(Warning...this one's whiny. And I guess it won't make sense to you if you don’t listen to the Streets. But given his recent rise to popularity, I’m betting that most of you have. So I’m using his song as a fucking weak metaphor. And if you haven’t, sorry, dude. This probably isn’t worth reading anyway. i only ramble on and on. I just kinda wrote it for myself....and of course, this one goes out to all my homies in the struggle...)
It was supposed to be so eaaaaasyyyyy.
Finish ad school. Move to New York. Get a job. Almost exactly one year ago that was our plan. “Our” being the Rican and me. And it sounded simple enough. I had savings. He had his mama. Never mind that the total combined times he and I had visited New York was under eight. Cause fuck, man. We were smart. And (while I didn’t believe it) everybody told us we had good books. Shit, a few people went so far as to flip out when they saw him. ”Oh, you guys definitely won’t have a problem.” Plus I had Donnell’s list of contacts in my little job searching black book. With hook ups like that I’d been turnin’ the fuckers down! And if all else failed (which it most certainly wouldn’t) I could always waitress at my old manager’s night club. New York, man. We were much too talented to go to some little agency out in Kansas. It was like fucking destiny or something. So goddamn easy.
But little did I know, a grand don’t come for free.
And just like that, easy, quick snap, we had jobs. Like good ad school grads, we printed out ten books and twenty CDs and marched to the portfolio review. And got our egos fucking stroked. “This is nice stuff,” The recruiters said. “Funny.” “Love your work.”
“I really need a writer. You think you can come in tomorrow to start?”
Fuck yeah, I can come in. Hired. On the spot. The Rican too. We didn’t really want to work at the same place, given that we were living together in sin and all, but shit. It was a job. Right-a-fucking-way. Who else could boast such quick employment? No one ever gets hired from these things. But we did, cause we were meant to be here. New York, man. I guess it was destiny after all. So easy, indeed.
But easy come, easy go. We went to our first day of work. The Rican overslept and was late. I got there an hour before he did only to learn the news I already feared in the back of my head. We weren’t just hired to work at the same agency, but in the same office. As a team. “But we’re dating,” we protested, hoping our new CD would just find us new partners. “Then that might be a problem,” he agreed. So the Rican got to keep his job. “And don’t worry, CD said to me. “You’re a great writer, you’ll find something else in no time.” And just like that, I was back on the streets. (This kind of thing is also great for a relationship, by the way.)
So I failed on the DVD,
But I still had to get the money….
Ah, but there was always plan B. The nightclub in Meatpacking. Under any other circumstances I’d never set foot in that herpes infestation. The smoke, superficiality and kamikazie shots were more nauseating than a night of chugging Belevdere. But my old manager offered me the job. And given my situation, I had to swallow my nausea cause I needed the money. The hours were horrible. The girls were bitches. I barely saw the Rican. And my ego, inflated by a portfolio review, was immediately popped by the customers who treated me like a dumb blonde cocktail waitress. A grand don’t come for free, indeed. Too scared and miserable to even enjoy the money, I continued to live like a pauper, spending none of it. I simply spent all my free time worrying I would never get a job. And began wondering why the fuck I’d left Miami, my home, everything I knew, in the first place.
So I failed on the DVD.
Couldn’t withdraw any money.
But I still had to call Mom.
Get the savings and then hurry.
And in this case, "Mom" was a list of agencies. Call. Email. Unreturned Email. Unreturned Call. Fuck! How busy can these people be? On the off chance I actually got through, I’d get the same reassurances. “Oh don’t worry. You're good. It’s just a matter of time.” A matter of time like eternity? Like never? Like I the two years I just wasted in ad school?
Oh, but there was the freelance. The horrible partnerless freelance that strung me along week by week. Month by month. The insecure income that forced me to keep two jobs, the club and the agency, lest I lose one. I was living a schizo double life, with my heart in neither one. Uncertainty began to creep all over me in this shaky state. And this horrible thing kept happening to me. Every day. It started with a little worry. Then the world got a little shaky, like I was on the verge of a ‘shrooms trip. But instead of spending the evening laughing at silly visuals, I began crying. For no fucking reason at all. “Shit, I’ve never cried like this before. What the fuck is wrong with me?” And that’s how I learned what a panic attack feels like. And learned over and over, every time I sat down to write. Kinda makes it hard to get your headlines done. But at least I still had that lucrative club gig. I may not have a career, but I couldn’t complain about pulling in that kind of money.
And then, for reasons out of my hands, the bitch fired me.
So there I was. In the middle of a winter I didn’t know how to handle. Losing one income. Knowing that if I didn’t start writing like I used to, if I didn’t get my shit together, I’d lose the other too. Pressure ain’t good for the anxiety. And, fuck it was cold. And ugly. Where were my palm trees? What the fuck was I doing here? Standing in the middle of a frigid crowded street in giant Uggs I should have never spent the money on, I felt like I was in the middle of that Streets song. Except, it wasn’t just about a bad day, it was a fucking bad life. A stupid fucking me. A whiney immature bitch who just couldn’t get her shit together. So easy, my ass. What the fuck was I doing leaving Miami? For what? For here? For this?
Today I have achieved absolutely now.
It’s just being out of the house I’ve lost out.
If I wanted to end up with more now,
I should have just stayed in bed like I know how.
My freelance ended like I feared it would. It seemed like a good thing at the time – my CD promising me all the contacts I needed. But, of course, the prick never came through. Never returned an email or a phone call. Just like all those other working bastards who at one time or another assured me my book was great. So great. So fucking great. So great everyone I know is working but me.
A thousand pound disappearing from me, is not what I call funny.
Getting up was gratuitous. The alarm would go off, but I’d just roll back over, hiding safely behind my eyelids. Good morning, Day, now fuck off. My twenty-seventh birthday was coming. After 8 months of CD hounding I had no job, and no career to speak of. Waa-waa. Boo-fucking-hoo. Even Dave Eggars was not this whiny.
But then one day I just said fuck it. Stop pondering the suckiness of this hole I'd let myself fall in. And start climbing the fuck out of it. You’re depressed? Really? STOP THE DRAMA! GET THE FUCK OVER IT! Get a waitressing job. Start writing. Just do it. No, it’s not fucking easy. It’s actually really fucking hard. But a grand don’t come for free, goddamnit!
So I went back to old faithful and started waitressing again. It didn’t pay like the club job did. But who was I to complain? There was no time for that. “All writers get shitty jobs,” the Rican told me. “Much worse than this one.”
Easy for his employed ass to say. But still, he was right. It wasn’t great, but it could have been a lot worse. So I just did it. Yoga. Write. Work. I didn’t have a spot at Chiat, but I was a hell of a lot further ahead than I was a few months ago – unemployed and crying hysterically on my bed. And I felt better too. Routine keeping me busy. A month passed and I was about to start working on my book again, my confidence restored and my finances (while minor) intact.
And then the restaurant closed without notice, leaving me out of a job again. Goddamnit! What else can go wrong??? No, no. Don’t ask that question. Cause the universe will always answer you. Just find another job and keep writing. You’ll have a new book by the new year, and then you can start chasing the ad thing again.
And I found a new job. And a better one at that. Mo’ money. Better peeps. And a month later I started luxuriating in the comfort of income and routine. Now I can start working on my book again. Just two kick ass campaigns, by the end of the year. I can do this. Just like I did it before.
And then, suddenly, without my planning, to my great surprise, I found my thousand quid. Yesterday, after almost a year of searching I stood outside in Soho, blinking in disbelief. I’d just been offered a job. A good job. A fucking full time job. In advertising. And it’s the kind of job I really want like I want an IV of Black Label in my arm. Or fuck. Make it Blue Label. Cause, fuckers, I’m making a paycheck! 401k! Health insurance! A kick-ass CD! And it was all out of fucking nowhere. It seamed too easy. No, no. This can’t be. A grand don’t come for free. But a quick mental montage through the past year and I remember. This isn’t some freak lottery win. I earned this.
“Was it worth it?” asked my friend on the phone as I walked to the 6 train. “All that shit you went through. Aren’t you glad it all happened?”
I smiled a silent “yes.” into the receiver my phone’s receiver. I guess things, easy or not, usually end up just as they should.
(Yeah, yeah. I’m rolling my eyes too. But fuck. Let me have my little moment. The normal bitter programming will return shortly.)