Monday, December 7, 2009

It's All Downhilll From Here [February 10, 2007]

It’s occurred to me the last several mornings that my day never gets nearly as good again as within the first few minutes of waking, that, in terms of sheer, pleasure, nothing for the next 16 hours will even begin to compare to lying there semiconscious beside the missus in the heavenly warmth of our bed. I haven’t experienced anything quite like it since I had my right shoulder replaced in 1995, and they put me on a morphine drip. When doctors and nurses periodically stormed in to breezily demand, “How we doing?” (isn’t it heartening how recovery is always a team effort?), I, feeling as though sinking slowly, ever sinking, into a big warm cloud, would invariably sigh, “Never felt better.” I suspect they thought I was being sarcastic, but every syllable was true.

As noted in an earlier entry, I’m trying with all my might to train myself to see the glass as half full. My revelling in the sublime comfort of our bed suggests that I might be making some progress, Not so long ago I’d have gnashed my remaining teeth and tortured myself thinking that I wouldn’t be able to so revel if it weren’t for my unemployability.

As recently as the spring of 2000, I was earning the equivalent of £40K per annum not designing Websites for the San Francisco office of a multinational consulting firm – not designing them not because of any recalcitrance on my part, you understand, but because the big multinational consulting firm had hired a Web design team expecting that they’d be able to keep it very much busier than was actually the case. I spent most of my days alienating my immediate supervisor, of course, and exchanging emails with the missus, though at that point she was just someone in whom I confided ever more profoundly in emails. We hadn’t even met face to face yet.

Within a few months of moving to the outskirts of London, whose editors I’d wrongly supposed would trample one another trying to offer me commissions, I was applying for a minimum-wage job at an off-licence (that is, wine-seller) in Teddington just to try to keep my boredom and feelings of uselessness at bay. My application was unsuccessful (at this time) because of my lack of experience. I later applied to become a bus driver, and for my trouble received a nice letter from the transport company advising that they didn’t want me, and were under no obligation to explain why.

At least they didn’t say "at this time,” a phrase that to me is like the squeaking of Styrofoam (that is, the worst sound in the world). It is always — always! — intended to mislead. I’ve received around 4 million emails in this country advising me that my application for employment has been unsuccessful at this time, from which I suppose I’m meant to infer that if I try again in a few months, the outcome might be very different – this in spite of my having not even been invited in for an interview, let alone made it onto The Short List.

Don’t start me talking, as Mr. C crooned. I could talk all night.

How many times over the course of my non-career has a might-have-been employer told me, lying through their corporate teeth, that they’d like, assuming it’s all right with me, to keep my details on file? Just to amuse myself, I have taken in my old age to always replying, “No, you most certainly may not! I would appreciate my details’ immediate return.” But not a single might-have-been employer has yet emailed back a copy of that remarkable work of fiction, my CV.

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