I have this reoccurring dream.
I’m back in California. I’m offered another advertising job, but this time at quadruple the pay and with all my favorite coworkers. I think to myself that taking this job would be a smart financial move. Suze Orman would approve. She’d remind me that I’m in my big money making years and now is the time to contribute more to my IRA. Shit she does go on about IRAs.
Anyway, she’d remind me that right now, instead of making money during my big money making years, I’m spending 4,65 Euro on chai tea lattes at Starbucks in Paris (ya, judge. They have a great chai and I spread the wealth at plenty of other Parisian cafés). When converted into the US dollars I’m spending, I’m rockin’ a $6.11 latte. Suze would not approve of this.
Anything over the $5 mark for a coffee just seems irresponsible.
Back to the dream. I’m considering taking the job. Not because I want it, but because it would be a smart move financially. That Suze and all her O Magazine articles got me frazzled.
If I took the job, I’d have to haul me and my Polish Frenchman back to California and hope it would be all like The Alchemist or Wizard of Oz happy-ending-journey-worth-it.
I walk through the halls of the advertising agency and see my favorite studio people (Gregg! Bob!), my favorite IT guys (Oscar! Nilesh!), account people (Joanna! Becca! Mason!), and co-conspirators — the creatives (Sharon! Jan! Jeff! Ilham! Chris O!). The list goes on (and if I didn’t mention you, I adore you but just can’t mention everyone — it’s like those Academy Award speeches when the whole world is listening and instead of making the moment relevant to most, they rattle off a dozen names of people 99.9% of the world doesn’t know. I say, if you’ve got a global platform for 30 seconds, use it wisely.)
So I’m walking around the agency seeing all my faves. I even sit in on a meeting. This is when my stomach starts to do that weird thing. It’s not a good thing. It’s the baseline stress building back up again. I start to sweat and wonder what decisions I made that led me back here. How did this happen?
As those in the meeting talk about campaigns, I start to think about IKEA.
If I moved here, I’d have to get a lot of stuff at IKEA because I’d start with zero household items. I’m not schlepping my ladle from Paris, dig?
They keep talking about budgets and timing of the campaign. I start wondering how I’ll fit the IKEA load into the car. Oh gawd! I’ll have to buy a car and get wrangled back into that hot mess of car payments, insurance, gas, car washes and the bait-and-switch negotiations at EZ Lube.
The meeting is over and a group lunch is suggested. Group lunches have always filled me with anxiety. Someone always orders more. Someone always orders less. The bill is split evenly. And resentment hangs like a stale fart in the air as we drive back to the office clown-car style.
It occurs to me that I always have lunch with Christophe in Paris. Don’t I? Or was that a dream? Did Paris happen? I thought I lived in Paris but now I’m not sure. Maybe I just dreamed it like Demi Moore in Passion of Mind.
And that’s when I wake up in Paris next to Christophe, relieved that I don’t have to decide on any job, relocation, IKEA, EZ Lube or group lunch. I am here. In Paris. I can breathe again, and I do. I stretch into a full body yawn, hop out of bed, and skip off to the kitchen to make coffee.