Like most people who are employed in this economy, I’m doing the work of three people. Myself, a person they laid off, and a person who we really should hire but can’t because no one’s in the mood to buy anything. Particularly things that you can’t eat or fuel your car with. This is one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging a lot. By the time I finish with my ten hour workday, my brain is too fried to do anything but lie in a vegetative state on the sofa watching Nick Swisher hit the ball out of the park for some kid in the hospital.
Of course I feel lucky to have a job and every time I see the person whose job I’m also doing show up on my IM list, I feel awful because it’s months now and she still hasn’t found anything. I have to laugh at the British phrase for laid off, “made redundant.” Of course she’s redundant! Why, clearly I can do her job too now that I no longer have a life. And I, who do nothing but work, am undoubtedly the fortunate one. I tend to forget that.
Just now, while I was toiling away here at work (I never see the first innings… baseball is always six innings long for me unless it’s a weekend game. They seem to have nine then!), the cleaning lady came in to empty my trash cans (two! recycle and regular). She’s really too gorgeous to be a janitress, even in her shapeless powder blue uniform, and she wears this lovely, fragrant perfume that you can smell all the way down the hall so you know she’s coming. And she ALWAYS smiles. She doesn’t speak much English but her happy smile says a lot. She feels lucky. And as she thanks me for letting her take my trash, me in my comfy chair, doing nothing more strenuous than filling in a spreadsheet, with my big window and my designer sofa and my chic glass-topped desk, I do feel very, very lucky. Because if it were me, I’d hate me. The me that is sitting typing this, that is. I mean, why am I here and she there?
Once upon a time, my grandmother slept with two of her sisters in one bed in a tenement flat on the Lower East Side. I don’t really know what her parents did for a living. But I thank them and all my great-grandparents for doing menial things so I could sit here. I know they uprooted themselves and moved to a strange land so their children could have a better life, even if theirs wasn’t always so great. I know they worked hard for their children and grandchildren and I am certain that they dreamed of me, nearly one hundred years later, sitting uptown in my important office selling 78 RPM records about bitches & hos.