Single In The Suburbs, Installment 133
After a night of passion at Ethan’s cabin, Sara’s worst fears are realized when her company announces that they are downsizing immediately. Does Sara still have a job?
To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.
n our last installment, Sara got into work late after enjoying a morning at Ethan’s cabin only to be met with terrible news: her company was downsizing… and she might be out of a job. Is unemployment looming again on the horizon?
Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.
I feel like I’m waiting for a bomb to go off. Everyone seems to feel that way. The mood is grim, and some people are actually having physical reactions to the news that we may be getting laid off. Joey in graphic design is walking around asking
everyone for Xanax. The executive assistant in the publications area is complaining of chest pains. As for me, I have this lump in my throat and spasmodic heartburn. I’m too freaked out to talk to anyone, too paralyzed to pray, and too distracted to do any work. I sit here at my desk and want to kick myself for having next to nothing in my savings account. I have nothing to cushion me if I plunge into unemployment.
|I’m suddenly and inexplicably overcome with compassion for my former tormentor.|
Wednesday, 11 a.m.
I go to the women’s restroom because I can’t stand sitting at my desk anymore. The room feels airless; the squeaking of my swivel chair — I wasn’t even aware of it before — now seems deafening. When I walk into the restroom, there are seven, no, eight women crowded inside. Two of them are crying. The other two are comforting the crying ones. Someone is in one of the stalls, retching. We can hear every gag and gurgle of her gastric turbulence. A couple of flushes later, the door swings open to reveal the puker’s identity: Charmaine S. Blith. She wipes her nose and looks at me. I’m suddenly and inexplicably overcome with compassion for my former tormentor. “Are you OK?” I ask.
Her eyes are watering and her face is pale. “Not really,” she says.
“Can I get you anything?” I ask.
“How about a job?” she says, and smiles weakly.
Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.
I’m back at my desk. I decide to list all the advantages of losing my job. Here’s what I come up with:
Or I could train to become a vet tech. Or I could go into nursing. There are
- I can sleep in.
- I won’t have to get dressed up every day.
- No office drama to deal with.
- I’ll have more time to crochet/do yoga/volunteer for the animal shelter.
- I can go back to school for something altogether different, like cosmetology.
always jobs for nurses, right? The only problem is that I have absolutely no aptitude for nursing. In fact, I almost failed chemistry.
|In my mind, unemployment is synonymous with “loser”.|
That’s about all I can come up with right now. I think I’m going to take a walk around the building.
I’m thinking about Ethan and how great it felt to be with him, curled in his arms in bed. It felt good and real and right and I don’t want to lose it. Suddenly I find myself wondering how he’d react to news of my unemployment. Since he’s a former hippie type, I imagine he might think this is a good time to “follow my bliss.”
On the other hand, I personally can’t help but worry when my friends are unemployed. I fear that they’ll get depressed, or go into big-time loser mode and start mooching off me. (I know that sounds heartless. Save the hate mail.) I think I must have been traumatized in my youth. My eldest cousin, Franny, whom I idolized, lost her job and moved back in with her parents and NEVER again was gainfully employed. She lived off her parents and public assistance. She even filed fake insurance claims and won a lawsuit, then spent all the money in Las Vegas. On the other side of the family, my uncle Caleb lost his job and spent the rest of his productive years on the couch watching The Price Is Right.
In my mind, unemployment is synonymous with “loser” precisely because of this family history. Obviously that’s not true, especially in today’s economy when lots of hardworking people are losing their jobs. But like I said, I was a kid and kids have a way of distorting and internalizing events.
The phone rings.
Attention, faithful fans of Single in the Suburbs! Our writer, Sara, will be winding down her column with the final installment scheduled to appear in October 2010. We’d love to hear how the ongoing saga of Sara’s love life has affected you personally. Have you tried online dating yourself? Have you struggled to re-enter the dating world after the end of a long-term relationship? Did Sara’s story encourage you to get out there and date again? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments and stories may be included in a follow-up article discussing the series’ overall impact and what Sara sees for herself in the future.
Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.
Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 134