For a while there, I had my funk on. I mean for real. For the last couple of days, I have been honing The Wallow into a delicate art form, reaching sublime heights of self-pity and hopelessness. I have consumed naught but Halloween candy and coffee, slept more hours than I care to admit, ignored my phone, discarded my mail, and sported the Sloppy Ponytail Of What The Hell Does It All Matter Anyway.
I was down deep, and wanting nothing more than to burrow deeper still.
If this were fiction, now I would tell you about how the perfect job offer fell out of the sky, or my friends gathered around me and sang Kumbaya, or some crisis with the children forced me to pull myself together, or that I was reaching for a jar of spanish olives at the grocery store and my fingertips brushed those of a tall, dark, handsome stranger. Who was rich. And fell in love with me immediately. You know; something good, like that.
None of these things happened. My friends are marvelous. I adore my friends; each and every one of you (and you know who you are, or if you don’t I will smack you later) is regarding me with puzzlement, and concern, and helplessness. And love. I know that I am loved, even as I know that what I need–in large part–is not going to come from one of you, much to our mutual chagrin. I know that if I could figure out what it is that I need, and if that thing were something any of you could offer, I could ask and it would be provided. Reality is, of course, so much more complicated than that. But this hypothetical is a comfort, even down in the pit.
Anyway. Salvation has not arrived just yet, but the multiple hesitant overtures from those I love, together with two little faces regarding me as Someone Who Is In Control, have served to prod me into grabbing those proverbial bootstraps. Picture me, dear readers, leaning over some very shoddy boots and trying to grab their straps. I am of course having great difficulty with this task, as both hands are full of candy corn. But pretend I stuffed the candy corn in my mouth, and am now pulling the boots up. They’re ugly, and uncomfortable, but there I am, pulling them up, anyway.
So that’s how it came to be that I was sitting at the computer this evening, half-heartedly surfing the job ads in my local paper, when a friend phoned. I almost didn’t pick up; but this is a friend with whom I haven’t spoken for a while, so on the last ring before my machine grabbed it, I answered. In no time at all, I found myself embroiled in a lively debate wherein my friend insisted that she knows a woman with an adam’s apple. I was trying to explain to her why most people call women with adam’s apples men. This discussion became more prolonged than you might believe possible; but she lives in West Virginia, if that’s any explanation.
[Side note, since she’s probably already pissed at me for mentioning that: my ex’s family is from West Virginia, so nothing gives me quite so much joy as ragging on West Virginians for being hicks. In fact, in a bizarre six degrees of inbred-ness twist of events, we had been friends for years before figuring out that her mother is best buddies with one of my ex’s aunts. Go figure. And that was how I came to learn–during my divorce proceedings–that I was not only refusing to work and robbing my ex blind, but also having an affair! After recovering from the shock of the entire state of West Virginia knowing this before I did, I informed my friend that she should let the gossipy aunt know that if I was having an affair, I was sorely disappointed in the lack of sex.]
Maybe it was the extended banter about the suspected hermaphrodite that lifted my spirits, initially. A giggle or two turned into laughing fits and threats of incontinence (from her). As we talked I was still scanning the jobs. “OH!” I exclaimed. “I have to read you this one! What a great job!” The mirth ceased as she waited expectantly.
“Food Demonstrator,” I read in my best serious voice. “Immediate openings for local supermarket, Thursday through Saturday 11 am to 5 pm. You pick the days. Up to $9/hr!” Here I paused to collect myself for what came next. But I couldn’t quite pull it off–my voice cracked as I added, “Must have own card table.”
We howled. Howled. Not that you need your own transportation, or a valid driver’s license, or some sort of certification. No. A card table. I mean, sure, we’d love to hire you based on your love of demonstrating food, what with the complex process of lifting it up and putting it into one’s mouth and all; not everyone can handle that. But no card table? I’m so sorry. We hooted and cackled and added our own commentary until we could barely breathe. I was wiping tears from my eyes during a pause when she said,
“Well? Do you have a card table??”
“SHIT! No!” And we were off in fresh gales. We laughed so hard and so long that the next time she threatened to wet her pants, I had a horrible thought.
“Hey! You’re gonna pee, but I think maybe I’m bipolar. This is bordering on a manic episode,” I said. Real friends know when to laugh and when to be serious. She didn’t let me down.
“Oh no,” she said, her voice low. “I think maybe you should… buy a card table!”
That was a long and pointless story to let you all know that I think I’m going to live. I’m not out of the pit or anything, but there’s a ladder here. Even though I am apparently so lacking that I cannot even get a job as a food demonstrator. But if anyone wants to pay me to show them how to eat candy, let me know.