Walking the dog last night, I heard the crickets, a later-summer soundtrack that soothes me but also reminds me of changes to come. This morning, the sun rose later and the birds weren’t in a noisy food scavenging frenzy to feed their young. It was eerily quiet. Yeah, I know it’s not even halfway through August and I’m already thinking about autumn. I have difficulty living in the moment, particularly these days.
I can’t be truly present because all I can think about is September 1 and October 15. (And believe me, the Keebler Elves in my brain – my anxiety – will NOT let me forget. They need a fucking vacation. A lonnnng vacation, perhaps in Antarctica.) Those are the days I will get my official termination papers and my last paycheck, respectively. So I have about 70 days to find a job, and I’m scared shitless. Sigh. If only someone would pay me to write book reviews and snarky blog posts and/or be an advice columnist and/or be a secret shopper for deep-tissue massage therapists, and I’d be all set. I would’ve found employment months ago.
Ahhh yes, months ago. The day I found out, along with 60 other people, that I was finished at a company to which I had devoted, on and off and then back on, 8+ years of my working life. I work from home, as did a number of other soon-to-be-fired folks, so we were conferenced in. Yes, I got fired on a conference call, where I couldn’t see my firers faces, nor the firees who were on-site, but I could hear stifled sobs and a bit of weeping here and there. Papers nervously being shuffled on what I imagined to be a large, lacquered table, lots of coughing and throat clearing. It is a moment I will never forget. At the time, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or stick my head into a bag of potato chips (I ended up doing all three, but not simultaneously; eating chips while laughing hysterically is dangerous, trust me on this.) It was time for me to leave, honestly. I had been miserable with my job for the past two years; I just wanted to leave on my own terms, not theirs.
Fast forward to now. I don’t know where all the time has gone. I was supposed to be done in July, but my time was extended so I could work on a couple of projects. But what have I done with all the damn time? I had all these grand plans: write a novel, lose copious amounts of weight, find a cool new job, learn to knit, clean every inch of my apartment, find a cure for cancer, take trapeze lessons, finish reading What Color is Your Parachute (I realized my parachute was black about 40 pages into the book and then threw the book against the wall, where is still sits in the corner to this day), and save lots and lots of money. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that I’ve not accomplished any of those things. But I have 70 days! Seventy luxurious days to turn this all around!! (Or pick the winning PowerBall numbers.)
To pour salt into my unemployed wounds, 10/15 falls a couple of days after my birthday (yeah, yeah, I know I need to live in this moment, not one that is two months away.) One of those scary 30-something birthdays, by the way. Yay. Since I haven’t taken one vacation day all year (I’m hoarding them so I can cash them out in October), I want to take my birthday off and sit in a spa all day. I want to soak in a mud bath with cucumbers on my eyes, I want to get every square inch of my body waxed (except my lovely red hair), which will probably cut down on my razor costs while I collect unemployment. I want every blackhead removed; I want a facial that will leave my skin as soft and smooth as a baby’s behind. I want my talon-like toes to receive the best pedicure ever, the first they’ve seen in a long time. I want to cleanse myself of the angst and uncertainty of these past months. In reality, my wallet will probably only allow me a bubble bath at home, and that’s okay. Bubble baths are just as cleansing as mud baths and less messy.
I’m not the only one, though, who’s trying to scrub the salt from the wounds. Yesterday, a friend who was also laid off after a long tenure with the company, received a package in the mail. Imagine her surprise after opening it and finding a plastic – yes plastic – pyramid, sporting her name and the date (which looks like it was affixed with an iron or label-making machine) and a note congratulating her on her many of years of service to the firm. Her last day is in 70 days, too. Again, laugh? Cry? Or eat potato chips? We’re thinking of creative things to do with it; she wants to send it back. I think it would make a lovely lawn ornament or weapon (the pyramid is very pointy, it could easily take out an eye) or door stop or something to put in a time capsule. Any other ideas? We’re all ears.