No Ipod, No Job, No Boyfriend, No Problem!

I’ve was thinking yesterday about carrots, real and metaphorical.

I was first of all thinking of how when I get stressed out and upset, my response is to fixate my diet around carrots. I realize this is not totally normal. And I was thinking, “why do I do this?”

I realized that although my carrot-addiction is a real and tangible thing, it is also symbolic of all the other “carrots” in my life. Namely: like a horse with blinders, if you put a carrot in front of me, I will follow it compulsively, not caring that it’s always dangling two feet in front of me, only caring that there is some carrot, and I can become completely myopic and obsessive over it.

For example, I realized that I had become unhealthily obsessed with my destroyed iPod. Everyday since I wrecked it, I have been getting more and more devastated that I don’t have an iPod. And yet, I don’t buy a new one, I just obsess. Carrot!

I realized that I was also obsessed with work. Yesterday marked my 7,000 Stumble on Stumble Upon. Aside from the fact that my account may now be worth money, I have spent more time on Stumble Upon than the average human. I see it in my sleep. It occurred to me that was..well…kind of weird. Carrot!

I also realized that I was a little bit obsessed with….Well, let’s just say that for the past month or so I’ve been “channeling Orsino,” as I like to call it. (If you don’t get that reference, SweetSearch can help: enter “orsino twelfth night“. If you’re too riveted by this fantastic blog entry to click anything, think: unrequited.) Carrot!

So anyway, there I was, thinking about how I am chasing all these carrots, and wondering what to do about it, and then…I got laid-off. (see title: no job) There’s not much to say about that, except that I tried very hard to make a lot of jokes about it, because I really feel that I am getting close to being the Most Sarcastic Person on earth, and I would not want to wreck it by showing emotion in a situation like this.

But, as they, say Alcohol Happens. Several hours later, I was toasted, and had spent most of the evening trying to provide yogic wisdom to my co-workers. (see my stellar feature on Survivor Guilt.) I was 2 glasses of sangria, one baby nalgene bottle of white wine and two vodka sodas READY to chasing that other carrot…aka “If music be the food of love–play on!”

Well, to make a long story short: that carrot didn’t work out either, and if you crack jokes about a serious subject for too many hours in a row, you will cry really really really hard at the end of it. You will board the G train in a fit of rage and self-pity, and you will think: it is 1 thirty am. It’s the Goddamn G-train. And you will put your face in your hands, and you will have at it! And for most of the ride, everyone will ignore you.

I’ve said many times that my favorite thing about New York is that you can cry in public and no one will bother you to ask what’s wrong. Some people think this is a sign that I’m a really depressed person. Others have taken inspiration from this, and given themselves permission to cry in public. Either way, I didn’t really believe that anyone on the train even heard me.

But suddenly, just after Bedford-Nostram, I heard someone ask, “Miss, are you alright?” I looked up to see a sympathetic young man in a shiny black doo-rag leaning towards me from a few seats away. I looked up, stunned.

“Oh! Me? Of course, yeah, I’m just being really melodramatic here. Sorry,” I blathered. He smiled.
“It’s ok.”
“Yeah…it’s just I got laid off, my ex-boyfriend totally rejected me and well…it’s sort of a case of one bad thing at work, one broken-heart and one too many vodka sodas.”

He laughed. I was totally back!

“I know I’m overreacting,” I went on. “I am just really really drunk.” (note to readers: normally I would not advise advertising this on the G-train at 2am.) I interrupted myself suddenly, “You know what’s weird, I always tell people that the best thing about New York is no one will ask you why you’re crying. I can’t believe you asked!”

He looked at me quizzically. “I mean, Miss, we’re the only two people on this car. If I just sat here while you were crying, don’t you think that’d be a little messed up?”

I didn’t know what to say. But he went on, “Listen. I think it’s going to be ok. You’ve obviously put a lot energy into these things…”

“Yes! I’ve been following like a carrot! I mean a horse! A horse with blinders!”

“Ok! So you’ve been focusing on a lot of other people. This is fine. You lost the job, you lost the boyfriend, and there’s nothing left to focus on but you. So just take some time to focus on yourself. It’s going to be a good thing. You can figure out what you really want.”

I kid you not. That is what he said. We got to Fulton. “You’re right,” I told him. “I’m probably never going to see you again, but my name is RB.” I put out my hand to shake his.

“Nice to meet you, RB. I’m Frank.”

Frank! I may not be employed as a writer anymore, but that cannot stop me from loving words and wordplay. I could not believe this strangely situated, wise stranger would also be named, “Frank.”

I skipped off the train. I was walking home in a decent mood, until it occurred to me that I’d really like to hear some music. Frank had not said anything about being happy without an iPod. So I’m getting a new one today. Chomp!

Required Reading:
Twelth Night
How to Survive A Layoff


15 thoughts on “No Ipod, No Job, No Boyfriend, No Problem!

  1. A long time ago I cried on the subway. When I finally raised my face from my hands, another passenger on the opposite bench was leaning across the aisle, offering me a clean tissue. It was on the F train, can you believe that?

    Even longer ago I cried on 5th Avenue near St. Patrick's and was abducted by Moonies. I barely escaped with my sanity. At least I think I escaped.

  2. What an awesome post. I'm not gonna lie, when I first saw the title I was, like, “Um, seriously? You don't have an iPod?” But it was so much more…

    Looking forward to being laid off together, and sorry I missed the drinking. We'll have to plan a re-do.

  3. Congratulations on the new iPod as the first step (in a while maybe?) towards focusing on you for a bit.

    Oh. And good luck at the Apple Store today. The new iPhone is out. It could be like a zoo in there.

  4. wait, that seriously happened?! because in that case this is my favorite post of yours EVER. and yes of course i was reading this while munching on (baby) carrots…

  5. I've been looking forward to this post all day. I knew you wouldn't let me down. I can't wait to see & read what emerges from your inward focus.

  6. Damn… ipod! I feel your pain. I had no idea what i was missing until……babycakes…no job f**it but no ipod…now that's an injustice! You need to get a tiny one least.

    love you

  7. Oh I can so relate, having just survived a little over three months of joblessness… and I found that some people are just an absolute blessing when you really need it most.

    Haven't lost a boyfriend or an ipod (knock on wood re: the latter – there's been none of the former for ages), but I did find out just how little my own family is willing to help me when the chips are down. That kinda sucked…

    But anyway. Yay for Frank being so frank. On a train in a public place. Such pithiness and love. What a wonder.

    And please, please do go get that dang ipod. Life is so much better when you've got those little white earphones to plug into. 🙂

  8. I hear your struggle and this post touched me. Those darned carrots! I've spent way too much time chasing illusions. But, I do like to eat them! And I've cried on the train before, in Chicago. Very anonymous. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Personally, I do better without a girlfriend than without an ipod…which says something either about how much I love music or how antisocial and alienated I am…or both…probably both…

    As for the literal carrot fixation–that may be the healthiest food fixation I've ever heard of. I'd stick with it if I were you.

    And the metaphorical carrots…with all the yoga I'm doing, I'll be concerned only with the here and now and no longer hung up on desires any day now…or maybe that's a carrot, too…

  10. I just found this blog via Yoga For Cynics. What a wonderful mind you have. You have a lot of great stories in you. Maybe its time to go freelance or just write your own book.

    Carrots are full of beta carotene, And that is for vision. Perhaps the universe is telling you to gain some clarity. Frank telling you to focus–another ocular reference.

    You have your eyes open. You have seen/defined parameters of the problem. You received validation. The next step is all up to you.

  11. If it makes you feel better my love, I got laid off too, which means I will now be trying to apply to law school and will, in the meantime, have lots of time to come visit you in New York…

  12. Love this post. And glad to know I'm not the only person that cries on the subway. I wrote a poem a few weeks ago called “Love Letter To the A Train.” It always holds me when I break down.


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