What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it’s curved like a road through mountains. –Tennessee Williams
This is a line.
(It was supposed to be a straight line, but listen, I cannot draw a straight line with what software is free on the interwebs, ok? So just ignore the fact that it squiggles a little. Pretend it’s totally straight. DO NOT JUDGE MY LINE-DRAWING ABILITIES!)
Most people’s lives follow this straight line, for the most part. They’re born, and they go to school, and then probably college, and they meet someone squishable and they marry that person, and buy a house with a porch swing, and maybe have some kiddos who are equally squishable, and get a job, and work that job for many many years and put money into their 401ks and buy cool things to play with that are shiny and pay their taxes and eventually they die.
This is very stable, isn’t it? It’s really nice. It’s nice to know you’ll wake up, and the same thing will happen, and you’ll have someone there to share things with, and maybe kids, and probably, oh, I don’t know, family picnics, or something. Vacations. Probably a dog.
This is ALSO a line.
However, it is squiggly and all over the damn place and sometimes backtracks upon itself and has strange valleys and peaks that kind of look like a man’s face and I think in one place it kind of might look like I tried to make a penis, and in another place a rabbit, to make you laugh, but I totally didn’t. (Again, please do not judge the line. There’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist. It is not the nice line’s fault.)
This line is MY life.
There is nothing straight about this line. Like, it starts out kind of straight, but then it goes kind of haywire, and then KEEPS going haywire, because it does not know where it is going or what it is doing. It is a very confused line.
And sometimes, when you think it’s going straight (like, see where there are places where it SEEMS it’s going straight?) it decides “HA HA! I WILL GO JIGGEDY-JAGGEDY ON YOU!”
I can hear you, you know, even though you’re using your most polite voice. It’s ok. You don’t have to be polite with me.
“Your line metaphor is very…nice…and SUPER-artistic…but…where are you going with this?”
Yeah, I probably should get to the point. I try to…but you saw that line up there, yeah? It has a mind of its own.
OK. So when your life is a crazy waggly line, there are good things and bad things. Like, you have a lot of experiences and stories and you meet some of the best people (whose lines are usually all over the place, too…us wacky-line people, we tend to flock together. Probably because our lines get all tangled like the last two skeins of yarn in the bottom of the bag and we can’t extricate ourselves…but that’s neither here nor there, really.)
However, life with a wiggly line is also about making the most IMPRESSIVE mistakes (falling in love with the least-likely human beings who break your heart into a million pieces; losing your job repeatedly; crazy brain-chemistry; not being able to sleep for days; shall I go on?) and not ever knowing what’s coming up. You’ve heard about waiting for the other shoe to drop? Well, you’ve always got a big old workboot hanging over your head. At first, that boot comes as a surprise. You’re all, “what the hell? I JUST GOT BOPPED BY A BOOT! Where did that boot come from?” and you look up at the sky all suspiciously. Then the second boot falls, and you’re all, “another boot? WHAT IS HAPPENING.” But then another boot, and another boot, and you kind of get used to boots. You’re always on the lookout for boots. It’s not the easiest way to live, always having one eye out for gigantic metaphors falling from the sky. But if you know it’s probably coming, you don’t get so out-of-nowhere smacked.
This past Monday, I went into work. I do that, on Mondays. Most weekdays, actually. I worked. I went to lunch. After lunch, I came back to an email saying I had a meeting. I went to the conference room, and about ten other people trailed in, and we made some confused jokes about why, exactly, we were in this conference room, and there was this weird whistling noise and I was all, “huh, what’s that, I wonder, maybe the air conditioning?” and then the CFO and HR came in and told us all of our jobs had been eliminated and the BIGGEST BOOT EVER smashed me upside the head and I was all “SHIT that’s what that whistling noise was. It was coming from a really, really far distance, this time, is all. Breaking the sound barrier, far.”
Squiggly line! I had been so happy and comfortable with my amazing job with my awesome coworkers that paid ALL THE MONEY that I forgot about the squiggly line and (eep!) THE BOOT HANGING OVER MY HEAD AT ALL TIMES!
(Apparently I am to blame the economy. Any guesses who Dad thinks is to blame for this? Those of you who guessed “the government” win. What do you win? I don’t know. Nothing from me. I can’t afford to get you a prize. I don’t have a job right now, suckas!)
So here I am, yet again, friends and bloggonians, underemployed, waiting to hear from the unemployment people, waiting to hear from the food-stamp people, picking up a few hours as I can at the answering service (thank you again, answering service!), applying to a million billion jobs, networking with everyone I can think of in the hope I can maybe, just maybe, find a job that I actually really love, not just settle for because it puts money in my pocket but also sucks my soul out of my nose.
(Side note: I apparently am VERY equipped to sell insurance. I have, unsolicited, gotten four emails and a phone call from three different companies that want me to sell insurance. I assume they saw my resume on one of the job-searching sites. One was from the AFLAC duck, which was humorous, but I still don’t want to sell insurance, even if an anthromoporphic duck thinks it’s my calling. I also got an email from someone telling me I’d make an amazing realtor. I can’t think of anything I’d be worse at than selling homes or insurance. If I was living on commissions, I’d be eating out of dumpsters.)
Luckily, the upside of having a line o’squiggliness for a lifeline is that the ups always come. The downs are always right around the corner, but the ups are there, too. Sometimes you have to wait a little longer for them, but they’re there. The boot gets cranked back up to wherever it hangs in wait and things get rosy again, for a time.
And there’s a slight possibility that the boot WON’T fall again. That’s the thing about that boot. You can’t trust that it will or will not fall. You’re just always nervously waiting for it…but that doesn’t mean it’s a definite.
And shh…I’ll tell you a secret:
Even though it drives me insane at times, and even though there are times I mutter angrily “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE NORMAL LIKE EVERYONE ELSE, AMY!?!?”, I’ll take my squiggly line over a straight line any day. My squiggly life has brought me such joy. I just have to wait out the bad patches. And avoid those falling boots.
I wouldn’t know what to do with a normal life, anyway. I think you have to vaccuum and wear polo shirts or something, in a normal life. I’d be very unprepared for such things. I look terrible in polo shirts.
Time for the next leg of the adventure. Don’t fail me now, squiggly line. I have to believe you have some sort of plan.
(You do, right?)