Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Knock Knock Knockin' on Unemployment's Door

For the past year and a half, I've been a fairly quiet presence at my office. Diligent and nice, but nobody's best friend. None of my co-workers have been invited to my upcoming wedding and I secretly pray that they won't throw me one of those awkward work bridal showers where I have to hug people, most of whom I've only physically touched once before, when we shook hands at our first meeting.

For all of these reasons I never considered these people to have any great impact on or significance in my life (despite spending 40+ hours a week with them). That was up until now. This evening as a few people gathered around my cubicle and we contemplated together 11am tomorrow morning, the hour when the pink slips are rumored to be handed out, I felt oddly attached to these "strangers." When someone tossed out the idea of a group lunch tomorrow, something I normally dig into my lengthy excuse bank to avoid, I practically leaped out of my chair with excitement. I think I may have shouted, "Great idea! I'm in!"

Call it nostalgia. Call it melancholy. Call it what you like, but I am going to miss this job and miss these people. Of course I will get angry and call them up to trash talk the company. They'll listen and grunt in quasi-agreement. They'll still be employed there. Employed at a place that's not so bad at all. A place I am going to miss. A job I am going to miss.

What I mean to say is I am going to miss having a job. After I cheerily agreed to lunch plans (under the auspices that whoever is still employed buys) I began my walk home and started to really miss the idea of having a job. A glance to my left brought Saks 5th Avenue into my field of vision and a glance to my right showed me J. Crew. I trudged slowly along trying to avert my eyes from Ann Taylor, The Gap and Aerosoles...all stores I generally didn't like to shop at anyway, because I prefer "quality pieces." Only today I stared longingly at the white button down and khakis on the mannequin in the gap window because I can't buy that tacky outfit even if I wanted to.

Still on my positive I'm-going-to-seize-this-opportunity-for-a-new-start kick, I began brainstorming all the fabulously creative ways I'm going to save money and how I'm going to do it while maintaining the same level of faux-chicness I've spent so long cultivating.

There are some things I am going to miss desperately, like my gym membership at my glorious gym. I talk about my gym the way people talk about their dogs and their children. "You should see how gorgeous my gym is. My gym is so much nicer and cleaner than the other gyms in the neighborhood. Would you like to see my gym?" I love my gym so much I prefer it's large, warm inviting shower to my own. Club H, I will miss you.

But even though I will miss certain things so much that you will be able to smell the desperation to have them back wafting off of me, I'm beginning to figure out how I will survive. I will replace swank nights out and fancy bottles, with dive bars and cheap wine. I will become that struggling actor I always secretly admired from afar. I will suck it up and eat carbs, because it's cheaper cooking with carbs. I will give up the gentle hands of my treasured nail tech, Aida, and do my own at-home pedicures.

Of course I feel guilty even thinking that I am going to be living a hard life because I have to paint my own toes, but we all get used to a certain lifestyle. All I can hope is that some hard work and positivity can give me a new one. One that makes my old lifestyle look like crap. One where I shop on the 3rd floor at Saks, not the 5th. Maybe this is the kick in the ass I've always needed, but I can't be sure.

Talk to me in a month when I'm bloated from eating bread and squeezing into my old clothes, because I can't afford to by new ones. Then I'll tell you how this "opportunity" turned out.

We'll see.

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