For Old Time’s Sake

Baby Arnie with younger me. Back when Arnie was spelled Arne with an umlaut over the "e." Of course, that's all changed since I've come to recognize the pup as an all-American. Plus, the dogtag companies don't do umlauts. Neither does blogger for that matter. This photo was taken by Megan Davis in Backbone’s old offices. Arnie came to work with me from day 1. In those days, desks at backbone were old doors propped on filing cabinets, and Arnie happily napped under my door all day.

This was when Penn and Megan sat across from me, Jess sat behind us, and everyday at 3 pm something happened that caused me to behave as though I dosing painkillers. “The Punchy Hour” we called it, when everything was funny, every comment snarky and I fell off my exercise ball at least once an hour. We laughed out loud, we ribbed each other and it probably came out in our work, which could be why we became such good friends with our clients.

Last February, I left the outdoor industry for about a year, and the whole time I was away (even at my recent fancy job that had me flying to LA and Phoenix for casting calls and post-production work), I missed it. I missed the Punchy Hour, the camaraderie, the ability to say any thing at any time to any one in the company, whether he’s the CEO or the secretary (who am I kidding? No one in the outdoor industry has secretaries).

In the real world, people thought it weird when I reported that my plan for the weekend was to drive 6 hours to a climbing area where I’d sleep in my vehicle, willingly wake up early, walk an hour or more with a very heavy pack to suffer on a route that's probably too hard for me. (What’s weird about that?)

They, in turn, thought me hopeless because I didn’t want to see the Transformers movie, didn’t plan my evenings around television shows, didn’t believe in God (though, as an agnostic, I do believe in that Great Golden Retriever in the sky – sorry for the blasphemy, religious readers), didn’t want to have kids because I’m afraid of our overpopulated world…..I mean, yeah, it’s bizarre for sure, but there are at least a few people like me in the outdoor industry, so it just feels good to be back there.

I’m glad I left, though. I needed to get different experience. I needed to be humbled and learn new skills and “diversify” (groan). But I never skinned through fresh powder before dawn with my boss at Fancy Job, like I did with Penn and Bill and Len and Rich one morning in Steamboat. And I never stayed at his house and got to know his family like I did Bill’s. And I just didn’t care the same way. I didn’t want to know that my clients and colleagues were well and healthy and happy because I genuinely cared for them, I asked because I thought I should. I didn't attach myself in the same way; I didn't make my work a part of myself.

But now, sitting at this campsite above Moab, Brad riding his motorcycle and the dogs snoozy at my feet, I know where I belong.


Paige Jennifer said...

Yeah, adorable. When I see a puppy, I totally understand why people want one. I don't always feel that way about kids.

Now if only they puppy cute forever. Come on, science - get crackin'!

Jen Yu said...

omg, i don't think a puppy could be any cuter and fluffier.


i've never worked corporate before, but i can see the huge disconnect between where you came from and where you were. a good learning experience and i think it's important to know what makes you happy. in fact, i have to congratulate you on what countless people never seem to get through their heads: happiness is in what you do and not what you make ($$). if you can marry the two, then great, but i would rather make crap for salary and love my job than make a gazillion dollars while raping the Earth, screwing people out of their money, or acting like a parasite... to name a few.

brava, my dear.

because when i'm on my death bed i'm not going to be thinking, "hey, i'm so glad i made all that money..." nosireebob.


lisagh said...

Arnë? With an umlaut? Fancypants.

Teri and Mark said...

Congrats on the new job! I am glad you have re-found your place.

KatieGirlBlue said...

Lisagh! How did you do that? My god - you sew, cook, knit, design great ads AND use umlauts.

God you're good.

KatieGirlBlue said...

Jen, I'm so with you. I'll gladly take a mellower job if it means improving my lifestyle, which doesn't include "things," but TIME. Time to go climbing and running and skiing. Time to spend with my friends and family.

And I love that I'm generally in my pjs till noon.

fastgrrrl said...

KGB - I know exactly what you mean. Having worked at that exact same "fancy" place. And having rebounded from that place, after a longer time away, after a longer time in the corporate nasty, back into the industry that we love. Never been so happy.

There's no place like home. Even if it's climbing in the middle of the desert on gorgeous rock or riding on a remote and winding Uinta two-lane. And even if it's just anywhere we don't want to be.