Not to brag or anything, but 9 times out of 10, I’m excellent with directions. Most times, you can give me highway numbers, and I’m good. I’ve been known to take backroads just because I noticed the same road numbers in different cities and realized I could get from one place to the other by taking that route. So with these mad traveling skills, you can imagine the tizzy I’m sent into on the rare occasions I’m lost or can’t find a home/business/etc.
Such an occasion presented itself the day before my birthday about three weeks ago. I had an appointment for a massage — my very first hour-long one, that didn’t involve someone coming to the office and setting up massage chairs in the conference room. I left for the appointment 30 minutes early, even though I knew it would take no more than 15 to get there, just to give myself enough time to find the place.
I was born and raised in Greenville and lived here for almost all of my 35 years. I had done a quick Mapquest search when I made the appointment a couple of weeks before, and familiarized myself with the intersection. So I felt I had a pretty good idea where the place was and even though I didn’t have business card with me with the address, I was confident that I’d see the sign from the road and that there’d be no problem.
But there was no sign to see from the road. I drove up Augusta Road way longer than I should have and saw nothing. So I turned around and came back. Then I remembered that the street address was 1600, so I circled the 1600 block five or six times… nothing.
The appointment time came and went. I tried calling the massage therapist and got her voicemail. I left a message with my cell phone number. I drove around again for another 20 minutes. She hadn’t return my call, so I gave up, called again and left a message that I would have to reschedule, and went home utterly frustrated. Later, I learned that the street number was 1990, not 1600 :oops:.
As frustrated as I was after that fiasco, this past week I have felt completely, totally, hopelessly lost. I had this plan. I had applied to the PACE program — a three-year alternative teaching program that allows those with a bachelor’s degree teach in critical needs areas or in critical needs districts while taking three graduate courses and attending some training programs, which leads to certification at the end of the three years. To be eligible for the program, I had to take two Praxis II tests for English — one was a 150-multiple-choice-question test, the other a four-essay-question test. I passed the multiple choice one with flying colors. I missed the essay test by 10 points.
I took the essay test again on the last Saturday in April, but as I learned Wednesday, I came up five points short of the score required by South Carolina. That was a huge blow. I was supposed to pass this test so I could get a teaching job for this fall so I could finally leave the job that has become insufferable over the past two and a half years.
Now, I have to wait until August to take the test again, which means I’d have to find a teaching job for next spring — if one’s available. One of my first reactions was that perhaps I’d just quit my job, get a part-time deal somewhere, and then go to the college in the next county that offers a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. I could go straight through and be student teaching in a year.
Then I thought, “Why am I trying so hard to go back to school for a job that I’m wanting just to pay the bills while I write?” It’s not that I’m silly enough to think that once I actually publish a novel (which I realize could take another 10 years… seeing as how I have to actually FINISH one!) I’ll be able to sustain myself by simply writing fiction. It just seems… counterproductive to spend all this time and energy for this short-term goal. Why not try to find another job (because GOD HELP ME… I have GOT to get out of that office) that can help me afford the mortgage and the groceries and the dog and cat food while I write my own stories?
Writing jobs are impossible to find in this area. I’d have to go to Charlotte or Atlanta, and I’m not up for relocating right now — and I’m never relocating to Atlanta… sheesh (apologies to those who live there and love it; it’s just too big for me).
As for other jobs, I know InDesign, but I barely know Illustrator and have no knowledge of Photoshop or Quark or any of the Web designing software that design jobs require. Plus the fact that I’m not a “designer” anyway. I can layout a page — plug text and graphics in where they need to go — but I don’t have an eye for design. If you were to give me just two sentences of text and a blank 8.5″x11″ page and tell me to create something eye-catching, I’d ask you for a paper bag to breathe in.
While I have writing ability for market/advertising, those jobs want you to know Excel and Powerpoint and all those Office applications. I know only Word.
See what a catch I am?
I did get that massage this past weekend; however, I did have a moment of slight panic as I turned on the appropriate street but still didn’t see a sign for the name of the business. I turned into the parking lot and looked harder, but still couldn’t find it.
I circled the block and came back around and suddenly, I saw the street number “1990.” A-ha! I had the right building. I parked the car, and luckily, a woman was getting out of her car at the same time. I asked her if she knew the suite where my massage therapist was, and while she wasn’t exactly sure, she found someone who did know.
So I suppose I’m going to have to keep circling the block and looking at the road map and hopefully, someone might have some directions for me.