‘The world is an oyster, but you don’t crack it open on a mattress,’ said a character in an Arthur Miller play. He was referring to the idea that if you’re obsessed with sex and romance, your level of worldly accomplishment may be rather low. It jibes with what a friend in my youth told me when he noticed how much of my energy was engaged in pursuing desirable females: ‘They don’t build statues in parks for guys who chase women.’ I realize you may not be wildly receptive to ruminating on these matters during the Valentine season, Sagittarius. However, the omens suggest I advise you to do just that. It’s a good time to fine-tune the balance between your life-long career goals and your quest for love.
Ashley’s breath condensed like a cloud of cigarette smoke as she let out a short, audible laugh. She had thought of nothing but her lifelong career goals and how they knocked her quest for love off the track. Lately, her life had begun to feel like a go-kart out of control. She folded the newspaper and pulled out her bus pass.
Next week, the President of the company will fly in from the West coast and ask everyone in the office, “Where do you see yourself in a year?” Ashley had no idea where she saw herself, now, or in a year.
At the grocery store, she stands at the meat cooler and stares at the local beef until her eyes have the same computer-screen glaze she gets by 3pm every day at work. She picks up the leanest cut and wonders if her contribution to the world will have something to do with the entertainment consumer’s choice awards.
“Watson, right?” the cashier asks.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“How have you been?”
“Oh, you know,” Ashley catches a rolling avocado, “the same.”
“I haven’t seen you in a while, and your hair is so long!”
“Yeah, I just got it cut in fact.”
“Well, um, just a trim around the edges.”
“No, I mean, what salon did you go to?”
“Oh,” Ashely smiles at herself, “right, um, here,”
Ashley pulls out a card while breathlessly throwing in a small bag of dried figs she bought for a recipe she saw that morning in a magazine at the gym.
“Ask for Crystal”
“Oh, thanks,” the cashier looks at the business card, “Have a great night!”
“Yeah, you too,” Ashley says as she shrugs her now heavy bag onto her back.
When she left work, she packed her work computer but quickly placed it back on her desk. Looking over at bewildered co-workers, she said, “I don’t know who I’m kidding. I’m not working tonight.”