March 9, 2007


Heather McCann - San Francisco, California

I spent today worrying all day about whether to take this week's sudden job offer, and move to LA again. I just went through this last week, except that job was in New Zealand.

It's normal for me to move away from home for months, or lately, for most of each year, in order to go to work. Last year I was working away from June to December, and fortunately had a space to stay in which was semi-private (I lived downstairs, and my ex's parents lived upstairs - normal, right? I'm sure you've done that at some point.)

So today, March 9, it seems like it should be an ordinary decision about taking work. I just turned down a shorter job, and now I'm being offered a longer job, so that should be good. The person offering me the job is a slightly crazed-sounding French lady, whose phone voice is tempered by 30 years chain-smoking and strong coffee. Could be entertaining. It's the next Eddie Murphy vehicle with the director from "Norbit" - signs that it may not be reaching for Great Art - but my department's supervisor is someone I've been curious to work with for a long time. Sounds pretty good, right? And my ex's parents are out of town right now, so until the summer I might have a bit more privacy.

Except what I'm not telling them is that I am pregnant. Today, I am 14 weeks and 6 days - well, almost 15 weeks! (That's why I've been looking kind of fat.) I already spent last week agonizing about New Zealand, which there was no logical reason why I should turn down. It's only a few months, and it's my last chance to travel for a long while. It's a good idea to add to my professional network before I have to drop out of sight for a while. I told myself all of these things, and I knew with certainty that if I was not pregnant, I would go. But I said no, which was partly recognition that my life is about to undergo major changes, and pretending it wasn't happening - to go on as before - would be a denial or refusal; and partly nutty pregnancy hormones making me feel attached to my partner and unwilling to move all the way around the world, away from him. Because, you see, normal people routinely spend half their lives away from their partner.

I thought the French lady's job would go away when I told her I could only work through July, but astoundingly she said that on the strength of the recommendation she was willing to accommodate that and replace me once they started post-production. That felt like a drug - I can't turn it down, I'm in a good place, I did a great job last year and now my boss is out touting me all over town for big jobs - that'll get cold if I don't pick it up. Which is how I find myself agonizing again, today. I still don't want to leave. I don't want to get trapped at home, which suggests that I should move away now into the world of constant, absorbing work. I haven't felt a reluctance to leave home in years. What if it's temporary hormone-induced insanity and I spend the next year stuck and hating myself?

I trap myself in the apartment most of the day fretting, then I decide to go for a walk up Bernal Hill. March 9 is a nice day, sunny and windy. Clouds blow across the sky, trees wave as if ruffled underwater. I routinely walk up this hill, up to the giant radio tower, and look out at the view - the Bay Bridge to my far right, downtown, a sliver of the Golden Gate Bridge, and my home neighborhood laid out at my feet. Today as I walked up to the giant tower I started wondering if I was dangerously irradiating my Wee Invader - hmm, never thought about that before! A whole new, Extra-Paranoid worldview is now ever more available to me. I don't know yet whether it'll be a boy or a girl, but I'm convinced that it will grow into a criminal mastermind, and being irradiated in-utero seems like a good backstory for a glamorous underworld figure, so I continue all the way to the top.

When I reach the top of the hill, I look up to see a hawk suspending itself in the air. Up here the wind is strong, and it has positioned itself facing into a wind current so that it can hang, suspended. It's looking around, presumably checking for some small movement on the ground. Wings stretched out all the way to graceful feather-tips, flying forward but staying in one place. In my head I'm almost hearing fruity British-accented nature show narration.

It does seem like it should be a sign - didn't the ancient Greeks make decisions based on things like this? Or maybe you have to disembowel the bird on the ground and read its entrails like tea for them I think it was eagles. I walk down the hill, and pass a guy with a heavy glove on one arm - is he a falconer? But then I see him talking to an owl which is high up in a tree. I've never seen an owl here before, maybe that's his bird. It's sitting on a branch and blinking. I remember that owls are actually very stupid, although they have good PR.

I get back to my apartment. Tomorrow, March 10, I will call the French woman and say "thanks but -   no thanks." I never tell her that I'm pregnant. I only told my parents about a week ago.

My mastermind will never appreciate it. C'est la vie.


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