The Silence During The Panic
Let me tell you something. Unemployment sucks. Yes, it’s brought freedom but it’s also brought a lot of stress. You always feel on edge. When you have a job, you know exactly when you’re next pay check will be deposited into your account. You know that the work that you do will be rewarded with a paycheck because that’s the way it works. you work. You get paid. You know that when you go to the doctor, you’re insurance will cover most of it because you have insurance through your job. At least that’s how it worked in my employment history. But that is not the case when you’re unemployed. You never feel secure. The check will some day not be there. It will some day not be there becauses it will get lost or maybe they never sent it because there is human error somewhere in the assembly line of payroll division at the California Unemployment Department. And you have to go through all these hoops to get another one and it takes time and your bills still have to be paid because those can’t wait like you are waiting for your check. So you use your savings. Those precious dollars that you’ve been holding on to for emergencies and you realize that you are in an emergency. So you say goodbye to them and wait and wait and wait for that replacement check.
And then you get sick and it doesn’t go away for months because your stupid lungs don’t always function properly and you don’t realize how bad it is because you’ve been running and exercising them but this year you didn’t and they’re weak and they give in to every allergen in existence. And you realize that you’ll have to go see the doctor no matter how much it costs. And there is no but, if’s and when’s…you have to pay because you can’t stay sick forever! And besides, you’ve started wheezing and people are turning around to stare and it’s not very attractive. And being sick is causing you stress because you’re not sleeping well and the projects your working on have snot all over them because you’re sneezing and coughing all the time. Your head is spinning, your nose is running and you can’t concentrate. The little bit of Algebra you understood starts to sound even more foreign than you thought possible and you fail a test and a quiz and it deflates what little self-esteem you had built when you actually passed your first Algebra class in years this summer.
So you go to the doctor and you sit in the waiting room wheezing your life away and you are finally seen and you get your medicine and you take the inhaler and you puff in the Albuterol into your lungs because you know the relief will come quickly and it does and you start to breathe smoothly and the horrible weezing goes away and perhaps this is all you needed to remind yourself that everything will be okay. The rest of the meds also start to work and you start to feel better and you begin the processof catching up but it’s not happening as quickly as you thought it would.You know in your heart of hearts that you are not slacking off. That you are trying the best you can to make sure you accomplish the short term goals so that the long term goal will see the light of day. But the pace is so slow and your patience wears thin.
And while all this is happening you are still waiting and waiting and waiting for that check to come. So you call your Mom and you ask her to deposit some cash into your account and it breaks your heart because you’ve never, ever had to do that and you remember that a few months ago it was you that was helping your Mom out but the tables have turned and it can’t be helped. And yes, in case those out there are wondering, you did take odd jobs…because you knew that there would be emergencies and you wanted to add a bit more to the precious savings. But alas those odd jobs also come with delays and you haven’t seen the cash from that either. But they’ll come. All you can do is wait and keep working on your projects because deep down you know they will pay off. And it will all be okay because the message on that church marquee that you passed by today was very philosophical and it said, “Are you always going to be comfortable?” and the answer is no and this is how it is right now and soon (you hope) it will be comfortable again because this too will pass.
And you are only writing this because it’s been in your head for way too long. You are in no way asking for money. It’s the state of your life right now and the life of many more out there. This story is only one of the many.
10/4/2010 Update. The check arrived on Saturday at 3 pm and by 3:30 pm it was already in my checking account. It arrived just in time to pay the rent and the cell phone bill. I’ll be okay…I know. But for a moment there I was really freaking out. It’s amazing what security can do for all your other projects. Since the check arrived, I’ve concquered factoring equations, put in a couple of good runs and also pushed ahead in my rewrites for The Rosalila. I’ve always had a job and taken care of myself so this was a real test to my sense of worth and independence. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll take things in stride.