In hard times I've often found comfort from Mick Jagger crooning, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you just might find, you get what you need." Thanks, Mick! You are so right, man. Everything's gonna be just fine.
Those words soothed me when an audition I really wanted didn't come through. I'd trust I'd land the next one -- with an even bigger paycheck -- which I really needed.
I'd hum that tune as I scoured Designer Shoe Warehouse only to find nothing I wanted in my size. My pulse would steady and I'd leave content with a pair of much-needed socks instead.
These days, however, I'm finding The Stones' lyrics less helpful. "Get what I want? We're in a recession, for God's sake! I can't even get what I friggin' need!"
As I headed to the post office to mail my unemployment form I tuned to a Lite Hits station. You know "lite," like the beer, less fill, more fulfilling. "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. It'll be better than before. Yesterday's gone. Yesterday's gone." Well, no shit, Sherlock Mac. I know yesterday's gone, but much like The Beatles, "I believe in yesterday." Yesterday. When I had a job. Yesterday. When I could afford a drive-by shoeing at DSW. Yesterday. When I lived in a delirious whirl of instant gratification.
Music wasn't working, so I tried self-affirmation. "This too shall pass," I chanted, reassured whatever "this" was would pass, like it used to. But "that" was then and "this" is now, and "this" too may pass but does it have to feel like an 18-pound kidney stone?
And, yes, "that" which hasn't killed me has made me stronger -- which is good -- because now I have the strength to kill myself.
Oh, calm down. I don't mean that last part. It's just a little black humor. Not ha-ha funny humor, just dark and pathetic -- but that's what long term unemployment does to people. It makes them dark and pathetic. Get over it.
Wow, that was harsh. I don't mean to be a black cloud over someone reading this who's in the same place seeking commiseration and camaraderie. Wait, who am I kidding? If you're looking for sunshine and lollipops go down a couple Five Hour Energy drinks and watch Rachael Ray. I'm just a little too bitter right now, okay?
Jeez, this isn't like me... that happy American Dream me... the conspicuous consumer me (I rarely was) but always knew I could be if I wanted to be me.
I miss that me who could slap dinner and a bottle of wine at a great restaurant on a credit card and pay it in full every month. Now, unless I have a buy-one-get-one free coupon (free being "up to a $12.99 value"), those days are gone. Plus, those deals usually feature something "bottomless" like fried shrimp, breadsticks or the entire Olive Garden menu -- all food that guarantees when you eat it you'll be anything but bottomless.
I miss that me who casually bought $32 bottles of imported olive oil to drizzle on $7 a loaf focaccia from Whole Foods. Now I'm trying to convince myself even margarine tastes better when it sits on a Ritz.
Am I whining? I think I'm whining. I apologize for not being more sympathetic to your recession woes. I hope things turn around for you. I really do.
And, when they do, will you please invite me over for a fabulous dinner with expensive wine and drizzle everything with imported olive oil? Or, just drizzle me with the olive oil and let my husband sop it up with the focaccia. That'll be the most exciting date we've had since the economy tanked.
I promise I'll be a good guest, use the right fork and pretend I like your cat. And, when you ask me what music I want to hear, I'll say, "Anything but rap, really. Maybe some Rolling Stones... I think I'm ready for a little 19th Nervous Breakdown."