Saturday, January 30, 2010

Kitty Therapy

You created the confluence yourself, without intention: one new house, two new clients. The house was a fix-er-up. The clients, one might assert, were, too. “I’m a copywriter,” you want to yell. “You don’t hire a copywriter before you have a site design! A spreadsheet of keywords and URLs does not a homepage make.”

But you don’t say that sort of thing when you’re a freelancer, and just starting out, and amazed at your good fortune in signing clients who will pay you what you think you’re worth, enough money that you’re not even worried about paying for the house.

But you do scream it at your monitor, and your husband, and the mountainous stack of unopened boxes dominating your office, which will never, never get unpacked or organized, because you have tripled your business workload without cutting your ten weekly volunteer hours, and you don’t have time to make a home for yourself.

And your husband, who, to be completely honest, will be doing the bulk of the home remodeling, will understand, and draw you close to him, even though he’s in the middle of configuring your Internet phone, updating his desktop computer, and changing all the light bulbs to compact CFLs. He will take you into the kids’ room, the one space in the whole house that actually looks like a room instead of a shipping warehouse, and cuddle you up on the futon, and listen to you cry.

“I don’t know what this client wants and I really, really need to nail this account so Sarah and I can incorporate this year and all my instant messages come out sounding wrong and I think people are mad at me because you can’t hear frustration or jokes in text.”

No, he soothes you, you’re a great writer. You’re doing fine. They’re gonna love it.

“And this house is crazy and I can hardly work in that office because if I turn my head all I can see are a million unpacked boxes and I’m never going to get the kitchen in order and there’s so much work to do!”

No, he says, rubbing your head. I’m going to get it all taken care of. I’m going to build shelves and fix the kitchen. We’ll take it as it comes and get the whole house taken care of.

“And my kitty probably hates it here. He went out through the pet door and he probably went right over the wall and decided to go back to the old place and there’s four busy streets to cross and he’s going to get hit by a car and I’ll never see him again.”

Hello, kitty, he says, rubbing his finger together, and you look, and there’s your kitty, looking up at you, maybe just a little dirty from outside, and he hops on the futon and presses his head into your palm, purring, and you sigh.

“Oh,” you sniff. “I guess it will be all right, then.”