When I left NOC for my job at GRA, it was not easy. I had been at NOC for so long, I knew everyone, I lived in an amazing cabin on top of a mountain, and I kayaked everyday. But I knew it was time to explore the rest of life, so I closed my eyes and jumped.
And boy am I glad I did.
This is a little update for those of you interested in what the past few weeks have been like.
I moved into an adorable attic apartment in Flat Rock, NC. It’s a 7-minute walk from the bakery. The house is owned by a middle-aged accountant, who’s just as introverted as I am. This is fantastic, because when we see each other, we say hello with matching anxiety as we run away from each other as fast as we can.
The house backs up to a Presbyterian community, half empty summer homes, half retired folks living out their days surrounded by green mountains and a pond with ducks. This is important, don’t forget the pond with ducks.
Pigeon and I walk through this neighborhood every morning while I clutch coffee in one hand and talk to BD with the other, with the leash attached to my waist. There’s a big field where I started letting Mr Fatty run in the mornings. He’d race around in the dew-soaked grass, basking in his freedom in the morning light. After about ten minutes he’d tire out and come back to me, ready to go home and eat a very measured bowl of food. Life was good, he was happy, and all was well. Until one morning.
It was a chilly 50 degrees, I had on jeans and a hoodie, Pigeon was full of energy. We got to the open area where I let him loose to run. And boy did he run. Right into the lake with ducks on it. Pigeon’s a bird dog, so once he sees a bird the rest of the world fades away. I wish I had that skill sometimes. I sat down on the edge of the dock with my coffee to watch the sky explode with the sun, thinking after ten minutes he’d tire out and be ready to go home.
After fifteen mintues, I started yelling at him. My emotions soon started escalating as we neared twenty minutes. At twenty five minutes I was on the verge of tears, watching my clock and my commute get harder and harder to catch. At thirty minutes I was definitely crying, pleading with Pigeon to come back. I called my mom in tears and she suggested I leave him and go get my car. I ran home in my flip flops, grabbed my lunch, hopped in my car and then sped back to the lake. It’d been 45 minutes, surely he’d be done.
Nope, he was still swimming after the ducks, who had started crying and swam desperately in circles. He had now attracted a small crowd of retirees from the community. Horrified, I apologized while introducing myself to my new neighbors and promising to never let this happen again. They laughed, “this beats anything else we had going on!”
The community has sit on top kayaks, but they were locked. Someone went to get the caretaker, but I was still fixated on my watch, watching my normally punctual work habits going up in smoke. Furious now, I stripped off my pants and sweatshirt and with an icy cold splash started swimming desperately towards Pigeon while he swam desperately after the ducks.
By now it was over an hour, it was more like 1hour and 20 minutes. The caretaker arrived just as the shock of the cold water and vigorous swimming hit me and I started heaving. Humiliated, Pigeon and I both got towed to the bank by the grinning, young caretaker.
I was half an hour late to work, which wasn’t a big deal because luckily it was an office day. And luckily boss man loved my story of how I introduced myself to my new neighborhood in my skivvies while hyperventilating and whacking Pigeon on the head.
Needless to say, we haven’t been back to the field to run anytime soon.