It's been five months since I got up early to fly to San Diego, checking my month's-worth of clothing and toiletries at JFK and retrieving them after a tearful hunt in SAN.
I drove from San Diego to Joshua Tree, CA stressed out, with night befalling me. It felt like it was going to storm. The wind on Twentynine Palms Highway nearly rattled the doors off my rental car. And it was not warm, unusual for the desert.
I wasn't sure if I was going to stay a month or three, but either way it felt like a long time. Once I settled in, started hiking and driving and exploring and photographing and writing voraciously, the time flew.
Still, after a month, it was time to go home.
At the time, a month seemed like a lengthy trip, but now I'm wishing I was back in the California desert, away from rain and tall buildings and a stifling office with no windows and a sink full of dirty dishes and a cell phone that never rings. I'd rather be high up in the hills, where no signals reach my phone.
I started my inhouse consulting gig at Ultra Records about a month and a half ago, not knowing if it was going to last three or four months. I still don't know, but on a daily basis, I am increasingly hoping I am past the halfway point. Each day weighs on me like a sentence. My feet drag and my lids droop, making an arrival before 11 a.m. nearly impossible.
Once I'm there, I smile and giggle, offer candy in a ceramic pumpkin, toss my hair back and cross my fishnetted legs like I belong, like I'm pleased, like I plan to stay. But every day, I imagine what it will be like when I don't have to go there anymore...when I can travel again...when I can see the light of day for longer than two hours (if I'm lucky: an hour's lunch, and a half-hour to and from the office through Madison Square Park and along 23rd Street).
Friends, family, colleagues and business connections have been asking me what's next, in January when I again switch places with the woman whose maternity leave I am covering. I shrug my shoulders and dart my eyes up and out into the distance.
And with whom?
I am certain of a few things: that I will leave this office sometime around the new year, that I will go to Tunisia at the end of February, and that whatever I do and wherever I go, I will be alone. If I leave New York and my friends behind, I will probably be more alone. But maybe that's something I have to do.
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