Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unemployment: A Love Poem

How was my writing week, you ask? Well, in a word, it was fan-freaking-tastic.

A partial list of what I got done in my five free days:
- I cleaned out the bathroom cabinet and finally threw away those humiliating Slim Shots I bought during one especially low and vulnerable trip to Wallgreens.

-I made lentil stew so that I would not waste the bone from the pork shoulder I bought to make "shot-and-a-beer" pork. Very thrifty.
-I wrote about 30 pages of fiction, which is more than I've written in the last six months.
-I threw a potluck brunch for the neighborhood collective.
-I went running (everyday).
-I submitted two short essays to Babble.
-I gracefully received two rejections from Babble.
-I accepted a freelance gig.
-I submitted a short essay to the New York Times.
-I, together with the Mister, cleaned out the garage. Trips to the dump were made. It was awesome.
-I translated some immigration paperwork for my kids' wonderful daycare teacher.
-I played with my kids
-I hung out with the Mister.

Three times this week I have paused—I'm in bed or at breakfast, maybe I'm alone in the car—and had the surprising and utterly distinct feeling of contentment. Not the absence of complaint (which, for me, would be surprising enough) but the presence of contentment. A bodily feeling of contentment.

It's weird I tell you. So weird that I do this mental scan, looking for things that might be wrong. And, nope, nothing bugs me. I'm like the Dali Lama over here. Frankly, it gives me the jitters.

I am reading the amazing and wonderful novel Olive Kitteridge right now and there is a line in which one of the characters says, "I wonder what it was that made her so distrust happiness?" and it sticks in my memory because it is the only line thus far that has rung absolutely false.

Doesn't everybody distrust happiness? Isn't that what happens when you live into adulthood? It's absolutely just a fact that happiness, like the common cold, is fleeting and reoccurring. You're up. You're down. It's just the way of the world. And I'm ok with that.

From here

What gives me the willies are the days upon days of total contentment. Nothing is wrong. I love everyone (well, except the Republican members of congress and Sarah Palin). And really, it can only be one thing: unemployment. And let me tell you, if I had had even the least inkling of how great it would be to lose my job, I would have done it a long time ago. Like this guy. He might be on to something.

On a completely different note: There is still time to enter the "guess the date of the first egg" contest (I really should have come up with a snappier name). So far, we've got nothing, so you could still get lucky.


Sarah Kirley said...

What in God's name is a slim shot?

Up Mama's Wall said...

It's embarrassing to admit but it's a little creamer-thingy that you are supposed to eat to curb your appetite. I think it's coconut oil in a creamer. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

good for you relishing the up side of unemployment. curt seems too stressed to enjoy and I try to keep reminding him...I had to carry for 9 months and deliver babies to get off a summer. I'm a firm believer in everything happens for a reason so ENJOY your time.

Up Mama's Wall said...

I feel I must add that unemployment benefits coupled with some freelance work and a cheap co-op nursery school are relieving the financial burden. It would be a very different story if we were feeling stressed about money right now.

Anonymous said...

Time will always be better than money.

Simply Mel said...

Who ever thought unemployment could be painted with such happiness!?! I love it!

molly said...

Your description of slim shots is so so very upsetting. I think you might be so happy because you threw them out. I'm going to rest easier knowing they are no where near you....

Petunia Face said...

That photo is the bees knees awesome. And so is unemployment, I completely agree (if I didn't have to worry about money and benefits blah).

Thanks for coming to the event the other night. You look exactly the same beautiful glamorous as you did in the 7th/8th grade :)

Congrats on the 30 pages!

CSchoech said...

What's up with your chickens?! Any eggs??? Must be laying by now...

George said...

Interesting post... I can see that you put a lot of hard work on your blog. I'm sure I'd visit here more often. George from love poem.

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