I’m not sure I like this unemployment stuff. Prior to this week, I always thought pink slips were something you treated yourself to at Victoria’s Secret. And I thought a “reduction in force” was something Julia Child used to do to evaporate all that wine she threw in her cassoulet toulousain.
So here I sit, after 16 years with the company, unemployed, a little bit in shock, and being haunted by that phrase “be careful what you wish for.” I always dreamed of not having to trudge to an office every day, with time to write, draw, garden, sleep and cook. I wasn’t careful what I asked for.
So I am now the dream wifey at home that The Mister may or may not have wished for all these years. Strangely, I feel like my life just went into reverse. I am now allowed to stay at home with a child – albeit a child of 22. I get to see her take her first inebriated steps, say “mama” [when she asks me for the bottle of Tylenol for her hangover], and wipe that blotch of blush off her face with my licked, wet finger…just like back in the good old days. And although my man child is now full grown and out of the house, I’m still waiting for him to marry me.
All this daytime life force surrounding me is very unfamiliar territory. The last daytime television show I watched was the soap opera, Dark Shadows. And I’m pretty sure all those actors and actress-wannabes are now at the Motion Picture and Television Fund Country House Retirement Home. I’ m just now realizing that Ellen is gay, that I can shop from home, and that they now make pads with wings. Guess I can throw out that sanitary belt now.
This has also put a strange twist in my relationship with The Mister. Why, just the other night, he actually asked me to take out the trash. I’m not sure I’m gonna like this Domestic Diva stuff. I actually caught myself making the bed in the morning the other day, since I wasn’t rushing to get out the door, yanking velcro rollers out of my hair, and cursing at the parakeet asking him where my keys were.
There are a few things I really miss about the office. The most important, of course, being the snack box in the kitchen that the one gal used to bring in (her side job). I’m learning that a day without Cheetos and Oreos is like a day without sunshine. But I made up for it yesterday as I downed a whole entire wheel of brie and half a box of Wheat Thins. Take that, Costco Girl!
Sometimes I think God invented layoffs to teach us that we are becoming too complacent. Our brain sometimes needs to be triggered to start thinking outside the cubicle box. I did so many things in a rote manner at work that I’m having to retrain myself like a child learning to walk. I really need to learn to stop dialing “9” before making outbound calls to Purple Hearts to pick up my used suits. I programmed my voice mail to say I’m either on the phone or away from my desk, which really means I’m stuffing my face down in the kitchen or I’m filling out unemployment forms, so f*ck off.
Although I enjoy shopping, I still haven’t gotten over the guilt of sauntering through – oh, Target, let’s say – in a leisurely manner, without looking at my watch. My daughter and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane the other day and went and oooed and awwwwed in the Barbie aisle. Wow, things have changed. There were Asian Barbies, Plastic Surgery Barbies with Removable Silicone Bewbies, and Barbies that came with lots of new accessories – AK47s, complete with polka dot belt straps, burkas in an array of colors, and more Louboutins than you could shake a Dr. Scholls foot pad at. I couldn’t help but think I need to write to Mattel, though, and suggest a Mz. Statistic Barbie, one who’s unemployed yet confident, who would come with a transitional 401(k), a COBRA package in a snakeskin folder and food stamps. Meh, I guess moms would hate all those stamps laying all over the toy room.
Since I can’t get into my office email anymore, I’m resorting to following friends and families on Facebook once again. But, like daytime television, I see not much has changed. I’m still being asked What Cheap Ass Beer Are You? But there does seem to be a lot of farmers on Facebook now. WTF?
So, for now, I’ll just have to treat this like a little mini-vacation, let the dust build up on my alarm clock, and lounge around watching television and eating bon bons.
Oh, wait, there’s laundry to be done. Are they still separating coloreds from whites???
To be continued….