Probably one of the most interesting things about being laid off is that none of the decisions you make actually matter. You can pretty much put everything off until later. If you do something you don’t like today, you make up for it by doing something you do like tomorrow. You can do all kinds of things that have a 50 percent chance of sucking, because even if they suck, you didn’t have anything else to do.
Or at least that’s what I told myself while I was stuck in traffic in the middle of the night on Wednesday while traveling to Cape Cod. At 3am I pulled into a gas station to get more coffee just so I didn’t crash the car for the final hour of the drive and when the gas attendant asked me how I was I gasped, “so much better now that I’m not in a car and am talking to a human being!” He laughed. And I think being laid off will teach you that as long as you’re patient, after every epic stretch of backed-up highway due to construction, there’s a human being waiting to laugh politely at your lame jokes. Or something allegorically to that effect.
But the truth is, at the end of my first day on Cape Cod, after reuniting with one of my oldest childhood friends at an outdoor bar on the bay, I got into my car and that great song from Dirty Dancing was playing. And I realized that not worrying about whether I’m spending my time productively has actually helped me to do some pretty fun things with my life. (Like talk to Andrea at unemployment, visit MoMA to look at only one painting, and visit not one, not two, not three but FOUR different Starbucks locations per day.) You might even say I’m having the time of my life.
For example, in mid-July I let PopMatters send me to the New Music Seminar, hosted by Tom Silverman of Tommy Boy Entertainment, which focused projecting the evolution of the music industry for 2012. There, I learned “if you know you’re f*cked, you’re not, and if you think you’re not F*cked, you are,” and other important things about the future of the music industry. (read it here.) I never would have been able to go to an all-day panel about an industry that has nothing to do with my life if I had a job, right?
I also wouldn’t be able to travel random places for random reasons. So,today, I decided, you know what? Why be in New York for the end of August when I could be a Taoist work farm in a village in Hungary? And, so, I signed up for that, too. My dirtiest hippie friend called me a hippie. But…I guess it’s the sign of the times. And as previously noted, I’ve never really enjoyed shaving my legs.