It goes without saying, I'm rather independent. I have no problem going to dinner alone. Heck, The New Yorker has outperformed some dates in the entertainment department. And when you get into your late thirties without ever having a husband, you learn to fend for yourself beyond dinnertime companionship.
My new job came together in record time. For my first week, I overlapped with my old job, not to please my boss but because I have a semblance of good work ethic. That my old boss went and shit all over the business my father created these last forty years doesn't make me regret that decision. Though his behavior did royally screw up the second week at my new job.
"PJ, I don't know how to cut and paste," my mom said with frustration and angst.
She and my father were sitting around their laptop in Florida while I sprawled out across the floor of my almost-empty condo. Together we were coordinating an effort to salvage the clients. There were letters to be constructed, emails to be sent, and hard copies of everything to be mailed. My parents, two people who have never had an ATM card and who have yet to grasp basic computer functions, were useless.
"Do you have Excel?" I asked. "I have a spreadsheet with information I gathered before I walked. I can email it to you and you can just input the missing data."
From their silence, I gathered they had no idea what I was talking about.
I knew that the back and forth with my parents would make for fabulous fodder, appreciated if only I wasn't caught up in the throws of it. I'd be cast as Al Brooks. But I had a condo to finish packing, three hundred pages of scientific information about the immune system to master, and a two-week work trip to prepare for. Let's not even address ancillary tasks like eating and going to the bathroom.
"That's it," I said Saturday night at eleven o'clock. "My brain hurts and I have to study. I'll try to finish more from the road but this is the best I can do."
As I'm writing this, I'm leaning against a wall in my condo with my life strewn across the floor. There are balls of yarn to my right, piles of paper to my left, and miscellaneous crap in every other direction. My suitcase is packed for a week in Chicago followed immediately by a week in Los Angeles. I remembered to mail my car payment. I didn't forget to grab my phone charger.
When I get back, I'll have less than forty-eight hours before I'm supposed to hit the road and drive for Atlanta, having previously set a goal to knock it out in one day. There's little chance I"ll be able to tackle everything I still need to do in that time frame. Nothing stands out as overwhelmingly time consuming but added up together, I know I can't handle the tasks alone.
It isn't like me to ask for help. But later tonight, when I settle into my room at a Chicago Westin, I will pull out my laptop and email a group of friends. I'll offer pizza and beer, music and laughter, and I'll request they show up the first Saturday of March to help me close this chapter. It feels awkward to admit I can't do something on my own. But it's comforting knowing I have so many people willing to help.