I don’t feel clever anymore – and I used to.
There are moments here and there when I think I have things sorted out but then I look around me – at my situation in life (unemployed, disabled, divorced, single again, re-questioning all things) and I say, Perhaps I am really not so clever after all, or at least, not just now. After all, wasn’t it you (that is, me) who got me, who got yourself, here in the first place?
Oh sure, maybe I got here with help – we can all say that and point the finger, but in the final account, it was me who pulled a Hiroshima, Mon Amour on my own life. It was me who dropped the bomb; and I think it was me who blew it up Marguerite Duras style. I took a lover, smoked a lot, listened to French music, read Duras, re-read Nabokov, spent time with a man who was older, got involved with him, cheated on my husband, learned a lot, screwed up my marriage, grieved two deaths in immediate family, lost my entire family on my ex-husband’s side, lost my house, moved to another state, gave up most of my furniture and put the books in storage and said, Okay – so begin again. And of course, you know that a nervous breakdown was in the recipe somewhere.
Somewhere along the way I started losing a healthy sense of humor and the ability to be clever. You know like in the film Fight Club when Brad Pitt asks Ed Norton, “How’s that working out for you, being clever?” and Ed Norton says, “Good.” I totally get it. It used to work out for me as well – being clever. For years, I made money freelance (and fulltime, but freelance, although is money our barometer of cleverness I wonder?). But it worked out – I was paid for being clever. And I think we should be paid for being smart, for thinking creatively, and more – I’ll say that much. For working hard, for saying what no one else will say or can say. And I used to be so much less tired and so much less disillusioned.
So what’s the trouble now? We have a better President – I know the economy took a bad turn and don’t we all but technically, like I kept telling people during the campaign, things have turned around. Obama got re-elected, which is something I wanted so much that even I went canvassing in New Hampshire, knocking on doors saying, “Vote for him because…” and handing out glossy material. I would have done a whole lot more to tell you the truth.
But I don’t want to get into a whole political discussion here because I think the country is divided almost 50/50 here or was anyway during this election so I think we must all be feeling something similar – a sort of apprehension, and we are coping with it different ways. Like I say, most of us are feeling the same way and perhaps even saying the same thing and just coming at it from a different point of view – very Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue”: “We always did feel the same, we just saw it from a different point of view.” Those words could well apply to the whole of what just happened not just to me, but to our country.
I look on LinkedIn and other job sites for writers and editors (freelance sites) and I apply for jobs even though I am appalled by how low the salaries are or how low the payment is now for these huge jobs that used to pay in the thousands (and that was years ago). Today, a job that is equal work pays $500. Does that seem even remotely reasonable to you? It doesn’t to me. I put in some hours last year and was glad of the work but I tell you, it was a huge amount of research and writing that ultimately paid very little. I could tell you all about what I learned (anything you want to know about GPS, ask me) but at the end of the day, I still need to be compensated. Like everyone, I need and want security. If this seems funny to you, humorous in some way, it should not. It’s what we are all after – no matter who you voted for or what your political position.