Horizontal Ambition

PP has always had the seemingly unrealistic fantasy of moving to Hawaii for obvious swimming and temperature reasons. Where else could she swim in the ocean to her heart’s content 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, with no worries for freezing cold waters or air temp that dips below 72 degrees?

Plus, all the public pools are FREE!!!!

Is this her version of paradise or what?

So, when her colleague at WWU sent her the job announcement for Director of the Writing Center and U of HI, Hilo, well…

She had a moment of intense wonderment and anticipation. Could IT really happen? Could her dream of living and working in Paradise, the place where she feels most at home in the world, really happen?

But then, reality set in. It was a REAL job. With a REAL application process. And then if she were hired, well, she’d have REAL Responsibilities.


PP doesn’t really want to work. This has been established over and over again. All she wants to do is swim and write and play piano.

So, she’s torn. To apply or not apply?
That is the question….

To which, The Lovely I had some very profound insight to offer on their way to the pool yesterday. Leave it to her to ally PP’s guilt about her lack of ‘ambition.”

“You just have Horizontal Ambition,” The Lovely I had pronounced after PP finished narrating her quandary re: the U of HI job.
“Horizontal Ambition? I like the sound of that,” PP had grinned, picturing the many horizontal ambitions she likes to partake of.
“Yes. I’m the same way.”
Of course she is, PP thought to herself, “What is Horizontal Ambition exactly?”

“Well, I have this friend and he was just like the rest of us way back when in college and didn’t seem to have any ambition but then he got into this business and then…..” Here is where PP spaces out a bit with the business talk. She doesn’t follow it too well. Maybe this is part of her Horizontalness?

“…..anyway,” The Lovely I was to the essential part now, PP could tell by the tone of her voice, “ he’s this big success now and runs this company and (PP could be making this part up, but you get the idea) and so when I told him about how I’m downsizing my Art Career, did I tell you that?”

“Yeah, I think so. You were gonna treat it more like a hobby?” PP didn’t really understand this, but got the idea that the Lovely I’s Art Career was costing her more than making her in many different avenues of her life and so she was going to make it less of a business and more of what? A Hobby? That sounds so not serious, doesn’t it? And the Lovely I is very serious about her Art, so maybe this isn’t really what it means. Again, the Horizontal Ambition may be the very explanation PP is searching for.

“Exactly!” The Lovely I exclaimed as she turned into Mills Parking lot and headed toward the pool. “So when I was telling this business friend about my Art Career he told me that there’s a name for this, and it’s called Horizontal Ambition. You know how usually Ambition is seen as Vertical. That you’re climbing UP the ladder to success? Well, Horizontal is more of a sideways approach. It’s a broadening of your skill set, instead of climbing UP for new ones.”

”AH….” PP nodded. Of course! She had tons of Horizontal Ambition. Her improvs around Chopin’s Nocturnes. Her residency at the Mary Anderson Center. Her using the big fins more to swim longer without hurting her neck as much.

All Horizontal!

It made perfect sense. So now, when PP is faced with the Vertical Ambition of this job for the Director (VERY VERTICAL!) of the Writing Center at U of HI in Hilo, she has to take her natural Horizontalness into consideration. Vertical is so not her! She likes the prone position for so many reasons. Swimming, of course is profoundly horizontal. Gliding along on the water’s surface. Kicking on her back watching the white puffy clouds float in off the bay over Mills Pool. Streaking through the lane, big fins on, her arms reaching out, stretching over the water.

All Horizontal.

Not to mention the horizontalness of her other activities that she so enjoys.

She’ll leave these to your imagination.

In the meantime, she shall try to stretch her Verticalness to at least write the goddamn letter to U of HI about how she meets their minimum/desirable criteria for her dream job.

If only she could perform her Director Duties in a hammock under a palm tree….

Now there’s an Ambition she could get Very Vertical About!


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