Conversation with mom: She thinks I’m selfish. She thinks I better hurry and find a job, I’m putting my dad in his grave. She thinks I was better in high school, when I won awards, and made honors lists. Now I’m unemployed and I don’t get along with anyone.
Conversation with John: My mom is stupid. She’s an idiot. She’s negative. She is shaming me. (John was in the military with my parents. Them met in the sixties and drove around Spain together to castles and cathedrals and the running of the bulls. My dad and a rabbi became fast friends with John and they’ve been friends ever since.) Now he owns this house on the hill I’m living at, and is letting me stay for a dollar month to figure self out. I said I know myself, I just need a job and a home of my own. It’s been a month since I got my MFA, which would be no big deal but it was expensive and my parents didn’t like the idea to begin with or the extra money I asked for to support me living in the bay area. Now that it’s over I’m still broke and dependent and so the pressure is on. Take time for yourself John says. But I know they think I’m selfish. I know my mom thinks I was better back then. “This college you applied to, why don’t you just go there and talk to them?” This isn’t the sixties. “I got my last job in 1993. That’s what I did when I became a nurse in Jackson”. This isn’t 1993. You apply online. You email your resume. Why can’t she understand that, it’s like talking to a gopher. Come out of the ground and spout your opinion then go back under. My mom is a neanderthal but she also has retirement money and a home, and so she can be self righteous and it doesn’t fucking matter, I’m still broke.
So I need quiet they say. I could teach English in Guatemala and live at the house John’s sister died in. He mentioned it and I just thought about her gold nail polish and leathery alcoholic skin. I feel trapped. Maybe that’s why I’ve been driving so much, to Folsom, little Columbia town and Angels Camp. I read a book, and went to a gold miners museum. I panned for gold and drank a strawberry milkshake. All these things are fun, but they also feel like distractions because I need to get out from under this pressure, and I’m not sure how I’m going to do that, and who is going to respond to my resume. Are two degrees not enough? Am I unemployable? Am I fucked?
I’ve been looking for jobs all day. Actually I started the day climbing out the window because I didn’t want to see Irma. I think she has been friendlier and everything is fine but I just didn’t want to see her so I climbed out and drove around for a few hours. I went to Mercer Caverns and instead of going in, because I had my dog with me, I wandered around the gift shop looking at geodes. A member of the cavern staff came up to give me pointers on finding a good geode (they are the light ones that actually have anything in them worth slamming them on the ground for) but he dropped one on my toe and I was upset, my foot swelled up from the heat but probably also the geode and I left to figure out my mail situation. It’s complicated but nothing has arrived yet so I was talking to a post office clerk and another female clerk, probably in her fifties and experiencing menopause, chastised me for letting my little dog’s paws walk on the hot cement outside. She didn’t even get right into it, but started with a friendly “Is it hot out?” I was taken aback but ended the conversation with “you’re rude” and when she tried to speak said “no, I don’t want to hear it, you don’t know what you’re talking about” and then I mentally patted myself on the back because I am sick of old people acting like they know what they’re talking about, and just taking it like I’m still in high school.
I’m 31. I’m going to be over the hill in nine years. I’m not going to go from being treated like a careless child to an old lady just like that, I need a few years of individual power and admirable leadership. I came back to the house and was on hold for twenty minutes with another post office clerk. Stupid mail. I don’t even have mail, why does it matter? And then I picked apart my resume for an hour, and made a new one on a free site that was $2.95 to download it with the formatting all fucked up and so I was back to the beginning with my shitty resume that has only half of the customer service jobs I’ve worked over the years. Turns out that doesn’t look good on a resume.
Nobody wants to know that my first job was a clerk in a bookstore, and all the years babysitting, and selling Lladro and Swarovski crystal. No one cares that I worked eleven hours a day to canvas door to door for the environment or that I made sandwiches in a bakery or tutored foreign students at my university. Absolutely nobody wants to hear about performing gait analysis except for maybe the time Danny Glover bought two pairs of vibrams for his size fourteen feet. The years as a cashier and gift shop clerk, and computer salesman would bore everyone, though my stories are endless. Teaching abroad was exotic. That might be the only thing worth keeping on my resume. Creative director would have been good if I had been paid and lasted for more than a month. So here is my haphazard resume. I cut most of these life experiences out. I highlighted my name and added some skills. “Enthusiastic” is a skill, right? I’m more like Eeyore, but no one is going to interview me to find out.
Maybe I’ll just live out the rest of my days on this hilltop, melting in the heat, asking my dad for some extra money, and apologizing for being a loser. Also, I found my cat. She was in the storage house.