I hate being unemployed. I have been cowering under this title for a little over a month now. My ‘home office’ is a shrine to a particular type of insanity that I adopt when I have far too much idle time. At my desk I relish the few short hours of plotting and scheming before I am reminded about my harsh reality. It usually takes something seemingly insignificant to propel me back towards the sharp pavement of this middle earth. Sometimes its a song, or a plane flying overhead full of people who are going places and doing things. In fact, just yesterday, I developed an unhealthy resentment towards our mailman who carries out his duties with irritating promptness. Oh yes, that’s another thing, I wait for the mail to come. No need to reread, you saw it correctly the first time. I await the mail each day. Based on my extensive observation I have hypothesized that it arrives sometime between 3:05 and 3:26 PM. There was once a time when getting the mail was a nuisance, ‘who has time for it?’ I would say. Sometimes I would go three or four days without it to let it build up as to be more worth my time. In light of recent events it has catapulted itself to the top of my to-do list as a reason to change into actual pants for, at least, a small portion of the day.
Did you know there are 24 hours in a day? That’s a lot of hours. There never used to be this many hours… I try to budget out a good 8 hours for sleeping which makes the day slightly more manageable at 16. However, since I am no longer exercising my brain, it is capable of running on much less sleep and, realistically, I am only able to keep my eyes shut for about 6. I have developed an unfortunate condition recently called ‘hypochondria’. I googled it and the symptoms are TERRIBLE. I have them all! Over the last two hours it has crossed my mind that I might have cancer. Slipping slowly into senility does not appear to be an active symptom of cancer so I may be suffering from something else.
Around 12:05 I begin to plan what I would like to have for lunch. My options usually fall into the following two categories: Lunch that requires money and Lunch that does not. I am embarrassed to say that all this free time has not changed the way I feel about cooking. For so much pain and effort, the outcome is usually terribly disappointing. I wish to avoid the potential scenario of being unemployed, mentally ill AND malnourished all at once.
After lunch, around 1:30 I begin to scour the apartment for items to sell on Ebay. It’s amazing the kind of crap people are willing to pay shipping for! Ebay is proof that there are others like me out there. It is a cataclysmic breeding ground for the unemployed/hypochondriac types. I have successfully sold such items as a ‘well-loved’ copy of The Great Gatsby, a pack of 8 AA batteries and a pair of unopened wool high socks. I briefly consider making a career out of selling mundane items on Ebay and promptly slap myself and move on to the next of my day’s activities.
It takes about an hour for me to become utterly disillusioned with the fantasy land that is the internet and I begin the ‘learning new skills’ portion of my day. The next two hours are filled with such infuriating undertakings as learning to play guitar, ‘knitting’ and learning French. If nothing else, you can bet that when this is all over I will unapologetically pad my resume with these gems.
Around 3:00 I get dressed for my appointment with the mailman downstairs. I leisurely walk downstairs and put my key into the box. There is mail in there! A wave of elation washes over me. I am careful not to look at its contents until I have arrived back to my apartment. I take time to relish the opening of all these envelopes addressed to me. This is the highlight of my day. The mail proves that I still exist as a human being, citizen and consumer. The day that the world stops marketing its products to me will be the day it is all over.
I begin to feel better as the sun sets. This means only one thing, people are starting to get off work. I can emerge from my ‘day job’ and join the hordes of people walking around after being stuck at their desk all day. I still remember the ‘gosh I had such a long day at work today’ eye roll and use it indulgently as I pass other members of the workforce. I carry out the rest of the day like a normal human being and sip red wine while watching Lipstick Jungle on Netflix. I get back into my pajamas and enjoy the opportunity to use them as intended.
A sudden jolt of panic takes over my being as I glance towards my wall calendar to find the next day empty. It is then that I remember, I will need to get the mail tomorrow.