Summer Fun. All of a sudden that familiar phrase has a totally new meaning to me.
This past Friday, I was laid off. It didn’t really come as such a shock, because well—who hasn’t been thinking it might happen to them? So now here I sit, jobless. Initially, however it was a bit of a blow and for that first thirty minutes following the announcement: “We have to let you go,” I sat on a stoop wiping away tears. (How New York, I know!) And then I looked at my watch and noticed the still early hour and said to myself, “Get up lady. You have things to do.”
It was strange yes, doing laundry—my so very un-glam must-do for the day—in the middle of the afternoon, when ordinarily I’d be at my desk scarfing down lunch so to not surpass the unwritten twenty-minute time limit that seemed to exist for the break. Standing at the dryer I picked through the jumble of freshly-bleached socks to find each lone one’s mate with no care in the world for how much time the tedious chore took to finish.
For the time being anyway, I’m a free agent. And I’ve got no one to report to but myself. Since D-Day it’s been extra-long, early-morning, sunshine-y workouts in the park, which are as glorious they are grueling, mid-day spin class, three-thirty happy hour, and in between, meandering down unknown side streets, making sun tea on my fire escape, and drinking mojitos on the roof. A sudden life of leisure, really.
There are the downsides too though. Lonely mornings that pass by silently and the tinge of sadness that comes when I think of my work family that I will no longer see every day. And it’s a life with no paycheck. Although I’ve figured out a way to survive for a brief moment, I too have already felt the sting of that reality. The other day while strolling past a string of street vendors downtown I caught a glimpse of a pretty bracelet that for a split second I felt I had to have. A small gift to myself wouldn’t put me under, so I asked the seller, “How much is that?”
“Thirty dollars,” he said back.
Thirty dollars. Hmmm. I mulled it over. Was it worth it? Did I like it that much? I mean, thirty dollars is thirty dollars. I could think it over and come back the next day if I really wanted it. So I asked him, “Are you gonna be here tomorrow?”
And shaking his head as if I’d asked him to sacrifice his first born, he replied, “Oh, don’t do this to me.”
What? Was this guy kidding me? The nerve, I thought. And surely he didn’t expect my fiery reply. “Yes or no mister?” I said back. “You can tell me if you want, but I’m not gonna take that from you. I just lost my job.” And with that I stormed off, leaving him in the dust. Pretty priceless if you ask me!
Hopefully soon enough I’ll be back in business and able to buy a thirty-dollar bracelet without worrying about cutting into my grocery budget for the week. And in the meantime, hopefully this blog will see more action. As much as I might have thought my newfound unemployment would land me at least of few weeks of life in the slow lane, I’m quite certain that won’t be the case. So much to do. So much to see. And of course, so much to write!