Today I’m thinking about where the rubber meets the road, or in my case, where it is not meeting the road. I need new tires. Apparently I forgot to rotate them. Ever. So the front ones are worn but usable, and the rear ones are shot to hell. Scary considering the family just drove 6000 miles on them. The bad news is that you are not supposed to have a very wide diversity between the tread. It ruins the all wheel drive system. So that’s four new tires, not two.
That’s a pain in the wallet. The wallet that is empty. Literally. My husband’s new job starts on Wednesday, but we won’t see a paycheck for a couple of weeks. We are very lucky that we had some savings and will be able to pay our bills until that first check hits the bank. The tires will have to go onto a credit card. Hate that and totally would not do it if we didn’t know there would be green flowing again soon. I’d park the car and wait. I think the scariest thing in the world is spending money you don’t have with no income. That’s a lesson I learned when I graduated from college about a million years ago.
I had a plan, as I recall. I bought an answering machine, a briefcase and a suit and started job interviews. With my brand new Yale diploma, I thought it would be a snap, but surprisingly, there aren’t that many jobs out there for an International Studies major. Go figure.
I did get a lovely offer from the Paul Mellon Centre at Yale in New Haven. Sadly, it would not have paid my rent, food and the occasional ice cream cone, much less my student loans and other living expenses. I can see now that if I’d taken that job, I’d have been working two jobs. One for love and one for gas money. Or bike tires, as I didn’t even have a car back then.
Sometimes I wonder where that path would have led. The Ivy league graduate, working in the conservation lab at the museum. Attending trendy parties in vintage beaded evening wear from the Salvation Army. Slipping mini quiche’s into my handbag for breakfast and chatting with elderly art patrons willing to buy me wine. Spouting forth on Turner and Gainsborough and wishing I’d worn the flats instead of the pointy toe heels that made my legs look fabulous. Eventually I’d have moved in with someone completely unsuitable who would run up my credit cards and then leave me stuck with the rent and a broken heart.
Wait. Stop that.
Why couldn’t I have written a fabulous novel in my spare time and gotten a book deal that kept me in eggs and bacon of my own? Met a charming book editor who fell in love with my witty prose and cute dimples. That could have happened. I could be living in a brownstone in the Village and going up to our country house in Vermont on weekends. Sounds pretty fabulous, doesn’t it?
But you know what? I’m glad I took the job as a secretary so I could pay for the suit and the answering machine and the briefcase that I didn’t need. That I got my boss’ job when she left and started on the path to who I am today. That I moved back to Georgia and worked for IBM and met my friend Gail. That I went to Coca-Cola where I met Chris, Stafford and Karen, Rose, Theresa, Ross, Sandra, Rick and Michele and so many others who know I suck at staying in touch. And by the way, Nigel and Diane, my friends from Australia, who introduced me to the love of my life. I’m glad that I worked at CARE and met my friends Dana and Kevin and Andy. That I worked at AT&T with my sister, who rocks. At Cox with my friend Chris again, and IHG with Crystal, Joe, Annelle and so many more. That I worked at T-Mobile with Brett and GE with Beth and Jennie and Corky and so many more.
If not, I’d never have met my husband. I’d never have had my son. I wouldn’t have my house with the view of the snowy mountains and eagles flying overhead.
Looking back, taking that crappy job was the best thing I could have done.