Day 5: You accidentally hit Reply-All and everybody received an uncensored rant about your boss. Write the follow-up Reply All.
Day 6: Where would you choose to be exiled, what essential three items would you bring with you?
Too much time is spent thinking, deliberating, pondering, and not enough time spent doing. This was the mindset that catalyzed everything. The day I quit my job, the day I left the country to avoid the lawsuit that inevitably came for me, the day I went into exile—it all began with this idea to stop thinking and just do.
That day, I gave myself 20 minutes. 20 minutes to throw together a bag of things from my employed life, from my comfy 800 square foot studio life that I would take with me into my self-imposed exile. I don’t really remember those 20 minutes, only that I was so full of frustration and anxiety as I walked around the apartment with an empty duffel bag.
It was an odd feeling. One side of me, fueled by the adrenalin of reckless decision making was ecstatic. It was jumping for joy that I had finally done something. The other side was less enthused. Angry, anxious, and worried, it matched every jump for joy with the heavy mallet of reason and responsibility. To its credit, it could not be argued otherwise that my situation was not brought on by my own actions. Yes, it was my fault for sending a personal email through a work email account. Yes, it was my fault for accidentally hitting reply all. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have mentioned the fact that I was secretly helping certain clients manipulate the system to the company’s disadvantage while also chewing out my superiors. And yes, I probably shouldn’t have sounded so damn proud of it. But I was.
After giving 8 years to this company, seeing how it works, seeing it fools people, especially those less fortunate, I had had enough. I’m not trying to paint myself as a Robin Hood. I was not some crusader with some higher cause. Honestly, I did it partly because it was fun to fuck over the company I was working for. It was fun to see how upper management got so flustered when clients, especially those low on the totem pole, came to them with inside knowledge and used their own systems against them. I got a real kick out of it.
So let’s get that straight, I’m not some sort of hero or something. I did what I did, like all things I do, out of personal interest.
Most of my things I left in the apartment, the landlord should be happy about that. Now he can put it on the market as fully furnished and charge twice what he was charging me. Go him. My duffel contained just enough clothes to last me a week, some toiletries, other miscellaneous electronics, passport, wallet, and of course my essential three: laptop, atlas, and notebooks. These three items would get me through any day. After some consideration, I also slipped in the picture of my first win.
Yes, it was sentimental. So sue me, I have feelings. But that was the first time I felt like I had taken on the world and won. Never mind that I was only in third grade, and never mind that it was just a spelling bee. I had won when no one had really believed I would. That was the day I stood up to the world and introduced myself. “Watch out for me!” I promised the world.
The day I left my life behind in Chicago is the day I revisited that promise. I was done being stuck in an office building, I was done with the emails and the phone calls and the deals. They were all so meaningless to me.
I arrived at ORD equipped with my life savings, and the first world atlas I had ever owned. I nervously thumbed the worn pages of the atlas as I looked up at ever changing board of flights. I told myself I was ready for adventure, eager for it even, and steeled my resolve. I was ready for the unknown and the unconventional. And though I might have been ready, nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen. Looking back now, you could say I was really, desperately asking for it.
Yes it has been over a week, that was because the prompt for day 5 was really giving me a hard time. Part of that hard time was the very notion of the prompt was horrifying to me but I didn’t want to write about a horrifying experience. I tried to think of what I could do to make it clever and funny, but I don’t really think I am either clever or funny so I sought to move on.
Day 6 helped to reposition my thinking a little bit with the result being this weird blend of both days 5 and 6. I began writing with just the idea of exile after the reply-all event and it turned into this self exile, prologue-sounding piece. I might try and experiment with Castor and his story a little bit more. I also love the name Castor. 🙂