Friday, January 16, 2004

Relief

I wanted to spend all day surfing the web, talking to my friends, reading novels—so I got a job. I think that the difference between being unemployed and having a job is that you get paid to take coffee breaks.

Since I lost my job, I have not called my friends; conversations inevitably veer towards my frustrating job search. Surfing the web is depressing: news of lay-offs, the weak economy, another season of Celebrity Mole. It takes too much effort to read about somebody else's depression. Besides, I not only can do depression—I use it to accessorize. My two cats are starting to wonder when my extended "visit" will be over—they hate it when I lay around on their couch, watching their TV.

Time has become meaningless. With all my friends at work, I am left to my own devices, lost in the sea of possibilities. I play my guitar, but without my neighbor to complain, I feel bereft, unappreciated. I found myself experimenting with parting my hair down the middle and wearing plaid. If unemployment can make an accomplished gay like me lose all sense of fashion, I shudder to think what effect it would have if my straight brethren gets their hands on something complicated like paisley.

Every decision looms large. While you're deciding to whether to have cereal, breakfast has turned into lunch. And then suddenly it's 3pm and there is no reason why you should take a shower and change from your pajamas—it will be time for bed soon enough.

When Brian gets home from work, we argue about whose turn it is to wash dishes, who left that gob of toothpaste in the sink, who missed the toilet. I am delighted: this is normal.

I am convinced that the only thing that keeps the world civilized is routine. Work, school, your Justin Timberlake fanclub meetings—these are commitments that keep you functioning. Routine gives you structure, responsibility; it keeps you from becoming a slacker, a derelict or Paris Hilton.

Weekends are an oasis from this limbo: you can watch movies, go to restaurants, gossip with your friends. People who work are relieved when Friday arrives, they can focus on being a friend, a father or Dungeon Master. Their lives go on.

And for a little while, so does mine. Thank God it's Friday.