The official word is that the American, and subsequently the world, economy took a massive dump in 2008. The deluge took until January of the following year to submerge me, but I’ve been struggling for air ever since.
I lost my last steady job over three years ago, though it seems much longer. (Abject poverty and feeling an monstrous albatross to those who care about you tend to warp time and contract space.) Virtual reams of my resumes have graced the inboxes of countless companies in that interim, with little in response save the occasional polite rejection notice.My moods have run the gamut from hopeful determination to utter despondency, from c’est la vie to fuck it all. It has taken its toll.
In August 2007, a temp agency called with an urgent assignment to start immediately ( following my birthday by two days, I took it as a gift) putting in order the files for a stone company that had suffered months of neglect and ineptitude. The task was Herculean in scope, the response offered by my supervisor when queried about the parameters of my pursuit being, “You figure it out. You’re the expert.”
Despite my rudderless beginnings, I worked diligently putting the file room in order, revamping the physical space and location of documents to better reflect the flow of information for the various departments as well as the seven other sites. As with just about any job I’ve ever held, I performed tasks beyond the scope of my job description, offering help wherever needed. By the midsummer 2008, when the company was sold to a multinational corporation based in Spain, I had renovated the system of document storage and retrieval for current and archival files,as well as office equipment, supplies and accessories. My efforts had greased the gears and transformed the disorderly labyrinth into a clearly delineated passageway. What I had actually done was ease the ownership transition (good) and organize myself out of a job.
Unemployment insurance allowed me to survive without many alterations in my lifestyle (I’m a pretty simple guy: a roof over my head, food, a library card, coffee and a computer are about all I require for relative contentment), and the extension to my claim bought me time to continue my quest for gainful employment. After a year had passed, I was yet able to chuckle nervously to myself whilst marveling at the difficulty I was having landing a gig. Then my claim ran out, the chair pulled from beneath me, and I fell…hard.
I was able to pick up occasional gigs from long haul truckers needing load in/ load out help on residential moves (fairly taxing considering my dozen knee surgeries) and computer repair, maintenance, and upgrade jobs from friends friends. But no steady occupation to regulate my day, satisfy my financial obligations, and feed my bank account. Oblivious to my plight, time continued its forward march.
Into desperation, depression, self loathing, and a real desire to quit the whole game I plummeted. A broken man, I was rescued by my cousin, whose diapers I once changed. He offered to provide the funds for me to move north, to share his house with he, his wife, and three young daughters. The plan was for me to regain some of my confidence (never a strong point with me, despite the tale my outward demeanor tells) and direction, become employed, get on my feet and proceed with my life in my own space on my own terms.
Ten months have passed. I feel physically the burden of my presence, the weight of my failings, the unspoken tension that accompanies a guest overstaying a welcome. To avoid fomenting bitter resentments, I must move on, sooner rather than later. Like now.