Sunday, January 25, 2009

How fast the pendulum swings

I've stopped shedding tears so now i suppose it's time to write.

One minute i was sitting breathless in a chair in my living room, while the words that started with "I, Barack Hussein Obama" put the nation on a new hopeful path, and i was filled with justice and dignity...

and the next i was poring over the bad checks that had been written with my checkbook, but not my own hand. And the next day my bosses doubled up on me in the fancy office upstairs, making me breathless with the words that started with "well you know your contract is up..."

And we're going to downsize you because of it. You, the single mama, perhaps the most vulnerable employee on the newsroom floor. You, who alternately loves and hates this job with the quick swing of a pendulum. You, who hasn't saved a dime in all this heady time of having a Real job. You.

You never think it's going to happen to you. In all the times my fingers flew over the keys, writing broadcast copy about the people who were losing their jobs all over this planet, i never thought it would be me. It's funny, because we laugh and joke at work about how so many of the people we interview on the street about crimes in their neighborhood end up popping off a soundbite that goes something like "geez, I never thought it could happen here..."

Yet i really just never thought it could happen here. Even when the neighbors next door calmly told me they were out of work, while they smoked hurried cigarettes on their back deck. Even when ten of my co-workers disappeared overnight, just months ago.

So i have sent off a handful of resumes and cover letters already in these last couple days, hoping they adequately mask my desperation about having an expiration date on security. I look at my daughter now and silently apologize for the fact that i may not be able to give her health insurance, in a matter of about two months. I get pissed when she asks for another My Little Pony, because i fear that i won't have the luxury of buying her one if i wanted to. I drift off to gentle dreamland at her bedtime, because it's easier to dream the night away than burn the midnight oil, searching the want ads. Then i wake up and remember that i have a life to fight for. My livelihood as i know it is almost cast to the curb, so i wake and resolve to stay up later the next night.

So here i am.

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