A 1 Hour Journey to Re-Discovery. (caution: some pictures not for the faint of heart…)

For the past couple of years, I have found very little reason to leave my house. I worked from home, and whenever I did leave, it was to the store and very quickly at that; constructing a planned route and a shopping list to minimize overall human contact was about all I could handle as far as human interaction went.

I turned into, for lack of a better term, a hermit.

WHAT…is the air speed velocity of an unladen Swallow?

This is what happens when you work from home. You start off with the best of intentions; adhering to your schedule as if you were going to leave the house. Eating your breakfast, shaving, putting on clean clothes and generally preparing for the rest of the day, and then sitting down to your computer to telecommute to your job. Eight months later, you forget to shave and you abandon any notion of regular upkeep and hygiene. Ten months later, not only do you not bother changing out of your bed clothes, some days, you forget to wear pants.

This goes on for a while, until one day, the company you work for decides they’re liquidating the entire department. Which is okay, I figure I look like a homeless person to begin with, I’m halfway there. This goes on for a while; you put yourself out there through traditional and unconventional means in hopes that even though I’m a shut-in, my networking skills are up to scratch. In the meantime, I learn the ropes of what it means to be my own business and set out to be an entrepreneur. This goes on for a while, until one day, right around the time when the bank account seriously starts to dry up, a miracle happens, and a friend of a friend of a friend of an associate says they might have something open, and when would it be possible to get an interview. “Oh, next week!” I reply without a second thought…or….looking in a mirror.

The first shot fired…

Mind you, this is by no means the first time I’ve let myself go. This is not my first go around with a head full of dreadlocks. The last time was in college. I know, big surprise there. The last time, they were lovely, long dreads that cascaded past my shoulder and had a nasty habit of getting into my tofu tacos and getting caught up in my “No War For Oil” protest signs. Ahhh….good times.

A healthy specimen from the back of my head. Nice, huh?

These days, I’m living in Florida, and the crop of dreads this time around weren’t as luxuriant. This time around, I’m about twenty years older, spend most of my time in air conditioning and STILL sweating, not moving around much and falling victim to massive amounts of humidity. Instead of uniform dreads, it was more like a nest.

Considering a career in topiary, while at the same time wishing for an autoclave.

For the past year, I would wear a tam just so I wouldn’t scare people at Wal-Mart. Not to say I was ashamed of my appearance, but it was more like that this is who I am and other people not accepting it. But, presently, I have a 4 week old son. I love squeezing him and kissing his cheeks so hard that they turn to raspberries. However, he doesn’t feel the same way. All he would see is this big, black, scary thing swooping in to eat him. He always has this gravely concerned look whenever I would hold him.

Now we’re getting down to business.

While I’m on the subject of my hair and my son, I will never forget the day we were cleared to leave the hospital. Momma and son were resting comfortably. I had just come from home where I had spent the morning constructing a stroller and putting a baby seat in the back of the car. Summer was coming with a vengeance, and it felt like a solid 98°F in the shade. I was sweating up a storm before I left, on the road and all the way up to the delivery room. Thinking it would have been a good idea to make myself halfway presentable, I put on my thick, black wool tam before I left. When I got up to the room, all I wanted to do was dive into a mountain fed lake. Deciding I had enough of overheating, I let my hair down and waited for the doctor on duty to come in and clear us.

A few moments later, an older, African-American gentleman in scrubs walked in with his nose buried in a clipboard walked into our room. I could only presume it was the doctor we were waiting for. He was a soft spoken guy. There was a hint of an accent somewhere in his words, but it was so watered down by living in America for years that I couldn’t quite place it. He smiled as he went through his standard operating procedure of asking questions. His focus was more on the mother and child rather than me. When he finally looked up long enough to notice me, his look went from normal to shocked in no time flat. Not “shocked” in the sense of running to the hills, but more like shocked that he wasn’t expecting to go back in time that day. Once his eyes locked on me, the full accent came out.

Are you from Jamaica, mon?” he asked in full Caribbean goodness.
“Unfortunately, no sir.” I said, slightly creeped out that this guy’s stare.

Are ya sure, mon?” He then proceeded to tell me about all the mixed races in Jamaica, and how they were referred to as “Royal” (pronounced roy-YAAL), and more importantly, how much I reminded him of his uncle whom he hasn’t talked to in ages. Eventually, we went back to the business of checking out my son. For the past few hours of his preciously short life, my son was prone to the these abrupt spasms that came out of nowhere. Being a concerned father, I inquired if it were something I should be concerned that it was epilepsy. 
The doctor then explained that it wasn’t and that this was a normal thing that babies do. His Cerebral Cortex was still forming and his body was just getting used to the impulses that it was sending. If it were anything else, the spasms would come rhythmically…like music, mon. I added, only if it comes on the 1 and 3 beat. Uproarious laughter was had by all, which was a relief.
 A few moments and a few more words later, he left. All the while catching glimpses of the abandoned rodent’s nest on top of my head. I’ll never forget the expression on his face as he was leaving. It was the look of remembering what a tropical breeze felt like. I would like to think that he called his long lost uncle later on that night. 
Never forget the little things.

It’s almost been a month since then, and the summer is killing me slowly every time I go out and mow the lawn. It’s almost been a month since then, and while all my intentions still remain to become an entrepreneur, paying rent and making sure my kids have food have become more important. For the time being, I will take steady employment in my quest to become financially independent.

Phase 1: Completed. HIT THE SHOWERS!

Tomorrow, I sit down for a consultation with a recruiter to see if I’m what the workforce needs. It’s been so long, I think I forgot a few things…like..what a spreadsheet looks like…basic accounting principals…you know…nothing major.

Post Shower and Shave

I’m not sure what to expect, and I’ll keep that in mind as I ask ten thousand questions and become as forthright as possible. It could be nothing and I could wind up back here at home, pantsless and drinking my weight in coffee. Or, who knows? Maybe I’ll be a valuable asset to someone.

I’ll keep y’all posted.

Unintentionally doing my best John Turturro impersonation.

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