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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Understanding Wilbanks (just a little bit)

Remember the Runaway Bride? Jennifer Wilbanks was the punchline of many late-night TV talk show jokes for weeks after she made a mad dash for freedom days before her wedding. And I was one of those people who thought this obsession with Wilbanks, before and after she was found, was excessive. What the hell was she thinking? And who cares? Well, I'm starting to get it, just a little bit. A dull panic has been rising in me for the last couple of days, as I realize that in just a little over a week, I'll be saying goodbye to Ithaca forever, packing up my things and moving clear across the country and into a completely new life. I like to think I'm kind of adventurous, but let's face it: I've got a soft yellow underbelly. This massive life-changing event is coming so quickly, is going to be so different from what I'm used to, that I'm starting to get terrified of what it all will mean. I'm comfortable if complacent here -- I've got a steady income, an apartment I'm used to, nice people to talk to online and in real life. The idea of gambling my entire life on the unknown, so far away from everything I'm used to, not just socially but academically, romantically, and even meteorologically, is daunting. Why am I doing this? What am I hoping to accomplish? What if this is the wrong decision? What if I hate grad school? What if they hate me? What if I fail out? What if I can't find a car in my price range and end up having to walk an hour each way to school? What if my new apartment is falling apart and too small and full of homicidal ghosts and I end up with scorpions in my night slippers? I'm a few deep breaths from full-blown hysteria. Not to mention the day-to-day mundanities (... is that a word?): paying my last month of bills, putting through a change of address order, checking, re-checking and triple-checking that my truck reservation has gone through, beating people over the head for paperwork from three time zones and hundreds of miles away, staring at a giant pile of boxes that need to be put together and filled with all my worldly possessions, wondering how to take a pet fish on a cross-country road trip, and trying to figure out if you move first than change your billing address, or change your address first and then move? I'm starting to get why Wilbanks ran -- sometimes there's just so much to deal with and the little things that are supposed to distract you from freaking out about the big things become, themselves, too much to handle, and you start triple-guessing yourself just to make sure you're not running head-long into the biggest mistake of your life. Today is my third-last day at work. Pretty soon I'm going to have to pack up my things, clean out my computer, and leave my lab key. And even though I know I need to move on (Ithaca has certainly lost much of its old lustre), I'm not too embarassed to say a large part of me just wants to grip tightly to this desk and hold on for dear life.

7 Comments:

Blogger nykol said...

sounds exciting! where are you headed? i'm about to relocate as well, not clear across the country, but the state next door (madison, wi).

7/27/2005 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

i'm headed to arizona for grad school in a week. i'm sorta wavering right now between exciting and terrifying ^_^

7/27/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger nykol said...

me too. i'm headed to madison as a graduate fellow in anthropology. my boyfriend and i just found an apartment about two weeks ago. school starts september 2nd for me.

it is exciting and terrifying - you're totally right!

BTW - arizona is BEAUTIFUL! I think that out of all the places i've lived, the west is the best (ewww, i rhymed) - visually. i lived in on the western slope of colorado for about 5 years and i pretty much loved it the whole time. arizona is dry, hot and great for outdoors stuff. i'm looking forward to seeing what you say about it.

7/27/2005 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Kaede said...

Just thought I'd say, cheshire, Anthropology ROCKS. *sheepish smile*

I can't tell you it's not without its pitfalls, Jenn. I've been there, done that, so many times....*sighs* I've literally lost count. I like to think I'm a rather practical person tho - I just get on and do it. One has to, otherwise you turn into a nutter....

Once you've made sure that what YOU can do is done, then sit down, chill a bit with your mates as much as you can while you can, and enjoy the time you've got there. The trip will be amazing, if hair-raising. Oh, and for the fish...there are no hard and fast rules, but put it in a HUGE plastic bag with a lot of air at the top while you're travelling - this will keep it relatively safe. If you're stopping overnight somewhere, take it out and put it into a bowl, then put it back into the bag (or another one) when you're ready to go. It's a bit fiddly and yeah, it's stressful on the fish too, but at least it's a lot safer than it sloshing about in a bowl or something and potentiall overturning on a bend or whatever....

I've had to travel with a turtle and I put him into a tupperware container LOL. He survived just fine....

Good luck with everything Jenn and we'll see you in Arizona....*hugs*

7/28/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

kaede, that's a good idea. i'll probably end up doing that
originally, i was just gonna empty out a lot of the water from the tank, ducttape the lid shut and place it somewhere where it won't tip, but maybe a bag would be better...


an addendum to this post, and kaede knows: I HATE paperwork.

7/28/2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Karlos said...

Ok, time to break it down with a little of the Kaptain's signature line-by-line response technique:

"Why am I doing this?"
Because you can't stay in Ithaca your whole life. That would make you... well... Josh Glasstetter.

"What am I hoping to accomplish?"
Getting your PhD in bio-molecula-chemi-whosit-ology.

"What if this is the wrong decision?"
What if staying in Ithaca would be the wrong decision? I believe it was the great Yogi Berra who once said, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"What if I hate grad school?"
It's school. Remember school? Of course you'll hate it.

"What if they hate me?"
Then - and I mean this in the kindest and most diplomatic way possible, of course - FUCK 'EM.

"What if I fail out?"
Ok, (A) you won't, and (B) If you did, then you'd take a look around and pick your next direction.

"What if I can't find a car in my price range and end up having to walk an hour each way to school?"
3 words: "used Honda Civic". You can get a car for a couple grand that'll take you anywhere you need to go, and Hondas & Toyotas make the Energizer Bunny himself go "Gaaaaaad-DAMN, dawg!"

"What if my new apartment is falling apart"
might be.

"...and too small"
probably will be.

"...and full of homicidal ghosts"
gotta watch out... they'll use your toaster-oven all night and really run up the utility bills.

"...and I end up with scorpions in my night slippers?"
fry them in butter, with a little garlic.

"I'm a few deep breaths from full-blown hysteria."
"Aww... I wanted to explode." -Gir

"Not to mention the day-to-day mundanities (... is that a word?):"
I don't think so, but I like it.

"paying my last month of bills, putting through a change of address order, checking, re-checking and triple-checking that my truck reservation has gone through, beating people over the head"
...yay! Beating people over the head!

"...for paperwork from three time zones and hundreds of miles away, staring at a giant pile of boxes that need to be put together and filled with all my worldly possessions,"
Didn't I tell you to get started like a month ago? What are you doing blogging? Go pack!

"...wondering how to take a pet fish on a cross-country road trip"
fry it in butter, with a little garlic.

Relax. Breathe. You're fine. Have a good trip, and stop in on the big guy in Chicago if you get a chance; make sure he's ok. Call me if you get lost or attacked by a coyote or something.

Happy road-tripping!
-K

7/28/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Anonymous unfurling said...

I know what you mean, I just changed jobs and move house tomorrow, and part of me is simply full of fear.

On an unrelated note, I'd appreciate your perspective on my latest post (entitled "Something I did in San Diego") - I'd like a feminist persective, and I generally like your insights. Don't worry if you end up very critical - gloves off is OK.

7/31/2005 02:36:00 PM  

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