Childish, politically incorrect, and perhaps even macabre but when I downloaded the “hangman” app on my ipad I was immediately hooked. The game is simply the electronic version of the one we played as children; a series of blanks at the bottom of the page with space to draw the gallows and the soon to be deceased as I scramble to fill the blanks with letters.  As I played last night, I was struck that the real challenge is not the seen but the unseen, not the spoken but the unspoken.  This is a game of too few clues, of words out of context.  Yet there are worthy strategies to employ (ie: leading with vowels) and the undeniable truth that even here practice makes progress.

On this cold winter morning sparkling with both sunshine and openness, I am struck by the  simultaneous intimidation and promise of the blanks.  On Monday I signed up for an evening class, on Wednesday I had my first job offer which was in direct conflict.  As the blanks fill, the field of choices narrows.  With so much uncertainty, however, I fear that I will grasp anything that tethers (even unsafely) to the ground.  In very real ways, I feel the tyranny of choice.

The job declined was one that I likely would have enjoyed immensely, but the offering was a very negative experience and I was grateful for the graceful out.  The position was parttime but professionally engaging and the interview had actually been very enjoyable.  The challenge was that the perimeters of the position were unclear and it appeared to require a fulltime commitment (five days a week) for a very parttime salary (less than 2 hours each day). Still I appreciated the people with whom I’d interviewed and the project presented, so I was disappointed when a week and then two went by without feedback.  Now more than a month in the rearview mirror, a few of the hangman tiles are filled in and the position no longer fits.

Curiously the call with an offer never did come.  Instead I received a series of unceremonious calls yesterday; the first requesting information for a background check, the second requesting additional reference information, and a third asking for my presence at 3:30pm the following afternoon “to sign your contract”.  Admittedly I’ve never heard of skipping the offer and scheduling the contract, but the next (fourth) phone call was even more bizarre.  As I was asking clarifying questions, internally working the schedule puzzle in my mind, the project director became exasperated (his word, not mine) and chastised me for not “taking notes” during the interview where “all these things were asked and answered”.  Regardless the relative merit of his perspective, being scolded during a job offer cannot be good omen. In an act of fate (or divine intervention if such exists), my cell phone dropped the call as I was attempting a graceful close.  (You can’t make this up.)  I sent a polite email declining the position and naming the conflict with a class.

This morning I found myself looking at careers totally unrelated, wondering about a whole new genre of possible consonant combinations.  To be sure, the uncertainty is unsettling and it is tempting to speed through the process and fill the slots.  And though I don’t presume there is a single correct word in wait, I am beginning to respect the rhythm.  For today, I will enjoy the space to write, drink another cup of coffee, and be grateful that my dance card was filled at just the right moment.