Let's shut our eyes and pretend none of it ever happened

I owe you a post. Enough said.

So much has been going on in the last couple of months, and there's so much I've been meaning to get up here. It's been almost a month since I left Germany and came back to Canada, and it's been exactly a week since moving to Toronto and starting my new job. In four months I've changed time zones at least five or so times and I've been on at least a dozen flights between four countries and two continents. For someone who has spent the majority of their life in a quiet corner of the province this has been a lot of activity. I have a piece in the works about my last few weeks in Germany, but I'm afraid this isn't it. Work has been so busy that I just don't have the time to dedicate to writing coherently these days.

Speaking of work, I suppose you may be interested in a brief rundown of what I'm up to. Basically I'm working with a graphic design company and an interior design company for some developers who are building townhomes etcetera. The body of my company is located out West, so I've been sent here to be a liaison between East, West, and everyone else involved (architects, landscapers, realtors, lawyers, printers and more). I had expected to be working very much on the creative aspects of things (this is, after all, where the bulk of my experience lies), but instead I've found my role has been much more on-the-ground assistance. I ensure everyone has the files they need, attend meetings, make presentations, source materials (such as printers or audio/visual groups), and spend what must be the majority of my time on the phone getting everyone up to speed on our project progress.

The last few days have been particularly busy as we are all scrambling to get things together for a big event we have next week. I spent my morning rushing between meetings with an audio/visual consultant and our printers, then put in another nine hours at the office making all the necessary edits and adjustments to our materials. Luckily the very intense conclusion to my degree has prepared me well for barrages of deadlines and I've been able to keep going without completely losing my mind: "keep calm and carry on" and all that.

I am thoroughly delighted to say that all of the feedback I've received regarding my work has been wonderful. It's immeasurably reassuring to know that even though you feel completely inadequate and unprepared that others perceive you as put-together and competent. While things are very hectic at the moment it doesn't at all detract from the learning experience. The work here is very different (though still related) to what I did in Germany, and seems to be yet another step in discovering all about this industry. Every day is a new challenge but no matter what I'll finish up with so much more knowledge, confidence and skills than when I started. Not to mention an amazing reference for my resume.

But before I get too smug and you get too annoyed, let's get to what's really been on my mind. For reasons I have yet to uncover I've been in the strangest mood lately. I think part of it is that things are progressing at such a rate that everything seems more than a little surreal. I haven't had sufficient time to process exactly all that has happened, and when I try to I get a little dumbstruck.

Also, I think the move to this new city is making me consider a few things I haven't given thought (deliberately or otherwise). For starters, it seems to be some kind of law of nature that whenever your professional career takes off your love life takes a proportionate dive for the worse. More and more lately I've been overwhelmed by frustration when it comes to my poor luck. The majority of you will already be familiar with my inability to find even ONE single man during my time overseas. I had hoped to leave this problem where it belonged - in Europe - but alas, it followed me home. No sooner did I arrive in Toronto and attend my first business pre-holiday party (yeah, they have those here and they are just as glamorous as you are imagining) than I found an amazingly cute guy, who *gloriously* seemed to reciprocate my interest. Well, we chatted, we laughed, and then two or so hours later I discovered - through someone else, of course - that he was married. Ladies and gentlemen: my life. It's just so beyond ridiculous. While the guy himself is clearly a scumbag and I have comfortably and easily banished from my mind, the overall trend of being unable to find anyone single is really grating on my nerves. It's gotten to the point where it's really difficult to look at any prospect with even the smallest degree of positivity since with my luck it just won't work out. Depressing. There are soooo many men in Toronto but all of a sudden I have this unshakable defeatist attitude that's getting me down like nothing else. To boot, I've managed to meet someone too-good-to-be-true. While there is a teensy-tiny ray of hope, I can't bring myself to look at it with any real enthusiasm: to hope is to open oneself to disappointment, and right now that's all I've been getting so why should this time be any different?

This odd combination of such surreal momentum in my professional life yet such tiresome frustration in my personal life keeps calling to mind this particular phrase: "let's shut our eyes and pretend none of it ever happened." Some weeks ago this popped into my head and like a catchy song I haven't been able to forget it. It may be that it's a line from a movie, a lyric from a song, or maybe I even came up with it myself. Whatever its genesis, it's been stuck in my head and seems to encapsulate much of my current situation. There's more though: to really tie things together in a so-weird-it's-ridiculous kind of way, I stumbled across something I might rather not have in my email today.

Perhaps a year ago I made a new email account since my old address was from elementary school days and bore an appropriately embarrassing name. When I did, I suppose I imported all the emails from my "Saved" folder of the old account. Today, as it happened, I thought I had accidentally drag-and-drop copied an entire other folder into the saved folder, and so I opened it up - my first time doing so since activating my new email - and checked the contents.

What I found inside produced a similar effect as a punch to the gut might. Inside were the last emails I ever received from my two close friends who were killed in a car accident just over five years ago. I don't think I've looked at those in over four years; I'd forgotten I even had them. One email was from the day before the accident, discussing our plans to all go together to the lake the next day - I had replied saying that was the only day I couldn't attend due to an orthodontics appointment. It's chilling to contemplate where I might (or might not) be today had I been in the car with them. "Pretend none of it ever happened" indeed.

Five years later and I still have no idea what to do with that knowledge.

Surreal, surreal, surreal. Life is surreal.


  1. "Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn't permanent." - Joan Kerr