Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life's Little Circles

I've noticed a very strange phenomenon in my life. I tend to get "led" to places that will eventually be important to me. For example, there was an apartment complex in Greensboro that always sort of stood out to me when we drove past it. However, we didn't get to that area of town often, so we didn't go past it a lot. For a while in my elementary and middle school years, we went to a hair stylist who worked very close to them, so that was really the only time we'd get over there. But I always gazed at those apartments thinking that they were... I dunno... IMPORTANT.

Sure enough, after hunting all over town for my first apartment after college, guess where I ended up.

Okay, so that example isn't so strange because I actually get to PICK the apartment I live in, so I could have sort of led myself there (even though I didn't, and there were two other people in on the decision.)

So, Example the Second. There was a building I passed daily after I got my first job. I noticed it many years before that as well, but almost as soon as I got that first job down the street from it, it became a compulsion. The sign intrigued me. The shape of the windows... The location (right next door to a Krispy Kreme)... All of it called to me.

One day, my dad took me to lunch and said, "Elizabeth, you have a loser, dead-end job that you are way too smart for and it is making both of us miserable. Get another job."

"But, Dad," says I. "I have no idea what I want to DO with my life. I'm 23, have a BA in English Education, and all I know is I don't want to teach."

"Just put some resumes out there."

"But WHERE?!" (Yeah, I was probably whining. I was bad about that. Still am, honestly).

"Doesn't matter."

"The only place that even looks remotely interesting is that place over there." I pointed with my steak and cheese sandwich, because we were lunching in the fabulous Greek restaurant that also happened to be right by "the building."

"Then take a resume there."

"Blind? That never works, Dad. This is the 1990's."

"Humor me."

So I did. I just typed up a resume (it was quite short in those days) and popped it in a manilla envelope. On my lunch break the next day, I went right up to "the building" and I handed my envelope to the receptionist, who seemed about as interested in it as I would have expected her to be. "No job in particular?" she asked. "Nope," says I. "Anything you have that I would qualify for would be interesting to me. I really like this company."

I actually said that. And you know what I knew about the company? It's name. That's it. Name only. And, of course, where their building was... between Krispy Kreme and that Greek place. So I ask you, what's not to like?

Needless to say, you can certainly imagine my surprise when I got a phone call THE NEXT DAY for the PERFECT JOB for me. She actually had just finished interviewing, hadn't really liked her choices, and got my resume. She already knew she wanted to hire me (which she didn't tell me, of course, until she actually DID hire me). It was meant to be.

So, all of that is to share one of life's latest little circles. I did my student teaching at Chapel Hill High School. At the time, it was considered the second best high school in the state and it really was a fabulous teaching experience. While I was there, I asked the drama teacher if I could help with the fall musical, because theater is what I really wanted to do. She was delighted to have the help, and I became a character coach for Hello, Dolly! Seriously fun, and the theater there was quite impressive by high school theater standards.

I left the school and I put all thoughts of teaching behind me. I graduated, moved out of town, and started life as a (real) adult. So when I enrolled my little girl in ballet classes at the Conservatory here, imagine my surprise when I learned that her year-end recital was to be at Chapel Hill High School. A full 20 miles from the Conservatory.

Going back, now a solid 18 years later, was completely strange and other-worldly. I remembered parts of the building like it had only been yesterday. And when my daughter took that same stage that I had worked through all those scenes on... well... Wow. Who knew that the building would hold such treasures for me? Especially a building in a town we do not even live in.

So strange where life takes you.