Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gwen 7: Dropping Out

As I think I've told you before, somewhere, I decided to quit college in the spring of that year. I'd been talking to Beverly, and she had taken my situation to heart and done some looking around for me. This "looking" involved calling in a favor from one of the other businesses on the court in which her office was located, a landscaping company that owed her money.

Yes, I got this job in some sort of screwball financial nepotism deal. And given how little The Man likes to do things other people say, I'm quite sure he did his best in the first couple of weeks to get me to quit. That's in retrospect, of course. At the time I was too naive to understand that--I'd left school thinking that working for a living was going to be one of the hardest things one could do, so it never occurred to me that it might be easier getting a job as a car washer or something. Further, I don't think he appreciated how much of a corner I was backed into--the people at OU had said some pretty shitty things to me before I left, so I was determined to prove them wrong...

Anyway, I came up and interviewed for the job in April (actually, the day I turned 19), and was hired on the spot for a position starting a month away. I went back to Beverly's office and told her the good news. She said, "OK, so you've got a job. You have a place to stay?" Of course not.

"Well, let's see. Jim! Come in here, son!" In came the infamous Jim, the first time I ever laid eyes on that crazy son of a bitch. Fifteen minutes later we were driving around looking for an apartment together. Most places had better sense than to rent to us, but at the place directly across the street, the leasing manager had some weird repressed homo-erotic fixation on ponytails, so we squeezed through the leasing process and reported back to the woman I was coming to call "Mom" more and more easily.

And the dynamic was established for my relationship with Jim right there: Jim talks, I correct or append if necessary. In this case, it worked out pretty well for me because the first thing she said was "OK, you have an apartment. Do you have any money?"

The answer, of course, was "hell no." That's why I got a job...but she loaned us $300 buck each and sent us out to buy housewares.

A few days before the end of the semester, Jim rode to Norman to help me move my shit. Everything I owned fit in the back seat of my car. I didn't even use the trunk.

We moved into a HUGE condo in a pretty ratty apartment complex. Two bed, two bath, patio, fireplace, balcony. Bigger (or maybe as big) as my parents' house. And we couldn't fill it.

I remember spreading a fitted sheet on my bedroom floor and turning out the lights. The moon was full and coming through the vertical blinds that covered the balcony glass, and I laid there for an hour or so looking at the slashes of light on the floor. It was one of the first times I worried about whether I could actually do something. There was nobody there to pick me up, really--no school administrator/scholarship director to pull rank on college bureaucrats, no-one I could borrow money from if something bad happened, and definitely no-one I could talk to about it. This was probably the night of my first existential awakening, and it was bittersweet.

The next day I walked to work for the first time. It kicked my fucking ass. It kicked my ass for the next two weeks, til I finally crashed with the worst sunburn you've ever seen. After two days out sick, I was back at it. We were worked so hard the guy who was in charge of me quit due to the stress, so I spent a couple days doing jobs by myself. After a month, things were looking up. I had lost 15 pounds, but I was gaining it back as muscle, and felt some confidence that maybe I was strong enough to do this after all.


At 6:18 PM , Blogger Daisy-Girl said...

Awwww, the memorable moments.

We all have them. One of mine was looking at my empty bedroom in my empty first apartment thinking, I'm going to have to sleep on the floor and I don't even have a pillow.

Luckily, I graveled enough and dad brought me a mattress... and things went downhill from there...

At 9:06 PM , Blogger baka101 said...

Jefe needs to post more often.

This is a far longer hiatus than usual.

At 12:33 PM , Blogger Jefe said...

Sorry, kids, I'm just caught up in the confluence of events beyond my ken again. That, and I'm not at all sure where this is going to end up. But I'll bust one

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