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Work in the Bag

Work resumes Monday. After over a week of delays, for real and for sure, with emails from both sides confirming.

August was to have been a month of extra travels, maybe jaunts to the East Coast, certainly time in the forests I had missed. There have been a few day sojourns alone and with friends, but I have been good and diligent in filling out the papers and putting the pegs in the holes I studiously ignored for two months. It is comforting to sit at a friend’s kitchen table and argue with unemployment, look for houses to buy, run the aimless circles of printing things out to sign and fax back. There is comfort in anything familiar, even discomfort.

Discomfort has not been evident, not really. Time has moved in a straight, busy arrow unlike the Augusts of youth where we all felt the clock running out once the pool became boring. The extra time was not much of a gift when I had what seemed an ideal amount. I made none of those trips but took the cat to the vet. Four-hundred-plus bucks later the cat is improved and I worry about money more.

Twenty years ago I resented work and the endless grubbing and concern for it. Action regarding it was always a mix of trying to grow a difficult plant and fight a vicious addiction. We tried to figure out jobs to maximize returns. We scored gigs that yielded occasional scores. I was afraid to spend it, or knew it felt better to hold on to it.

Now, I have retained and extended my adolescent sense of money’s futility with an adult’s entropic perspective. Money is a kind of suffering, already metered out in neat little units. It is as illusory as the markets are figuring out. But you need the stuff even if you live low to the ground.

The job is a good one: interesting craftsman work, a doing job in a quiet space with intelligent, talented people not caught up in work’s finely honed bullshit machine. I sit in front of a screen and make the pixels dance and they appreciate it.

Over the past weeks Dad has asked about it. So many weeks and then back to the grind, he says. Back to the grind. I realize this is a mindset and a choice. Yes, the job eats out the center of the day, but there’s still a lot left around the edges.

I am not worried about Monday and I haven’t been for months.

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