So, I seem to be back, still. Computer broke down, so bit hard to find a quiet spot to write these down, but one can always manage something.
You know how there’s that story that lies within some other story you try to tell? The one without any real connection to the themes of the first one. The one you just have to tell right away, no matter how disconnected it feels like from everything else. Gets annoying to listen to one of those, doesn’t it? Knowing that there was still something in the first one that was waiting to be told.
Sky’s gone asleep, drifted to shades of deep, dark blue. Getting nice and late. Midsummer. June. I’m sitting on the stairs to the veranda of the summer cottage, enjoying a feeling that can almost be described as post-coital. Having a cold drink after a proper hot sauna. Steam rises from my body in the cool night air. Moonlight glistens on surface of the lake. Couple of the people are still heading in for one more dive straight from the sauna. I’ve already had my share for the day. Taking a breather. Enjoying the moment. It’s nice and easy.
This is probably the best trip here I’ve done in years.
I love spending time at the cottage. Hasn’t always been the case. There was a period, somewhere in my late teens and early twenties, when I couldn’t have cared less about the place. It was too far away (4 hour drive from Helsinki) and inconvenient (wasn’t in Helsinki). The cottage is and always has been surrounded by forest on three sides and a lake on one, so it’s been a place devoid of modern comforts. And I was young and needed to be everywhere at once, and have everything. My TV and my CDs and my computers and my whatnot. These days, the fact that there is nothing modern at the old log cabin just feels like another added bonus to the place.
It’s wonderfully isolated from the normal crap of everyday life. Nothing about my hectic schedules can reach me here. If the cellphone works, it’s a miracle. And nothing that I don’t specifically invite here can cross the threshold. Hell. Of all the people I’ve been in relationships with over the years, I’ve only invited one girlfriend to visit this place, and that was years ago. I don’t really know if that tells more about my relationships with people or with the place, but either way, the cottage is a hideout from normal life.
But at this very moment, I don’t need to hide from anything in particular. Not even the usual suspect, work. Can’t remember now if I’ve ever given details about what I do for a living, but that doesn’t really matter just now. Advertising is a nice way to sum it up. Art Director is a good term to let you know which part of it. But as said, doesn’t matter. My contract would be expiring in a week, start of July.
So, backtracking a bit on the calendar. It’s a few weeks before Midsummer, and I’m watching the clouds go by, doodling up something or another for the firm. The HR lady walks in my office, with a new contract in her hand. “That time of the year again. As an added bonus, this’ll be the last one you’ll have to sign in a while. It’s not just for a year. You’ll be a part of the firm, properly.”
I promise to take a look at it and return it as soon as possible. My eyes focus on it and the first thing on my mind is… “Run!”
I don’t want to sign. I stare at it like it’s a death sentence.
Air starts running out, panic fills my head. I need to get out of the office and call an old friend who works nearby. Ask if he wants to come get some lunch. He apologizes, saying how he’s quite busy today, but asks what’s up, anyways. I lie, can’t tell I want out now that I’m standing in the middle of the office. We chat for a bit, and out of the blue he asks if I know anyone who would be interested in coming to work for for him. My heart skips a beat. And I move to a place where my co-workers can’t hear me. I half-whisper that I sort of might be interested, but I don’t know about hopping industries. While advertising can be seen as a sibling to entertainment industry, it’s still very different on some core levels. He understands my worries, but ends the call with “Well, I have to run now, but come over tomorrow around noon, we’ll have a chat and see if you could like it here.”
The next day I’m at what turns out to be a job interview, surrounded by important people. My head is pounding with a migraine I managed to acquire from worrying all night about what I should be doing. I wasn’t prepared at all to be scrutinized on if I was a proper candidate for the position or not. And I truly wish I could let you know what were all the magic words I managed to spew out of my mouth at that point, because after the interview they seemed pleased and told me they’d let me know next week if I made it to the second round of interviews. But I can’t. My mind is a total blur of the whole day. Migraine can be a bitch.
So the next week rolls past at a slow, steady pace. Agonizing, even, because I have no idea if I’ve impressed them or made a fool out of myself. I eventually get a call from the company to know I’ve been selected for the second round. Another round of interviewing, this time I know it goes well. All the time, there is a nagging sound in my other ear as my bosses keep asking me when I’ll sign my contract. I tell them about the situation (of course), but doesn’t stop them from asking. I tell them that by next Friday I’ll know. The new company promised to let me know by then if I get the job or not.
Friday comes. No word. I send a text asking my friend what’s up. On Saturday I get a text back saying it’s been a hell of a week and that they’ll let me know on Monday.
Monday comes. No word. I get an email on Monday evening stating that it’s just been so hectic that they’ll sort it out tomorrow.
Tuesday. The person responsible for the process is ill. Will get to know on Thursday.
Thursday. Mind you, this is just a week before my previous contract is expiring. “Sorry, thought they let the people who applied know what had happened already. Will get back to you as soon as possible.”
Guess how stressed I am on Friday evening. Pressure building from all sides at this point. I’m shopping for groceries for our Midsummer’s cottage trip. The phone rings.
So, we’re back on Midsummer. Me, sitting here, watching Nee and Mitch scramble back from the lake into the sauna. I silently toast the night for the fact that come next month, I will be starting work at one of the big entertainment brands here. Doing something I’ve been dreaming of ever since I was a kid. No need to worry.
People call for me from inside. While the work-thing is good, it’s not the reason this has probably been the best trip to the cottage, ever. I’ll get back on that in a moment.