After 10 days without drinking, the swelling in my lower gut finally went down. A balloon losing air.
On Monday I was offered a new job, and on Friday I turned in my laptop and said goodbye.
The January bugs are back, gathered by the front window wanting in. They are gray and featureless, but I don’t mind: they are the first bugs of the new year, a crude precursor to spring. Perhaps they come to needle winter, to bring her down.
It all happened so fast with my job, I sat in the corner of the office waiting to talk to HR and do a few final things. There was no grand goodbye or parting email; I just spoke with the owners of the firm and the people who reported to me, turned in my building access badge, my credit card and laptop, and walked out the back door. They’d wipe my computer clean, all the files and things I created—and it felt sad in a sense, not that I’d lose those things, but how little there was remaining after I left, after almost a year. We are both ourselves and our work, a combination. It’s harder for me to separate the two as I get older, at times more satisfying to keep them one in the same.
On Thursday I sat with a young consultant in the small break room eating lunch. I knew he was a philosophy student—like many others at the firm, recently out of college. Dawn always warned me about philosophy students: generally unhappy people, smug, at times combative. Perhaps it’s got something to do with knowing too much, the burden that comes with it.
So I prodded him on Kant because I never could take the time to understand him but felt curious, still. And he talked about the nature of perception, then linked it to AI and different types of bugs—but I couldn’t follow, and only smiled and nodded, with little to add. Then I wondered if he’d think about that lunch after he heard I’d left, and if he’d feel anything, or care. Or would I?
I lay on the sofa in our den afterwards as the sun went down, mirroring the dawn with an equally dramatic display. And sent a handful of LinkedIn requests out, scrolling through the thumbnails and names, like playing cards of different suits. Made plans to see Brad at his cabin, will need to get a new laptop, too.