Life After Lay Off: Week 4
You begin to try and embrace the lay off as an opportunity, but even though you know you will eventually find a job you love, and that you will likely make much more money; you still have to face down the pile off bills that arrive daily.
Unless, like me, you find it all too much and shove all of your unopened mail and scattered paperwork into a box which you then shove into the corner by your desk.
When your cell phone beeps with new messages you don’t want to face you toss that into the box too. Eventually you dump the contents of your purse; the grocery receipts, unread newspapers, the note your neighbor left on your door, appointment reminder cards, the shopping list, and your planner into the box too.
The box becomes your enemy.
You discover that Law & Order is on some channel at almost any time of day and there are actually still episodes you’ve never seen. You start watching The View. You try to watch Rachel Ray , but turn her off mid-show and wonder why the hell she is so popular. Your cats start avoiding you because you are too needy even for them. You surf the internet and lose hours of your life to learning about obscure cultures and people you will never meet. You avoid the grocery store for so long that you eat frozen peas for dinner more than once. You play with your robots, organize your photo albums and rearrange your closets.
Anything to avoid real life.
Finally your son gently points out that you haven’t left the house in over a week, so you get dressed and go to the grocery store.
But you’re afraid to spend money because for the first time ever it’s a finite resource. You grab the necessities like milk and bread. As you’re heading for the check out you pass the peanut butter crackers. You used to keep these in your desk drawer for those days when you worked through lunch. Your tears catch you off guard.
Suddenly everything in the whole freakin’ grocery store reminds you of work. Pop Tarts you bought because a co-worker liked them, the bakery where you used to pick up the birthday cakes, the orange juice you kept in the work fridge for those afternoons when you were sick of caffeine, , even the magazines you used to justify buying because you knew all the gals at work would enjoy them too.
So you budget your necessities and carry out a single re-usable bag rather than the dozen you're used to loading into the trunk. You look at the gas gauge and decide that even though you have less than a quarter tank left you're not going to stop and fill up. You consider it money saved. On the way home you stop by the cell phone store and switch to a cheaper plan.
You pass the intersection by your house where the bums sit with signs and solicit money from the cars that have stopped at the red light. You wonder if just anyone can sit there, or if bums are like hookers who lay claim to a specific street corner and have pimps who will beat you for working their territory. You wonder if anyone would recognize you if you wore a wig.
Something has got to give!