Here be some thoughts on the minutiae of life, fucks.
The truly unfortunate thing about being unemployed is that it is so terribly, achingly similar to being jobless. And yet, it lacks the arcadian feeling of joblessness. The grass is green, and you can read a book lying down on it, sure. But you feel like you’re in a time lapse video and winter is coming like a wave and its going to turn that green grass into yellow strings of ex-grass in no time.
For those of us unfortunate enough to not have enough money to last our lives comfortably, being jobless is something that happens mainly in college. After college or whatever form of higher education one chooses to pursue, joblessness comes in small spurts – you get a jobless weekend, you get a jobless evening, you may even get a jobless week for a vacation.
The only long term joblessness one can get post collegiate life is if one decides to be a kept person – you know, someone pays for your apartment, and buys your clothes and food out of the kindness of their private parts, wink wink, nudge nudge. And believe me, the thought has occurred to me. There are several ways of being a kept person. You could be married, you could be what is generally known as a “mistress”, or you could just be a very demanding person in a relationship. I personally think I would be suited for being a mistress, though I could settle for marriage if its logically necessary. Either way, there’s no shame in any of the three choices. As Sherman T. Potter once said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. And the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”
I have also considered the fact that I will be a very good prostitute/ mistress so long as its one of those high class deals where I decide who and when and where and how much. You know, the pretty woman way. Think about it – I’m great at the rumpy pumpy, I demand nothing in terms of emotions as long as I’m not involved emotionally, I don’t go around expressing feelings like a loose cannon (most of the time), and I am just a delight to have around the house. At least I delight myself most of the time.
But all of this, of course, was in theory. To begin with, I’m in a new city. Well, an old city, but Bombay’s new for me. The point is, I’m not even sure where one would begin to prostitute oneself. Is one supposed to find a club frequented by men going through menopause? Or are there certain neighborhoods that cater to the unloved and lusty? Who knows?
Then of course, there’s the fact that I’m too lazy to actually go about acquainting myself with the in and outs (so to speak) of a whole new profession, especially if said profession involves a lot of standing around in uncomfortable clothes. Third, I kind of had things in the pipeline when I started out with the unemployment so there was really no need to seriously consider prostitution.
But I was unemployed for a whole month. It was simultaneously relaxing and petrifying.
It was relaxing not having to wake up at 8:30 in the morning. It was petrifying to wake up at 1 in the afternoon, realizing that that’s another day when you did nothing in life.
It was amazing not deciding what to wear in the morning, but when at 6 in the evening, you’ve to tuck your T-shirt between your underboob and your torso because you’re braless, its kind of a sobering thought that you spent the whole day hunched over your laptop and that at 25, your posture is not going to be good for the future of your breasts.
It’s fantastic to stay up late not caring about alarms and such, but night-time is the worst time when you have such gems of thoughts as “Holy crap, you’re never going to find a job. You’d better arrange to die soon for the burden you are on the earth.” Of course, when those thoughts occur to you, its good to write them down for posterity, and then move on to the next funny show or movie you have with you.
But there is some beauty in the joblessness of unemployment. You can meet your friends when you want. You can read whenever you want. You can be available for emergencies. You get to clean your house more often. And more to the point of where I’m going, being unemployed really makes you think about working hard. And hold on to your capitalist horses, because this is not going to be one of those pieces on the limitless ecstasy of a hard day’s work, if there be such a thing.
I moved to Bombay five months ago, and people here love working hard. They also love talking about working hard. Especially if you mention that you have no interest in appearing to be available for work at 6 in the morning just to impress someone, you will immediately get told by your mid-level superior that he/she once appeared available at 5.
Its basically the work equivalent of you telling someone your dog died, and having them tell you that that’s nothing compared to their horse dying the week before.
How the hell is your miserable life and pathetic choices supposed to encourage me to make the same pathetic choices you did? Believe me, it does not. Every time I see a 28 year old who looks closer to 40 than 30, I shudder and hope I have the temerity to quit before I join the ranks of the zombie work force.
I love this city. It’s charming, has some beautifully well-worn buildings, leaves you alone when you want to be alone, and in the right places, is full of people who are often fun to hang out with. When it comes to work culture, however, Bombay romanticizes exhaustion to the point of … exhaustion.
Being passionate about one’s work is a privilege. Most people in the world don’t get to pick work that they’re passionate about. Most people do the work that needs doing, from being bankers and accountants to garbagemen and housewives. For those of us who have the privilege of having an education that teaches us to think beyond the obvious, and the even greater privilege of earning a living outside of the obvious, perhaps there is something to working hard.
But even so, I place more premium on being marginally healthy, getting to read a certain amount of books and watch a certain number of shows and movies, and being able to meet people I give a turd about. I suppose I’m just not an ambitious person. As long as I like what I’m doing, I see no need to torture myself with how big I want to be while doing it. And I certainly don’t understand institutions that seem to think that only those who want to be on top should be anywhere. The world depends on people in the middle. Why is a normal life, lacking in fame and fortune and making a name for yourself, such a terrible thing?
Of course, these are the thoughts that run through my head when I’m unemployed. Starting December, I am employed, and as such I suspect I will have more interesting things to think about, like pleasing my superiors beyond question (is someone from the new work place going to read this?), or what to wear in the mornings or panicking about how I’m going to balance working with thinking about a blog topic every week.
Yes, the weekly schedule is back on, I promise with a rising sense of dread. I shall have to post something every week on penalty of telling a terrible/ embarrassing secret, and believe me, over the year and a half of my absence, I have amassed a few. As per usual, I suspect the telling of embarrassing secrets, or thinking about them, will fuel posts where I have nothing to say. Such has been life, and such it will be, no doubt.
As for why I have been absent, I choose to keep that information to myself for the time being. Its got a lot to do with feeling blue, and possibly black, and its terribly boring and self-indulgent for me to talk about it, so I shan’t. Also, believe you me, its been done to death.
Overall, I’m aiming for the coming posts to be better than this one. This one, I would give about a 4 out of 10. I’m rusty, but I have to start somewhere. Whatever’s next will hopefully be funnier and more relevant. Or you know, I have reached the height of my potential and should give up on life.