one about how “you’ve just described every great success story” – well that line pissed me off. I’ve just about had it with reaching beyond what we can see. I can’t tell if it’s better to reach, reach, reach and never quite get there or be content with what is now (of course, I have a feeling that it’s some hideous complicated mix of the two). It’s probably why I was silently balling my eyes out Saturday night watching Orlando Bloom drive across the country in Crowe’s most recent, rather meandering “Elizabethtown.” We’re so far from that safe place in the car driving to Seaside that it’s hard to remember that what we’re doing now is so we can completely enjoy that drive to the coast- even if that drive may not happen for a LONG time.

To sum up (by the way, I tell my students to *never* use this phrase in their writing), I woke up this morning fairly convinced I would have to look for High School jobs, accepting, somewhat willingly, the idea of compromising my career in exchange for some consistent income and insurance. But, now, after applying for two community college jobs and hearing back from my old colleague, I’m already starting to think about how maybe I could adjunct for a year or so and develop the professional reputation I started in Seattle. And, now, Ed can dive into the kind of clinical work he knows will make him a better psychologist, and ultimately lead him to better opportunities, but will also be somewhat intimidating at first. Of course, all of this is (as usual) complicated by the fact that we have little to no income this summer (the eating disorder thing doesn’t pay) and no guarantees for income after that.

Perhaps the best thing about today was that, as I was driving home from Bunker Hill, I had my first clear understanding of the overall road structure between BU and our neighborhood. Those elusive 6 miles of wandering, snake like roads made finally made sense in my mind’s “map” eye. Maybe it’s not about finding your way; maybe it’s about not feeling lost.

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