How does one choose between Choice A which will result in you losing all of your hair forever, or Choice B that will cause you to grow a beard you can never shave off.
Okay, my two choices didn’t involve either permanent baldness or a perpetual beard, but they felt just about as unpalatable.
How in the world are we supposed to make decisions when all of our options look shitty? Isn’t one option supposed to look like the best one?
In 2004 we moved to a remote resort town nestled in the mountains of Northern California. Like all horrible decisions that end in disaster, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
We were able to sell our home in San Diego for top dollar, which enabled us to buy a larger, lovelier home in the mountains. It was nice not to be a literal six feet away from our very loud and annoying neighbors anymore, and, after years of drinking San Diego’s chlorinated swamp water, we thrilled at the crystal clear, ice-cold, glacial water that flowed from our tap at the flick of the wrist.
It is possible some lies were told to us about the financial health of the company that was recruiting my husband. It is also possible that somebody was playing with the books to the tune of a million dollars, or maybe it was just an arithmetic mistake like they said. We’ll never know for sure. However it went down, just as our escrow closed, we realized we might have made a serious financial error.
And thus began our careers working for a corporation that I lovingly call The Bastard Child of Alice in Wonderland and 1984.
Despite the lies, er, arithmetic errors, our jobs survived, but the company remains on constant life-support while the higher-ups stand around in front of you holding the plug in their hands.
And then the housing market fell. And fell. And then it fell some more. And maybe one day it will recover, but, according to financial experts, probably never in time for us to recover. As we’ve begun to seriously look at retirement even that yurt next to the freeway is looking further out of our reach.
Despite everything, my husband loves his job. I imagine that there were some employees of the Death Star who really did have it good. Maybe their manager, much like my husband’s, was somehow able to maintain a humane work environment in Vadar’s corporate culture of terror and intimidation. You’ve got to think that of the estimated one million people who worked on the Death Star there must have been one department that didn’t totally suck.
I didn’t work for that department.
My department was led by an adherent of the “All Stick and No Carrot” School of Management. In one of the many highly-effective morale-boosting campaigns, the Supreme Commander came to our staff meeting and told us that we could quit our whining about unsafe staffing because we could all be replaced in a minute with any one of the many experienced labor and delivery nurses who were camped out at the local KOA just waiting to take our jobs. Nothing makes you want to work harder than being told that you are worthless and expendable.
What’s a Girl to Do?
For years my husband tried to get me to quit my horrible job and become his stay-at-home sex slave. Not that this didn’t sound very appealing, but eventually he’s got to untie me and go to work, right? And I’d be left alone all day to do…..?
That’s the problem. There’s nothing for me to do here!
After finishing raising my kids, and then washing so spectacularly out of the conservative Christian community because I suck at that sort of thing, there just didn’t seem to be anything left for me to do here.
Except become desperately depressed.
That I did very well.
I’ve always been a high-achiever, and if depression is all there is then goddamnit I’m going to be the best depressed women you know.
If there was an award for lying around and feeling sorry for yourself, I would have won it.
Except I didn’t like depression too awfully much. It’s so damned depressing lying about being depressed all the time. And, frankly, it’s rather boring. And it makes you boring.
“Blah, blah, blah, I’m so depressed, I hate it here, This town doesn’t have any underwear stores!”
How many times can you say that without it becoming downright boring? In fact I got so bored just writing that blah-blah-blah sentence that I took a little nap in the middle of writing it, woke up, and then had to rewrite it because it was so boring. I almost fell asleep again in the middle of the rewrite.
Sadly, I can’t say that one day I woke up in a state of perfect mental health, pulled myself up by the bootstraps, and made a decision that would change the course of my life. I wish, but that’s not how it went down at all. Unfortunately all kinds of terrible shit had to happen in 2012 to bring me to the place where I was willing to choose between baldness and a beard.