Denver Adventure – Part III
Well, I needed some food, bathroom supplies, towels and bedding, kitchen essentials, and, of course, a TV! Fortunately, that big mall across the street housed a grocery store and a Kmart, which would provide everything I required to be fully operational. It was so much fun shopping for new things that would tide me over until my pre-packed boxes arrived from D.C. It took a few trips to purchase everything. Wisely, I enlisted taxis for the portage.
Finally, I felt safe and settled with a home base from which I could navigate the next phase of my yet-to-be-determined plan for employment. Until then I was free to do whatever I wanted to do.
The precious luxury of unscripted time was intoxicating. I could sleep. I could relax. I could hear myself think. The nearby park was a sanctuary. I walked several miles every day, basking in heavenly Denver sunshine. I read a lot. I explored all the shops in the mall. I went to movies. I remember seeing “The Accused” with Jodie Foster and how scared I was walking home in the dark.
As the days passed, it dawned on me that I ought to figure out what led me to jump off this steep cliff into the complete unknown! I started to realize that finding a job wasn’t the priority just yet. What I really needed to do was detoxify, and I don’t mean from alcohol.
I needed to detoxify from years of stressful, meaningless jobs. From multiple failed romantic relationships. From unhealthy relationships in general. From the accumulation of known and unknown emotional baggage.
It was time to self-administer Xtreme psychotherapy!
Why not rent a typewriter? Writing would help me delve into my muddled psyche and untangle what had become so unmanageable by age 30. A typewriter would enable me to write swiftly enough that my conscious mind could not interfere with the excavation of my subconscious mind, where the bogeymen lived.
I perused the yellow pages and found a company that rented and delivered electric typewriters. I was set up the very next day. Supplied with ribbons and reams, I began.
Page after page after page. I spent hours a day typing my thoughts and feelings. Buried treasure and hidden explosives were abundant. I began to unearth the jewels and gingerly detonate the bombs. This became my mission. My work.
As the weeks passed, I continued to write, but the initial euphoria waned. I started to feel disconnected from the world. It occurred to me that some structure and human interaction may be important to my well-being. So, in early November as I walked around my favorite store, Crabtree & Evelyn, I spontaneously asked the cashier if they were hiring for the holidays. I had never worked retail before, but I thought it might be fun. This wasn’t a career move. I just needed social connection. The modest income would be a bonus.
I was hired on the spot.
As Thanksgiving approached, I was not the least bit sad or lonesome without family. I planned to celebrate the day in style. I cooked myself a genuine Thanksgiving dinner: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, lima beans, stuffing, gravy, and apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I watched my favorite holiday movie “Miracle on 34th Street” on my 13-inch TV. It was a wonderful day.
I was also excited to get a Christmas tree that weekend. I had never been without one and was determined this year would not be an exception. Off to the mall I went and purchased a full-sized tree with no idea how I would transport it back to my apartment. I think I planned to drag it through the parking lot and across the highway. But, miraculously, just as I was leaving the store with tree in hand, a woman who worked there was going on her lunch break and offered to throw it in her truck and take it to my apartment for me. I still marvel at the generosity of this unsolicited benevolent gesture.
My co-workers at Crabtree & Evelyn were terrific. They extended their friendship to me. Laurie and I went out for meals and movies. She introduced me to her friends. She drove me to Golden where she boarded her thoroughbred horse. (It was comforting to be around horses, since they were a touchstone from my childhood).
Amanda took me under her wing, too. She invited me to go with her to a Kenny G concert. Upon hearing about my cloistered Thanksgiving, she insisted I spend Christmas Day with her family. She picked me up early in the morning. I spent a delightful day at her beautiful home in Aurora with her children and grandchildren, and then she drove me home that evening. Her kindness and generosity toward me that day blew my mind. It was a memorable Christmas I always recall with deep affection and gratitude.
Alas, after the holidays, life took another turn. Crabtree & Evelyn didn’t need me anymore. My financial resources had dwindled considerably. It was time.
Time to get a real job!