Monday, August 19, 2013

A Few Days I Needed

Norwegian stood at the edge of the summit, her feet inches away from the sheer drop that went hundreds of feet down.

"Isn't this amazing?" she turned to ask me, her blonde ponytail bouncing like a golden Slinky in the August sunlight. "I come here to go hiking all the time."

I cursed myself for neglecting to bring my camera--the photo above is a stock image from the location--because she was right: it was stunning. The steep trails of rock-embedded soil converged on a mass of shale that jutted high into the air, giving hikers a stunning vista of the valley spread out below them like a green basket.

"We should bring some people up here and roast marshmallows or something," she said.

I agreed.

"Yeah. We could have the most incredible-slash-terrifying picnic ever."

Her eyes narrowed in confusion.

"Terrifying?" she turned back to the cavernous sky from her perch on the cliff. "Why would you be afraid?"

I think I've needed some reminding lately that people can do courageous things, can put themselves on the tops of mountains without falling off. Sometimes, of course, they might slip on the gravel. But sometimes they'll stand at the point where the ordinary meets greatness and propel themselves into the heavens.

Not that I was asking for that much. I didn't need wonders served to me on a platter. I just needed the relentless beating of the last year or so, the merciless stream of setbacks and traumas, to end.

Last Thursday I applied for a position with a public relations company in the Goldlands. Later that day the firm's director contacted me with an invitation to visit their office for an interview on Monday afternoon. That was it, and that was all I wanted. A chance.

As for the interview itself, I don't think it could have gone much better than it did. I at last had the opportunity to prove to someone else what I've known for a long time: that my research skills are on point; that my written-communications abilities encompass both storytelling and hard news with ease; that my time in journalism and publishing gives me relevant insight into the public relations profession; and that I just flat out have a good head for image management.

We'll know soon. Beyond this process's outcome (which is, of course, important to me), however, my experience over the past few days has provided some sorely needed hope. I do have something to offer, and others can see it. My troubles, amplified in an environment of isolation, disrespect, and contracting resources, are never more than one successful job interview away from fading into the background. I have a real shot at life. I do.

So I'll hope, and I'll pray, and I'll let all of you know as soon as I hear anything. And in the meantime, as I refresh my e-mail's in-box every ten seconds and count the ways in which these prospective employers could say yes or no, one of the greatest sources of my discontent could be on its way to a fitting resolution.

"We put a contract on a house," my mother informed us today. "We could know if we've gotten by as early as tomorrow."

That's right. The era of the Yellow Pile of Shit, which began on February 17, 2012, is at last approaching its overdue end. Back then, a mere two months after I graduated from university, my parents unloaded our old Mountain Town home and, in an effort to get back to roots we never had, moved us into a 200-year-old farm house with no central heat or air conditioning. As this summer winds to a close they have, in Thomas's words, "finally gotten their heads out of their asses."

This is the house, located just across the border in Mountain State, that they're now attempting to secure. It's spacious, stylishly appointed, outfitted with all the amenities a 21st-century American could expect to have, and befitting our family's station. It's the kind of place we had always lived in before my parents gave in to a bout of delusion a year and a half ago and tried to make us something we weren't. The game of pretend is now over.

Of course, David and Marie's return to reality will hopefully not have much of an effect on me. If I get this job I'm planning to move to the Goldlands as soon as possible, but my stepmother threw a surprise volley my way this afternoon while discussing the upcoming move with Pie and Thomas.

"You know, BB, your father and I are rooting for you with this job," she said. "But if you don't get it you'd be free to come with us. The house has four bedrooms."

Not enough, pointedly, for Powell, whose antics have of late attained new levels of infamy.

"I appreciate the offer, but I'd really like for us to not reach that point."

"I'm just putting it out there."

For two people who have time and again proven inconsiderate, oblivious, and occasionally downright vicious, my mother and father surprise me with random moments of compassion that make me yearn for the parents they could have been. My father went even further.

"And even if you get the job, it might be a good idea for you to stay," he advised. "It's entry level. So if they're only paying you $30,000, you could save a lot of money by coming there. The $400 we'd want is way less than anything you'd put out to find housing in the Goldlands. Plus we're actually going to be closer to their office than we are now. It's not a bad commute."

I'm weighing all the possibilities, which will be circumscribed should the position not come through. Something tells me, however, that it will. Something tells me I nailed this thing. And if that's true, then the set of options for where I go next just got a whole lot bigger.