Growing Where They Planted Me.

OK, so I don’t know who ‘they’ are…well actually I do, but more on that later.

One of my favorite cartoons is that of an elephant sitting at a Grand Piano on a concert stage The voice bubble says, “What am I doing here, I’m a flute player”.

And that’s what I felt like realizing that I had gotten planted in the boonies of this urban environment. Totally not what I wanted, but then little did I understand who, or what, was in charge.

It all started because I had my degree and did not wnat to work for anyone else. So set out to start my own business.

I was looking for a physical site to open the business. I had a lease all ready to sign, but I wanted to make one last exploratory trip to make sure that the location was one that I would be happy with for years or decades or whatever…businesses in that era were not exactly portable.

Off I drove, and on a whim took the left turn instead of the right turn when got into this area. I drove just a few miles, headed west on the main street — in an area that I thought would be great, but had never explored this sector of the region — and I pulled into an empty parking lot, on the north side of the street, in front of a building with only one vacant unit and a sign that said, “For Rent”. I knew, I just knew, that was the building/space that I was supposed to rent and start my business.

It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not knowing the feeling of certainty that I felt. If you don’t that’s alright, just unfortunate. If you do, you know that there is no ignoring that knowing. Once you acknowledge it you enter a vortex of ‘everything falling into place’ which is exactly what happened to me. My business stayed in that place for almost 40 years.

At first I tolerated the long drive to the office on a daily basis. Ha! We have only two seasons here, Winter and Construction, and Construction started as I signed the lease. The commute was a bore, how many rear trunks do you need to see before you have seen them all? Sigh. I started to look for housing close to the business to avoid the commute and found first a local apartment and about a year later a condo.

Then one day I realized that I was living in the suburbs! The clients required lots of teaching, were politically not my style and few of them had ever heard an opera or classical music. A lot of them had hearing damage from music that was electric and loud, way too loud. The sidewalks rolled up about 10 pm and all the businesses close their doors by then too. What!

What the heck? I’m a city girl. I belong where the heart of the city is, where there are events, folks my age and politics, concerts, bars and dancing and staying up all night, etc., etc. With a business to run and a mortgage to pay there was no fast escape. I was forced to try and figure out why I was planted where I was planted. Totally not my choice.

Or was it?

I came to understand both me and the purpose and value and beauty of where I was planted. I’ll write about that next.