2003: January – May
School proved to be an ass kicker. I was really plugging along though, adding the A’s to my prized collection. Work was work. The Developer was a dipshit. But knowing that someone is a sneak and a thief is much better than not knowing. I can combat almost anything with humor. Someone at work said to me, “You have this way of insulting him and he thinks it’s funny.” It’s how I got by. I remember the Developer telling us some story about his kid’s baseball game and how there’s a snack shack which had the best fries, and how it was like “this little slice of Americana.”
I was in the next room and I screamed out a giant, “HA! Americana? So you pulled up to this little slice of Americana in your $80,000 Mercedes with your $200 shirt and $400 shoes? Do you even HEAR yourself?” Idiot. I held a grudge because during my first few weeks working for him he had played dumb on something and basically set me up to take the fall for it. The story is too long to get into, but when I realized I had been had, I checked my loyalty at the door. Despite the fact that we had to grovel and chase him all over Maryland for our paychecks every payday, I needed the job because I wanted the career it represented.
K and I had been communicating. February was the big snow where we got 2 feet and he had driven up from Atlanta. When we saw each other, it was like old times. We were snowed in for 4 days. It was better than old times. When enough snow melted for me to go to work, I did so, leaving K at my condo. I didn’t know that he would begin a full blown all out search through my condo for evidence of what I was doing in our year apart.
The big fight blew up about my “overlap” of him with Jack, and then we repaired as best we could and he left. I was so ready to graduate school and get back down to Atlanta to just start over. “I don’t know” was all K was saying. I wasn’t really listening though. I just concentrated on finishing school. K was acting weird, and it registered somewhere in my subconscious, but it was not on my radar enough to really address it. In a nutshell, he became really unreliable and flaky. I thought it was because he was still mad at me for the whole Jack thing.
In May I graduated and since I had all A’s, and a 4.0, I was the Graduation Speaker. K came up to go with me to gra-jumm-u-ate. With my entire family in tow, I informed K that there would be none of his disappearing act on graduation day. No retreating to the bathroom for 4 hours. No going to walk dogs. No going to take a shit. He would disappear into the bathroom for hours. I was stumped. It was totally mystifying.
True to form, 10 minutes before we were going to leave for my graduation, K proclaims he needs to go to the store to buy cigarettes. I had the foresight to tell him no, and to get in the car.
My graduation speech was full of a lot of mental sweat. I spoke about how I took a chance and it paid off. I spoke about quitting my job and taking my boyfriend and dogs and driving cross country, how mad my mom was, how dangerous and irresponsible she said it was, how we made it home alive and slightly poorer, how September 11th happened a week after we arrived back in Atlanta after six months on the road, how someone in the towers that day woke up wanting to quit their job and drive cross country and here I had just done that and yet they were the one who didn’t have their life anymore. I spoke about taking chances and taking leaps and throwing caution to the wind. I spoke about my friend Laura who also had an intense reaction to September 11th, who wanted to quit her high-travel job working as a shoe designer traveling to the depths of China every month, how Laura wrote a resignation letter to Kenneth Cole on her last trip to China. And how they found that letter among her things when her body was shipped back to the states.
I talked about following the status quo and how that person would never be me. Ever.