Wrinkles (from early October)

I can’t say the house is silent. The hum of the fan and the chorus of cicadas keeps it from being so. But it is very quiet. Up at 4AM–coffee, bacon, eggs scrambled with vegetables, and sprouted grain toast have made the house smell like Saturday morning much earlier than usual. David is on a motorcycle ride to West Virginia, and I am headed to a professional women’s workshop day in the opposite direction a little later. I’ve had some kind of ick that’s been going around, and made an attempt to corral tissue boxes and nasal sprays, to rinse tea cups and dry the kettle before heading back to bed with coffee and laptop.

Today is a wrinkle in the new normal. It is rare that the weekend is not some combination of fun outings, brief errands/chores, and dinner or brunch at least once with friends. Together. Attached at the hip. We are so constantly together I feel sometimes that I am close to understanding what it means to be on suicide watch, with me the one being watched, as if I might stuff a couple of changes of underwear and my camera in a satchel and make a run for it back south. And I might.

Last night Hanson’s Disease (leprosy) was the topic of conversation while out with friends and it was all I could do to not tell the entire story of my experiences living in and taking road trips through Louisiana, including Carville, location of a former leper colony and now the Hanson’s Disease Museum. I could feel nighttime in St. Francisville on my skin and smell the Mississippi even in the clean-swept plaza of brick and astro turf (no lie–the town center has a patch of astro turf). If someone had put an Abita in my hand at that moment I would have wept. There are many more moments where I feel myself cutting through the coolness of the Guadalupe in the late afternoon in August, or navigating never-forgotten short cuts through the oldest parts of San Antonio.

Every time I tell someone how much I love it here in the Frozen North it feels hollow–without the fullness of a history, minus a thick catalog of smells and feels. Of course I love it here–the schools are amazing, I can walk across the street and get on a train to anywhere I want to go, and there are four distinct seasons. Yesterday I posted a comment on Facebook about feeling like I was on an overly-long vacation, and realized as soon as I hit “Post” that I had not provided a context for that, nor could I, really, because that context is still fleshing out.

I know in my rational mind that I will get up one morning and it will seem as if I’ve always been here. That the dream quality my life in Texas is developing will be hazier, the loss of friends and distance of family less acute, and that this life will not be a wrinkle in what is, it will be what is. I’ve started doing things like getting my car washed and taking my clothes to the cleaners–ordinary things not required for survival, to help things along. Anything to feel at home again.

 

 

 

The Business Card :)

So, Friends, there is this thing here in the Capital of the Free World (and environs) called “Networking.” It’s not necessarily for finding a new job or getting something published/produced/filmed/manufactured–it seems to be more of a sport. Like most of the puffy-clouded jack-assery that goes on around here, not one thing might happen, except your LinkedIn requests will potentially spike and you might get a little drunk on free well drinks. Since I’ve stumbled into a 9th row seat to witness the 21st century version of the Fall of Rome, when my neighbor-friend invited me to one of these events I said, “Love to!”

Then I didn’t go. Apparently, you have to have business cards.

Hm.

Commence analysis paralysis. I’ve spent a year-plus out of education, but most of my experience is in education. I’m not actively looking for a new job, but I’m open to opportunities. What do I put on this card?

Suzan Pitman–Girl Wonder

Suzan Pitman–All That & a Bag of Chips

Suzan Pitman–Sort of Funny, Kinda Nice

I was advised to stick with the basics, so 100 very basic business cards are being printed even as we chat so that I can go with my friend next time. I did come up with something I think is totally genius–on the back they have “It was nice meeting you!” then below that “We met at:” so I can quickly write in where I met the person with whom I’m exchanging business cards so there’s a better chance of being remembered a week later when they clean out their wallet/purse.

Now that the cards are taken care of I have to come up with something called “an elevator speech.” It was described to me as something I might say about myself to someone who makes eye-contact with me on a 15 second elevator ride. Dear God! I don’t have enough internal filters to shut that particular monologue down. Weeks later I am still randomly having Tourette’s-ish outbursts of snorty giggles at all the things I could say to someone about myself in 15 seconds, and then, in a mind-numbing 180, freaking myself out because I’m not sure I can fill 15 seconds with anything notable or worth sharing. “I knit a little?” “I make an amazing frittata?” “I like to ride my bike?” “Sometimes I do volunteer work?” “I used to teach but now I don’t?” “I spend my days in a basement?” This level of summarization has thrown me. I guess I need a professional 6 Word Memoir.

What this boils down to is how do I present my best, most polished self without losing myself? Not everyone finds ex-pat Texans charming around here (you should hear the ration of shit I take about Rick Perry). I haven’t been here long enough to know the Code, not sure if I even want to know the Code, and I do not have a string of credentials behind my name. I have absolutely nothing to hide behind (except, possibly, a couple of rum-and-cokes). It’s just me and me. And, last thing–by D.C. standards I AM OLD! That’s right–O.L.D.

All that said, me and my plain-Jane business cards are going to saddle up in the next few weeks and git ‘er done. I will meet 32 year olds who were out saving the planet at the same age I was when I ran off to Mexico with David Pitman and fixed coffee for former governors at a book store coffee shop for 6 bucks an hour. They might have 3 creds behind their name, but I have a nice clean space behind mine for drawing smiley faces, which is how I’ve decided to think about it.

Thanks for listening!