Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Blues and the Abstract Truth

The Blues and the Abstract Truth.

That's the name of the Oliver Nelson CD I'm currently listening to. It seems a fitting enough title for this blog entry as well, and so it shall be.

It seems the benign indifference of the bloody universe has me by the balls.

About this time last week, I joined the roughly 11% of my fellow Californians who find themselves unemployed. It was, shall we say, unexpected. Though in the back of my mind I knew this moment would come, I knew I would one day be forty years old, unemployed, with no impressive job skills and no grand plan. In a word, I have officially become obsolete.

If nothing else, I am in good company. My neighborhood is full of those who got lost somewhere along the way. Perhaps I will follow their lead and take up some new hobbies, say, like maybe hanging out at the corner liquor store, spending my government money on junk food, beer and endless amounts of losing lotto tickets which I will litter the sidewalk with on my journey home. Once home I will stand in the doorway of my apartment building and drink aforementioned beer and stare emptily in the distance for hours. And smoking. I need to take up smoking. You can't really stand in the doorway of your apartment building, drink beer and stare into the distance for hours without a cigarette in your hands. It just isn't done. When I need a break from that I will go back to the liquor store and buy another shitload of lotto tickets and toss those on the sidewalk as well. Then I'll walk up a block to a nameless, characterless dive bar and join the other good folk there at 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon.

I will order a bud light and nurse it for as long as possible as I continue to stare emptily into space. Maybe I will put a few old country songs on the jukebox if there happen to be any free credits. Maybe some Dylan.

"Hey, Bill."
"Hey, Ed. Hey Trudy. Hey George."
"How's things, Bill?"
"Ah, you know, Ed. Same shit different day."
"You got that right, ha, ha."
"Ha, ha."
"You watch the game last night?"
"O, yeah."
"Crazy, huh?"
"Shit, man, I couldn't believe it, ha, ha."
"Ha, Ha."


After a few hours of that I will go back by the liquor store for some more lotto tix, beer and cigarettes, then back home to stand in the doorway of my apartment building to finish off the day in grand and classic style.

Of course, that kind of rigorous and disciplined lifestyle is something I will have to work my way up to. In the meantime I have taken to simply getting drunk in the afternoon and wandering about the city aimlessly, checking the mail every hour or so for confirmation of my unemployment award.

On the more positive side of things, yesterday I collected about $70 for my books I have sold through a few local bookstores. Later today I will wander over to North Beach and check in at City Lights and The Beat Museum and hopefully collect some more book money, most of which I imagine I will spend on a few drinks at Vesuvio or The Saloon. On the way home I will buy a cheap bottle of wine and maybe something for dinner. I will spend the evening drinking wine, playing videogames and hanging with Anise.

Tomorrow perhaps I will get some writing done, or maybe some painting, and start in on a few of those jobs around the house that there is never enough time to tackle when one is gainfully employed.

So, in short: fuck you, universe. Bring it on. I can take it. Or at least pretend to. I can put on a tough face with the best of 'em. I have the willful endurance of those who do not expect much from life. I will match your indifference with my own.

For all to be accomplished, for me to feel less lonely, all that remains to hope is that on the day of my execution there should be a huge crowd of spectators and that they should greet me with howls of execration.



  1. Booyah, indeed!!!

    You know, the description of your possible-future-life sounds very much like the lyrics to any number of Tom Waits songs.

    Enjoy it until the bills pile up, and then (and only then) hunker down.

  2. My neighborhood in general is a lot like a Tom Waits song.

  3. I have the unemloyment existence right now too. We should do something frivolous during the day.

  4. I too am a forty year old, worthless unemployed writer/artist, trying to grow a garden of vegetables, living life as a hustle from one moment to the next, keeping barely ahead of the bills and the madness...

    I couldn't be more pleased to be in such fine company...

  5. don't have any witty comment, but wanted to offer support. i've been unemployed since november... so i understand the frustrations you may be going thru right now. keep trudging and something will definitely come up, just gotta ride it out.

    oya. this is kaoli btw...

    take care

  6. Bill. That was brilliantly written. Have you thought about crafting it into a short story and submitting it? It's a perfect time for stories like this!