There are art schools in New York. And Philadelphia. Pittsburgh. But Pam didn’t get into any of those. And there’s even one in Peckville that she could have commuted to, but that’s not what she wanted this to be. This was supposed to be something big. Something that proved something, and it’s so vague and already disappointing but it would be more disappointing to give up before she even gets started.
So, she accepts the offer to the Pawnee Art Institute, in a town out in Indiana that she’s never even heard of, because there’s the stupid part of her that thinks maybe her painting career’s going to put it on the map.
And that timeframe, six weeks, seems so short when compared to six weeks of answering phones, dealing with Michael, being stifled. But when she thinks about being away from Jim, of sleeping alone, looking at these walls, she has no idea what she’s even doing here.
She wants to be brave enough to just walk through town, find a quiet spot she likes, because that’s the whole point of this life changing thing, more than the art, more than anything really, the test that she can do something like this. But, she’s not ready for that yet, so she settles for walking down to the ice machine even though there’s nothing she needs to chill.
“Ben. I’m Ben,” he introduces, holding out the hand without the ice bucket.
“Pam,” she informs him, accepting the handshake.
“And what brings you to this fine temporary housing, Pam?”
“Interestingly enough, my hopes and dreams. You?”
“A really shitty job assignment.”
They share a beer outside of his room, and Pam thinks she made a friend.
She knocks on his door and asks, “Hey, you want to go grab something to eat? I’ve had a long week and you’re the only person I’ve really spoken to except that crazy lady at the front desk.”
“How many times has she asked you to watch a Sandra Bullock movie with her?”
“I’ve been here a week, and already twice.” She puts her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. “You see how much I need to get out of here.”
“One of my friends recommends JJ’s a lot. I’ll drive, if you’d like.”
“Such a gentleman.”
She gets a grilled cheese and he gets some kind of spinach omelette and a cup of chicken soup, and asks her just when exactly he’ll get to see her work.