For the first time in three years, I've unplugged from the corporate network. On Thursday of last week, I changed my password to something I can't now remember, and walked out of the data center and into the afternoon air. In California now, the sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, the Bay is doubtlessly blue.
I'm not there.
If I'm anywhere, I'm here, in Portland, though my mind feels adrift, overwhelmed. I'm in love. Confusedly, tangledly, contentedly so. So there's that, and there's the possibility of exit trajectories in a way I haven't considered before, even when I came west last year. The idea of leaving this corporate reality bubble, of leaving my servers and fiber and having a job that doesn't eat 50-60 hours minimum of my week, is astounding. The idea of having emotional support, stability, and love, is even moreso.
This town is so strange, too. It rains all the time, but the food is good, the coffee is good, and in the evening, I've come to cherish curling up on the couch with french press and a book or laptop, of small talk, of the press of good etouffee or German food or crepes in my stomach. And at night, I think, I steal the blankets.
I feel like I'm home, finally. For a moment, the exploding political drama and stress and crisis mode of the data centers has receded, and I find myself simply drifting, if fetching up against stones which bring me wide-eyed, awake, and reaching for the laptop I can't log into.
From here, I feel like I could simply walk out of my old life and into this one. I could package my laptop and my badge up into a box, return it to headquarters. Submit my resume half a dozen places and interview, walk out with something that's twenty hours a week, enough to pay the bills and for luxuries, but with enough time to figure myself out, to sit by the river, to read through all the books I've accumulated. Enough time to learn new things, enough time to sleep.
From here, I feel the tide receding from the river sands and faraway Rodeo Beach and fading into nothingness, leaving a broad path for me to walk.
Any day now, I could be here. And I will be soon.