Fast forward this scene into the future five months from now and it will be the same scene, only it will be in Portland, Oregon, the TV will probably be on, and instead of talking about planning the trip, we’ll be talking about the job interviews we landed and where else we’re applying.
This scene is Joey and Tom on the couch, Tom arms up in the air, bent at the elbow, hands showing the imaginary details of the monologue to their willing audience of Joey’s steady gaze. I sit in my grandmother’s reclining chair, speakers on the table to my right, Pandora Radio playing through them from the computer on my lap.
When I mentioned sitting around talking about what job interviews we will have had, I bet half of you muttered to yourselves, “yeah right, good luck.”
A month ago my dad sat in the overstuffed arm chair in my parents living room, his cast bound ankle balanced on the ottoman. I was directly across from him stretched out on the overstuffed couch, a sham flung over my feet and legs.
“Maybe you should wait a year. You know? Just wait one year.”
“Yea,” I said knowing that what I meant was no.
“Maybe in a year things will be better, but things are really bad now.”
“Yea,” I said again.
“What are you going to do if you get out there and you can’t find a job?”
“We have enough set aside for two months rent, and Joey said he doesn’t want to sign a lease unless at least one of us has a job. I mean, I guess if we can’t find a corporate job we could work at a restaurant or be a bartender or something else that would bring in good money. We can find a job once we get out there, we’ll be in the city. Ideally I guess I’d like to stay in the business I’m in, I could try to work at a bank again, I think I have the credentials for that.”
“OK, but it’s not necessarily about credentials though. Have you been watching the news lately? There are people lined up for jobs at Wal* Mart, and for jobs as janitors. Over qualified people can’t get these jobs. What are you going to do if you get out there and you can’t find a job?”
Later on my mother would tell me that she saw a map of the country on CNN that was color coded to show you where the worst job loss was. She would tell me Oregon was the worst color red according to CNN.
Every morning Joey and I have breakfast with Kiran Chetry and John Roberts or Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, or even Becky Quick and Joe Kernen, and on the ride to work we listen to Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne, and every morning they all tell me how bad everyone is doing and how down everyone is. Bummer, ladies and gentlemen, total bummer.
President Obama has been going full steam ahead and while I’m at work I follow up with Drudge Report and Huffington Post to see what the latest is. I have been making stops now and then at the White House and Revovery.gov as well. I may seem naïve to believe that the more I watch the news the more likely it will be that I’ll start seeing indications that this trip is the perfect idea for the three of us this summer, but I think it’s ok to sometimes act like things are going to work out just fine. I think that despite the bad news every morning and the worried parents trying hard not to push too hard against the trip, all of this keeping your eyes on the final goal, seeing out your project against the odds stuff that we’ve been doing for almost a year now will pay out greatly in the end.
I count on it, actually. And that’s a fact that I’m OK with. I am a young woman at the beginning of her path in life, I will be with two smart people all three of us looking out for the others, I have no one but myself to be responsible to, I think that being in Portland will teach me similar valuable lessons about people and living that studying abroad did, and that ultimately I will look back on this trip as one of the most amazing experiences that I, with two very good friends, came up with, developed, and completed all in a summer when the odds were against us, and we seemed a little reckless for doing so, but ultimately had the time of our lives and came out the better for it.
No one can see the future. But tomorrow may rain, so I’ll follow the sun.
Title lyrics from "I'll Follow The Sun" by Lennon/McCartney