There’s an Intelligentsia tucked away on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, attached to a “space” called “1871,” where tech start-ups I guess congregate and people my age wear jeans and beanies to work, and apparently drink pour-over coffee on an hourly basis while sitting on re-purposed metal cafeteria swivel stools. I don’t know.
I skipped my Friday class at the gym to meet with the editor of the Chicago Reader, who was really so nice to offer her time to talk to me. But I don’t have the right questions. Do you have any clips? “I, uh - journalism….. it’s not exactly, necessarily [ ] I don’t, it’s not - I’ve never really done it? So I’m wary to try? I mostly write for me. I’m writing a memoir.” What am I even saying? Why am I so bad at speaking? Don’t tell important people you’re writing a memoir. She looked at me, and then a little bit past me, and then suggested I maybe look for copy editing jobs…? Really though just get something published. Pitch stories, not topics. Go back to school, get internships. All very logical advice that I know I need to take.
Before I left my apartment in the morning I spoke with my mom. She said to think of my dream job and ask her how I can get there. “I don’t have a dream job? My dream jobs are unrealistic.” I’ve never wanted just one thing. I thought I’d play viola professionally but decided that as much as I loved it, I knew I could find something I loved even more. I tried film classes. I tried photography. I took art classes and and sang professionally, kind of, briefly. I’ve worked backstage for theater, I’ve tried to act. I don’t commit to one person, I don’t make plans. I want to write for TV? I want to work in the music industry? I want to do PR? I want to really learn Final Cut. I want to be in a band, so, so badly. I want to learn graphic design at design school? I want to go to CalArts and keep learning how to write.
After coffee I rode a convoluted train route home, accidentally. The rails at my stop were under construction. I called my dad on speakerphone while I cut thin, translucent slices off of a Granny Smith apple with a sharp knife. Cross sections, crescents of green skin. After an hour on the phone he told me, essentially, to be a barista and dye my hair blue, stop passively looking for other office jobs I don’t even want, and to really look forward to my Second City writing class each Monday. See if it shows me something I love enough to follow - but to leave my job and to not think about what will happen when my lease is up. Just because I don’t have the right questions to ask right now, just because I haven’t chosen just one thing yet, doesn’t mean I’m going to all of a sudden turn 50, career-less, and then die.