The Unemployment Diary Part 2: Now What?
…As you already know, Dear Reader, I’ve been canned, sacked, terminated, booted, let go, boned in the ass, as they say. My former employer, the mayor, was decent enough to let me save face by submitting a letter of resignation in which I stated that I was going on to bigger, better things, like dumpster diving and geriatric male prostitution.
I’m trying not to wish the worst for him. It’s easy at this time. I supported his candidacy and I feel that he has the city’s best interests at heart, but as grinding poverty and grocery shopping at the dollar store (Yum- Argentinian pork rinds for dinner!) start to become a part of my life, I may feel differently.
Even the Lord rested on the 7th day, so give me a break here. There were Netflix movies, food and drugs involved.
It’s a Monday morning. I spring out of bed and step on a cat, which happens a lot in my house. Willie the Hound, and the felines, Esteban and Lucille, are attached to Rochelle and me- both emotionally and physically. Wherever we go in the rooms of our house there’s a chance of tripping over a cat or stubbing a toe on a dog.
Mixed in with my thoughts of worthlessness and self-loathing on this back-to-work day for most of the population is a secret wild joy that resonates in my chest- something barely contained- a feeling that I wouldn’t dare express to Rochelle, the working half of this married duo. I’m free today. Free.
It’s a shitty, sleety March morning and I don’t have to soak my dress shoes by slogging through sleet to go into a messy little office and jam my shoulder against an insurmountable boulder of work in an attempt to roll it up a steep hill.
I don’t have to stand in my closet in my boxer shorts and choose between one of my six pairs of 3-year-old Dockers and barely match them to a shirt that almost goes, and then don this getup, because that’s what I wear, and that’s me and that’s been my costume as Tourist Director in Shirt Sleeves in this small town for the past 10 years. Well, for good or for ill, that isn’t me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I might have to go the not-quite-dressed up, but done up well enough for an office route again, depending on what job I get, but right now, I get to put on a pair of well-worn, well-loved jeans, yank a baseball cap over my head and get on with my day.
Rochelle of course, still a prisoner of The Man, has to negotiate this weather and go to her job today, just like the rest of the crowd feeding the insatiable beast of the Capitalist Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. But at least I can make her work preparations a little easier. A breakfast egg, wrapped in foil, a ride to work if she wants in a pre-heated automobile, a drop-off at her front door.
And now some chores. Might as well be useful around the house, if I can’t earn a wage. I’m going to have Willie Raylan’s nail’s clipped, clean up around the house and complete some other domestic, ignored tasks. Of course, a large part of the unemployed person’s day is the chores of getting employed again. Unless the spirit of Charles Bukowski comes down from the heavens and inhabits my psyche and I begin to turn out pounds of salable essays, poems and stories, I’m going to have to get a job. So today will include contacting the unemployment bureau, or department of transitional assistance or whatever they call it and checking websites online with titles like “So you lost your job. What is next?”
Still Day 5
Went to the unemployment office to submit a claim. After 32 years of feeding the machine I was kind of curious to see what the machine could do for me.
…and I found out. Three hundred dollars a week after taxes. Well another man might’ve been angry. And another man might have been hurt. But another man never would’ve let her go – I stashed the bill in my shirt. But another man wouldn’t have been working for such a shitty wage for ten years. Woo Hoo! Three hundred balloons a week!!!! I practically danced out of that office. But of course, I’m a 53-year-old overweight white man, so what I consider dancing, other humans would see as a slow-motion epileptic seizure. Several people in the hallway asked if I was alright, and one elderly woman began checking me off for the seven signs of stroke.
It’s Tuesday, right? I’m thinking Tuesday. I’ll have to get a calendar or something.
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