Thursday, June 04, 2009


Well - at least I have something to write about.

I'm at the Blue Line Coffee House, drinking an espresso and eating a baguette with butter and jam, listening to Animal Collective Feels. Yesterday, I would have been at work, but I was let go. I now share the same pain as millions of Americans and tens of millions throughout the world. I've never been laid off before.

The speech I was given and the manner I was disposed of was sharp and quick. I was given less than four minutes to clean out my cube and I was told not to make a scene. There were signs. By chance, the last book I read was And Then We Came to the End. I was too stunned to make a scene. It was like the feeling you experience when you wake up after minor surgery.

Now comes this great, vast unknown. I have a condo that I can't sell in this market. I could rent it and move to an area in the country that's more accommodating, but if it doesn't get rented, I'm sunk. I'm envisioning myself in my PJs, searching out job tip sites and forming a greater appreciation of Matlock.

The biggest obstacle is 'the fear.' I see homeless people in my neighborhood and I keep thinking how close many are to that level of despair. I think 'a few months of missed condo payments and that could be you...' I think this is a great time to really focus on freelancing, but then I hear that the average professional freelancer makes $6,000 a year. That's awesome if I lived in Egypt. I think of the areas I would like to move to - this is the perfect excuse to get out of Omaha. Then I think of the money it's going to cost for just such an act. And not having a job in a strange area is never a good thing.

But all I can think about right now is how routines change when you don't have a job. I'm at the coffee house right now and I see students enjoying their summer off. I see people who drop in for a quick pick me up before their work shift begins. And on a few discussion boards, I never thought the phrase "anyway - gotta get back to work" would elicit such a response of longing and even jealousy from me.

I have some savings. I have plenty of CDs and food in the fridge to last a while. Here begins a new chapter in my life. There are things that every adult usually goes through...their first car crash, their first divorce and, of course, their first layoff. I'm hoping this is a brief journey of discovery.

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