Topped it off with a pair of old shoes…

The other day I stopped at the pet store on my way to work to pick up a few things for Daisy and Rose.

Daisy and Rose are our new guinea pigs.  They are adorable.  Daisy is inquisitive and comical.  Rose is shy but feisty. I’ve never had guinea pigs before.  They are interesting little critters. You’ll no doubt hear more about them at a later time.

Back to the point: I arrived at the store about 10 minutes before it opened, so I waited in my car for a bit.  There’s a man standing outside the store.  I’d guess he’s mid to late thirties.  He is unremarkable, just a guy waiting for the pet store to open.

At 9am, I get out of my car and approach the door.  It’s still not open.  In a completely uncharacteristic move, I decide to speak to the man.

“Hmmmm, My watch says 9am.  Guess they aren’t feeling punctual this morning.” I say.

The man smiles, “I guess not.  My watch says 9, too.”

An employee appears and opens the door.  I walk in and head to the rodent section.  A moment later, the man by the door appears next to me.  I think briefly that it is a nifty coincidence that we are both looking for rodent supplies, but beyond that I pay no attention.

‘Excuse me,” he says, “can I ask where you got those shoes?”

I look at my shoes, thinking that I only own one cute pair and I don’t remember putting them on today.  I am correct.  I am wearing a pair of incredibly plain brown flats which are showing signs of wear at the toe.

“Easy Spirit.” I say, a little puzzled that he is asking about my shoddy shoes.

“Oh,” he says.  “My friend is coming back from Iraq for a few weeks and I wanted to get her a pair of shoes.  Those are nice. Very casual.  I’m not from around here.  Where is that?”

“Oh, it’s at Colonie Center.”

“Oh, okay,” he answers. “What kind of insole do they have?”

I cock my head to the side a bit like a dog that just heard a strange sound. “Ummmm… I don’t know, just regular insoles.”  I slip my foot out of the shoe to show him.

He muttered something about what type of insole it is, thanks me and disappears.

Only after he disappears, does it truly hit me how exceptionally odd that whole exchange was.  It is only then that I realize that I just took my shoe off in a pet store to show a stranger the insole.  It is only then do I realize that he probably has some sort of foot fetish and I’m a dolt for not being more astute.

I think about this for a few moments and try to decide how I feel about it.  Am I offended?  Do I feel violated?  I conclude that it doesn’t really bother me, but that it probably should.  He was pleasant enough.  He isn’t stalking me.  Ultimately, no big deal. I hope I somehow improved his day.

I recall now that these little conversations are the reason that I rarely engage or even make eye contact with strangers.  It seems like when I do, it takes a turn for the bizarre.  On the other hand, it probably tends to go that way because I seem to attract odd people.  Birds of a feather, I suppose….


Turn and Face the Strain….


Where to begin? I should probably start by telling you not to expect much by way of humor in this post, and whatever does seep through the cracks is likely to be negative and sarcastic, because that’s where I am today.

I’m reevaluating my priorities. You see, I’ve been suffering this semester with my MBA coursework. When I say “suffering”, it is not hyperbole. I mean actual physical distress: migraines, sweats, nausea. Suffering. I sit down with text books and my laptop nightly, only to sit idly staring at the pages or the screen. I won’t do it. I’d like to say that I can’t do it. But that would be a cop out. I could. I just won’t. My brain has completely shut down in regards to my current coursework, and I’m too tired to work through it. I cannot complete an MBA without these courses, and I’m not going to be able to complete them, not this semester, and possibly not ever.

It occurred to me tonight that in place of the guilt/worry/stress involved with this degree, I might be reading for leisure, or playing a video game, or blogging, or having a conversation with my husband. We have wonderful conversations when there’s time to talk. Why am I running myself ragged?

Sometimes it’s necessary to face the strain and decide what to do with it, so, I’m withdrawing from the program.  I already feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted.  I can breathe.  I can sleep.  I can dance. I can frolic. I can…. you get the idea.

So, am I giving up on academia for eternity?  No.  Not yet anyway.  I have a new plan.

I’m going to get a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources.  It should take 2 semesters.  I’ll start in the fall.  And when that’s done… then… I will be done with academia forever.

The brilliant part of this plan is that all of the courses are topics that I find fascinating and am eager to learn more about, no panic inducing financial or statistics courses in the program.  I’m actually looking forward to it.

Also starting this coming fall, I will have a glorious 2.5 hours, twice a week, entirely to myself. Entirely.  For the first time since childbirth, I will have a short time to myself that isn’t earmarked for someone else (work, husband, etc).  It will be mine.  All mine.  All 3 of my children will be attending preschool at a wonderful place that the whole family loves and that feels like an extension of our home and family.  I can’t tell you how excited I am.  I agonized for weeks over what to do with preschool next year when this arrangement presented itself.

2011 is shaping up to be a great year… MBA drop out aside… although… I think that maybe a blessing, too.

So, prepare for more regular postings… I’m going to have a little time on my hands. 🙂