Fork in the Road

Hello my old friend. I used to come to you to bitch about first dates gone wrong, and make fun of my mother. I feel like I’ve been neglecting you now that I haven’t had a first date in almost three years, and my mother now lives about 3,000 miles too far away to make fun of on a regular basis.

In any case, I’ve found myself in a situation in which I’m in-between striving for ordinary, and purchasing a one way plane ticket to somewhere… anywhere I’ve never been before, and figuring the rest out from there.  In short, the situation is called unemployment.  I’ve gotten laid off, yet again… a result of working for a start-up that got bought out shortly after I began my employment.  I didn’t cry when I found out.  I was somewhat expecting the call when I heard we were getting acquired.  (I’m lying.  I definitely cried… but only for like 3.5 minutes, which I think is basically considered not crying).

IS IT A SIGN???  IT’S A SIGN!  I’m destined for bigger things!  The past 3 years since I moved out to California have been tumultuous, career-wise.  Although, with every closed-door, a new one presented itself very quickly.  Sometimes it presented itself before I was even really ready to walk through it (that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever typed).  For the first time in my career, I have found myself a full week without a job or even a lead.  WHAT.IS.GOING.ON?  HELLO?!  I’ve applied to every medical sales and sales management position on this side of the Mississippi (well, mostly ones in California), as well as signed up for websites that cast extras for TV and film… you know to pass the time while I look for a real job.

Expecting to be bombarded with emails and phone calls after day one of getting out my professional resume and my adorable self-taken head-shot (ok, it was a selfie),  I was sadly wrong, and baffled.  No one wants me.  I feel alone.  I feel lost.  Not in the sad, actual lonely, lost way.  Just in the confused, anxious, bored, what-do-I-do-now way (hey there…wine).

I’ve said countless times that next time I find myself unemployed, I will not jump straight to the next job again.  I’ve vowed to take an international trip, maybe back to somewhere in Africa, work my way around the world, and then come back and figure out my next move.  But when unemployment actually happens, I get this feeling… I don’t know what to call it… hmmm…panic?  Logically, I know I’ll find a new job eventually, but the thought of my severance running out in a month (tick, tick, tick… 3 weeks), and no direct deposits entering my bank account for the foreseeable future, just straight rubs me the wrong way. Seems wrong. Is taking off and gallivanting the world really the best move?

Also, I’m an introvert. “WHAT?!?  STFU COURTNEY YOU ARE NOT AN INTROVERT.”  Yes I freakin’ am.  I’m slightly terrified to travel alone for an extended period of time.  I’m not scared of the unknown, or finding my way around, or flying by myself.  I’m scared of having no one to talk to because I’m sometimes bad at entering into social situations I’m not familiar with by myself.  If I have someone with me that I know, it completely changes my dynamic and my attitude, which is why some of you may not believe that I’m actually, deep down, an introvert.  You’ve never seen me in an uncomfortable situation by myself.  It’s weird, it’s strange, and I don’t like it.  And I’m being very open with all you random people right now for some unknown reason.  Probably because I’m unemployed, bored, and have nothing else to do but open my emotions to the world-wide interwebs.

So here I am… at a fork in the road.  Can you call it a fork if there are more than two ways to go?  I think you can, because actual forks usually have three to four prongs.  I had to replace my three-pronged forks with four-pronged ones because I was getting complaints from guests.  In any case… If I take this fork to the left:  I find another well-paying job within my comfort zone of medical sales. Sell my soul. Pay my bills. The fork goes right:  I take off and travel the world, apply for a volunteer opportunity or two and come back by Christmas or my family will have my head on a platter.  The fork goes straight, dead ahead:  Someone from The Bachelor Franchise realizes I’m destined to work for them.  I become best friends with Chris Harrison, and live happily ever after.

help.

xoxo, Chickadees.

fork_in_the_road

First Trip Back to NY

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when moving from New York to California was for people to be mad.  Sad, yeah, of course… I was sad to leave people I love, but mad?  No.  I’m not sure how that emotion came about.  It doesn’t really upset me that people are mad, just confuses me.  I feel like we are all living our lives with the goal to experience things and make ourselves happy.  And different things make different people happy.  I don’t think I’d be mad at anyone for a life decision unless it were specifically to hurt me.  I never really anticipated feeling the bit of guilt I feel, now living on the other side of the country.  Not because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, just because it’s clear that a couple of people I love are mad at me for pursuing what I wanted to do… my selfish dream.  I miss these people all… like crazy.  But didn’t plan on feeling guilty about it.

Carissa and I have been here for a little over 4 months and hadn’t had plans to go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year.  Flights are crazy expensive, we made a no-man-left-behind pact, and my parents decided to come out in early January to celebrate Christmas with us here.  Some minor guilt trips were laid out about not being around for the holidays, but that didn’t really affect me.  What did affect me was that I really started missing “home” and the people who were there.  Not because holiday season was approaching, but because I just genuinely missed them.  Sitting on my front porch one night with a glass of wine (the best ideas are sparked by a glass of wine), I asked Carissa if she’d be interested in coming home with me for a long weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She was.  We decided on going for our brother’s birthday weekend, booked the trip about 6 weeks in advance, and decided we would make it a surprise.  The only person we notified for coordination purposes was our “brother,” Courtney, who was planning birthday festivities.

We flew in separately last Thursday.  I took an early flight, and Carissa got one after her classes.  Since no one really knew we were coming, it was hard to coordinate sleeping arrangements for the first night.  I knew I had to go to Hoboken straight from JFK to pick up my snowboard from my condo’s basement to bring back with me, so I planned to stay with a friend there.  Carissa on the other hand, didn’t want her friends to know she was home until the following night, so her plan was to get home to Babylon around 2am, SNEAK INTO our parents’ house, and into her bed, and then meet me in the morning to surprise them at work.  FLAW FLAW … hole in the plan.

“Carissa, you CANNOT sneak into the house.  Dad’s going to shoot you when he hears someone creeping up the stairs in the middle of the night.”

“No… he only has a Louisville Slugger next to his bed… I’ll be fine.”

“He has a GUN.  He will shoot you.”

“Oh….really?…. hmmmm… okay I’ll figure something else out.”

She figured something else out.  I also had to figure something else out at the last-minute because my Hoboken sleeping arrangements fell through.  Planes trains and automobiles later, I arrived in Hoboken and met up with The Architect, who I had informed earlier that I’d be in town for the night.  The feeling being back there, but homeless, was eerie.  It felt so amazing to be back.  I’d missed the vibes of the town.  I had a fun random Thursday out, visited my favorite local watering hole, and saw a couple of friends.  The next morning as I walked to my old condo in the dark, cold, rain, I couldn’t help but feel happy anyway.  I was so excited to be back, and so excited to see my family over the next couple of days.  As I crossed the street near my building, dragging my luggage with a hood over my head, the crossing guard who looked like he was basically covered in plastic bags shouted, “Happy Friday!”  I beamed, and shouted back to him.  Even the nasty cold rain was making me happy.  I felt back at home.  Back home with all the miserable commuters I was used to.

If getting through public transportation on a Friday morning during rush hour isn’t complicated enough…. I challenge you to do it with a rolling suitcase, an oversized purse, a sweater, and a packed snowboard bag over your shoulder.  I can’t count how many times I said “I’m sorry,” and after the first leg of the trip, making it down to the PATH and then up into the city, I just couldn’t stop laughing.  As hard as I tried to control all of my things it was just impossible not to whack people either in front of me, behind me, or to either side.  As I fielded dirty looks, I felt it was necessary to explain what a nightmare it was to be pushing through turnstiles with the amount of odd-shaped things I had to carry.

I finally made it to Penn Station, got a real New York bagel, made my way down to the Long Island Railroad, got my snowboard up on the top shelf with a big sigh, and sat down.  The conductor collected my ticket and I asked him if he knew when the train would get to Babylon.  He told me, and then asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I did know who he was.  He was my mom’s friend’s husband, Frank.  Funny enough, he was one of the only OTHER people who knew I’d be in town, because his wife, Marie helped me get my mom half a day off of work that day in secret.  Frank asked where Carissa was, and if we were ready for the surprise, and chatted with me for the majority of the train ride.  Feeling at home already.

I get to Babylon and looked for Carissa who was supposed to be picking me up.  I called her.  She picked up and whispered, “Hey, I just found Dad’s keys in his jacket pocket.  I think he’s still home.  I’ll be there in 5.”

Okay, now she’s breaking into the house and stealing my dad’s car… while he’s home.  She pulls up a few minutes later with incessant horn honking, starts laughing at me struggling with my bags, and as I throw myself into the car says, “Ok, let’s go to mom’s school.”

“Carissa!  We need to get the car back to Dad before he notices and calls the cops!”

“Oh yeah.”

It’s so weird being back, homeless, and carless.  We hurried back home before our dad knew his car was missing, crept upstairs and freaked the crap out of him.  It took him a few minutes to understand what was going on.  We asked to borrow a car and then headed to my mom’s school… which was the highlight of the weekend.  To be honest I would have made the trip east JUST for these few minutes with T-Diddy, which thankfully we caught on video:

It took her a few minutes to process that this, in fact, was NOT a dream, and then we kidnapped her for the second half of the day for some quality girl time.

The rest of our time flew.  We got to see our brother and other brother for their birthdays, our sister Britt, and a bunch of other family and friends over the weekend.  There was obviously not enough time with each person, nor enough time to see as many people as I would have liked, but we did our best.  We spent the entire day on Saturday taking over Sixth Ward on the LES, rearranging their projector, Christmas decorations, TV channels and audio system to meet our sports watching and pool-playing needs.  We spent a solid 12 quality hours there, eating two meals and using the bathrooms a record-breaking amount of times.  At the end of the night, when Carissa and I gave our final hugs goodbye to Chase and Britt on the frigid street, and scurried into the closest cab, I turned to see her start to cry.  “I hate leaving my brother…” which of course started my waterworks as well.  Spending a whole day with people you love so much in the city you love so dearly was bittersweet.

The energy in NYC is un-matched by any other place.  Maybe it’s because it’s the one in which I feel most at home, but maybe it’s because it truly is the greatest city in the world.  When Monday night came around and it was time to go back home, the goodbyes were sad, but I had a peace about me, because I felt happy to be returning “home” to California.  It’s somewhere that you smile getting off the plane and feel welcomed by the palm trees and cheery people.  Will it be home forever?  Maybe not… but really…. who knows?  For now, my heart is split between coasts.  And that’s how I like it.

Peace out for now buttercups…

xoxo

Gossip Girl

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