Several people have told me to write about unemployment but honestly, what is there to say that doesn’t sound whiny or pathetic? So instead, a parable about compost…
One of my favorite lines in the movie everyone loves to hate (Twilight) is: “Compost is good!” I like that and Edward Cullen’s weird line to Bella Swan that she is “…like my own personal brand of heroin.” Well, put them together and you have my unemployment obsession: making my compost good and ready to grow a new garden in the spring. Yes, this is a neat metaphor for joblessness (it will be shamelessly extended below) but first, I really did make compost and it really was addictive. Shredded leaves last fall just when I was told my job was eliminated, scraps of fruit and vegetables all winter and spring tossed in and smothered, letting it sit in the sun and baking this summer even as my crabby neighbors were undoubtedly horrified by my piles of smoldering stuff. But time and the worms did their thing and here it is: all brown and sweet-smelling and fluffy. I have enough worms to make 100 fishermen happy (I should sell them!!). Look, there’s one next to my safety goggles:
If I can hang in there for the long process of compost, I can make it through a winter of un/under employment, right? Well, there is only one problem (here’s where the metaphor fall apart). I just can’t get my “exit interview” out of my mind. An exit interview is a totally worthless and humiliating process in which your ax-wielding employer makes nice talk and tries to suck out of you any last bits of useful information before they show you the door. Here is what the director of the museum I was booted out of said to me, straight-faced and sincere, at my exit interview: “You are the only person who has figured out how to get people (visitors) into this museum. How do you do it?” My answer?: “I’m not telling you!”
So you see, I may have time for gardening and compost-making now, but that question still bugs me. Yes, unemployment is like compost in this way: it may make things grow in the future but it is still just worm shit. In my next post, I will show you my beautiful garden.