Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading.

When I was younger, or maybe more specifically when I was alone, it was always the darkness that got to me. Now, it's the sun.

During the day, I'm supposed to do something. Something productive. I'm meant to be out of bed at a "reasonable hour", to eat, to wash, to use time wisely and proactively with recognizable results. Says who? Says... the world, I guess. Says my head. Who knows. But it's out there.

But nighttime, oh glorious nighttime. All expectations are relinquished. I don't have to do anything that I don't want to do. And what I want to do is read. After all, who can be productive at midnight, 1am, 2am? No one. Or almost no one, at least. So why shouldn't I get in bed and read? After all, it's just a prelude to sleep.

Except that it isn't. Actually, it lets me avoid sleep altogether. I read, and I read, and I read some more. It keeps me up until 2, 3, 4 in the morning. This has the added benefit of making me feel like I should sleep later, lest I become sleep-deprived. We wouldn't want that, now, would we? Certainly no.

So I read late into the night and early into the morning. And when finally my eyes will simply no longer do the work, I surrender my day. The next day will come, with hours and hours of daylight stretching out ahead, but at least I haven't woken up until noon.

What do I read? A lot. About two books a week lately - I read quite slowly, actually, due to some mild dyslexic-type problems, so this is fairly extraordinary. The most recent titles include "Bait and Switch" by Barbara Ehrenreich, "The Swing Voter of Staten Island" by a male author whose last name starts with N, and "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, which is of course a nom de plume. This last - oh, what a book. It's one of those books that makes you a little bit angry that you've gone so long without it; that, when you finish it, you feel like a dear friend has just moved away. I read it last night until four in the morning, when I finally relinquished it with its final sentences.

Before that, I read the Nanny Diaries. Yup, I really did.

Now, I'm back on to Great Expectations, a title through which I have been attempting to trudge for at least a decade. This time, though, I'm finding it rather good. Apparently it's just a matter of getting past the language, which I always found quite annoying.

* * *

The longest hours are those approaching and shortly following Jonathan's appointed time of departure from work. 4pm is anxious, 5pm is unbearable. If 6pm comes without having brought some word from him, I feel that I'll simply die. I'm the picture of a 50's do-wop song. He is my bright spot in a universe of unending, uncertain gray.

Unfortunately, my bright spot is real freakin busy. Saturday, he did work all day long. Last Saturday too. Sunday he was worried sick about how things would go on Monday. And things went fine on Monday, but didn't allow him to come home until 9pm or so. Tonight is the same story; last night he was having panic attackes, and today all's well but he'll be on site until 10pm at least. He says we'll have time this weekend... but we'll see. He has some enormous gig sarting Monday for which he will be on site over night. I can't say I'm pleased. It's also not the first time. You'd think I was married to a surgeon, the way he stresses so much about the minutae of each event and is gone for these long hours.

I feel a bit selfish, complaining about it. But then, lately when I'm asking for his attention, I'm not waving - I'm drowning. Sometimes it's hard for him to know the difference. I wave a lot.

The moral of this ramble is that I'm now officially, severely depressed. Free time is no longer exultant; it is merely indicative of my unemployed state. If there was an end, a light in the distance, this would be like vacation. As it is, it's merely unending freefall. I had myself so completely convinced that an agency was my big "out". That really, the second I plunked myself down into one, I'd have a job. Ok, maybe not the second, but at the very longest the fortnight. Well, it's been two solid months, and still only one possiblility. And what a long, drawn out, overly complicated possibility it is. At this point I'd rather just have a "no" right now than do any more waiting. Sad but true.

I feel like I must not be doing anything, because no results are yielded. But really, what more could I be doing? My employed friends all have my resume in Word format. I send said document, along with carefully crafted cover letters, to Craigslist and Idealist listings; I go where the agency tells me and dance like a good little monkey. It is beyond draining, beyond exhausting, to exist this way. I feel like I don't know how much longer I'll last. But what's the alternative? Stop breathing? Become a drunk? Sell my body down at Queensboro Plaza? I'll keep doing it for as long as it lasts, because there is nothing else to do.

Now would be a good time to write, really write. If only I could find it in myself.

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