Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Journal of the Unemployed

I know this is written in first person, and I am a woman, and I do read blogs, and I am unemployed, and I do sometimes lack the motivation to drag myself out of bed before noon on days when I have nothing to do, but this is FICTION. I'll even provide the protagonist's name, which I have just made up. Betsy. Betsy Gardner.

Maybe it's the start of something, maybe it's only a character study I'll never come back to, but here it is. Again, FICTION. In actuality, I'm much lazier and much more prone to procrastination than poor Betsy.


Know what I did today? The same thing I've been doing all summer. I got up around noon, which is early for me, made half a pot of coffee and signed online. I checked away messages. Everyone was doing something productive; they were at class, at work, at the library. I was in my pajamas, hair mussed, no bra, the very picture of success. I checked my e-mail and ignored all of the important messages.

I'll answer them later, I thought.

Next, I started reading blogs. I read a lot of them. It's kind of an addiction. I think I enjoy it because it's like reading a novel, only very slowly. I feel like I know these people. Reading a blog is like catching up with an old friend, except in this case I've never met the friend, I have no idea what their real name is, and I don't know what they look like. Still.

It took a good hour to check all the blogs, because most of them had a new entry. I wish I could find a job editing some of these blogs. Not to be rude, most of them are grammatically perfect and have already been obviously, painstakingly edited by the author, but some of them could use another run-through. I could do it. I have a degree in Journalism, anyway. I took this test once, an editing test, because I thought it would get me a job. I was so young, then, so innocent.

I normally finish my coffee before I'm done reading blogs. That's when I make lunch. Today I had a ham and cheese Hot Pocket. It was delicious, but mainly? It was cheap. I have a freezer full of them. Not just ham and cheese, of course, I do like some variety. I ate my pocket of scalding cheese in front of the computer. I finished reading blogs and checked my e-mail again. The e-mails, the ones I didn't feel like answering, were still there.

Later, I thought.

Once I finished lunch, I wandered out to the living room and turned on the TV. Nothing but soap operas, of course, but when all everything else has abandoned you, there's still Passions. Quite possibly the worst soap opera ever made, but entertaining nonetheless.

Around the time Teresa started rehashing her plans to get Ethan away from Gwen, I stood up and started pacing the apartment. This is a normal part of my day, too. It's the part where I'm hopped up on caffeine and I wonder where the hell I went wrong. I have a degree in journalism from a fairly good school. Why aren't I working?

To be fair, I did have a job at the town paper back home. Writing obits and wedding announcements. After a year and a half of this, and with no promise of promotion, I was ready to gouge my eyes out, so I took my savings and moved to Seattle. I'm still not really sure why I picked Seattle. Probably some misguided whim leftover from watching Sleepless in Seattle one too many times.

And here I am. I work at a bookstore four days a week. Enough to pay my rent (with some help from my ever-hopeful parents) and a couple of nights out. It's not that I don't want a job. I do. Very much. I've applied for jobs at publishing companies and newspapers all over Washington, not just Seattle. And nothing.

So, now I'm stuck between college and the real world. Sure, I have a job, but it's nothing to write home about. Believe me, if I found a full-time job, I would write home about it. Honestly! I already have the letter saved to my computer, ready to be printed at the first opportunity:

Dear Mom and Dad,

I found a job. You can stop asking everyone what you did wrong. See you at Thanksgiving. Your loving daughter, Betsy.

I can't wait.

It's around this time that my caffeine high wore off and I decided I should shower. So I did. Then I realized I didn't have to work today, so I slipped into another t-shirt and some yoga pants. I knew I needed to go to the grocery; the dog was hungry and I was out of Iams, but in the end I shoved some leftover chinese in the microwave and gave Bowser the rice.

After "dinner" I watched Real World reruns on MTV and fell asleep on the couch.

This is my life.

I need a real job.


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