a life of movement in stillness
I met with her last night after my shift at work was over -- she reviewed my completed project, heaped criticisms upon me, then finished up with praise. I handled it in stride. I've decided to treat the experience like boot camp. I will suffer any indignity, I will wake early and stay up late to get my work done, I will run through the mud with a thousand pound pack, I will do whatever she asks, I will allow her to whip me into shape and I will not try to bluff my way through, pretending I already know everything. Such a hard impulse to fight. I will lay my ego down and take whatever she dishes out. I can do it, I'm ready.
There was an earthquake in Portland last night. I was sitting in bird-lady's little office when it happened. The whole house jiggled and one of the birds in the next room squawked and fell of its perch into the floor. Bird-lady got excited, jumped up and scrambled into the next room to pick up the bird and turn on the TV to see if it would show up on the news. While we waited for the "news" to catch up to what had just happened, bird-lady (who grew up in LA) explained the two different types of earthquakes -- the "slip-slide" kind when faults move against each other, and the subduction kind, when something comes from underneath and punches up the top layer it hits. She is very smart and I think she would talk to me about anything in depth and detail as long as I sat still and listened. I think she is lonely.
So I sat, watching the news with bird-lady, 7pm on a Saturday night, needing to eat supper, letting other plans sort of slip away, thinking "if this is the only shmoozing I have to do to get a summer job, I'm thrilled." I thought of Waspy who subjected herself to a series of humiliating, dehumanizing big-firm interviews last fall and the fall before trying to get a summer job... who subjects her naturally shy, quiet self to all manner of shmooze-fests and is miserable... I felt pretty lucky to find myself just sitting in the living room of a very nice social security lawyer who was happy to have my company there, watching the news with her, talking to her birds. Not so bad, really. And she makes me coffee when I come over. Which is nice.
As I was finally leaving, after three hours, she actually expressed just a hint of the impulse to caretake around my homelessness. She will be moving to a new, big office soon and she said "You know, it's a big office. There's a sink and stuff. You could almost... you know... camp out there if you really needed to. Bring a sleeping bag... you know..." Funny. And then, as I was leaving, she said "Oh, are you hungry? I've got brown-rice and chicken in the crock-pot," she pulled me into the kitchen and showed me the contents of a tiny crock-pot on the counter. It was sweet. I declined. But I think she likes me. That's what counts. And she's going to teach me how to be the kind of attorney I want to be and she's going to hire me and suddenly my future feels much, much more secure.