My last day working for The Man ended relatively anticlimactically. I came home to a sleeping S who swore, despite the mountains of boxes and desert gear, that he had cleaned. A thunderstorm last night set our a/c settings awry, so it was 78 degrees downstairs, 178 upstairs, and the unbearable heat and mess made me feel irritable and lazy.
But earlier today I was escorted out of the building, having just signed my good-bye papers. I could see the static display through the glass doors, the same airplane I've been staring at since August. But seeing it today gave me a thrill. Today was an ordinary day for everyone in the building except me. I was never coming back. I wanted to yell and run out the door, but I don't think security would have been nearly as excited as I was.
It was a far more pleasant exit than the one I had in the tunnel. The person I gave my badge to there seemed to think it was strange I didn't have anyone to call who could escort me out. My people worked nights on the floor, but that didn't seem to make my situation any more understandable to him. He commandeered someone from another cubicle to walk me out. We made small talk as we moved down the hall, and after holding the door open for me past the check point he unceremoniously slammed the door shut so hard I thought to myself, "Nobody gets in to see the wizard! Not no way, not no how!" No goodbyes, no farewell, nothing. S got a picture signed by the people he worked with and a really nice plaque. I got a pair of noise-cancelling Bose headphones, because I lack the moral fiber to feel bad about not giving them back to the tunnel.
At my final out today the girl was not excited about my paperwork. She made copies of everything, handed me a stack of papers, and softly said, "Good luck." I'm sure that this happens every day for her, watching people coming and going. I grinned at her as I left. After I turned out of the doorway I looked down the hall in all directions, and skipped---yes, skipped---all the way down the hall. Free! I sped all the way to the gym, rendering my final salute to the man in the car next to mine as I grabbed clothes out of the trunk, ripped off my uniform, changed into civvies, and scampered back out.
After the wretched heat of the house was fixed, and some boxes were stacked more neatly in the closet, we went for sushi. I mentioned to S over our potstickers that my feelings are swinging long and wide, between terror and elation. Strangely, though, I never had a second thought about this decision. Once I came to grips with the fact that this really is what I want, it was scandalously easy to begin making the transition. I'm a little sore about the fact that I managed to make one (1) friend the entire time I worked here. But over the past six years I've met more awesome people than I can count. I can't be too upset about it.
For James Vance, and his family
2 months ago