I was once a telemarketer. I sold newspaper subscriptions in a dimly lit greenish yellow room. I sat in a squeaky desk chair at a desk that was pre-World War I. This was in the mid 90s, so you could still smoke inside, which we did all day long. On my first day I was given a phone book and a script and was told I got $10 extra a week for any subscriptions I sold. I thought it would be a breeze. After three weeks I sold one subscription to an octogenarian that I’m fairly certain was asleep when he agreed to buy a paper.
I took the job to make ends meet, because at the time I was perusing my acting career by stage managing at the Department of Dance at Florida State University. It was a circuitous path. I moved there to be with the man I thought I was going to marry. Later I learned the depth of heartbreak when that relationship failed.
The house I lived in had to be near the point of being condemned. The moldy shag carpet covered holes in the floor that were so big I once sprained my ankle when walking down the hallway. We were a block and a half from Doak Campbell Stadium, so after football games drunken fans would urinate in our front yard. We shared the bathroom with what I believe was a swarm of fruit flies. One day while in that shower I had an epiphany…I wanted to get married and have children. Why I didn’t want to continue to live in squalor selling newspaper subscriptions to half conscience old people is obvious. Maybe my choice to become a wife and mother was less obvious. I spent my free time with the local NOW chapter, volunteering at abortion clinics, protesting in the state Capitol and arguing for women’s rights. Not that these two images are mutually exclusive, it just wasn’t necessarily the obvious next step.
From that moment on though I was headed headlong into what is my present. Within the year I packed up my Mazda 323, moved to Atlanta and met the man that would within 3 months become my husband. I don’t regret a single step.