Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to Handle Massive Change in Your Life

I do not have the foggiest idea how. Which sucketh in a major way, since almost every facet of my life is being joggled and jerked inside the equivalent of a cosmic martini shaker.

Today I taught my very last day of class at the Big Giant University. I was a wussie. I cried. Some of my students got choked up too. Many of them are graduating next week and are as terrified to go into the great unknown as I am. We talked about what we were afraid of in our flurries of change, and about what we most certainly would not miss about our old lives. It was a fairly satisfying way to end my 9 years of teaching here. And that's about all I could hope for because I am truly too freaked out these days to go any higher than "fairly satisfying." I'm marrying the love of my life and still can't believe I found the perfect every-planet-lined-up-right-on-the-dot guy for me. And that's a very happy thing. But change is change, and my psyche wants a friggin' explanation.

Because I was too frazzled to go home after work, I did the thing that I seem to do when I'm teetering on the edge: I went to Walmart. I have no idea why I do it, but immediately after the last several jarring, nearly-unprocessable occurrences in my life, my car has taken over for me and driven to Walmart. Like magic. Maybe I need a big generic place filled with cheap retail goods where I can feel hidden in plain sight. It's comforting to get a shopping cart and stroll the aisles aimlessly. I know what to do with my hands. I keep them on the shopping cart. I can stop in the lightbulb aisle and take my water bottle out of my purse and take a slow sip until I figure out when to get moving again.

Today I bought some cans of cat food and some lipstick and a "Dreamgirls" DVD. I wanted a generic blockbuster to watch while I let my martini-shaken heart catch up with the events of the day. I bought a package of 5 Hershey's kisses. I went girlie and got some cool new steely gray eyeshadow. I got a People magazine with Drew Barrymore on the cover. She has been judged the most beautiful person in the country, you know. I got a 24 pack of Aquafina.

Still not quite able to go home yet, I gassed up my car and it was cold and gray and windy. My favorite weather. My hair whipped around my face and I stood there and enjoyed it because it bitchslapped me back into the moment. I lose the moment when the tectonic plates of my life are shifting. There is no more "now." Just the annoying smear of anxieties like when the hell am I putting my house on the market, how am I going to pack all this earthly crap I own, will my very elderly cat survive the 22 hour drive to the Southwest?

The cat. Hankie. I took him outside on his dapper purple leash and harness after I got home. The wind did a Medusa dance with my hair again and it made little crop circles on Hankie's fur.
I talked to my mom on my cell phone and used the sound of her voice to pull me back into myself. Usually when I'm lost like this, I call her and say "Guess where I am?" and she says "Walmart."

I don't know why this all feels like such a surprise to me. I knew I'd feel a little torn up about leaving a job that felt like home. Because so few places have ever felt like home to me. I sat my emotional self down months ago and warned her it would be this way. It would hurt and make my head feel like a newly discovered country where there was no dock for my boat. But it's like trying to prepare for impact when you see your car accident about to happen. The windshield never greets you politely like it said it would.

7 Comments:

  • At 7:46 AM, Blogger prairie biker said…

    You could have come over for margaritas.

     
  • At 8:51 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    Walmart scares me. Garden stores are my comfort food.

     
  • At 9:29 AM, Anonymous chubbyknuckles said…

    Oh my god, Candy. This has to be one of your most beautiful pieces (of about a ga-zillion beautiful pieces you've written). I happened to be listening to Allison Krauss' "It Doesn't Matter" when I read it. Wow.

     
  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thanks PB. I was unfit for human company.

    Carin, I might like garden stores if I were to ever go outside on a regular basis.

    CK, I gotta go find that song. Sounds fitting for the mood these days. Do you remember the movie "Meatballs?" When Bill Murray screams "It just doesn't matter" over and over again with camp kids?

     
  • At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Belle said…

    You and share that love of bad weather. The grayer the day, the happier I am!

    I also love Walmart.

    Wish I could be there to have spent the last nine years with you so I could say goodbye. Does that make sense?

    Our college days seem far away.

    Godspeed, dear friend. Does anyone know what godspeed means? It just seemed appropriate.

    I will miss you being in the Midwest. Not sure if the Southwest deserves you but glad you will have The Man! Love you!

     
  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Belle,
    Our college days are never far away in my mind. Our Thursday night retellings of "The Monkey's Paw?" So far unmatched.

    Gray weather = peace in Candy's heart. Gray and windy and slightly chilly = Utopia.

    Love you back, Belle. Thanks for the Godspeed. I have no idea what it means, but I love that word.

     
  • At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Belle said…

    Guess I needed some proofreading on that last post. How embarrassing to do that to you, of all people! I need an English teacher!

    Aren't you going to write a rant re your friend Roger Ebert, before you move from Illinois? I have been wanting to ask you that!

     

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