Prologue

26 12 2020

In Ulysses, the great Irish writer James Joyce wrote “Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

And so it is, I stood on the street corner that cold, rainy October day. Emotionally naked, I watched her drive away for the last time. Little did I know, though there were hints, but T would go on to ghost me. Not a word from her since. She was irritated with my stagnant life choices. My decision to take an entry level warehouse job had particularly annoyed her.

“Have you thought about starting your own company?” she asked at our last breakfast together.

Weeks later, I would find myself inside that warehouse working amid a coronavirus outbreak. Masked, gloved and trying to learn at a distance as noisy conveyor belts, alarms and honking forklifts sounded throughout the long, hard overnight shift. My world had changed drastically.

I was severely depressed and paralyzed by fear. All I did was work and sleep. My marriage was over, but unraveling its entanglements so that we could both exit without too much financial hardship was the challenge. An old bus driving buddy from Glacier moved into the area and reached out which got me out of bed on my off days.

The virus had taken its toll on the country and in the Democratically-run Pacific Northwest, restrictions were harsh. The election, thank God, is over, but a bitter divide remains. At the warehouse outside the city limits to the east, I find more diverse opinions expressed than at the hipster grocery store in the city’s affluent northwestern hills. The lack of enthusiasm here is striking and I sense a backlash brewing among some of the workers.

T — ever beautiful — still shows up in my dreams and the more I ponder our affair the more it seemed as if I had been looking in the mirror. She complained about her back hurting right before she dropped me off on that street corner. A couple months later, just days before Christmas I sat in the warehouse breakroom — its tables and chairs separated by plastic partitions with masked workers lumbering exhaustingly in and out. On the walls were words from the corporation’s list of leadership principles. This one hit home for me:

Have Backbone. Disagree and Commit.


Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: