Starting grad school and a brand new job on the same day was probably a very dumb idea in hindsight. Couple that with a budding inclination toward involuntary anxiety attacks and the demise of a relationship I thought would last forever, and well, 2002 goes down as probably the worst year of my life. I was determined to get A’s in school, I was determined to do well at my job and I was determined to keep Jack happy. He had a growing habit as the Bowie town drunk and it was difficult to manage. More difficult to manage when he started snorting. Less difficult when I joined him. That entire fucking year is one big blur.
Working for the Developer was fascinating. He put me onto all sorts of projects and let me cut my teeth on most things that would be “out of reach” for a woman. My office nickname became the Pit Bull. If there was some drama that needed managing, I got the 10 p.m. phone call with the instructions of what I would be doing the next day. Your mission should you choose to accept it would be to manage the building and leasing of an entire office complex in Stafford, unknowingly fleecing homeowners in Prince George’s County and finishing a bankrupt townhouse development in Dunn Loring. I quickly proved myself and became the recipient of the song and dance that the Developer and his wife would eventually step out of the business and they wanted to groom someone to be in charge. That someone was me. This was all very fun. For about six months.
That’s when my love affair with working for the fine upstanding developer was replaced with reality. I was really working for a born-again Christian who behaved as though it was his God given right to screw anyone and everyone out of a nickel, myself included. I was crushed when I realized what was going on. But there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was in school full time and this was a rare job that would allow me a flexible work schedule to continue going to school at a marathon pace. The real estate boom was just beginning and I was happy to be settled into a company, albeit one run by a total cocksucker, to learn what I could.
By the end of 2002, I had been enrolled in the Spring and Fall semester, both summer sessions, and the quarters program which met on Saturdays. When we went on to Christmas break, I had finished 10 of my 16 required classes with straight A’s. I was also having serious doubts about Jack. I turned 29 that year and he was 43. While I was once the focus of his whole mid-life crisis, that was transferred to the drunks at the bar. He had days of binge partying which I could not keep up with, nor could I monitor any longer. Then he stopped going to work. I realized that the primary aspect of his attractiveness lie in his job as a Construction Manager. In those mornings we would lie in bed willing ourselves to get up, he would take about 20 phone calls and I would just sit there in awe, listening to him discuss the finer points of punchlists and as-builts.
Friends at work took to calling Jack, “Puddy,” after David Puddy on Seinfeld. We broke up and got back together more times than Puddy and Elaine. God. The night he went running down Route 301 calling me a bitch on a coke infused high when I had to go home and finish a Management project. Jesus. Sometimes you just look back and shake your head.
I really started to miss K and the stability, and we shared a few phone calls discussing the possibility of a reconciliation.