The Unemployment Diary Part 7: Like Father, Like Daughter
It’s been almost a year since we last read about Rod Bunt’s misadventures in unemployment. Have no fear – he’s still as unemployed as ever, but how long can you write about sitting on your ass until it goes from utterly hilarious to utterly sad? Luckily, a new development in the Bunt family has allowed us to bring back everybody’s favorite series about life in the 99 percent… Angela just got laid off! Check out the 7th installment in our Unemployment Diary series and the first contribution from Angela, who’s slowly realizing that maybe life as a starving artist isn’t as glamorous as it’s cracked up to be.
A few Mondays ago
Besides being stripped of employment, I was also subsequently stripped of my iPhone and laptop. So now I’m sitting in an Internet cafe five blocks from my apartment, the salty sweat from the day’s 95-degree heat drying on my sundress. In the background Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” plays softly, followed by everybody’s favorite “Call Me Maybe.” I look at the fish tank that sits on top of the bookshelves that separate the room and notice that Guppy #1 is lifelessly floating at the water’s surface, and Guppy #2 isn’t looking so hot either.
Between two Mozilla browser tabs I toggle my Gmail and my Facebook, waiting for the messages and notifications that never come. I waste four dollars worth of time doing this, which in Internet cafe-land is equivalent to an hour and a half. I guess time really is money, especially when you’re unemployed. I’m determined to not take another job in advertising and finally become a wildly successful writer. It only takes an hour of looking through job listings for all of my confidence to dwindle and before I know it I’m browsing part time advertising jobs and then before I know it I’m back on Facebook playing Words With Friends. I end up paying the clerk nine dollars for four hours of web surfing, which is funny if you consider that at my old job I was basically getting paid to surf the web for nine hours. As I exit the cafe I tell the guy working that I think his fish is dead, and he laughs. “No, seriously dude, I think your fish is dead.”
Many days following that Monday
I carve out a nice routine for myself in the morning. I wake up around 10 A.M., make coffee and eggs, and spend about two hours reading. First I finished “The Hunger Games” series, and now am halfway through “American Psycho.” Perhaps the themes of murder and gore aren’t the best for an idle brain, but I think it keeps my mind agile. After reading, I head down to the Internet cafe and spend a few hours applying for jobs and trying to do some writing. I’ve discovered that the cafe’s playlist must be on a loop, as I’ve heard Gotye and that damn “Call Me Maybe” song at least 5,000 times since I started coming here. The fish is still dead in the tank. Later in the day I make some dinner and go for a run around Astoria Park. Rinse, lather, repeat. I guess it doesn’t seem like a lot of stuff to get accomplished in 24 hours, but I’m a slow-moving creature and like to take my time accomplishing each task. I’m kind of like a sloth.
You mean I can earn 400 dollars a week on unemployment?! Party time! Between the festivals and Phish concerts I’ve been attending every weekend for the last month, I honestly don’t see a reason to ever get a job again.
My body is seized with panic. I just paid my mom back money she lent me months ago, paid for a new Macbook, paid for a flight to California, and paid off my credit card. What’s remaining will go to my savings, but how long will that last? I frantically search for job listings – mostly unpaid editorial and writing internships – but am too frozen with anxiety to be able to write a coherent cover letter. My mind rattles off a list of things that I need but won’t be able to buy – namely a vacuum cleaner for my apartment. Between me picking at my callused feet and my roommate clipping her fingernails over the couch, our brand new carpeting looks more like a set from the movie Gattaca than a living room floor.
Today I napped from 5:30 in the afternoon until 9 o’clock at night. I figured if I slept the day away it would prevent me from spending any money. I woke up cranky, sweaty and hungry, but the only food I have is a bag of popcorn kernels which I promptly burned the shit out of on the stove. Can’t find a job, can’t even make popcorn correctly. God, I suck. I begin to weigh the pros and cons of running away to join the circus, except I don’t know how do a cartwheel and the idea of wearing a spandex suit in front of thousands of people fills me with a nameless dread comparable only to that of a gynecological appointment. I haven’t been able to buy weed in months (months = like, three weeks) and at this point the resin I’m scraping from my pipe is just resinated resin, with literally no THC properties. I’m essentially sucking on butane, yet I somehow still get the munchies and can’t control myself from eating the popcorn kernels that I blackened and charred earlier. New job possibility: drug dealer?
Will Angela run out of severance money before she finds a writing job? Will she have to return to the God-awful world of online advertising, or perhaps join the circus? Most importantly, will she ever figure out the perfect temperature at which to pop popcorn? Stay tuned for more Unemployment Diary, coming soon!