Yesterday I got the call I’ve waited four months to get. The one that contains the phrase “I have your job offer letter and we’d like you to start work tomorrow.”
I was in the middle of a huge park on a dirt path next to a waterfall when I got the word. I did a cartwheel, tripped on a root, and almost knocked my first-born into the raging river waters. It’s been a long journey—one that I’ve been so very eager to see end.
Then it hit me. She said “you start tomorrow.”
My mind sucked through the back of my head back to a time when I was just a kid getting ready for my first day of fifth grade. Still a bit sunburned from a long summer of bike riding, mowing grass, getting my ass beat by my brother, and trying to peek in on the girl living next door.
I flew home and kicked the door open in a panic. First things first – what the hell am I going to wear on my first day? I haven’t worn business clothes in months.
I remember as a kid going through my drawers and finding the coolest pair of Jams I could find. Digging through my wadded-up t-shirts I found the most bad-ass Ocean Pacific shirt and laid them on top of my red high-top Converse.
Twenty-three years later I’m laying out my suit, ironing my shirt, dusting off my dress shoes, and making sure I don’t forget to wear my lucky underwear.
Eating that night was always hard because I wouldn’t be able to shut my mind off. Will anyone remember me? Who’s class will I be in? Oh shit I hope I don’t get Ms. Jenkins, her breath smells like my dog’s ass. Then before long, I’d end up face first in the toilet vomiting up my first-day-of-school jitters.
I’m sure at some point tonight I’ll be “talking to Ralph on the big white phone.”
Then comes the sleeping. Setting the alarm clock. Then checking it once, twice, three times.
And not being able to sleep because you fear oversleeping. So you cuddle the alarm clock to make sure you don’t miss a single beep when it finally decides to go off. And it seems you’re waking up every 15 minutes to look at it.
Then the day arrives. You’re dressed and ready to go in record time. Back in the day I would have combed my hair 30 times and checked out my “look” from all angles. I’d make sure I knew exactly how to carry my book-bag so my cool factor would be at the optimum level. Double checked make sure my mom gave me my new Transformers lunch box instead of the Garfield one I carried last year when I was a baby.
Now, I just worry about whether my zipper’s open, that I have my wallet, and that I don’t say “fuck” on the first day.
Tomorrow I start a new job. Tomorrow I get a fresh start. This journey of nearly four months of unemployment has taught me so very much about myself, my friends, family, and the hell many people in this country are dealing with on a daily basis.
I’m very fortunate in so many ways.