I haven't taken a week long vacation since I was in college. Working in TV as a 'permalancer' for three years meant days off came out of my paycheck. Plus I always had this paranoid notion I'd lose my job while I was away. Last year, I left Viacom to join Bauer Publishing, in Englewood Cliffs New Jersey, as a full-time employee, to work on the launch of a new woman's magazine called Cocktail Weekly, and to take a paid fucking vacation.
I arrived at Club Med Turks and Caicos this past Friday.In the past three days, I booked a massage, read in a hammock shaded by palm trees and befriended two lovely twin sisters and a group from L.A. led by a 48-year-old frat guy with a 'flavor savor' on his chin who force fed me watermelon shots and tried to get me to sleep with him by pointing out his Japanese ankle cuff tattoo ("it says desire over destiny"). It's been a good vacation -- until yesterday.
On Monday, after a day sipping Pina Colada's and floating in the pool next to Mr. Boston of VH1's "I Love New York" fame (pack your bags ladies, here's here!!!), I got a call from my co-worker saying I lost my job; we all did. The magazine's been scrapped.
After the call, I watched the sunset and fell asleep -- despite the old frat guy's promise "to get me wasted tonight." This morning, I woke up with a fresh head to consider the facts: when I return home in two days I'll be jobless and have nothing to show for the year of work I spent at a magazine that never existed or died before it was born. So I made a list.
Things I have to do when I get home on Thursday:
- Call former co-workers and explain despite the fact that I'm notably absent on the day everyone got canned, I'm not a part of any conspiracy.
- Cancel my gym membership to the Englewood Cliff's Bally's Gym
- Figure out a better excuse for the hole in my resume from 2006-2007. (teaching deaf children in Poland? Working on historical fiction?)
- sign up for crappy Atlantis health insurance again
- sell my car
To ease the pressure of that list, I made this Look on the Brightside list:
- I never have to go to the Englewood Cliff's Bally's Gym again -- where yoga is taught by a carbon copy of one of the ZZ top brothers, where the neck to head ratio is 1 : 1, where they always have Jim Kramer's mad money or some espn show on the TV and the grips on the elliptical machines are greased with sweat and where I probably got that rash from.
- I can finally stop asking my friends to meet at a place in the city where there's parking.
- I can stop going to the Food Emporium on Sylvan Avenue for lunch, where all the senile folks plugged with colostomy bags from the old age home across the street have "outside" time.
- I can stop saying things like "You know Terri Gross had an interesting take" or did you "hear the Brian Leher show today, there was an anthropologist who lived in the Audan and studied monkey's brains?" because NPR is the only friend I have when I'm stuck in traffic on the GW Bridge four hours a day.
- I can stop explaining that no, Cocktail Weekly isn't a bartender's trade magazine.
- I can finally start working on that book proposal/TV pitch/invention that will make me famous because now when I'm interviewed on the Today show for the segment on realizing your dream I can say, "I got laid off of my job and I decided, you know what? I'm gonna go for it!"
- I can watch the Today Show in its entirety followed by Dawson's Creek at 10 am.
And finally I made a third list: Things to do on my last two days of vacation before I go home to unemployment:
- stop buying top shelf liquor and drink the free stuff even it smells funny
cancel that second massage on Wednesday; I can't afford it.
- make nice to Mr. Boston so he'll buy you top shelf liquor.
- relax and try not to think about the fact that you're unemployed and utterly alone.
- try to come up with some brilliant moneymaking scheme that will sustain you and your two cats (putting mirror stickers on the caps of sunscreen lotion isn't such a bad a idea)
- cancel that appointment with the Turks and Caicos realtor.
- stop making international calls to your former co-workers.
- keep the tags on that bathing suit you bought for this trip
- if the old frat guy offers you any more watermelon shots, take them. He's right, it'll help.