Post 505: The laptop debacle

I left my laptop at the office on Wednesday night. 

Resting on its docking station in my organized mess of a cubicle, it beckoned to me. Backpack strap in hand, I reached over to undock, lift, and put my laptop into its cozy compartment. But at the last moment I stopped myself. And took a step back.

I realized it had been years since I had last left my laptop at work. In my early 20s I had a less-demanding job and my laptop entertained itself in its docking station all night, just about every night. I’d walk the 1.5 miles up the hill to my rundown apartment sans laptop, feeling free and thinking about what I’d spend my 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. hours doing.

Sometimes I’d paint. Sometimes I’d write. Sometimes I’d walk or (try to) run. I’d often make myself a fabulous dinner and drink a few double IPAs, and I always read books well into the evening, far past what is now my bedtime.

Knocking myself out of this cloud of reminiscence, I cinched the top of my backpack, folded the top over and put it on. I rushed out of the building, reminding myself that nobody knew my laptop wasn’t in my bag. 

But once outside I started to panic, and I almost turned around.

I have to do this and I have to write this and I never sent that one note and I was supposed to thank that one person but I never did and I know I owe her that story by the end of the night how am I going to do that if my laptop is at work?

I shoved these thoughts down and told myself that people can wait, not everything has to be urgent, and it’s unlikely you’d even open your laptop if you brought it home anyway. 

But it would be such a pain in the ass to get a text tonight and have to run back into the office to grab my laptop. You just don’t get it.

Okay, we’ll leave the work phone in the car, locked up all night. You won’t even know someone texted you, and shame on them for texting after hours anyway!

But what if it’s this person or this person finally gets back to me or they text me mad about something and expect an answer?

Who cares?

I do. 

Well you’ve been running yourself ragged for weeks, you haven’t exercised at all in nearly two, and you haven’t been eating very well. You’re not taking care of yourself.

You’re right. 

I know I am.

I’ll just watch that docuseries about the religious cult in Oregon and forget all about what’s going on in my laptop’s universe.

Good idea.

Cool.

——

At 10:00:

She’s going to be so pissed at me if I don’t get that story to her during her daytime in Japan. We both know I’m late. I’m just going to grab my phone from the car and make sure she hasn’t sent me anything. 

Okay phew, she hasn’t. But I still need to send something so she knows I’m working on it. Maybe I can borrow Nick’s laptop — or wait! I can just use the app on my phone that has all the documents in it. Perfect! I wonder if it’ll let me open in Microsoft Word on my phone — aha! It does! Oh perfect. I’ll just change those couple of things and send it to her so she knows I’m working on it.

Oh, Emily. What happened to you?

My 6-second Vine loop

I’m not scared to be alone anymore.

I’ve found happiness in myself and I carry it with me on my evening bike rides and runs. I sit on benches, swing on swingsets and pedal through now-familiar neighborhoods.

My single room at Bonaventure, while a colorful space I sought solace in at times, became a lonely prison. I never went out and did anything on my own. I always had to have company. I always had to be in a group of friends. I felt like a lonely, boyfriend-less loser if I went to the dining hall alone after getting out of work at nine o’clock. I entered, I ate, I left. And when he found someone else, I felt even worse.

Being alone meant rethinking every decision I had made; everything I had done. Being alone meant a constant, 6-second Vine loop of things I wished I could take back and pictures I wished had never been taken.

College and the hunger for friends made me yearn for constant company and being “in the know.” I feared the thought of missing out on something or not knowing about an inside joke the next day. Now I’ve realized I just don’t care. 

I’ve been set free.

My group of friends here can hang out as much as they want to –– I don’t feel obligated to stick around like I normally would. It doesn’t bother me to be excluded from what they talk about. I have so much fun by myself that I feel like they’re the ones missing out. And I don’t feel bad for myself and I don’t feel even the slightest twinge of homesickness like I did my freshman year of college. I feel content. I feel happy. I’m seeing more, noticing more and experiencing more. I make time for friends and save time for myself. My hour-long breather at the end of the day consists of a bike ride with the sunset as its conclusion.

It helps knowing that, though I’m alone, it’s never complete solitude; the person who matters the most is always thinking about me.

The view from my favorite bench in the park.
The view from my favorite bench in the park.

Frustrated

Writing can sometimes be frustrating. I have been surrendering every study hall period to writing my TWLOHA article, but something tells me that it’s not even close to being finished, and I had hoped to send it once I got home today.  First period, I open up my Trendy Wendy folder (which contains all of my NeXt articles and papers and such) and work on my article. I have so many ideas, but not enough time and not enough creativity to host them all. I have been reading the article that I have so far, and it honestly does not even sound like me. I have a certain voice in my papers (or so I’m told) and I am afraid that I just cannot find it in this article.

Well, anyway, I guess I’d better get crackin’ at my article or my Geometry homework. I’m thinking Geometry might actually win today – I am having so much trouble with this article. When will it ever be finished?!?

Oh, how I hate root beer

I am rather picky when it comes to soda pop (where I’m from we call it just “pop,” and get mad at people that call it “soda.”) I do not like any dark colored pops, and I swear that I am NOT racist. My favorites include grape, pineapple (don’t criticize until you’ve tried it!), orange, Sierrah Mist and raspberry. So, when my brother and I helped out an elderly lady that lives near us, I had to gulp down what I hate most: root beer.

She called my grandpa and asked if he knew any boys that would be willing to do work for her. He told her about my older brother who would probably be able to help her take care of her overgrown garden. Unfortunately, Adam was too busy that day to even think about going over to her house to check out what work needed to be done. Instead, my mother and I paid her a visit, just to see if I was capable of handling the job.

We rang the doorbell, and out came the cutest old lady I have ever seen. Her steps were slow, but her mouth and her brain moved fast. She kept looking me over and saying that I needed to eat some spinach, and that the work she needed done would most likely be the cause of my death. My mother and I laughed with her after she made a comment about how I am too skinny to handle the work. She took us out back to her beautiful backyard and into her garden. Flowers of every color were everywhere. Unfortunately, Lilies that she had planted had completely taken over the entire garden, and she wanted them OUT. She told me that I would need my older brother to help, and so, two days later I called her and made arrangements to start on her garden.

I biked over to her house and greeted her with “good afternoon!” when I saw her. She led me out back and we sat on her deck and looked out at her backyard for a little while, chattering the entire time. She asked me questions, and I answered them. My brother showed up as we were talking, and then we got to work. Shovels were removed from her garage, and dirt was broken into in her garden. We dug up lily after lily, while she walked around with her cane and supervised, sometimes even helping a little.

She disappeared for a few minutes, and came out with two cans of root beer for us to enjoy. I was so touched, that I didn’t even care that it was root beer. I tossed one to Adam, and opened my own, taking a huge long sip and trying not to taste. “That sure hits the spot! Thanks!” I said, and she looked pleased. We finished digging up the lilies (after I managed to get some calluses on my hands) and we put away the equipment. I walked into the garage, drinking the rest of my root beer and pretending that it was lemonade.

She was pleased with the work that we did, and impressed with me. Imagine that! A girl doing tough work like that! She paid us (a nice sum) and I wrote down our names and phone number in case she ever needs us again in the future. I told her that I am perfectly capable of doing any housework she needs help with, and she thanked us very sincerely.

I can tell that she gets very lonesome living all by herself. The next time I see her outside when I am riding my bike by, I am going to stop and have a nice, long chat with her. She is the sweetest old lady I have ever met (other than my grandma of course!), and I am really happy to have met her. I am hoping that she will call me soon with more work. I plan to ask her about all of the traveling she has done throughout her life, and I know she will answer every question of mine thoroughly.