Good Question

The worst part about unemployment is my 4-year-old nephew, Matthew.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the little punk. Since he and his mom have been living here, my pit of despair doesn’t seem quite so boring. Between constructing increasingly complicated train tracks, being defeated by a miniature Iron Man half my size, and learning the strange names of all the characters in Cars, I’d say my schedule is pretty full. And hey, it minimizes that all too familiar familial tension. Apparently even my stepfather realizes it’s a bad idea to fight in front of a 4-year-old.

But even so, I have to repeat it. The worst part about unemployment is Matthew.

Everyday, he gets up early (7am, at least) and goes to school, while I am completely knocked out until about 10am. At school, he rides around on his bike, plays in the sandbox, and interacts with little kiddies his own age. I shower, lounge about, and make it downstairs by about 2pm. The rest of the day contains absolutely nothing consequential or noteworthy.

One day, I decide to get out of my pajamas. You know, shower and put on some presentable clothes.

.

Matthew comes home and asks,

“Where are you going?”

I tell him that I’m not going anywhere. He gives me a look. This naive, raised eyebrow, cocked head sort of look.

“Why did you change?”

Ouch. You know you’ve hit the bottom when you wear pajamas bottoms more often than jeans and a little kid (who hasn’t even been to kindergarten yet) goes ahead and calls you out.

.

And that’s just one day. He must have some sort of short term memory because he finds it necessary to ask (over and over and over again):

“Auntie, do you go to work?”

I hesitate and tell him no.

“So you go to school?”

Oh brother. I shake my head. Nope, nope, nope.

He gives me this horrible horrible look. It’s this adorable but crushing squint of confusion and disbelief. Hey, I feel you, lil’ buddy. I don’t really understand it either and I certainly don’t embrace it. But it is what it is. This is what life has become.

Give it 18 years. Wait until you’re 22– unemployed, living at home, and slowly approaching a bored depression.

How do I explain to him that his dearest aunt does, in fact, have legitimate post-graduation plans– international and important and far more exciting than the painfully slow demise that awaits me here in the tremendous heat of the valley? How do I make him understand that sometimes people don’t have work or school and that’s just how life is and that’s just how things are for me for now?

.

I guess there are some things that children just aren’t meant to understand.

I mean, I didn’t understand it until a week into moving back home. I knew unemployment and post-grad would be bad, but I just didn’t know it would be this bad. I’m not a relatively accomplished university graduate with two bachelors degrees. I’m not an ambitious, optimistic “go-getter” working my way to greater things. I’m not confident or professional or energetic or driven or any of it.

I’m just a kid too, and I’m just not ready to deal with this shit.

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About Booki
"Somewhere man must know that self-perception is the most frightening of all human observations. He must know that when a man faces himself, he is looking into an abyss."

2 Responses to Good Question

  1. bryawnt says:

    i hear you loud and clear. :) Don’t worry. You aren’t in this boat alone.

    Did you finish Franzen?

  2. Booki says:

    Not yet. I haven’t really been reading it. I’m still working on another book. =P

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