Not that I am to blame. It happens when one is not gainfully employed. Everyday seems like a Sunday. And not a Sunday in which you know that the next day the grind starts again. No, a Sunday which is followed by another Sunday, which is followed by another Sunday, which in turn is followed by, no prizes for guessing, another Sunday.
So, to me, the past year and a half have been like an extended weekend. (Actually, some people I know would like to call it by a different name, but this is what I've decided upon. An extended weekend. Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? Hi, I'm on an extended weekend. What? Oh, that's part of my work actually. Yes, I specialize in extending weekends. It's a inborn talent, really. No, I don't have any branches. Yet.)
However, there is one thing that even someone as clueless & as intoxicated as me can notice.
I've come to realize that people treat those who are gainfully employed and those who take extended weekends which last more than a year, a tad bit differently. I know. Outrageous, isn't it?
I vividly remember the days when I used to work. By work, I mean laughing at every stupid forward people send and exploring wikipedia for useless trivia (Did you know Mata Hari was actually not a really good spy? Yup. Surprising isn't it? There is so much useless trivia out there, and so little time. Sigh. Also, it only sounds interesting when you are being paid to do something else. Otherwise, who really cares. Pshaw!)
It turns out that a job is like an ass. Everyone seems to have them.
So when you answer the question "So, what are you doing these days?" with the ominous word "Nothing", most people react in a very predictable way.
First, comes the indignation.
"What do you mean by nothing? So you actually aren't doing anything? Nothing AT ALL? Are you crazy?!"
Then comes the surprise.
"Why? What happened? You were doing so well! Are you crazy?"
Then, the weight of the information they have been provided with begins to settle in and a pattern seems to emerge.
"So you're sitting at home? Voluntarily? Why? Are you crazy?"
Then comes the search for plausible excuses.
"Are you sick? No?"
"Are you trying to lose weight? No?"
"Are you studying? No?"
"Are you helping out your family with the business? No?"
Then comes the slight tilt of the head and the first step towards the road of acceptance.
"Awwww. Oh! I'm sure you deserve it. I remember you used to be working so hard".
"Good for you".
"I would never have the guts to do something like this".
Then come the suggestions.
"If you're not busy, you should help out your family with the business".
"If you're not busy, you should study more and add to your resume".
"If you're not busy, you should try losing weight".
"If you're not busy, you should try writing a blog".
"If you're not busy, you should help my son get his wife pregnant".
Then comes the show of fake support along with a huge effort made in trying to encapsulate the overwhelming feeling of jealousy along with a naked attempt to try to make me feel like a loser.
"So you're staying home for the past year doing nothing? So you're doing NOTHING? How do you pass your day?"
"I would go bananas if I had to spend even a day doing nothing! Haha! How do you do it?"
"Aren't you yearning to go back to work?"
"You would have been an ________ by now if you hadn't left your job!"
"What's a blog?"
Then comes what I lovingly call the insane reasoning portion of the evening.
"This is not an age to take a break at. One should only take a break when one's sixty".
"Don't you want to get married?"
"You have to do something. Everyone does something or the other. You can't just sit at home".
"Don't you want to get married and give your parents a few grandchildren to play with?"
"You'll start losing the use of your mental faculties if you keep doing nothing for a long period of time. Stop laughing. It's true. I've seen it happen".
"No one does what they really want to do. So go back to work and get married. It's high time you got settled".
That sums up the conversation with 95% of the people.
One of the things about being jobless is that the "different" treatment you get from people. Suddenly, people find it really awkward to talk to me. And my opinion just does not hold the same value for them as it used to before. People really don't know how to start a conversation with me anymore. And there are so many topics they try to steer clear from. Things they presume that I would get offended by.
We are so used to identifying and associating people with what kind of work they do that it's really hard for us to look beyond that. Even when we introduce ourselves to other people, in most cases, the first thing that really comes out after our names is our occupation or whatever we do for a living. Because even personally, that's our yardstick for defining who we are. I used to do that too. But my "extended weekend" has made me realize that whatever job or line of work you do doesn't have to define who you are. We are so obsessed with titles, positions, the whole concept of "making a name for yourself" that we let it take over our lives. People define success not by how happy they are but by how many weekends they spend replying to work emails on their blackberry. It's in trying to "be somebody" that we lose track of who we really are. I know that because I did.
I'm not trying to knock anyone here. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I, for one, love being treated like a pariah. A few of my friends and some assorted family friends have tried to "turn me around" and "talk some sense into me" but most of the time, they end up projecting. It's funny how the same people who used to tell my parents that they were "so proud" of me, now avoid me like the bubonic plague, even using me as an example of explaining to their children on how not to do things. The general consensus seems to be that I've lost it and that this is more evidence that I am a "spoiled" brat. Well, not that there is anything wrong with that. However, as always, I'm too drunk too care. I don't give a flying f@ck about what these people think anyway!
Yeah, almost everyone treats me differently. Even God. He answers all my prayers with "I'll get to you in a minute, asshole". To be fair, all of my prayers revolve around food and sex. And I guess God thinks that you can only have one of them at a time.
Is he trying to tell me something?