Saturday, October 13, 2012

off the clock

Hardwood floor-a-creakin'
Bedroom door squeakin'
She's standing in the kitchen
I thought she was still sleepin'
Kiss her on the forehead
Ask her how she slept
She says, "Honey it's so early.
We prob'ly shouldn't speak yet."

~ lyle lovett


the missus is on sabbatical.

mostly because she's too young to retire. and too stubborn to surrender.

she had a rough go, career-wise, the last couple jobs. all the corporate cliches were in play: the more she gave, the more they took. no hours were unreasonable, and no time was off the clock. just for fun, there was the persistent undercurrent of snide disrespect and gender discrimination.

she didn't believe it could happen to her. she thought, not unreasonably, that her intelligence and kamikaze work ethic would insulate her.

plus, she was raised to believe that if you did what you were supposed to do and followed the rules and sacrificed time at home, rewards surely would follow.

she was hugely mistaken. she learned you can be all that, do all that, and still wake up 30 years later beholden to a job you don't really want for its barely adequate salary and the healthcare insurance you can't go without.

the scope and scale of her mistakenness came as a shock to her.

but once that lesson is learned, there's no unlearning it.

you can, of course, continue to participate in the corporate kabuki, with full knowledge of the faustian bargain. if you can stand it. or you can say, "thank you, no. i'm out."

at that point you wail and throw things and beseech the gods of revenge.

or you go on sabbatical.

you seek universal truths and inner calm. you acknowledge the choices you've made and what they cost you. you go to classes. you go to france. you come thisclose to buying a little bakery. you breathe. you get healthy. you go to france again. months go by, and you realize there are many other things you could be happy doing.

that's when things start to look dicey at your spouse's employer. and you realize you might have to get back into the game. just in case. so your family doesn't find itself without the salary and healthcare it can't be without. you grit your teeth, update your résumé, and begin the process...

the missus is resilient. and restless. and relentless. soon she'll be back at it, improving efficiency, cutting costs, and increasing shareholder value. all the adorably business-y things the corporatocracy reveres. in its nonstop grinding masticating way.

that lesson is learned, and will not be unlearned. no matter how much good wine is ladled over it.

but for now...the missus is on sabbatical.


Susan Pierson Brown said...

Love it. Let me know when she's ready to buy that bakery - I'm in!

spaceneedl said...

the village isn't the same without it...i'll let her know you're ready to roll. :-)

Unknown said...

Oh Michael. You are a prince of a man. The missus is a lucky one.

spaceneedl said...

thank, cc. i think i'm the lucky one, though.