Terminal State

A silence falls across the airport. The monitors displaying flights and random news segments shut off. The people stop talking. The power goes off. The beautiful stranger I had been talking to disappears. In an instant everyone else in the airport is gone. It’s empty and I’m alone.

My steps echo in the vast empty terminal as I walk up to the nearby window to the tarmac. There’s no one outside. Planes sit idle at terminals and on the runways. Tilting my head up, I breathe out against the window, momentarily fogging it up. The planes in the sky lay frozen in place.

I should be alarmed. I should be scared.

I caress the warm glass, purposely breathing heavy on it as if to verify my own existence. Again.

Still here; I tell myself.

I turn around. Nothing. Still empty.

I’m still here.

This company acquisition has certainly taken over my time. It was expected and a part of me welcomed it, if only to get over someone…

It put a strain on a relationship, something I had been working on for about four months. The busy and odd schedule ultimately made it hard to foster and care of such a new relationship. And so, it ended shortly before this last trip back to Texas. Fully anticipating a busy schedule, I welcomed the return to Texas. It would keep my mind busy. It worked. It gave no time to lament, to mourn, or otherwise torture myself with any sort of regret or broken heart. Though, with every notification on my phone, my heart felt a jab, hopelessly expecting a text from a certain someone. That took a while to fade.

Working about 15 hours a day every day since the 28th has certainly helped keep me busy–though it’s also set some expectation that I’d always be around to put out a fire. Missed breaks. Missed lunches. Constantly having people come up to me to the point where I’m “assigning numbers” to the people waiting. Having people walk with me (helping on the go) as I walk to someone else that has a question. Endless conference calls. Many arguments. Playing ‘musical office’ as I pick a different location throughout the building every day to avoid people. Having senior leaders hide me from other senior leaders in an attempt to horde me for their own special project needs.

However, I’m grateful for the opportunities. Flattered that most think I’m in a senior management position when really I’m just “a technician.” I’m happy to impress, quick to please, and first to put aside my own well-being. Sadly.

Only recently have I mustered the courage to say ‘no’ and pass up duties even when they come from my superiors–now this isn’t done defiantly. It’s not without redirecting my superiors to alternate resources. And really that’s what it’s about. I’ve come to train a workgroup, show them the ropes, and it’s time to start handing things over and empowering those here to pick up the pace. It’s a great thing to witness. And it’s been very exhausting to be so needed, but it’s time to hand things over.

For about a week I was in a room every day, being interviewed by different levels of management to gather everything I knew. “We’re here to help you go home,” they’d say. “The faster we can put to paper everything you know, the faster you can go.”

I’ve never seen such beautiful flow charts–or so many–in my life. In the end, I felt used and siphoned of all value. Sure a part of me felt happy to contribute, but another part of me felt like I had given everything about me that made me, me! Among the piles of charts, documents, and scrawls on notepads… was me. Everything I had learned about this business in ten years. This giant pile. This room of people. This was it. This was me.

In the room next door I could senior leadership “passionately discussing” processes and strategies.

The lead guy across the table smiles. “We recommend you stop learning new things.”

I’ve never been so busy.

“Walk with me,” I’d say. “You’re going to be my sticky so I remember to come back to your question otherwise I’ll get pulled aside.”

The person would cock their head back. “But I’m not supposed to leave my desk–.”

“Start walking or you won’t get your question answered!” I’d grab a sheet of paper. “Write this down…”

Then someone else would come up to me. “Quick question.”

I’d smile. “There are no quick questions. You’re number three. Walk with me.”

“We hear you have this tech named Branli and he’s being requested in Florida by a manager.” I’d hear on a conference call.

“You can’t have him,” someone would answer.

This didn’t stop techs from getting my phone number. I’d get calls at all hours of the day and weekends, techs in the field asking for help.

Sigh.

This has been my life.

I’ve asked at least two senior managers to be able to join their teams. In at least one instance a manager that overhead my request interjected and wanted me for their team instead. This is all verbal for now, so it’s not to say anything is written in stone… or paper. Although, it’s nice to know I have options. It’s nice to see the “planes” will be moving around this terminal again. It’s a brave new world out there.

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The Still Life

Things aren’t bad. Things aren’t utterly amazing, but that’s okay.

In my last entry I talked about “life at the airport,” where every plane is an opportunity taken, missed, or delayed. Both my professional life and personal life seem to be abundant with opportunities… decisions to make. I tread carefully, cautiously optimistic, naturally afraid to make the wrong choice or squander a good thing. It’s human nature, I suppose, to worry. And it shows in the latest series of dreams.

For a while I keep dreaming about losing my car in a parking lot. It’s a maddening dream, taking up the entire span of the dream.

Dreaming parking lots are often difficult to navigate and all too often cars will go missing. Such dreams tend to occur when you are making an important decision in your waking life concerning your career and life path. Getting lost in the parking lot suggests confusion and if your car goes missing, you may feel that you have lost your identity in the struggle to succeed and meet expectations. The parking lot itself could be seen as the illusion of the good life. You can make all the right moves to get ahead but in the process you may find that something important is missing.

Now, that’s an interesting interpretation to dissect. I’m certainly unsure about which opportunity or what career path to take–now that there are so many invitations and possibilities. I’m worried about the future as far as where a certain path will take me. What if this department gets eliminated in the future? What if it gets outsourced to another state? What if I’m not good at it? What of my writing?

I miss writing. We know that. It’s harder and harder to make time for it with work getting so busy. Yes, a part of me feels that “writer” side of me get lost in all this. It’s not entirely lost, I’m finishing up my cover with my artist and I’m slowly editing the next book. Very slowly.

Something missing? Stability? Certainty? Or, is it someone and not something?

This last question causes pause. There’s a smile on my face as I think about a certain someone, but as with the career choices, I am cautiously optimistic. It is new. It is someone I’ve met in this “airport line” as I get ready to board. Is he coming with me? Am I going with him? Are we taking different planes? I have no idea. Meanwhile, the line is moving and we’re still talking and smiling.

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