Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stranger in a Strange Land

I guess it's been a minute since I wrote a blog post.  Blink too much, you'll miss your whole life passing by.

Suddenly, the world changed and I have changed with it.  New location, new direction.  I'm just not sure what that is yet.

I moved.  It's never really been traumatic for me to move before. I've always gladly said goodbye to wherever I was and went on to the next place.  But this time, leaving my home for a new and temporary destination, was more difficult.  Here is what happened...

The commute was killing me.  Seventy two miles every day, there and back.  One hundred forty-four miles a day, five days a week, twenty times per month.  It takes a toll.  I have three months left of school and I need to finish my dissertation.  I made a deal to rent my house to some friends and passed my prospectus defense.  The same day, I found out that I would not be renewed at East Central University for next year.  That means that in May, I will become unemployed if I don't do something about it.

Stop. Breathe in.  Figure out what is important and what to do next. Slow down.  Feel the fabric of the collar on my neck.  Listen to the blood rushing past my ears.  Eat something at some point.  Let cool water run past my tongue and down my throat.  Swallow.  Breathe out. Figure out what steps to take next and what is most prudent.  Trust that there is a plan somehow and I just don't know what it is.

I was going to rent an apartment for six months that would let me have my dog and cat.  I need to concentrate on my dissertation.  I have to get that done.  A place close to the college until school lets out is a good idea.  But I won't be here for six months.  That went out the window.  Why stay in Ada when I am not working there?  I'd have more luck in the city.  That's where my contacts are.  That's where my best chances of employment are.

I ended up asking my friends to take care of my Big Dogg for awhile, and sneaking my cat into married student housing at the university.  So here we sit, in a cinderblock apartment painted a god-awful color of eggshell white.  Right on campus.  When the apartments are inspected, it becomes "bring your kitty to work" day.  I do laundry downstairs with all of the other tenents- many of whom are my students right now.  Truly there is no bonding experience like folding my underwear next to someone's hyperactive toddler and discussing the next essay.  I see my cool students at Walmart in the middle of the night and tell them stories.  I've always felt more at home in the late-nite community than the daywalkers anyway.  I go jogging around the little tiny pond next door to my apartment and see yet more (surprise!) students and their families.  Yes, I sweat and run and look like crap right in the presence of those same people I'm expected to look professional in front of.  I just keep my head down and try not to say anything.  Eleanor is a trooper, by the way.  She doesn't complain and sleeps and cuddles and sometimes gives me crap for being late with dinner.  She bugs the shit out of me in the middle of the night, trying to get me to give her even more canned food  than she normally gets.  I'm going to start locking her out of the bedroom at night if it gets much worse.  Ok, who are we kidding? She claws the shit out of my neck until I either pet her or make her go away as gently as possible.

I'm living a dual life somehow, with one foot in Ada and one in Norman.  I'm taking Big to the vet on Saturday, for his annual vaccines, then to get a haircut because my Gawd that dog is a hairy beast.  And I'm going to have coffee with a friend, a nice normal friend- or at least as normal as I get- and then I'll go by and check my mail. On the one hand, I need time to slow down.  I have 100 pages to write on my dissertation!  It's due the day we come back from Spring Break.  On the other hand, I want this semester over with so I can stop resenting where I work for not hiring me back.  But then again, I'll be unemployed when that happens.

So life has changed and I have to change along with it.  I will change. I will adjust.  I've been looking for comfort.  The comfort of foods I like~ sushi the other day at my favorite sushi place in Norman and my favorite silly peanut butter and jelly which I eat twice a day~ comfort of routine and comfort of familiar faces like Eleanor.  I'd rather not be a stranger in a strange land.  I keep remembering that I'm not doing this alone.  My friends rally and offer support.  People call and text and ask how I am doing.  And thank the stars that I finally have internet access at home again.  Two weeks without and I was going crazy.

Stay tuned, please.  And think a happy thought for me.  These next four months will decide a few big things in my life and I am afraid, sort of excited and sometimes dreading the outcome.  I find it hard to believe that anything good can come next given my string of bad luck lately.

But don't count me out.  I might be resting, I might be down, I might be a little scared even.  Or a lot scared.

But I'm gonna be ok.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.


  1. Pause between breaths occasionally,
    to digest the impressions
    of how hard it can be
    to be able to do, Dieu.
    And then just be, You.

    Good outcomes!

  2. It's when life is in whitewater that we're changing and growing, getting us to our next stretch of beautiful river to travel. Growth is painful.

    I think it was Tich Hacht Nahn that said:
    Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years
    rocking my peers, puttin' suckers in fear.
    Makin' the tears rain down like a monsoon...Listen to the bass go boom.
    I'm gonna knock you out. huhhhh. Mama said, "Knock you out." huhhh.

  3. And probably because of my radical ideas...

  4. Positive energy & thoughts. You will be fine. As one door closes another opens. Sometimes it's a door you never noticed before.

  5. I have been in your shoes, sort of, complete with the 140-mile+ daily round-trip commute, and you know how that turned out. At least you know when you will become unemployed which gives you some control even if it doesn't give you much time while also finishing your dissertation.

    You know my recent history. Things can work out positively in time. It only took me about 20 years to find a decent job. It is my wish that it happens sooner for you.

    I'm glad Eleanor and Big are taken care of. When you told me about the move, I wondered what became of them.

    Good luck.

  6. Know that you always have a pet sitter in me, and if you ever want to vent, cry, scream, or just have coffee, I'm also here. :D