Monday, January 25, 2010

2) Change/No Change

At home in Brooklyn I sit alone on a miniature velvet couch that belongs to my roommate. Cell phone in hand, I look around the room, which is full of my things. There is the ugly old green chair I paid too much for at a second-hand shop in Williamsburg. There is my massive portrait of a Spanish girl with a guitar that I got for $10 at a New Jersey street fair. Here is my basic TV, left to me by my last roommate. My bare feet rest on the IKEA coffee table my current roommate and I bought together. On the table are a green glass pipe and a small clear jar half full of equally green herbs. These are some of the things I own.

I sit in my home, in my living room, trying to place myself, to figure out where I am. I struggle with the concept of my own life, the creation of it, how I did it, am doing it - owning things, keeping a job, picking health insurance, contributing to a 401k plan. I have understood that I possess these things. I have known it, have thought about it, but not quite in the way I am thinking about it right now because the man on the phone said, “I love you boss, you company. We get show here on special channel, buy magazine in English bookstore. Why you leave big magazine?” He was in Thailand, an extremely foreign country, but his question sounded familiar, prophetic.

“It’s time for a change. I want to travel and teach and your company sounds perfect; I love children.”

The man on the phone said, “Great! That’s all I need to know.”

We had only talked for ten minutes but it sounded as though I had already got the job. He said he’d have Thitiwat, his assistant, email me with specifics. He didn’t say but I knew, I know, that I got the job. I’m not surprised; so far in my life I have always gotten the job. Things have come easily; much has been granted. So now I sit here in my apartment in Brooklyn, knowing that tomorrow or the next day someone will email and offer me a job teaching English to children in Bangkok, Thailand. And I will take it.

Immediately my mind moves to problems. What will I do with all my things?
I can’t send them “home”, to my mom in Iowa. What’s the use of having furniture in Iowa? Sending it to my dad in North Dakota makes even less sense.

I’m pretty sure I won’t want to come back, but just in case I do I must hold on to my little apartment. I must maintain all the independence I’ve garnered here. My apartment has a humble but pleasant yard, and you can walk to Prospect Park from here. The subway is only a block away and there’s a grocery store on the corner. I will find a sub-letter. Fern won’t mind. Fern doesn’t mind anything.

My head feels clearer than it has in a long time, by far clearer. On the couch I cross my long white legs under me; they are pale against my short black skirt but in time they will be brown and leaner, even, than they are now. I know that because I know what I’m doing now; I have a plan.

I sit alone and smoke my pipe and laugh out loud at myself because nothing has changed at all, despite two years in the city and a fancy, big-girl job. I am still smoking herbs on the couch; I am still planning my escape, just like college Emily. Now again I need to get away, get the heck out of dodge, and now again the world is there, open to me, willing to accept me into its many folds. Now again I rush to it with grasping arms and wide eyes, looking for something, straining to see.

1 comment:

  1. Nearly monotone, but the structure is beyond reproach. I'd only go back to Iowa to visit the county park on the river south of Manchester.