An office email went out, stating that I’d put in my notice and would be resigning my position as of 4/30. Drew and I agreed we would say it was because of my writing, that I have this deadline to meet, blah blah blah. Really, of course, we’ve been saving for the upcoming move to Oregon for over a year and my resignation has nothing whatsoever to do with the book. Still, you have to say something, and Drew needs to keep his job until we find a place to live up north.
All day long, people have been seeking me out in tight corridors and the tiny kitchen cubby when I go downstairs for coffee. Why are you really leaving? Did you get another job? Did you have a fight with X, Y or Z? What’s the real story here.
I tell them I’ve written a book, that I want to keep writing books and maybe selling them.
Without fail, a look comes over my co-workers’ faces. It’s the glazed, jammed-up expression of a listener who thinks the speaker is certifiably insane–the slow, wondering question (a book?), a self-comforting hand cupped around the cheek. I know the expression well, I’ve worn it myself. It’s the open-faced nod I give my boss when she crosses herself for saying goddammit, the placating aspect I adopt when my mother starts talking about Muffy dolls or my neighbor urges me to vote Santorum. It’s the invisible wall that suddenly assumes height and breadth and the thickness of a bomb shelter, between a mindset you understand and one that is completely foreign and utterly mystifying. I could not be any more odd to these people if I flashed my ass and revealed a curlicued tail.
We should have come up with a different story.
Who do you not understand?