January 15, 2001


I have just come off one of the nicest, most relaxing, most emotionally-centered weekends in recent memory ... and I owe it all to Franz.

Or rather, I owe it all to the absence of Franz. For the first time in months, I didn't bring my little boss home with me for the weekend.

He didn't sit next to me on the #51 on Friday afternoon, as the ancient AC Transit System bus lurched and lunged its way down Broadway. He didn't walk home from the bus stop with me, pausing at the top of Crab Cove to watch the ducks, then stopping at the ATM to pick up dinner money. He didn't ask for a bite of my cheese enchilada at The Acapulco on Friday night. He didn't ride along to the shoe repair place with us on Saturday morning, or stand next to me at the magazine rack at Walgreen's, reading "Northern Californa Bride" over my shoulder, or curl up in bed with us to watch "Where The Boys Are" on Saturday night.

On Sunday -- my precious *Alone Day* -- he didn't hang around while I washed my pantyhose and worked on the wedding tape and e-mailed rŽsumŽs to the sweater company, the computer-gizmo manufacturer, the university, the law office. He didn't complain about the Celtic music. He didn't raise an eyebrow when I had leftover pizza for lunch, instead of my usual fruit and Slim Fast.

When I stood in the bathroom brushing my teeth last night, he wasn't standing behind me giving me bunny ears in the mirror.

I have to tell you: I didn't miss him much.

It's as though a bazillion pound weight has been lifted from my shoulders -- and from my psyche -- since I submitted that resignation letter on Friday. For a change, I didn't waste the entire weekend obsessing over my crappy job, and my crappy boss, and the crappy circumstances which (I felt) bound me forever to my crappy job and my crappy boss.

Here's what I thought about instead: 

I thought about honeymoons in Port Townsend, and low-fat salad dressing coupons, and long afternoon naps. I thought about library books, and white candles, and the U.S.S. Hornet at the old Alameda Naval Base.  I thought about Emmylou Harris, and the Oakland Raiders, and chicken in hoisin sauce ... windstorms, and Help Wanted sections, and friendly e-mail from former high school classmates. I thought about the Tots. I thought about my sister. I thought about the appropriateness of white antique-lace wedding dresses on forty-something/second-time brides. I thought about nighttime moisturizers vs. daytime moisturizers. I thought about chocolate.

(Actually, I thought about chocolate a LOT. But that's another story for another day.)

I thought about the future -- not the future I have planned with David, which is something else entirely ... but my future, my professional future, my career future -- and for the first time in a long time, it didn't scare me to pieces. For the first time in a long time I actually HAVE a professional future.

But the best part of all?

When I woke up this morning -- Monday morning, ordinarily the absolute bottom-of-the-diaper-pail of my week -- I didn't freak out. I didn't weep fresh Maybelline into my Foglifter. There was none of that usual sense of despair and impending doom ... no absolute certainty that a meteorite was hurtling towards me, intent on obliterating my happiness.

(A cranky meteorite, with a German accent and a goatee.)

I still have a long, long way to go, of course. No career decisions have been made yet. Franz' suggestion that we "sit down on Monday and strategize" -- about me staying with the company in a different capacity -- never materialized. He never even made it into the office today. (I suspect he felt a sudden burst of civic responsibility and decided to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day ... on the ski slopes.)  I haven't decided whether it would be a good idea to stay here at the Totem Pole Company, anyway. Frankly, I'm not convinced that four floors would be enough distance between Franz and me.

On the other hand, I haven't decided against the idea, either. I'm keeping all my options open.

But for right now?

Right now I am simply content to enjoy this lovely new unencumbered feeling. As a matter of fact, I'm taking my lunch indoors today  ...  comfortably ensconced here in Reception Area Hell, with my sliced apples and my can of SlimFast and my library book ("Weddings For Grownups: Everything You Need To Know To Plan Your Wedding Your Way"). I'm afraid that if I step outside, in this groovy new state of weightlessness I'm in, the first stiff gust of wind might simply pluck me off the sidewalk and blow me away.

throw a rock