Friday, June 18, 2010
Yes, You Read That Right. And It Still Doesn't Make Any Sense.
I'm sure I've said this before, but once upon a time I had a coworker who would, during a particularly rough period at work, announce to the bullpen that she wished for a time machine so she could find the first woman who thought her husband was at the office having a party and decided that it would be swell to get out and work, too. Once she found that woman, her plans were to do some rather unpleasant things to her. She'd go on to describe those unpleasant things in graphic detail. Sometimes with sound effects. Back then in the 1990s when we were in them there boom times economically, all us secretaries or administrative assistants yucked it up pretty good. Wadn't no one runnin' about screechin' how we should all be glad to at least have jobs. Besides our bosses were either out of the office at their 2.5 hour lunches or safely tucked away behind closed doors. Snoring.
But then came the 2000s and the results of massive deregulation and bursting economic bubbles and wars waged and surpluses squandered so the wealthy could keep more of their money and, well, castles built on sand and all that.
So now that I and so many others floating in this leaky boat of unemployment seem all but barred from that world of bad office coffee, overly complicated voice mail systems and public restrooms cleaned by someone else (usually), I realize that work wasn't all bad. I mean, at least it paid something. And by the time I was asked out or "laid off," I'd climbed pretty high on the ladder. So there's that. Joke's on me, though. Now every fucking position posting demands salary info. My last salary wasn't high enough to keep us from the edge, but it was just high enough to ensure that my resume is going straight into the shredder if I'm daft enough to give my salary info.
Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't.
But the thing I've been itching to write about is the fact that besides a little money of her own, what probably really drove that first married and well-kept woman into the workforce was the mind-numbing sameness of every day when you're a housewife. Thank goodness I'm hanging on to the fantasy of writing this novel because if I didn't at least that to hold on to I might just do a Sylvia Plath. You don't think I rented a house without a gas stove, do you? If I've learned one thing, it's plan ahead people, plan ahead.
(Oh, there she goes again with the suicide jokes. Such a facile attempt at humor. Or is it a cry for help?)
But really, it's wash the clothes, put the clothes into the dryer, fold the clothes, put the clothes away because otherwise the clothes will spend 3.2 days on the floor and then end up clean, but having been slept on by cats, back in the laundry hamper. Or, more accurately, next to the hamper. No one can be bothered to actually put things into the hamper.
It's the same with the cooking and the cleaning and the carrying Target bags full of used cat litter to the basement. It's all just so much of the same stuff over and over and over until you think "Yes, I may not be thrilled with having to stand at the photocopier or sit through tiresome meetings, but at least I can dress up a little and maybe have a leftover Napoleon when the conference room clears out." Not to mention the paychecks. Those are nice, too. No matter how trivial or insulting to our sense of self worth.
I'm sounding a wee bit defeated today, aren't I?
Well, we're still sucking it up as much as we can. Cancelling, couponing, cutting, clearing out. MathMan has become a bit of an ebay selling machine. Still, some days it's not enough. Yesterday the water company robo-called and since I wasn't sure how long our grace period was, I took action. I asked Chloe to help out.
"Hey, will you pay the water bill and I'll pay you back with interest when Daddy gets paid."
"With interest, what does that mean?"
"You continue to live here rent free."
"Not funny, Mom."
"Yeah, well neither is not flushing the toilets for a week and a half."
It may not be much, but sometimes those small victories can keep me going for another day. Just so I can do more laundry and bake brownies and.........oh, fuck it.