My vacation is over and I’m going back to work today. I haven’t unpacked yet.
Oh, that’s funny. Remember unpacking? Remember packing? I guess some people really are packing suitcases and flying to destinations like there isn’t a plague, but I’m not. I’m not because you are, so thanks.
Anyway, I have only a three-day week so I plan to pack a lotta livin’ into the 24 hours of work that I have. I don’t know what work is going to be like this week. Heavy with cramming everything in in three days or ridic with no work to do because it’s a holiday week? ‘Tis a mystery. A mystery I will uncrack like it’s Sunday night and I am the Hardy Boys.
There’s a photo I don’t have time to locate, but it’s one of my favorites from Thanksgiving week about five years ago.
At work, a huge ton—as opposed to a small ton—of us were on just one account. It’s all we worked on, just that one account. And for some reason, that was, like, a magic time. We all sincerely liked each other and we worked together really well. We had an entire floor to ourselves and it seemed like we had fun every day. We’d work really hard and there’d be, like, one little break in the day where we’d all discuss what’s the most old-man sandwich or what have you.
On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving they told us we could leave at 3:00, so we were readying to go. For some reason we had the dog daycare live stream up on someone’s screen. It wasn’t my screen, and I really can’t recall really why it was up, but Tallulah was doing something cute and a bunch of us gathered around a coworker’s screen and we were all smiling.
I know this because someone took a picture from behind that screen, of all of us smiling at Talu’s antics. She wrote a little caption about the end of the day before a holiday break and all of us enjoying a moment together.
I sort of long for that time. First of all, we’re all off that account and scattered around the building now. And lots of people are gone altogether, off at new jobs. Also, of course, of the people still there, I haven’t seen them since February 17.
And if you’d told me at the time that I’d long for that moment I’d have been shocked. That was in 2015, and I’d moved out of the house I shared with Ned and back into the house I owned. I was devastated that it hadn’t worked out. But I remember that whole fall as being golden and warm and full of really fun happy hours with those coworkers. Other than the breakup part, things were pretty great! I wish I could go back and tell myself, “Yeah, OK, but this is way better than being on month 9 of a pandemic.”
I also wish I could tell myself, “You just turned 50. This is the last moment you have to look remotely good. Go work it.”
But I did none of those things. I think I mostly went to happy hours and felt sad about my breakup and had no idea I’d lose Tallulah three months later.
Is there a time like that for you? A time that was technically bad but when you look back on it you kind of miss it and wish you’d appreciated it more?
My friend Sandy and I talk about when we lived together circa 1989. We both had jobs that paid, like, $7.50 an hour or something. We had wooden milk crates for tables and we went to happy hours that served free heavy hors d’oeuvres for our dinner.
And somehow? We wanted for nothing. Between the two of us, we owned every beauty product known to man. We shared clothes, in a now-depressing size 5. It was like we just had two closets. Dinner was all set, so we just had to figure out breakfast and lunch and often that was an oh-so-needed SlimFast.
We had everything! We were broke but we had everything! The guy in the next apartment even had a tanning bed, so our tanning needs were even taken care of.
I wrote a paper for a class and my professor returned it with a note: See me about a scholarship to England.
I mean. We had everything when we had nothing. Have I mentioned?
Some eras seem sort of bad at the time but they really aren’t, in retrospect. And some seem wonderful but when you look back you think, God, I wasn’t even myself that whole time. Or, Geez, I was pretending to be happy but really I was just irritated. At least that’s how it goes for me.
It’s just a few minutes before 8:30 now so I’d better get ready for either the deluge or the thimble of work coming my way.
Good times bad times, you know I’ve had my share,