Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Parking Lot Exit

I had a beer last night, the night of the "letting go". I had to go to the store to get one because I don't drink beer except occasionally when going out with friends and certainly not in the middle of the week. But yesterday was shall we say unusual, and I suddenly realized, I didn't have to worry about getting up on time, or going to bed at a decent hour. I could do what I felt like doing. In essence, last night, a Monday night, was like the first Friday night, if not for the rest of my life, at least for the immediate future. I had a devil of a time picking out a beer. Probably because this is the first time I have gone to the store to do just that. I noticed I felt incredibly numb and even though I could read the labels on the bottles the letters were really not forming words in any coherent pattern. If this is the way I am before a beer, I wondered what it would be like afterward, I thought to myself. I may have not actually thought it, but rather said it out loud given the look I got from a Bermuda shorts wearing man in the wine aisle. I treated my taste buds to a high end craft beer-- the last beer I remember drinking a few months back because the bottles had a blue label and a pretty picture of a moon.

I had one beer when I got home. I had this after I sat in the parking lot at my work for almost an hour after I was told I was eliminated. Well, not me personally, the position, but it felt like I was personally eliminated and removed from this place I had worked at for over eight years. All those years of overtime, committee and volunteer work were now contained in the manila folder I was given by human resources and now held in my shaking hands. I walked back to my office to get my keys and purse. I started to clean off my desk. I was just picking up things and putting them into a bag. The same bag I had used earlier in the day to bring in donuts for the staff. The staff that was no longer mine. Because I was no longer. I stopped clearing my desk when I realized I put a full cup of coffee into the bag. I walked out of my office said good-bye to those I saw and then walked to the parking lot.

The sky seemed unusually blue. And a hawk was following my movements from a tree as I walked to the parking lot and to my car. I did indeed feel like prey. I felt like a rodent slinking to my car. What had I done to deserve this? My director said I had done nothing, it was economics and restructuring. My position was being eliminated. I had done nothing wrong, so then why did it feel like I had? Why did it feel like I no longer mattered, why did it feel like I was the one being eliminated and not my position?

I called a friend and my sisters from that parking lot. I sat there, with the manila folder now on the passenger seat, until I realized that I was now sitting in the parking lot of a place in which I no longer worked. Would security come by in their white pick-up truck and ask me what I was doing, still sitting there? The thought of having the further humiliation of a security escort off the property was more than I could bear. I found the keys, turned on the engine, and slowly left the parking lot. On the way out, for the first time I noticed a new exit to the parking lot that would have made getting in and out so much easier. I could get to work earlier, if only I had work to get early to. The irony, of course, is that I found it on my last day of work.

© pranaknits


  1. Wow, This is so moving. I feel your sadness in your words. It is good to let it out.

    The Hawk is very cool too! Don't worry, soon you will be the hawk again.

  2. Thank you for the comment and the support. Later on I was thinking the hawk was more there for moral support and strength. I had to look up to see him in the tree, I had to look up, and thus keep from hanging my head. Thank you for allowing me to look at the hawk in a different light!