I will admit right off the bat that life could be much worse. I could have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this morning. I could be homeless, or be filing for bankruptcy. I could be off to the hospital to visit my girlfriend after she was raped and beaten last night.
But I’m not.
Yet at the same time, it could also be a great deal better.
For example, I could have two compatible part-time jobs. Or just one full-time job with a living wage. Or sleep not riddled with eye-opening anxiety. Is an apartment with appliances that don’t date from the Carter administration asking too much?
I am weary. Life has become a slog through wet cement. Round and round and round I go, expending energy and effort but never arriving at my destination. True, you could argue that I now have two part-time jobs, whereas last spring I had none.
But consider this. Part-time job number one mandates where I live. And despite its offering of one week’s employment per month, it forbids me to be otherwise employed, as I must (technically) be available virtually around the clock, each and every day of the month.
Forgive my impudence, but didn’t the Emancipation Proclamation eliminate slavery?
Part-time job number two recently informed me that after September, I will no longer be able to take a week off each month to perform part-time job number one.
This despite my making this condition clear when asked if I had any extenuating circumstances that might affect my availability in a job interview last August.
With their subsequent extension of a job offer, didn't they indicate that this was reasonable and acceptable? That they were okay with it? Or am I just a dumb fuck?
Alas, I ask for too much. What on Earth am I thinking, smoking, drinking or otherwise ingesting? That I could conceivably be self-supporting? That I could conceivably possess two crappy part-time jobs?
My presumptuousness is as alarming as it is outrageous.
On my good days, I think to myself “OK. This isn’t working. Change it.” But it soon becomes evident that I am between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
The apartment? Even within the geographic area allowed by part-time job number one, I’m stuck. Landlords in my adopted state are the definition of provincial.
“You haven’t lived here all your life? You haven’t been at your job fifteen years? Hmmm. What are you? Some kind of transient? A job-hopper? You’re not very stable. You’re a very poor risk. And I can’t rent to you.”
And the job(s)? Logic would decree that if I find my current employment unsuitable, I should seek employment elsewhere. But I’m already playing the lottery, thank you very much.
Which is another way of saying I may as well petition the Yankees to become their centerfielder as apply for a position in the field in which I’ve spent the majority of my work life.
Employers have made it crystal clear that as a prospective candidate, I rank somewhere between a death row felon and a drooling imbecile who smells of feces.
Which is why I find myself in two incompatible part-time jobs that can dictate so many facets of my existence. Only the desperate need apply.