Wednesday, March 15, 2006

working


A couple of weeks ago I became one of the unemployed. I didn’t quit, I wasn’t fired and I wouldn’t call myself a victim of lay offs niether. The company I worked for just went bankrupt in one day. Actually it took all of 10 minutes. One short phone call, and the next thing you know an entire business is nothing but a dead myspace page. We were all called to the conference room, I don’t think many people knew what was coming. I had some insight because of my position, but even still, none of us were really prepared, and when it was announced that at the end of the month we had to have the office cleaned out because the locks were going to be changed, that we would get one more check, the dreaded rent check, and that would be it for good, there was a moment of anxious quiet, like the beginning of great gasp. It was the 22nd of a 28 day calender.

The next few nights were a blur of drugs and alcohol. When the day became clear again I found myself in a panic working for a record label, hustling cd’s from the basement of their club in the Lower East Side. I was also starting up a label group with a friend, and trying to lock down meetings with distributors that seemed only vaguely interested. This on top of meeting with various record labels and artist, keeping them on ice while the proverbial iron was still piping hot. I was going out every night. I had to DJ. I had to meet people. I had to connect all the dots. I was being charming and smart and confident, but it didn’t really seem to be me, instead it seemed all a part of the hysteria rising in the city at the time.

Sometimes you find that the wheels are already in motion and something you don’t even know you started is already being done. It is a paralyzing feeling; it is a suffocating feeling, because right then you realize you don’t have much control over your life, as if things just happened to you, weather you wanted them to or not.

I stayed up later every night, eventually just calling 6am my bedtime. If I wasn’t at home writing or checking emails, I was at a club or a loft or a living room sitting on a barstool. I always had a beer in my hand, I never turned down a bump of cocaine, a bottle of xanax stayed on my person at all times. I woke up to text messages and fired off an email before I went to sleep. I ate once a day, whenever I found the time to be hungry. I smoked a lot of cigarettes and shook a lot of hands. I got paranoid about checking my bank account balance, fearing it would steal whatever optimism that kept me waking up in the morning.

Then on Friday I got sick, and all of it caught up to me. Everything hurt. I could hardly lift a muscle. My fever reached 102 degrees, pressure leaned on every nerve. At one moment I was covered in sweat and the air was thick and heavy, the next I shivered with chills and coldness spread through my veins like a disease. I felt I was in the city’s fist and it was squeezing hard in alarm. The universe got tangled in worry. Nervous knots twisted up in my stomach and chest. Weakness overwhelmed me; defeated, I sat in a pool of sick.

It was yesterday I was finally able to take a shower. It seemed like forever since I had been clean. In there the heat from the water rolls and slides down my bones and skin and the steam rises thickly and curdles all over and I’m warm and still and everything feels quiet. I wanted to stand there forever, letting the water beat upon my back. I wanted to relax into its heaviness and absorb and eclipse all life’s burdens with it. But nothing waits. My skin grew loose and wrinkled. the paint on the ceiling began to peel in the corners. The shower had to end, like everything else. I had to get out. I had to get out. I had to get out and dry off and put on some fresh clothes and go outside and face the world and what it is so I pulled back the curtain and took one more deep breath and then i made an exit and enter all at the exact same time.

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Creative Commons License
:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.