My last day at work was last Friday. Ten years ago, I left for Japan on the morning of September 11, 2001—and spent a week grounded in Winnipeg when all the planes in North America were put down. Literally the moment after I notified my boss of my intention not to renew my contract, I sat down at my desk and found out that Osama bin Laden had been killed by US forces. I suppose you can call those bookends.
So far I’ve only had one day of actual unemployment. The rest of my time has been spent doing rehearsals, props and load-in for Once Upon A Mattress, as well as helping out with aspects of the Future Global Leaders program and editing a sudden spate of material from AAR JAPAN. But that single day of nothing was a little terrifying.
Every time I finish a task, a swell of emptiness wraps me in indecision as I am at a loss to determine what to do next. I’ve always hated making “to-do” lists, but I’m going to have to make one now simply to maintain my own sanity. There’s so much to do. I need to write it all down, prioritize, make a schedule, and start checking things off. Before anything else, Fragile Order needs to get firmly nailed into its coffin and I need to start contacting agents. But that’s a pretty big task in itself.
On my second-last day, my boss took me aside, shook my hand and told me, “You’re a good man.” I couldn’t help but add, “Charlie Brown.” The “man” epithet has never felt right to me; I’ve always felt like a ten-year-old getting kicked around from place to place. I guess from here on we’ll see if this kid can do anything for himself.