Advice from Space: An Introduction
This is the first of the messages you will receive from me. I am beyond very happy to be communicating with you through the magic of satellites. I reach to you from a distance of 238,900 miles, in a space machine just to the left of the moon (your perspective). I have been here for four months. Having read eight times over all the romance novels that fit into my suitcase, I seek another diversion—the diversion of your problems.
Each week, I will offer advice on the daily matters of life on Earth that once worried and consumed me, as I hope they worry and consume you. My advice, though not legally liable nor prosecutable, will, I anticipate, be helpful to you as you navigate the life you are living and the literature and art you are creating. Trust me—I’m solid.
Truthfully, the days can be pretty bleak here, as they are 100% indistinguishable from night. I treasure the idea of your letters, and I’m sure I will also treasure the idea made real of your letters.
Am I qualified? No. Am I enthusiastic? Oh, yes. Submit your questions at this link and I will aim to address one each week.
Missing you every moment,
Advice from Space
And now for the first installment—about The Workplace, one of many places I have not seen in some time. I am eminently primed for this.
Dear Advice from Space,
I recently got a promotion at work—and now I find myself in the awkward position of, well, bossing my friends around at work. How can I be straight with them, tell them to do things they don’t want to do, etc., but not damage our friendships along the way?
Dear Hesitantly Bossy,
Here in Space, I am an indoor housecat.
Almost every day, I go to the front door of my spacecraft and ask myself to be let out. I meow and meow and run in a circle to demonstrate this point. As a captive, I know where my freedom is: out that door. But with my only remaining diversional reading materials consisting of Cats for Dummies and my spacecraft manual, I also know that out that door is my certain demise.
Hesitantly Bossy, your life is not what you want. You want to be able to live as a newly-emancipated cat, but you are better served by embracing your captivity.
It’s weird to supervise, and weird to be supervised. Both are uncomfortable states of being. But really the persons who must be the bigger persons are the supervisees/friends, not you. If they want to make it difficult, that is a reflection on their characters(es). If they make it easy, likewise.
Four months alone in space has left me, at times, gruesomely lonely. I’m under closed-circuit observation, and before I left on my mission, I was friends with one of the people who now observes me. To the camera, I have said some things—alleged some things—for which I harbor heavy regret. In actuality, I do have confidence in the control team’s intellect, and no one in particular smells like bleu cheese. I expect that when I return, my observer may wish to be less friendly with me.
Hesitantly Bossy, the fundamental operation of your relationships has changed. You can no longer confide in your coworkers about how great/awful your job is or how great/awful their colleague is, or how desperately you want in/out of your industry. You can’t give them your traditionally inappropriate Happy Birthday cards and then deliver the annual anti-harassment training. At work, you have to do work things, and interact with your friends in work-ways. It’s mighty hard to then put on your friend-face, ignoring what you or they may have said in moments of workplace despair.
As a human who writes or arts or reads or dabbles, you have to make choices about how you live your life, and what takes priority. Can these friendships evolve into good, new-form friendships, or are they tense, stale-air exchanges?
Expecting your relationships to stay the same is like being an indoor-only spacecat asking over and over to be let out. It should probably not happen, and wanting it will only make you sad.
Advice from Space
In need of advice best answered from Space? Submit your question here.