I lost my job. I was walking around with it on Wednesday, fine, I checked my inbox on Thursday and there it was, the old P.45. Gone.
Immediately, you must always and every minute concentrate on getting another job- every time you speak to your family now, they will say, “any news?” meaning “HAVE YOU GOT A FUCKING JOB YET?”, you can’t just enjoy your time on Earth now, you have to always be either looking for a job, or evidencing having been looking for jobs.
And where to find them? Where are all the jobs? You can get one, but you have to sell yourself, make up impressive things you’ve done on command, account for your employment status on x date, provide your old boss whose name you don’t remember’s email address and telephone number.
And you realise the true extent of your idealistic, childhood delusions when you look at your 100th minimum corporate copywriting job, and realise you don’t have any copywriting experience so there’s no point even applying.
But it’s nice, having time off, for short spells. I get up about eight, half eight, then read as much as my crippled, Twitter co-opted 21st century attention span can take (usually one, or what is left of one chapter, sometimes not even that) while drinking a giant mug of industrial strength coffee. This is the glorious period of the day when my mind is unpolluted by mundanities. Just me and the author, spending quality time in silence.
Then I sigh, grasp the laptop, and feeling a strong sense of caffeine-fuelled existential dread, I check my inbox, always waiting for that Messianic email that is going to sweep me off my feet and relocate me to Paradise (it never comes). I kind of listen to Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkRadio and work my way through the mountain of job alerts, most of the things on the list unsuitable.
I might gaze out of my apartment window at the crows dancing on Victorian rooves, and the misty November air blowing through the sycamore branches, leaves bright yellow and dying, I look down at the road and see all the Teslas silently gliding toward the nearby Tesla garage, and bemused, I wonder how all the people got the Teslas, and are they simply a different species to me, how much Bitcoin they might have got and when they bought it, how cheap their house was, and how expensive it it is now and whether I’ll ever go on holiday again…
A month or so ago I went through a slightly entertaining period. One evening, on a whim, enticed by the enormous salaries-greater than anything a yob like me could ever dream of, I looked at an HGV training website. Right, look at it this way James, think of it as a bit like doing your time, you can sit in that truck for a year, then when you come out of it you’ll have the bank balance of your wildest dreams, you won’t have to worry about money again, … or maybe for another 3 years at least. Just peaceful time alone, getting to know the nation’s finest motorways, imagine how many Joe Rogans you could listen to…
Naturally my newfangled aspiration slid into a routine phone conversation with my Dad, who with a horrified tone reprimanded me as if I had told himI wanted to be a bullfighter, or sword-swallower, ‘JAMES, NO, YOU COULD NEVER DO HGV, HOW COULD YOU BE SO RIDICULOUS!’ and then he explained to me how difficult it was to reverse and the liability situation and it all sounded perfectly reasonable so alas, that was the point that the heavy-goods transportation dream died.
Oh well, I’d probably have fallen asleep and killed people anyway.
After my serious job search periods, I do of course allocate myself breaks… usually at least three times longer than the job search periods. I’m learning Russian. I enjoyed the process of going from looking at this word and thinking what the absolute fuck in God’s holy name is : Здравствуйте, to being able to read and pronounce it and other equally difficult words almost instantly. The weirdness of the cyrillic alphabet is fascinaring, I know almost nothing about it, and I like it that way. It’s hard, there is a lot of grammar, which is completely incomprehensible and doesn’t even respect its own rules a lot of the time.
My aspiration is to be able to read the great works of 19th Century Russian Literature in the language in which they were written, and be able to talk to ordinary people in villages in the depths of Siberia, some day, but I must get a job first.