Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unemployment and Me: Perfect Together

Three months ago, when I was handed my pinkslip and sent on my merry way out into the world, I was all sunshine and roses about the prospect of having a few months off to clean the apartment, cook new and interesting things and spend my days tooling around NYC exploring all this city has to offer.

People warned me, "UnPlain, you're going to get bored very quickly." I had offers from everywhere to do lunch as a means of "getting me out of the apartment." People threw their Rolodexes at me in an effort to keep me busy. So afraid was I that I was going to end up eating ice cream all day every day counting the seconds until T walked in the door from work, that I started making endless lists of all the things I could do with my time. I re-upped my subscription to Time Out New York to ward off the evil monster called boredom and would even mark my Blackberry calendar with all the inane items I was going to do that day in effort to maintain a schedule.

6:30am Spin Class
8:00am Shower
9:15am Library
10:00am Saks
12:00pm Movie

You get the point.

Even better I thought, "I can write about all of the intersting things I'm going to do on UnPlain Jane!!" And I did: I walked the Brooklyn Bridge, I had Adventures in Vintage Shopping and so on. Then one morning, about a week into my unemployment, I woke up at 6am, started to get dressed for Spin Class and thought, "What in the hell am I doing?" I can either get up, go to spin early just so I have to time to force myself to do things I really don't feel like doing OR I can sleep in, eventually get up and spend two hours writing and checking email and THEN go to the gym.

That was the first day I hit snooze. And I've been hittin' that bad boy ever since. I've forgone the Blackberry calendar and now my days look something like this:

7:00am: Open Eyes
7:15am: Roll out of Bed
7:30am: Cook breakfast for husband and run down the list of things I'm going to do today for outloud for him (I do this out of self-imposed guilt that my weekly unemployment check really doesn't cut it)
8:00am: Eat breakfast and begin writing
11:00am: Gym followed by errands (duane reade, food shopping, whatevs)
2:00pm: Lunch! This is also the time I use to catch up on The Real Housewives, The City or whatever show I have to DVR because T won't watch it with me
3:00pm: Some more writing
4:00pm Oprah
5:00pm Cocktail Hour!

By the time cocktail hour is over, I've cooked dinner, set the table and T is home!

No, I didn't go to a museum or some gallery opening or meet anyone remotely interesting. Unless you count the non English-speaking greeter at CVS as interesting, which I sort of do being that it boggles my mind how this gentleman who does nothing but stand at the door all day greeting each customer with a nod, a strange, shy half-smile and mumbles a slurred together mix of Hello and Hola (hellola?) has a job and I don't.

What it comes down to is that no, I'm not bored and now that my days are peppered with recruiter-meetings, interviews, and mass emailing resumes, I'm frankly feeling at a little loss for time. I can't always go to the gym when I feel like it, I actually have to shower before I'm really ready some days and I find putting on clothes that have zippers and buttons and are not soft and snugly on the inside rather annoying. As I rode the bus home up First Ave after a job interview yesterday, I was preparing to email my husband, complaining that it was cold, the bus was taking forever and earn myself a little extra sympathy by mentioning how utterly exhausted I was from making the trip downtown.

That's when it hit me. When you have a job, you get on a bus, subway or take a long walk EVERY DAY. I quickly deleted the email realizing there'd be no sympathy for me and decided since it wouldn't come from anyone else, it was best to feel sorry for myself. Like the snow storm that slushed up the sidewalk, the prospect of employment slushed up my brain. With a job, I wouldn't be able to just go to the gym when I felt like it, I'd be tired EVERY day from just going to and from work (let alone the actual work I would do there) and I'd have to DVR Oprah knowing I'd never get the chance to watch it because it would lead to T throwing something at the TV forcing us to buy another.

Now, while most of my brain is rational and craves a job, and thus a paycheck, a small part of my brain craves a bigger chunk of the unemployment stash so I could stretch this run a little longer.
If not getting bored makes me boring, so be it, but I've found that just opening my mouth and saying whatever ridiculous thought I'm thinking to whoever is in closest proximity sparks enough entertainment to last me for a few days. Given the choice, I'd stick with that.

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