As much as I hate to give crecendence to an old rhubarb: you CAN'T go home again.
I mean, you can, really. When you get off work, or finish your errands, you can go home again. And again. What I mean, and what I think Mr. Wolfe meant too, is that once you make a break with something there's no going back, because it's gonna be bad. Like leaving your first wife, or quitting a job. Once you get out of that relationship you suddenly start to be able to see the cracks in the foundation, the rats in the walls, and you start to smell (again, you had just blocked it out the first time) the nose-curdling miasma that surrounds...well, you get the picture.
And that's enough from Thomas Wolfe, because were I to try and go any further I'd have to break out my Norton Anthology of English Lit, and that'd involve me moving from this chair, which isn't going to happen, much like another literary Mr. Wolfe.
Thus ends English 101, your essays are due tomorrow.
It was strange to be back in OD yesterday. I stopped by to see a friend I left behind, and it was quite peculiar to be crossing that parking lot again. And I could tell that my absence was at least in some tiny way showing--the lot was full of shopping carts.
I know, I can just HEAR you laughing, but I learned a vaulable lesson there--you can screw off and still work. The young ones hadn't learned yet that walking out in the parking lot to 'fetch some buggies' was a prime opportunity to walk around in the sunshine, breathe the fresh air, be away from the incessant demands of telephone and mouth-breather customer, and simply relax for a second. It was an ultra-mini vacation, if you will. And I took them. A lot. Heck, there was a prime opportunity waiting for some enterprising young lad or lady--the wind had blown one stray all the way across the lot and into the ditch, and that in itself would have made me smile for hours. A long slow stroll across the lot and back, doing the business a service, and almost five whole minutes in which to wander nearly aimlessly in the fresh air, and a prime opportunity to network (read: watch for pretty girls in the other shops and trying to get them into OD using only The Power Of My Mind.)
The regional and district managers used to compliment us on how clean the lot stayed. I'm surprised none of them ever complimented me on my tan. I guess they never made the connection, either.
Seeing how much things had changed and how much they had stayed the same was just as peculiar, and the new faces abounded. My lord, they hired an entire 6th grade class. There wasn't a bearded chin in the building. And everything looked just a little shabby around the edges. Nothing terrible, just...shabby. I won't even discuss how my department looked, but the boss had to take the opportunity to use his favourite line within my hearing. Used to be, I'd be helping someone, and I'd overhear him encounter someone else, and he'd wrap up very fast with the line "If you need anything else I'll be happy to get my furniture specialist for you" and he'd pointedly look at me, as if to demand that I take that string, too. He pulled it on me yesterday, while I chatted with one of the marketing reps that happened to be back there, and I laughed at him when he used The Line and said "Oh, you HAVE one of those now?" It was a sweet moment, because I knew damned well he didn't, not since I left.
I'm irreplacable! Muah-hah-hah!
The strangest part was sitting in the boss's office chatting with him. Before, it would have been me sitting there browbeating him, and him making up excuses for not firing people. Yesterday it was camping and cigar smoking. Tres peculiar, I can tell you. But it was all over soon, and the cat tree was picked up from the pet store and I even managed to get it home dry, which is no mean feat considering it has been pouring rain for days now.
But Thomas was right--you can't go home again, once you've left it for good. It's simply too painful.