There is a city council woman in Atlanta who got her first taste of government work through an ‘internal’ hiring process by making folks believe that she already worked there.
What that looks like is she got dressed for work in the morning for days on end, and headed to her local government offices, and started occupying an empty office. The way she described it, she started meeting people. She had a list of vague but not unusual responses to direct questions about what she does for the city – mostly in the form of a joke along the lines of Hotel California – which is brilliant as a decoy strategy to mimic ‘real’ workers by learning how to creatively but lovingly dis on the place you are aspiring to work.
One day, just as her diet was starting to almost exclusively consist of all the old cans from the years that she had forgotten about in her pantry, someone passed by her door and said they were hiring ‘internally’ in a certain department, and asking this woman to apply.
‘You’d be a great fit.’ they said. Long story short.
Today as I face a change of location and perhaps vocation, and all these years later, she still inspires the fuck out of me.
You see, I am about to make a radical move to one of the hottest (and by this I mean temperature) towns in New Mexico.
Truth or Consequences: population 6006.
Until recently, T or C has always been an interesting stop on the highway to get gas. I grew up in Las Cruces, and have stopped there many times to gas up on the way North. I stayed one night there in a hot tub hotel in the 1990’s (it used to be called ‘Hot Springs’ for all the geothermal activity).
And then this constellation of impulses have been gnawing on me recently. Change that you can smell like rain in the desert before you see it. When change is coming it is a natural first impulse to be afraid that you might loose the people and things that make up your world: your limbic regulators and your most used objects.
I have been living in Chiapas with stints in Guatemala for almost 6 years, and so the move is international and not trivial.
That said, there are aspects of my life in Mexico that I am not willing to entirely release yet. Limbic regulators and most-used objects (my next blog is about how to pack when you live in two places) that are working so well, that even in categorical drought of other things, would find me happy even if not quite fulfilled.
The impulses for this change of stasis can be named: a combination of health, aging parents, curiosity, home-sickness, and then this other thing that feels like destiny but could just as easily be called mental illness as this world is a thing turned upside-down.
We’ll focus, as of course we should, on the ‘destiny/mental-illness’ facet of this many faceted jewel, because it’s the least tangible.
What it looks like is a sort of walking around from room to room, a listlessness, and wondering what is next, and not finding an easy answer. All of these ‘impulses’ but not one of them a calling, and I wanted to explicitly be called in a way that I was not.
And then on a trip to visit my parents, I started playing with a pendulum. ‘Playing’ is a word I use for the sake of levity, but it does not actually describe the activity. We’ll leave it at that.
The specific method relating to the pendulum I can describe, and what it looks like is my holding a pendulum in my hands out of my sight, and thinking about a specific place. The pendulums responses are directional and polar: yes/no, hot/cold, positive/negative. What I noticed when I started 'playing' was that all the cities I was trying to get a read on, including the one in Chiapas where I have been living, were not showing much of a response at all. Little yes’s, little no’s.
And so I started randomly inserting cities that were, clearly somehow on a radar, but not in my line of direct vision. Silver City was a resounding no. As were Hatch and Austin. Merida was a little no, as were Tuscon and ‘anywhere North of Socorro’ in New Mexico. Las Cruces, where my parents live, was a slight yes but very very slight.
And then I started thinking about Truth or Consequences.
What I thought about was how every time I talked about it someone would have a favorite place and it was never the same place. That’s a good thing for a small town. And then I also thought about this weird semi-state-sponsored/quasi-private experiment called SpacePort that is being built about a half hour from Truth or Consequences in a car to receive and act as a point of departure for Spaceships.
When I looked at the pendulum, unbeknown to me and in a way I could not feel, it was on FIRE in the direction of ‘YES/POSITIVE/AFFIRMATIVE’.
And I was like, ‘Seriously?’
And so I stopped the pendulum, looked away, and cleared my mind, and embodied the emotion, ‘Seriously?!?’
And again the pendulum, without feeling particularly like it was moving and out of my sight, again was moving in a very energetic way along the lines of ‘YES’ when I turned to look.
And then many things happened that were magical, and before even trying had two possible and very low-rent options of places to stay near downtown Truth or Consequences, a referral for a good hippie doctor there, and a list of places that I ‘have to visit’.
And then I was just like, ‘Ohh, fuck me, I’m going to try it.’ And I started dreaming about what this new reality might look like if I had my druthers (IE: how many trips a year and for how long visiting my Chiapas home will make this move feel good to me).
One day recently, I remembered and started thinking about this council woman in Atlanta, who y’all thought I forgot about.
There is a truth about my reality that is not dependent on location, in the sense that I work from my computer. And so I am always on the lookout for interesting places to work from that also provide important things like stability, and quiet, and good Internet, and good food, and that I do not have to pay to use.
Well, in the case of SpacePort, I am willing to pack a lunch for whatever cafe they might have.
It is my intention to find an empty office, an empty table in the corner of the cafeteria/food court, whatever. I’ll visit ‘my office’ regularly, and work from there regularly. Slowly I’ll get to know people, and eventually, mark my words, I am going to get hired.
(NOTE POST MOVE: there is security and the only way in is a tour, so...I am scanning their site daily for opportunities and speaking with HR like a normal person.)
I’ll post a picture of my new business card when it comes. I am going to work in space and I am I willing to learn whatever I need to learn to engage this dream.