Freelance by Jen

Consider me the No More Tangles of your writing needs.

As I sit here on Day Two of Unemployment Two of Pandemic Two Oh Two Oh, I’m comforted by one thought: none of us really know what we’re doing.

I mean, there are definitely people that are far, far ahead of others in this broadest of generalizations. People who’ve rolled with the punches, or whose specific set of skills have proven very helpful. People who have saved lives, or at least made lives better.

But honestly, most of us are flying blind in the current global landscape. And for many of us, the things we did know are currently obsolete.

Reading colleague after colleague bid farewell to our company, and effectively our industry, last night was surreal. My co-workers and fellow creatives were easily the most brilliant group of people I’ve ever worked with. I spent many days aspiring to attain even like, a touch of the wisdom they effortlessly exuded.

And now it’s all gone. We’re all laid off, with no guarantee of return. As long as the pandemic rages, so too do we, in our homes, wishing that maybe people could just practice responsible behavior so we could BRING BACK MOVIES OMG.

That’s seriously not even my point, though. But I’m gonna jump back on the track to my point now.

Last night, we had a raccoon in our garage, perched atop the garage door open/shut mechanism. (I don’t KNOW what that thing is called.) Josh discovered it after it had scampered about on what looked like every upper shelf or ledge we had, knocking a glass shower door over onto the kids’ drum set in the process. Much breakage. It was like an Allstate Mayhem commercial in there. And it was super late at night on a night that I’d crashed on the couch at 10pm, so I kind of couldn’t care. (Big shout-out to these Hello Bello Sleep Well gummies.)

ANYWAY, Josh smartly left a trail of roasted deli turkey out the quickly-opened door, and it was gone this morning. The turkey, that is. But also the raccoon.

What was left: the mess. And Josh actually still has a job, so he had to leave early this morning. Before he left, I sleepily proclaimed that I would clean the mess up, because cleaning and spelling are really the only things I can do effectively and this definitely was one of those.

He was happy. I felt useful. All was well.

And it continued to be well for awhile. I picked up everything that wasn’t shards of glass and put those things back in their places. I neatened up as I went, so it would look even better than when I started. It was about 107 degrees in the garage and I had just showered, as any smart person does before going into sweaty and dirty conditions, so everything was going really smoothly.

And then I gloved up, moved the door off the drum set, picked up all the ground glass and put it in a heavy-duty trash bag, moved the drums, rolled up the rug, took it outside far away from foot traffic, shook it, shook it more, shook it a third time, swept out the whole garage, swept the driveway, swept the sidewalk, and then moved the shower door, still half-glassed, outside against a tree.

That’s when I stopped. Because, like, what’s the smart way to remove glass without just, breaking it?

And THAT’S when I flashed back on the past three months. In that time, I’ve been unemployed twice (as I will continue to say because I can’t get over it yet). Josh and I have had to gut our bathroom and rebuild it. We’ve read up on how to replace the radio in my car. Cash has learned to play the mandolin AND the bass. I had a new job requiring a completely different skillset for three weeks. Said job had a whole new flow due to safety precautions and cleaning procedures.

None of us knew what the hell we were doing in any of those instances. But…we didn’t know together. I watched Josh level up like, three times in his handyman skillset. I watched Cash play Beatles songs a week after his birthday, songs he picked up mostly by ear. I watched my whole management team pivot (sorry, I HATE that word, but) and learn a whole new way, only to immediately turn and train new staff on the same new way even though we hadn’t even seen it in practice yet.

The old me would’ve looked at that shower door, asked for help, or said “okay, I did this much, someone else can do the rest.” But the new me was like, nah, I’m gonna surprise Josh, and he’ll be so grateful.

So I pulled the lining thing out as much as I could to dislodge glass without breaking it. I tapped the rest. There was almost no shattering in the whole process. I cleaned everything up. I left the totally glass-free frame against the tree so Josh could see it and be so grateful and frankly impressed that he married someone who could basically have her own HGTV show at this point. I disposed of all glass. I moved the drums back. I moved the shook rug to the hose and hosed it down because honestly it was disgusting anyway. Then I hauled it to our patio so it could dry without birds shitting on it.

Then I came inside, dripping with sweat and remembering how dumb it was to pre-shower, just as Josh got home. He looked at everything for a second, then said “Where did you hose the rug? Where’s the glass that was on it now?”

So that’s a whole other lesson we’ll explore later, called “Don’t attach expectation to outcomes.”

Anyway, the point really is, don’t fret. You may be facing a huge financial hardship, but so are most of us. You may not know if or when you can return to your job or school or life. I don’t know either. Most of us don’t.

What we can do is remember that life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friends. Arguing about masks, or about politics, or about religion, doesn’t change the fact that we’re all scared. And it’s okay to be scared. So I challenge you this week to learn something you didn’t know before. For me, it’s going to be a course I impulsively bought from Stack Skills on Microsoft Excel for Absolute Idiots. It’s time I made myself pick up basic formulas, you know? Also, I’m going to learn about Kuhl’s new Hybrid Water Shorts, because I’m at the age in which bikinis with no clothes on over them are pretty much not working for me.

Song of the Day: Chariots of Fire theme song. We’re all in it for the long haul, guys, so let’s at least get through it with a beautiful backdrop.

3 thoughts on “Like, Nobody Actually Knows.

  1. Sue Ellen Novak says:

    I am proud of you.

    Like

    1. FreelanceJen says:

      I am proud of you. ❤️

      Like

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