Tuesday, March 17, 2009


In the spring of 2004, I was getting burned out at my job and ready to make a move. One of my plans was, "I'll quit and stay home and write."

Fortunately, I've been blessed with common sense, and it said, "Bruno, if you quit, you will not stay home and write. You will go window-shopping every day for things you will never buy." Besides, my husband had been recently laid off from his advertising job and our apartment was 300 square feet, and Jim was, to put it mildly, a tireless conversationalist.

Although the idea of spending money when I don't know when I'll be making any causes me to break out in automatic writing, I briefly considered the idea of renting office space, or at least cubicle space. I would have a place where I could focus on whatever I needed to do, free from the distractions of listening, talking and shopping. "It's not you, honey," I'd tell my husband, "it's me. I'm undisciplined."As if I'd really get away with that from someone who'd lived with me long enough to know I alphabetized my socks.

Unfortunately, Jim was diagnosed with advanced cancer shortly after, and the same common sense said "you'd better hold onto this job until you see what's gonna happen."

Now, deposited gently on the shores of Layoff Land, I'm again considering renting a little space. For one thing, space in New York is considerably easier to get than it was in 2004. More importantly, it may help supply me with the structure I need, now that the one imposed by a 9 to 5 job has been yanked out from under me. I'd have a reason to get up at 6:30 and put on business casual instead of typing in my sweats watching "What Not To Wear."

It's definitely on the list, the one headed "The Economy Is Falling Apart Anyway, So It's Okay to Join the Circus." It remains to be seen whether I do it as an individual or a business, use it as a launching pad to search for another staff job or go out on my own. Or perhaps I'll just stop alphabetizing my socks and make the next move, and let things sort themselves out as they will.

"a tireless conversationalist" ... what a great way to put it. Gene was exactly the same way! I enjoyed the long commute to/from work and would get up before five just to have some quiet time. Companionable silence can be relaxing. Participating in constant conversation or being the engaged audience at all times can wear you out. But the other option ... well, it's a little too quiet without them, isn't it?
LOL! Yeah, the first night Jim wasn't here, it sounded as if there was negative sound in the house.

The hole in the sound was gradually filled by me and the cats and our lives, but it was really echo-ey at first.
I've always relied on tv to provide background noise. I don't even think about it now, but early on was painfully aware that I was picking whatever I wanted to watch and never again had to watch something just because it was part of the compromise.

Thirty years ago, I heard a singer performing on the local college campus. Even though we weren't to meet for another 20 years, I know that Gene attended that same event with his then wife. All that to say this ... it hasn't happened in a while, but yesterday I was trying to remember something about that evening and it crossed my mind to ask Gene. I didn't cry but tears welled up and my nose stung hard. I'm at 3 1/2 years now. Although there's still a lot to miss, thank goodness it's gotten easier.
The past two weeks have reminded me how much losing your job has in common with the death (or terminal diagnosis) of a loved one. At first you're in shock, then it sinks in and your head is racing: "What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?"

And then the very air hurts so bad and you can't breathe, and you have a lump in your throat and you lose your appetite. Finally, you get your thoughts together and find help and start eating again, but you've dropped half a pants size. (Okay, I knew there had to be something positive about it.)
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