Now Playing: Choking on Cufflinks w/Michael Goodstein (wfmu.org)
The worst states of being for me are boredom and numbness. I?m trying to avoid both, but the monotony of a never changing, everyday routine makes it increasingly difficult. And when the changes do come your way and they look as if they may not be for the better, the built-in anesthesia immediately goes to work. If you live or work in or near a city like New York City, the numb candy gets injected into your skin after a while. I don?t know if it can be avoided. It?s part of the survival mechanism that?s necessary to exist amongst the denizens of the urban jungle.
Change is inevitable. It can be good, necessary, irritating, just plain frightening, or a combination of some or all of the elements. Autumn?s peeking over summer?s shoulder, and while I appreciate the cooler temps, changing leaves, and picturesque road trips, the season has become this yearly reminder that I better get ready for the deep chill of winter. Only a few days before September is here: back to school, back to work, back to the routine, back to being busier than you already were, back to having more people wanting to take your time and energy in various increments. I know I shouldn?t expect such scenarios, but the patterns of my life since January of last year have informed me when I need to brace myself.
It?s been a week since Beth?s last day of work at CNA. She?s currently gearing up for the fall semester at Hunter College. She is now a teaching adjunct preparing to take her first crack at shaping young minds. At the same time, she also needs to finish up a pair of term papers hanging over her head since the previous semester. It?s the career change she always wanted to make, but never wanted to actually go through because she knew that the adjustment period would be rough. I?ve been living that reality for at least a year and a half now.
The idea that I?m the main breadwinner of the home just kills me, especially considering that I?m making half of what I used to make?doing something that I absolutely despise doing. Come September 15th, I will have been here a year. I?m almost 31 years old and I have an entry-level position in a customer service department. This CAN?T be my life. I keep wondering how the annual review?s going to go. It?s not that I haven?t done my job. I have ? quite well. How could I not when I?m dangerously overqualified? So the question remains: how do I get through the upcoming review without letting on that I?m bored to tears, that I?ve been considering other possibilities, that I consider clipping electrodes to my nether regions a more pleasurable alternative?
Okay, maybe that?s going too far, but you get my point. I?m here because it was the only opportunity made available to me after 6.5 months of not working. This isn?t a first choice, it isn?t even a last choice, it is what it is. And nothing more. If it wasn?t for God?s grace and a constant stream of music at my cubicle, I?d go completely mad. Like I said, boredom and numbness are zones I can?t afford to go into.
The war of economics that I fight daily just got more intense. I?m trying to figure out how bills are going to be paid from now on. When your inflow is considerably less than your outflow, it?s like battling a monster with a pair of barber shears. Maybe you?ll get close enough to actually cut off an ear, only to have it grow back within a few weeks? time. Still, I?m reminded that things could be far worse every time I take my lunch break and step out for some fresh air.
Within a few blocks of my office, the faces change but the scenario remains the same. A person sits on the sidewalk, head down, their worldly possessions in a knapsack, and their sign on display explaining their plight. New faces appear every week along my walk to the park. There are days I think they all rotate positions every so often. Hard times don?t discriminate; clearly all shades have been affected. I?ve seen a brother roam these streets with headphones, pontificating about various homemade theories with random passersby. There?s a sister a few doors down from where I work who wears a winter hat and jacket all year round with denim jeans, one leg rolled up to the kneecap. Her words are coarse and unforgiving as she carries several grocery bags around, their contents concealed from the multitude that hustle and bustle along East 21st Street, cell phones permanently attached to the sides of their heads.
I look at all of these people in these unfortunate circumstances, think about how many others there are in this city, and wonder when the NYPD will begin tucking them away?just in time for the Republicans to take over Gotham.