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6 June 2008, 01:00

Well. Maybe not DIE.

I’m back from my latest trip to North Carolina. This morning, I’ve slept in a bit and recovering from the drive home, especially the truck stop gas station barbecue chicken pizza. Never, NEVER, EVER, NEVER, and I can’t stress enough, NEVER ever eat ANYTHING at a gas station. Food is not there for consumption, just for atmosphere.

I feel like everything is coming together and that maybe this whole ordeal might be over soon. I don’t want to feel like that, because maybe I’ll ‘jinx’ the situation in play. shrug Dogs are loving on me, one is on top of me like white on rice, and just won’t let me move. Poor pups. Little do they know, I plan to shoot them up with a bucket full of Thorazine and lug them across country.

As everybody may or may not have known, I did a massive spamming of North Carolina with my resume. Print facilities, ad agencies, even copy shops. I received responses, all good; requests for interviews, scheduled some; and I received a phone call from a lady who owned a printing company, and some Kinko-like copy shops (a local chain). She had called to tell me she’s received my resume, was very impressed but the only thing she had available was some copy monkey job, but I would go to the top of her list in case something opened up. Being the broke, and desperate person I am right now, I said ‘NO, my dear, TELL me about this FABULOUS opportunity as a quick copy counter person.’ I didn’t say that, although, that would have been pretty darned Duh of me too. I told her of my situation and that I basically just needed a paycheck. She said if I was interested, come on down, view the facility and that it could be that survival paycheck if I wanted it. So I scheduled a time to go down, along with big-time, schmig-time interviews I needed to do in Raleigh. I have gotten requests for real position (two in Raleigh, one in Charlotte) and a couple for contract position (four in Raleigh). I had decided that I NEEDED to really pick an area and concentrate efforts in gaining a foothold in the aforementioned target area. But, some of the contract offers in Raleigh were unreal in the money they were offering. So, I weeded out the best ones to schedule interviews, because I don’t want to close the door on anything, but my heart, right now, doesn’t want to go to Raleigh. So I picked two and did those this week, and the other solid position offers.

The Raleigh/Charlotte interviews went well. But it went like all the other interviews I’ve ever went to – very positive and encouraging – and then you find out you were ALMOST selected. You were in the top 5 or top 3 candidates considered. Okay. Nobody has made up their mind yet, but I’m thinking it will go that way. Raleigh, odds being 90% I could get something – something solid, if I were to have chosen that and concentrated some effort on relocating there. It represents security and a job. I wasn’t opposed to relocating the area – but I had no great draw there or love for the area. The Hendersonville/Asheville area is a different story. The area is capturing my interest and my heart the more and more I visit. Hendersonville has a little bit of Wichita, a little bit of Asheville (which has a little bit of San Francisco) and is small and has the HOME feel. Actually, Asheville has that home feeling, too. If I am successful there, there may or may not be a chance that I want to pursue something in RTP/Raleigh area. That’s how much I loved it. I find way around pretty easily and the drive from Hendersonville to Asheville is one of the only drives I didn’t loathe right off the bat.

So I met the printing facility woman, Nancy, at an open air cafe in Hendersonville. I loved the revitalized downtown area, and there was free Wifi from the city. She was much younger and urban than I had thought. She was a transplant from Pennsylvania and her and her husband ran these businesses, which are growing; apparently the Hendersonville/Asheville is growing as a resort community/destination area, also. I was impressed with her business acumen, and her ambition and her goals. She’s driven and civic minded and cared deeply about her business and her success -as well as wanting that good, quality, family and community connection and life. She was immediately someone I felt good about knowing, and felt trust and and enthusiasm for about what she was talking. I told her of my ambitions and my weariness, and distrust of corporate culture, even though that is what currently is coming down the pike for me.

She said that once she had my resume, her and her husband discussed it, and discussed other things about their businesses. The little copy shops needed revamping and restructuring because the reality is that part of the business is booming and the capabilities of the people aren’t meeting that challenge. I took a look at the little shops, and are more along the lines of quick digital printing shops instead of a Kinko’s type shop. They have the equipment, just not the trained staff or experience to utilize it to it’s full potential. She discussed opportunities, not as a copy monkey, but as a part of the organization to fully exploit the potential of that part of the business. She said the more and more she discussed it with her husband, the more they were leaning toward a restructuring to integrate me into the organization in a leadership, managerial type role – to apply all my knowledge to help take these places to the next level. She had me go in and pretend to be a customer, and critique the structure in place. I did, and apparently said some insightful things.

She was going to get back to me, and inquired as to my permanent relocation deadlines. IF I get my last bit of cashola that is coming, I was hoping to, at least start the move June 15 (my birthday, if you all want to send me something…. like cash, chocolates from elbowchocolates.com, or gas vouchers – and seriously, if you do want to send me something, email me for an address). She said she will be keeping in touch, blah blah. She had her print facility manager call me for a phone interview, and he was duly impressed with me (well. I am, among lots of other things, impressive – what can I say? I wouldn’t bullshit you.) She and her manager and some dude named Bob (there’s always a Bob) had a very intense meeting about the restructuring and my future. I “got the place a buzzing…” So they are going to get back in contact with me. This is an opportunity to build something, to be someone integral, to be respected and valued. The other places, I would just be an employee – POSSIBLY, if I got hired by the subsequent organization, I could work my way up to valued, and integral. Or it could be like Viega, all over again. This opportunity excites me, in that I would be back to the thing that I really know inside and out, and that I really liked. I would be able to do EVERYTHING, have my hands into everything. Teach the staff about the applications, do the IT, manage and schedule things, graphic design, problem solving, and even customer support. I don’t mind customers, as long as I don’t have to lie to them, or hard sell them something. I want this. I want to be in Hendersonville.

I was thinking about back when I said I wanted a bigger pond to swim in, and it’s probably still true. But that is becoming less and less as I feel out what I really want in North Carolina. I want a life. I want one that I care passionately about. I like that community feel, and the feel for connection. I want something and somewhere I’m valued. I think if I don’t get this, I will be truly crestfallen because it seems like something fate has woven just for me. Yes. There are jobs that are better paying. In an area that I wouldn’t be opposed to living. I could work that job, and live in that area. I could exist again. But I don’t want to exist again. I want something different. I want something and someone that sends me soaring – a life that I wake up to because it’s too good to sleep. I may be reaching for something I can’t have, but I want to try. This is to where my impulsive leap has evolved. (smile) (later edit: Nancy just called me. We set up a time to talk again (actually, a time to talk to her husband)… and plan the restructuring and my position in it. So, at this point. I’m not sure that I can say that I’m officially hired. But does it look that way. (FUCK, I need a place to live now. I have to hump on that, too. And maybe burn down this house.)

Other things:

- Squirrelly landlady can’t rent to me because of my timetable, but has a friend with a small rent to own situation in Hendersonville (wouldn’t that be sweet?) and I have a whole list of places to check out. Anybody know the Wooden/Elfin area? It’s pet friendly which makes me think it might be a dump.

- Yes. I have a tattoo now. Looking kind of good to me. I find it even sort of sexy. Not that I was going for that. No. It was a ritual, milestone marking event. Uh huh.

- I’ve come to the conclusion Tennessee smells funny. EVERYTIME I’m driving through, I scrunch my nose and say out loud “Jesus, Tennessee smells.”

- Some truckers are smart, some are dumb, and some I think got their licenses after winning tickets in a driving video game at Chucky Cheese.

- Sushi: Not good road trip food.

- When I try to do the drive in a day, it usually isn’t that bad except for the last three or four hours in which everything goes to hell. This time, I got turned around in Tulsa, and ended up at a LGBT event asking directions. God bless those girls. I love me some lesbians. Gave me directions and snacks and sent me on my way. I got caught in a horrid severe thunderstorm where there was HORIZONTAL RAIN shooting directly at me in the dark. Thank frikken life the turnpikes are straight and pretty sensibly marked. Also, the brain didn’t shut down. I kept telling it, ‘you know what you’re doing, you did this all afternoon’… it believed me and got me through to home in what was suppose to be a two hour sojourn – it lasted four and a half, with some close calls, but I got home at 2 a.m.

- I hate me some Oklahoma. BOY, do I hate me some Oklahoma. There and St. Louis. Those are the only two places I’ve been through so far for which that I have developed a deep and meaningful, all encompassing hatred.

- Apparently, people CAN hear me yell ‘motherfucker’ at them on the highway from inside the car.

- I-40 is my second favorite stretch of road, a lot flatter, less twisty, worse condition than I-70 but it’s not really bad, especially the stretch between Little Rock and Tulsa. Lots more stupid truckers, and there was WIND. BIG, BIG wind.

- Being a talkative, friendly midwesterner at trucks stops. Not always a good idea.


- Uninsured, POS, ’88 Monte Carlo trumps Yuppie-chicky white Beemer at highway-passing-chicken.

- After 10 hours of driving, even the most loveliest of redheaded flowers, wilt and start to be stanky. Although I had that sweaty, wind blown, wicked-dirty, rode-hard-going-to-be-put-up-wet look from a far, I had that fat, balding, OTR trucker smell up close. Tried to stay 15 feet, and downwind from everybody I met. When that wasn’t possible, I stood next to someone who looked like they would smell worse than me, in hopes of subterfuge.

Oh yeah. I smushed the corner of my laptop screen. Some YML folks say since it didn’t smush itself, it’s not covered under warranty. Anybody wanna buy a relatively new 2 ghz intel laptop for cheap?

You can get ANYTHING at a truck stop…