They found me outside my cubicle, flat on the ground, wearing my winter coat, with my purse slung over my shoulder. I had worked there less than two months. I took the position because, six months after graduating college, I still didn’t have a “real” job, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that sporadic babysitting gigs amounted to what was listed on my resume as “professional nanny.”
The job was in Chicago; before I took it, I was living with my parents in my childhood home in California. I was sleeping in my childhood bedroom, working essentially the same job as I had in high school. My entire existence felt like glaring proof of my failure to become an adult, as if I were trapped in a kind of pre-adulthood purgatory — one I would have done anything to escape. So I took a job I didn’t want, in a city that was cold and unfamiliar and where I knew exactly one person, my sister. With lofty and wildly inaccurate ideas about how fun having me around might be, my sister invited me to live with her until I found a place of my own.
Two months into my time in Chicago, when they found me passed out in front of my cubicle, it wasn’t hard for them to figure out who to call on the way to the hospital. There was still only one number with a Chicago area code in my phone. (continued)