Working at the Car Wash

Growing up, I wanted to be a prima ballerina and a marine biologist. Then I wanted to be a lawyer for about two minutes. Then came the long period of wanting to be a Duran Duran roadie followed by an even longer stint wanting to be an archaeologist. And then I thought about revoking my citizenship to become a Greek philosopher. Finally, I settled on being a journalist. I carried the dream of being a reporter all the way across country to college where I landed some very juicy internships that only proved to me that I didn’t have the stomach for “getting a story” at any cost, i.e. my dignity. So I thought, maybe I would become a writer. A writer like Virginia Woolf, a writer like George Eliot, Kate Chopin, or even better, I would become a writer like Judy Blume. Maybe not. Or maybe I would do something grand.

And then came the defining moment of my life, the moment when the earth opened up and a hand dragged me into the underworld, transforming my destiny and making me the woman that I am today.

I remember it all so clearly. I was at the end of my junior year in college having coffee with a professor who I idolized, feeling like a student at Aristotle’s knee, except, we were women sitting in some West Village pseudo intellectual haunt and it was still the Clinton era.

Anyway, this young professor asked me what I was planning on doing with my life and I said that I wanted to travel around the world looking to join a worthy cause that came with some really hot rebel soldiers and fight a great historic battle against the powers that be from some remote jungle location. I would fall in love with the tragically romantic populist leader (think Che as played by Gael Garcia Bernal) and together we would win over hearts and minds across his developing nation. He would rule his country with me at his side. A bloodless coup would oust him and all our comrades. The people would be in tears. Fabulously wealthy leftist Europeans would take up our struggle and my rebel lover and me would live in exile in Paris. We would become celebrities among young idealists everywhere. From our country house in Aix en Provence, Gael and I would charm them with stories from our combat years. Our children, precocious and beautiful, would play at our feet. The birds would sing.

A relatively easy and achievable dream, one would think.

But the professor lacked my faith. Playing the part of mentor in an Oscar winning performance, she started messing with my plan. She planted the seeds of doubt. She corrupted my soul. She showed me the dark side. Basically, she murdered my spirit. And years later, I would come to find out that it is just like her to do that. Of course, my evil twin sister was so on to her, but did I listen? No. Anyway, being young, impressionable and on that day, most likely suffering from a hangover, I took a big bite from her carrot.

Without going into the painful details, I followed a career path that the professor laid out for me with all the aimlessness of a Zombie looking for dinner. Truly, I was never happy doing what I did for many years with middling success. And yes, every once in a while, I would look up from my desk and in the reflection of my computer screen I would see a hint of the woman that I could have been.

And why am I thinking about all of this now, many, many miles away and several years after the fact? Obviously, this is a symptom of having too much time on my hands. So what I am saying here people is that I think I may need an actual J-O-B. I don’t mean this phantom job that I call myself having as I slog away on the computer day after day. I mean an actual get dressed in the morning (or at night should I decide that I could peddle my wares on the street) grab a cup of coffee and head out the door kind of job. I need a job that pays. But with 10 million Americans out of work, I figure I may have some competition. What can a girl do with skills that include: public speaking, surfing the web, in-line skating, master spin artist, expert pillow tester and chocolate taster?

I am racking my brain trying to figure out which jobs I might be qualified for so I thought I would open it up to you— my one loyal reader. You keep me blogging for better, for worse. Thank you.

Anyway, go for broke. The person with the top three suggestions will win a pretty tin of almond cookies—sent directly from Hong Kong.

**I decided to stop offering the can of tainted milk and toxic toys as no one seemed eager get in on that action.

And the cookies will be store bought, don't worry!


An American Girl in the UK said...

You are doing what you are meant to do. Trust it, my friend, trust it. We both fell for "the big lie" and were deeply burned by it. I thought my wounds would heal by returning to the scene of the crime. Thought I would have the last laugh on them. But the joke was on me. The path is not clear, I hear you on that. But move forward on it anyway. Believe in your voice. Get up, get dressed, get out, sit down, and write! It is the greatest power we have. It holds the power to shape/create the rest of your destiny. Believe in it. Believe in that woman you STILL are, though she's been silenced and reduced in the past. Let me speak now. Viva la revolution!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why CAN'T you work from home? Why MUST you go out into the cruel world? I rather liken you to one of those great writers (you really are a wonderfully engaging and talented writer), maybe you just need a typewriter.
Embrace all of those things and as the final coup, use them to your advantage. Use them for your writing; use them to soar.

You know what's strange, my friend? All I ever wanted to be was that prima ballerina. I was unable to dance until college and then it was too late as I'm sure you know.
I am compelled to go to the ballet, only to sit and cry through the entire performance at what might have been. I took modern dance, thinking that would fulfill the need. It didn't.

I hate to think of you like that; you're much too talented at what you do. There's no reason for you to cry over the talent you never acquired. You're doing it.

I really, really wish that you weren't on the other side of the globe, I really, really wish you were here.

melanie. said...

jobs are overrated.

and besides, who would really want to go out into all of that pollution anyways? stay in the house. work out in the morning. compete with the other ex-pats. go for it. it's a great life.

one that will fulfill you, i know.

or you could write a book. i'm just saying...

D said...

Here are a few options for you:

You can work for Hershey's or you could become a training specialist with a focus in e-learning. Personally, I'd go for Hershey's!

Mariecel said...

Are you seriously considering going back to work? Hoes does MB feel about this? I only ask because he seemed keen on working on number three.

Noah's Mommy said...

eh...working....now that I have been blessed with the role of SAHM...even though my purse strings are a little extra tight....I have come to the conclusion...that the 1950's really probably had a good point....what that point is...I really have no clue....but my idea...be a tour guide for all us non stepford-type people who would be fascinated by the world of Ira Levin come to life...and not reprised by Nicole Kidman....there you have it...

Anonymous said...

you need to dial back into that o.g. che vision, honey. make revolutionary war on something.

ooooooh! i got it. write the saucy expose / send up / ridicule of anthropology and anthropologists. wouldn't that be rad? i KNOW you have stories to tell.

now you know where to send my cookies

back to grading (one more reason you should eschew the day job . . .)


SWC said...

Wow.7 comments is a record here at SWC. Thanks!

So if I am to understand from the replies, you all don't think I should turn to prostitution. This is a shame because I think it might be the only gig that allows me to wear my now tight fitting 8o's clothing. What other job will stand for a tube top with the words "trashy momma" on it?

Anyway, thanks for your comments. Random.com will select the winning response-- but in my book you are all winners.

Noah's Mommy said...

ohhh and please know...I think so highly of your blog...and blogginess...that I have bestowed an award on you....so come by any time to claim it....it will turn into a pumpkin come midnight though....

Imogen Lamport said...

Possible job:

write a bestseller on being an alien in new world and use your skills as a public speaker and spin doctor doing the publicity tour, whilst eating chocolates and testing the pillows of the many hotels your publisher puts you up in as you travel the world promoting your book.

And thanks for coming by my blog - hope to see you again soon!

Imogen Lamport said...

Oh - and my word verificaiton is PROOD - so I don't think that the computer system thinks that you should be making your living on the streets.