April 14, 2008

Oprah's Better Than I Remembered

I lasted 8 days. 8 days of unemployment in 19-20 years of employment, full time student-ship, working while in school, or for a few years there, working two jobs. I'm starting to understand where there exist so many stereotypes of women who stay at home. Technically, I got it the first week.

Thus far, in my unemployment, I've spent about 200 Euro I normally wouldn't have, not including my trip to New York. I don't think the concept of unemployment has sunk in yet. Neither do I think I am suited to this life style.

I blame my father, for whom working a half day has always meant a minimum of 8 hours at the office. This is definitely his fault, my not being able to laze around, which brings me back to bored housewives rather nicely.

My first day off, I slept in and then ran errands. Day two I used to read on the sofa and then I watched Oprah. She had Bill Cosby and some PhD on discussing why the black community needs to raise the bar on parenting standards before the absolute massacre of young black men can stop. It was fascinating but not enough to make me tune in every day. More like having lunch with an old friend; great to see her and catch up but difficult to work into the heavy rotation.

Day three I obsessively cleaned the house and by day four I was looking rather longingly at the wine stash wondering where in the world it was happy hour if it was 2:15pm in Dublin.

By Friday I was absolutely out of things to do so I went shopping. I was strong enough not to buy anything but it was rather difficult.

The weekend helped pull my head together but I'll admit, as Sunday night approached and Suzie and I sat on the sofa watching TV, the thought did dawn on me heavily: I didn't have to go to bed. I didn't have to get up in the morning and be alert. Watching deep late night TV was a strong possibility. Not a good idea, mind you, but there would be no consequences in the morning to pay. Although, watching 'Badly Dubbed Porn' might lead to some strange dreams.

So there I was, on Wednesday, nestled into a wine bar with an amusing little Sancerre (cue fluttering eyelashes here) after spending 60Euro on jewelry I probably don't need. I believe my original estimate of 200Euro is dreadfully low, being that I am traditionally crap at mental math and now only just remembering the new hand bag and the late night dinner after the fashion show on Saturday.

Yeah, I don't think unemployment suits me on many levels. But in my ridiculous defense, I do have 3 job offers and a fourth one pending, so I don't think a global recession could be measured by me.

It is a very odd experience though, this unemployment thing. I have so many choices at the moment, I find myself nearly paralyzed in the decision making process. I have a lot of variable and very few of them are in my hands. It is deeply unsatisfying for a control freak.

At the new year, I made a resolution, which I almost never do; I promised that I would actually ask for help when I needed it, rather than toughing thru everything alone. I then promptly wrenched my back hauling my suitcase up the stairs because my inner Monica Gellar didn't want to wait for Flatmate Suzie to come home and help me.

So this time, when I needed it, I asked for help. I hadn't counted on the overwhelming response. I have multiple temporary job offers in 3 separate cities, home opened up to me, references, introductions to people I'd have otherwise never have met. I feel a little like George Bailey, but without the snow.

Having options is a good thing, certainly, but having too many is damn near debilitating. And, oddly enough, humbling. I am not alone in this world, even if I often feel I am. It is an easy mentality to slip into. It takes me 3 to 4 hours to pack my entire apartment and less to unpack it. Contrast that to most of my friends who have houses, spouses and kids. I am unencumbered by such things so it doesn't really occur to me that, while I may not have put down roots in my own life, I have done so in others lives. Any move I make, for instance, affects Suzie, even if it is only delayed cash flow. Moving out altogether would be just as big a change for her as for me.

My Sunday night dinners with Paraic disappear. My spur of the moment lunches with Joe, travels with Mark and Sarah... it all changes entirely the moment I no longer live here. I spent last night in Will + Susan's kitchen, sipping wine, having dinner and realizing that there is no other place in Dublin I feel more at home in than their house. And if I move, I give that up. But, as Susan hugged me at the door while my taxi very patiently waited, she has to give that up too.

It's part of the problem with being single at this age. I forget that I mean something to the people in my life because all the people in my life come with Other. Others that always outrank me too. So I struggled to understand why Joe was yelling at me for what amounted to skulking out of town under cover of office hours.

I'm going to the US for a few months, but then I'll be back. I don't think is any big deal at all but everyone in my life seems to. They want to say good bye 'just in case'. I had forgotten that immigration out of Ireland often involves a lifetime absence. when I left Dallas for grad school in LA, my going away party was sparsely attended because everyone knew I'd be back. Back for holidays, for breaks, and after graduation. We are a mobile people in the US, so it didn't enter my mind that I leaving might mean something to someone other than myself.

So I will have a combined birthday party/ leaving do and we'll all have drinks and beautiful food and lots of hugging will be done. And then I'll hop a plane to New York and learn how to live in that city. Ironic that the people who have always been in my blog will now be the ones reading the blog to see what I'm up to.

Who could have predicted that?


D-Vaz said...

Safe travels!

Cowboyjunkie said...

Hey Beth, thanks for the Birthday wishes. I started blogging on blogspot as well. Check it out.