Riding the Wave
I had my first two consecutive days off this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday.
Intellectually I was totally prepared for retail work. It was a total context shift, a new world, a new industry. The first few days I was abuzz with adrenaline and the energy of learning a new skill and a new environment.
The tasks aren’t complicated (and I am justifiably teased for overthinking basic tasks) but getting certain things wrong could mean running afoul of state regulations. And that would be bad.
I was definitely intellectually expecting to be physically tired.
Switching gears from an essentially sedentary (for basically forever) lifestyle to standing 6-7 hours per day is a huge adjustment.
Luckily the back has been in pretty good shape, and the knees have held up fine so far. Decent shoes help, a bit. But end of shift I’m definitely feeling the soreness radiating through my legs and feet.
The dogs are barking, as they say.
But literally too. Kelly and Bailey are in bed by the time I come home most nights. Bailey usually wakes up to the car door closing or the car locking, but he gets totally juiced when I walk through the front door.
I haven’t talked much about Bailey. Our buddy for the past ten years.
I tell you he’s lucky he’s cute.
As a beagle mix he has all the traits of a beagle: intelligence, stubbornness, protectiveness, high energy, loud baying howl. And the mix doubles his size (and amplifies all traits).
But we’ve raised him from a puppy and he’s loving and loyal. He loves being affectionate and being part of the pack. We’ve been on some great adventures. We’ve nearly lost the poor guy a few too many times (as a scent hound he has almost zero recall, although his howl is loud enough to track him roughly)... He’s actually rooted out a few rabbit dens in his day (to Kelly’s abject horror).
As I’ll sometimes quote from the timeless classic Hot Tub Time Machine, “he’s an assole, but he’s our asshole”
Anyway, usually a pat on the head and a soothing voice (usually) will calm Bailey (for a few moments) as I tuck Kelly in (literally) and kiss her good night. Then I shut the bedroom door behind me and duck into the quiet house to decompress from the day.
I miss them.
I remember once hearing someone refer to walking as coordinated falling.
We start out learning to walk by falling. A lot.
Our legs still not quite strong enough nor coordinated enough to figure out the fall-catch-fall-catch rhythm that propels us forward.
But adults (our parents/caregivers) hold us up, show us the motions. We get to a point we finally start to feel the weight of our bodies on the soles of our feet and how to transfer the weight to the other foot.
We don’t think of the skill of walking as something we need to learn. We’ve forgotten the insanity of the idea that we’re the only creatures that walk on two legs as our primary form of mobility.
Same with any new job. There are tasks and protocols that seem alien at first but are critical to understand in order to thrive. I am slowly learning these tasks.
There is a vast product knowledge learning curve in cannabis. The spectrum of customer understanding is so wide-ranging because there are no stereotypes for cannabis consumers. (It’s literally everyone you guys). I have to triage and be ready to explain from the top-level what ‘getting high’ entails all the way through to understanding the consistency of different cultivators’ concentrates (because of course one man’s sugar is another man’s diamonds in sauce, and I’m afraid to save time I will need you to google wtf I mean by that) or why we don’t refrigerate certain products.
In other words, I’m getting there too.
I am tired at the end of each shift. Physically, and mentally. I worry constantly that I will make a serious error. But I feel good. I am learning how to walk the walk and talk the talk in a space I’ve been imagining for months.
There is something truly thrilling about being in an environment where I can help educate and inspire people, have fun, and also be involved in an incredibly fast-paced industry. (>100 dispensary licenses around the same craft grower licenses approved in Illinois in the past month and more on the way!)
The past year and a half has been insane. An absolute clusterfuck of chaos stormed down on all of humanity all at once. At times it felt like Biblical end-days (in some places due to climate change it kind of is?), like it’s all we can do to keep from drowning.
To that end, I cannot ignore that I was blessed that we could ride out the high water.
(Also can’t ignore all those really nice yachts straight floatin’)
But actually it’s more than that.
We rode the ups and downs and were blessed to appreciate the relief as well as withstand the swells (relatively) unscathed. Kept the house. Stuck to the plan. Found my new path. Nurtured my creativity.
I feel blessed to have held and even strengthened my bond with Kelly. In a lot of ways it came from me being able to bring a better version of myself to the relationship (I hate to say it, but the Fresh Prince got that one right).
And now I’m in a better position to devote my energy to paying it back (and forward).
I know we’ll all eventually get used to the new rhythms (Bailey might take the longest to adjust honestly), and I know that I will feel much less guilty about how good I feel as I continue falling forward on my new path.
But for now, to turn a phrase, my body has chosen this time to rest. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Best,
Jonathan “Doc Wattson”
The Native Stranger