The seventh pie
I frequently write myself notes on Post-It notes and leave them stuck all over my desk. The thing you need to know about me is that my bad handwriting is legendary. I can’t even read it half the time. So many of these notes are useless, but get saved anyway for their mystery and artistic value (or total lack thereof, depending on your point of view).
Last night I had a dream that began with me writing out some things on Post-Its that I wanted to remember. Then I went about my business. At the very end of the dream as I was waking up, I went back to look at them. I picked one up and it said in very neat handwriting, “In grad school use the seventh pie.” [There was no comma after “school.” Even in my dream it bugged me.]
I woke up turning this phrase over in my head, because, well, duh, it’s about PIE. But also because even though it doesn’t mean anything to me, today is the day I feel like I am starting to walk away from grad school. I still need to finish, of course, but today I start something new. I have my first official meeting (by phone) for my new job (which I don’t officially start until Monday). There have been a couple of other conference calls, but this is one where I actually have to do something beyond sit and listen to people tell me about what I am supposed to be doing and discuss travel logistics. I wonder if I was worried I might forget about the grad school pie. Although seriously, when have I ever been known to forget a pie?
I am a little nervous about this meeting, because even though this is to be a fairly informal affair, I am very much aware that I am watching and being watched. It is the nature of new jobs. This sense of scrutiny is perhaps why I have been wasting more brain cells than necessary on my wardrobe. Adding to my feeling of being under a microscope was a press release that went out Wednesday, which was mostly about me. I know, because I’d had to edit it earlier in the week. It made me very uncomfortable. I like to be behind the pen, not in front of it. But I did get a number of nice emails from people I’d never met and several invitations to lunch. If all these people follow through, I shouldn’t have to buy my own lunch for at least a month.
The goodbyes have continued. Wednesday I taught the last of my students for the last time and I was feeling quite sad about it when I got home. Last night my friends L and A (mothers of AJ’s friends O and N, respectively) took me out for drinks at our favorite local establishment, the same one Mr. Spy and I went to with fairlywell and DJ last weekend. It took me a long time to find friends here that I felt like I had things in common with, but these two are definitely it. We had a lovely time and talked about having a girls’ weekend in New York sometime soon. I will miss them both when we go. While we were sitting there, the owner, N, came over and chatted with us. Both L and I had been at the restaurant the weekend before, which he remembered because he knows everyone. We also wave at others we knew in the restaurant. Afterwards, I walked up the big hill home. It was still hot, but not as brutal as it had been earlier. I was enjoying my stroll when one of my coworkers from School of Rock drove by and asked if I wanted a ride. I turned him down. I was enjoying the night. I thought about some of the things I liked about living in a small town. Seeing people you know everywhere, people who often look out for you even when you aren’t looking out for yourself.
But no matter how wistful or nostalgic I get about things, no matter how much I think about the things that I will miss, I never waiver from my dead certainty that this is the right thing. I’ve never once tried to talk myself out of it. This is very unusual for me. I am not a black and white kind of person. I regularly question my ability to do this job, but I never question my desire. We are moving forward, moving on, moving out. Time for pie number eight. I hope it’s strawberry-rhubarb.