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Westward Ho!

It's lonely out here.

I'm not complaining, mind you. It's not like I'm begging for food or wound up on the West Coast because of some sticky situation back in Chicago. My personal laments notwithstanding, I wasn't exactly fleeing an unstable situation with few options ahead of me.

On the other hand, maybe it would be easier if that was the case. See, I've left behind the same bunch of friends I've had since elementary school, as well as a loving family who has known me forever, though they've always claimed I was simply a visiting alien sent to investigate their Earthly ways.

So yes, things have been a bit rough, emotionally. The effect of being removed from all things familiar and comforting, relatable and defining is astonishing. You suddenly become just you.

But like I said, I'm not going to cry or anything (at least not on paper). I walked into a pretty sweet set-up out here. And I'm not going to bitch about my financial instability all too much either. Yes, I was warned, and now I see as plain as day, Mom and Dad, the actual amount of money a person must spend to live alone is more than I ever imagined. Laundry detergent is expensive, for instance. I had never actually inquired of - nor been required to know - how much Tide costs. In fact, the whole cleaning supply aisle is a revelation to me.

I have also had the good fortune of moving into a beautiful home with an immaculate view of the Cascade Mountains with a very patient and wonderful boyfriend. But aside from that guy, and the couple of pussies who rode along with me, I knew nobody upon my arrival, and that's been the toughest part about this westward journey.


The complicated part about my being so lonely is that I really enjoy my alone time. That worked out well for me in Chicago. My best relationships were long-distance, I now realize, and, respectfully, my mom just left me alone as a commuter college student, though we lived a room away. Then I left Chicago and had about the most desirable and sensational alone time a loner could ask for - three days in a car, complete introversion, and utter independence - before arriving to the social chaos that would be my new life in Washington.

In order to make new friends, get this shit, a person must socialize. I neglected to consider that very heavily before leaving all those beautiful people of comfort and security behind. In planning my move, I overlooked the fact that whle I may have felt like shelling up into a despondent and lonely hole, in order to prevent depression and madness most people must go out into the world and meet others. When a lifetime of relying on dear friends - the kind who never miss an emotion in your life in all their nuances - is suddenly removed, new friends are hard to measure up, no matter how honorable and caring they may be.

Though it is filled with great social opportunity, the biggest social adjustment has been the corporate climate of my new job. I stick out like a sore thumb, and not just because I am unfit for corporate life and its jargon, and the six or seven bosses I have to answer to when I am slightly vulgar in my e-mails (really, people are too sensitive), but also because work is already restricting on a person's demeanor. How many of us leave the office and act like the same person we were for the past eight or nine hours? Putting a human into a corporation, regardless of how liberal-minded or neat the corporation is, requires a degree of alienation. Like raising a Great Dane in a studio apartment downtown. And it's not just a physical confinement to which I refer.

I will even admit a fondness for my cube - it is decorated fittingly, adorned to my tastes and passion for right angles; everything's got its spot, from the stapler to the Post-Its. My interests are well-displayed, and my friends framed and showcased. Cubicles are like three-dimensional, real-life, tangible MySpace pages. With supplies.

The mental and character censorship that occurs there is highly alienating, though. Well, at least it is for me, because I'm one of those people who really wants to share my opinion about everything with everyone around me. That can win some hearts, but also earn some serious scowls from around the office. I've learned how to be a corporate employee the hard way - by doing what I should not do, and saying what I should not say.

It's just not so ideal for me to make many friends there. And how unfortunate that I happen to spend a great deal of quality awake time in that very office, in my own little tangible MySpace world. With supplies.

Sometimes I just feel a little out of place, a little too outspoken and offensive. Even lewd and lascivious in comparison to others. I'm like a Brillo pad in the soft and spongy atmosphere of Seattle. A company sign hangs outside of my cubicle with my name on it. A homemade sign hangs right below my name. The homemade sign reads: "Leigh's Cube: Your One-Stop for Class." The good news is that even if the love isn't all there, my co-workers are at least starting to understand and accept me.

Overall, the move was relatively painless, loneliness aside. Lifestyles and attitudes are vastly different here, but I was lucky enough to speak the right language and have a basic idea of how culture and law works. But then again, I am still struggling with the fact that Road Rage, even in the form of honking a horn, is illegal here. I'm already preparing my speech for the first officer who pulls me over. Somehow I suspect he or she won't care how we do it in Chicago.


* Part One: Departure
* Part Two: Rebuff


Posted on March 30, 2008

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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