Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I have stories to tell... 

...an entire weekend to recount. I had started writing details of the tale of the weekend spent with friends, those from out of town and those nearby, but I find that retelling stagnating, unable to flow. Setting down events from Saturday's holiday party thrown by FFDWG(FKaSarah), her roommate and myself at their place, with the wonderfully welcome presence of LiterateLawyerGuy, charming my friends, charming me even further with his attention and generosity and intelligence. The expected non-presence of CuteNerdBoy - which saddened me - and the wholly unexpected appearance of Summer'85Boy, having just missed his good friend PythonMan and the lovely PMWife. Having Summer'85Boy there was strange for me at first but ultimately of the good as he and LiterateLawyerGuy geeked out talking about gaming and I looked on, wondering what strange alternate dimension caused such a confluence of two time periods of my life while managing to bring to life old scenarios that had previously played in my head wherein past and present boyfriends and lovers popped up in the same location at the same time.

There was the Graham Norton taping on Sunday, attended by FFDWG(FKaSarah), her roommate, a mutual friend visiting from out of town for the weekend and myself. Originally it was supposed to be FFDWG(FKaSarah), OutOfTownGuy, LiterateLawyerGuy and myself, but as I mentioned in my previous entry LiterateLawyerGuy was unable to join us as he had to spend time with his son. Very understandable, but somewhat disappointing. I still had fun, as did the others, with dinner at Formosa Cafe, but it never stopped feeling as if something were missing from the evening.

At least LiterateLawyerGuy and I had Saturday night together. A fabulous night it was too. Let's just say that I feel sorry for NeighborGuy, as I don't think he got much sleep that night. Then, on Sunday morning, cuddling under a blanket on the sofa, my cats arranged around us as we watched news was so natural, so right I felt as if I had always nested in the crook of his strong arm, my head resting on his broad chest, his cheek brushing my hair. Later the positions were reversed as I settled my chin on the top of his head, stroking his dark wavy hair before he left my home, leaving it cold and lonely and empty again.

And there's the story of Monday, of playing hooky from work. Taking my last available personal day for the year and spending the day in Santa Barbara with CuteNerdBoy. We had planned the hooky day several months ago, originally intending on going to Disneyland until RockerChick invited both of us to her Disneyland birthday party. Instead we brainstormed, him saying that, since it was my hooky day, it was my choice. I turned it over in my mind, undecided until he mentioned Santa Barbara. Something clicked and I decided that would be the hooky day.

It was a terrific hooky day, laughing and talking, getting a tiny bit lost whilst driving, managing to cram in a couple of museums, taking the water taxi to cross the bay on a gorgeously sunny, slightly chilly day, eating first at a waterfront cafe for brunch, then at a favorite Cajun restaurant of his with incredibly yummy food and an enthusiastic waitstaff for dinner, with a little bit of shopping tossed in there somewhere, then walking along State Street as the conversation turned serious and personal. By the end of the evening, despite my feelings for him that still linger - stopping myself from taking his arm or his hand as we walked, refraining from caressing and nuzzling his cheek as we engaged in our usual hello/goodbye hugs and peck-like kisses; despite his still occasional mixed messages - such as the soft smiling look in his eyes and the brushing of hair from my eyes after I tried on a knit cap - the mantle of friendship rested more easily on my shoulders, comfortable and reassuring. And once more I was pleased that this sweet, gentle, snarky, maddening man was a part of my life again.

All these tales flow and wend their ways through my mind, the details struggling to break free past the wall that seems to have been thrust up before them, turning them into simple facts unable to be told in an entertaining manner. So much more to tell about OutOfTownGuy especially, but none of the interesting bits are mine to tell. So I refrain.

It doesn't matter anyway. Because something else looms before me, something that is simultaneously a relief and frightening.

I am unemployed.

Yesterday morning I was called into the CFO's office. I knew him and he knew me, but I've never been called to his office for any reason. I knew it could only be for one reason, as it was known that layoffs would occur sometime in December due to a merger between my company - excuse me, my former company - and another independent entertainment company. But no one was forthcoming about any information. So when the CFO called me and asked me to appear in his office, I knew what was in the offing. I wasn't entirely surprised, as I'd long had the feeling that I wouldn't be moving to the new Santa Monica offices with my co-workers next week. Turns out twenty-eight people were laid off yesterday and Monday.

I sent out a broadcast e-mail to my friends, informing them of my new status and asking them to keep their ears and eyes open for me. My co-workers commiserated with me, with some admitting to a certain amount of envy that I wouldn't have to deal with the move or the coming quarter-end after the holidays. I commiserated with them for having to deal with such an unappealing immediate future. I will be back once more - tomorrow afternoon to sort and label and file paperwork so they'll know what on my incredibly unorganized desk is what, but that'll be the end of my days at Lions Gate Entertainment (hey, I'm not there anymore, what do I care?). Funny thing is, about six months ago I mentioned to FFDWG(FKaSarah) that I would be leaving Lions Gate by the end of the year.

"Promise?" she asked, skeptical.

"Promise!" I answered, filled with the certainty that only alcohol can bring. Little did I know what I was putting forth into the universe.

I know that this is ulimately the best for me. I really do feel a definite sense of relief that I don't have to go there anymore, that I don't have to deal with that 44-mile round-trip commute again or look at those growing piles of paper that have filled me with dread. The thought of starting 2004 with a clean slate fills me with glee.

But now the terror is starting to seep in, the uncertainty of my future and whether I'll even be able to pay my rent for January taking center stage. I do get a severence, but it'll be at least fifteen days before I get it if I submit the paperwork now. And if I wait to submit the paperwork until 2004, as was recommended by Human Resources for tax purposes, it'll be at least another month. So I have to talk to EDD to find out details of collecting unemployment while I'm waiting for the severence to come in. And I have many calls to make to get registered with employment and temp agencies.

Once again, however, my friends have stepped up the plate with their support and fabulousness. One has offered to throw some web coding work my way, something we have spoken about several times in the past but have never fully discussed. LiterateLawyerGuy had expressed a desire to be in the HR meeting with me so that he could negotiate the severence for me (which was impossible for several reasons, including being 200 miles away) and has offered to look over the actual paperwork, both of which I find to be incredibly sweet and generous. Again I thank the universe for blessing me with such terrific people, wondering what incredibly perfect thing I've done in this lifetime or in a former lifetime to deserve them.

Despite all of this outpouring of support, tonight I find myself sitting alone in my apartment again, lonely. LiterateLawyerGuy called briefly, insanely busy with work but wanting to let me know that he was thinking of me and missing me. That he took a couple of minutes to do so pleases me immensely, but also increases my missing him, this craving for him that grows stronger each day. With no one around, I'm finding myself fighting back the fear of my uncertain future that is threatening to wash over me, wanting to feel the presence of others filling the space with life and love and laughter. Maybe I should have taken CuteNerdBoy up on his joking suggestion of sending his brother to stay at my place for the next month while CuteNerdBoy enjoys his apartment to himself again, something he's only had briefly over the last couple of years and something I've had far too much of since 1997.

This whole living alone thing? I am so over it.

2004 is actually looking promising - I'm having the feeling that my current living situation will change for the positive as well. I can't explain it, but it's there.

Let's cross our fingers, shall we?

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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