15 April 2010
What We Do When No One's Watching
Being funemployed means a lot of time to myself, or rather, a lot of time with my father and pets.
Now, my dad suffers from chronic pain - think of the worst pain you've ever felt, multiply it by five, and make it permanent, and you have an idea of what he goes through. So, he hasn't worked in almost 20 years. His non-working was kind of awesome when I was growing up, since I constantly had someone at home for me when I got home from school or needed a ride, etc. But I digress. Long story short: my father is home all the time. With me.
As I've made clear in the past, I love my dad. But since he's been fairly self-isolating for the last two decades, he's a little kooky. I realized it's contagious the today. Let me paint you a scenario:
"I love this new coffee I got," I said about three days ago. "It's Newman's Own; it's organic and fair trade, and the proceeds go to charity. I don't even mind that it's $7.90 a bag."
"Oh, yes, that is good," Greg responded. "So, how many cups can you brew out of a bag?"
"Well, that depends on how strong I make it," I shrugged, looking at the bag in my hand. "I donno."
"You should keep a tally, on the outside of the bag," Dad suggested helpfully. "Just for shits 'n' giggles. See what your money's worth, so some math."
Now, in the past, I would write this off as one of Greg's oddball comments, strange habits, and something to be generally disregarded as an amusing quirk of his personality. This morning, as I tried to wake up, I looked at my bag of coffee, and realized that I had taped a Post-It to the side of my Vanilla Caramel coffee, and had ticked off six cups thus far.
So, as I sit here (drinking cup number 7, thanks so much), I've started mulling over the odd habits I've picked up, though not necessarily from my dad, since being laid off.
I started biting my nails again. I have been a lifelong nail-biter, but managed to stop the habit about a year ago, with the occasional slip-up. Now, I apparently consider my fingernails a snack food, even though I am never conscious of biting, the evidence is on my fingers. Yuck. This also might explain how I ended up with a mild case of strep throat. Which reminds me, it's antibiotic time.
But nailbiting may be a symptom of the stress of unemployment (and living with my parents at 26? Just maybe). There are other habits I've developed that have nothing to do with anxiety and stress, or maybe they do...?
I am on the computer almost constantly, but move from room to room with it, apparently completely without reason for doing so. I'll spend an hour on my laptop in the kitchen, then a few down on the sofa, watching some horrible movie with Greg. Then I'll pop over to the desktop in the study. I ping-pong around as if where I'm using the computer has any bearing on the success of my job hunt. Or game of GemCraft. (Don't judge me.)
I've begun rearranging my belongings almost daily. Every day, I seem to develop a new Best Plan for organization. This, of course, results in me not having any clue as to where anything I own is. Ever. For instance, I have shoes on a rack in my closet. And in a plastic McDonald's take-out bag downstairs, and in a basket in the kitchen. There is no rhyme or reason as to which shoes go where. It's not like the plastic bag is reserved for muddy shoes or something. There's a pair of really nice heels in there.
Pet owners who are honest with you - and themselves - will admit to talking to their pets. I've started bouncing ideas off our dog, Niko, and cat, Elsie, as though there were my partners in a creative advertising firm or something. Elsie is sitting on my lap as I write this, in fact, purring contentedly. She must approve of this post. Though I must say, as far as creative critics go, these two are quite amicable; though not unlike actual coworkers, you stroke their egos a little, and you can get away with doing what you want.
Despite staying at Adam's at least three days a week, and getting up with him at about 6 a.m. on those days so he can go to work, I still have no discernible routine. I could shower when I return home between 7:30 and 8, but I don't. I usually putter around a bit. Make my (tallied) cup of coffee, have a light breakfast, and move my laptop from whatever room it was in to a new location, at least for the time being. I might shower sometime later. Or I might wait until I get back from my free coffee and hike with Krissy today. I don't know. The possibilities are endless!
I search for jobs like a woman possessed, and start thinking that maybe I do have the experience and expertise to be, say, the VP of human resources at some Fortune 500 company. Sure, why not? I mean, you've gotta aim high, right?
One of my oddest habits is cleaning without cleaning. Not unlike the rearranging, I now have bags and boxes of things I am either donating to charity or consider refuse taking up a considerable portion of my bedroom. The purging has been necessary for a long time, and a lot of it was cathartic, as I added the free t-shirts from my last job to the "Donate" bags. But the fact remains that I have loads of bags in my room that are 100% Ready To Go, and I haven't actually done anything with them yet. When I get into bed, I have to do a strange sort of pirouette around these objects to hop into bed. My room is only 10' x 10', it doesn't take a lot to crowd the space.
So, if any of you reading this don't hear from me for about a month or so, please come looking for me. I'm afraid you might find me wearing Kleenex boxes on my feet, refusing to cut my hair, and studying to become fluent in Sanskrit.