Sunday, September 20, 2009
When I was an older-young woman, less than middle-aged, I had decided upon my fantasy job. Everybody must have an idea of what kind of work they would love to do if they had the resources to choose and could totally disregard thoughts of responsibility.
Back then, I was single and had no children or step-children. I was working in a large corporation doing a 60 hour a week job in 40 hours. Well, not exactly, I was doing it in 50 hours but only being paid for 40. The other 10 hours work was just not getting done and kept on piling up in a stack on the corner of my desk.
One Saturday morning, I woke up early and decided to go for a long ride. I drove east until I got to Route 1 and then I turned right and headed south. At some point I made a left and another right and was driving down A1A along an island separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. I drove for hours until I was beyond any towns and to my left there was a long, wide empty beach. There were no hotels or motels built up on either side of A1A. No gas stations. No convenience stores. The empty, undeveloped space was pleasant. Then, up ahead on the left a structure was coming into focus. It was a motel.
I had been driving for hours so I really needed to make a pit stop, as they say, so I pulled into the parking lot. I walked around to the office and asked to use the rest room. The proprietess courteously showed me the way. When I emerged, her husband had come inside. He looked like a jolly old sailor. I noticed the decor on the walls of the office included an old anchor and some coiled rope.
"Where are you from?" he asked.
"Orlando," I replied. "I got up early and thought I'd take a ride and I just kept driving until I ended up here. Do you own this place?" I asked.
"Yes. We've bought it about two years ago. We lived on a sailboat for a year and came upon this beach. It just felt like the right place to be," he said. "My wife and I stayed in this motel for a few days. The owner came to check on things and we got talking. He was contemplating selling the motel and going back west. We made him an offer and within a month we were living here."
"I'm very happy being in one place for awhile," his wife said. "But he gets restless and sometimes regrets making the decision. Who knows? Maybe we'll turn around and sell it and get back out on the water."
We talked for a long time. The motel had 14 rooms. They were more than happy to show me one which had a small kitchenette, double bed, sofa and TV. There were no walls or dividers except the door going into the small bathroom. I remember thinking, I could live in a room this size.
I drove back home before the sky turned dark and thought about the encounter. For months I thought about how welcoming the couple was to a stranger. It was years later when it occurred to me what my fantasy job would be.
Walking down the hall from my desk at work, I ran into a friend and said, "You know what I really want to do, I mean, if I could do whatever I wanted?"
"I have no idea," she said.
"I'd like to make beds at the beach."
She looked at me like I was missing a chip. I smiled and then explained.
"There's this little motel way down south of here, right on the beach. It has 14 rooms. In exchange for rental of one of those rooms I would like to get a job vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms and kitchens and making the beds every morning," I said. "That would leave me all afternoon to lay on the beach and read, take long walks or sit at a desk in my room and write."
My friend looked at me and said, "You know what I always wanted to do?"
"No. What?" I asked.
"I've always wanted to work in a nursery, tending to plants. Watering them. weeding them. Planting new ones from seeds and cuttings," she said. "That is my dream job."
We smiled and went back to our respective desks. After that, any time I was frustrated with life I simply said, "I want to go make beds at the beach." She said, "I want to go water some flowers."
Have you ever been in a situation of responsibility when you've pondered a simpler life? Tell me, what would your fantasy job be?