So it's late right now. Late enough that I should either be asleep or smiling. But instead I'm deeply involved in a PowerPoint. This is how too many of my nights have been recently.
Here's the flashback that just hit me:
Me, in the Planning building computer lab. Grad school. A cool 3 a.m., probably. A crumpled-up wrapper from a Frontier breakfast burrito beside me, definitely. Headphones on. Indigo Girls: blasting. Who listens to the Indigo Girls loudly, you're asking? This girl does, when driving alone and fast or when up way past her bedtime on deadline. So there's me, the work, the burrito wrapper, and the Girls. But a couple of computers down, there's also my girl Mikaela, my ultimate all-nighter-in-the-computer-lab partner in crime. I need a break. Headphones come off. We take a few minutes to do that thing we do, which is discuss relationships or politics or gossip or who the hell cares because we know each other so well and we really don't need much besides the smallest distraction from the sentence that is slowly becoming the run-on from hell (like this one). We stretch our legs, go out into the courtyard. We feel the cool night air on our faces. Mikaela is probably smoking (I'll never tell your daughter, M, promise). We make each other laugh. We bounce ideas for each other's work around. Then we go back in, and we hunker down. We finish. Of course we do. We're good at this. We nailed those nights.
I miss that kind of flow. I'm getting glimpses again these days of how sure I was that I'd only do this profession until I was bored with it, then I'd have my creative career. I was sure I'd be writing by now.
But instead I'm PowerPointing. And not in the cool way, either, with Mikaela beside me.
And that's okay. This is okay. I believe in these bullets.
But tomorrow I'll send them out for dozens of people to review, and we will tinker and talk it to death and finally we will present it to the community, and it'll be fine. I'll still believe in those bullets.
But I don't believe in this process as much as that process, the one with just my brain, a friend, a burrito, and a blank screen.
Time to cue the Indigo Girls. Time to send my old friend a hug across the Internet.
Also: time to plan my annual return to New Mexico, where I'm certain everyone else is still having those resplendent 3 a.m. strikes of inspiration without me.