ward of the state

Well. It's a whole new world, folks. It's Tuesday, during the day. And instead of sitting at my job, working or "working," drinking a diet coke, worrying about everything I have to do, wondering why my neighbor in the cube next to me won't shut the fuck up, thinking if I really want to hear the same CD for the ninth time, I'm sitting at home with a cat on my lap watching TV and typing. And it fucking rules.

Yeah. My job ended on Friday, my job of three years, and I packed my shit and went away for the weekend. Now I'm back and rested and learning how the other half lives. Or in LA, the other four-fifths, as it seems no one in LA works. I used to experience this a few years ago when I read scripts exclusively and used to get up, make coffee, run a bath, and then get in with a pile of scripts. Any job you could do naked, I used to say, was a good job to have. Now, I don't have one. And I've changed that to "Any way you can spend your day naked and get paid for it, is good." Yeah, I took everyone's advice not to feel guilty or embarrassed, and I called and got me some unemployment. Sure, it's not much, but for six months if I want to and I prove I'm looking for work (which I am, technically, by going out of pitch meetings around town with a script, something I've started and something that is the subject of a whole separate entry), I can collect me the maximum allowed by the state of California and, supplementing it with other money and even under-the-table cash, and I can pretty much concentrate on living and writing and enjoying myself for a while. And yeah, I'm sure I'm going to get restless and wish in some ways for the constraints and regimen of an office job, but right now I love it and plan to enjoy it as much as I can.

I mean, you don't have to go to work every day. Who knew!

What ended up happening at work is not much. Basically, I'm not sure how to try to force them into giving me a severance package. I doubt they will. The company is huge enough not to be intimidated by me, and frankly I don't have the time or inclination to hire a lawyer. And as long as I can get unemployment for a while, I'm happy enough. What I did, however, is on Friday I went upstairs and talked to our HR woman and basically scolded and berated her for 15 minutes - for the treatment of long-term temps and for their retarded policy which is in effect bringing someone in to replace me who will cost the same and who will take about 6 months to get up to my knowledge and productivity. I tried to get her to explain to me how that makes any sense, and she was literally silent. She had no answer. I ended up getting mad and saying things like, "Are you not answering my question because you're afraid to admit the truth or because you simply don't understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?" I tried to get her to admit that they were getting rid of me because suddenly they realized that having a temp for three years when the maximum allowed is six months could get them in serious trouble with the state and with the labor board and all, but she couldn't admit that. At the end I urged her to treat contractors and temps, especially if they'd been there twice as fucking long as her, like human beings. And if you're letting someone go, come explain it to them and give them two weeks notice like a normal employer would.

Well, after I left I expected to be escorted out of the building by guards at any moment, but that didn't happen. I left the office, sending a last email the HR lady (CC'ing the Big Boss) thanking her for my meeting, repeating everything we'd talked about and everything she'd said, and then once again laying out the financial stupidity of what they're doing. Then I sent one last personal email from work, locked my cabinets and desk drawers, pocketed the key (just to be a nuisance), turned off the computer, and walked out.

I am going to miss that place in some ways, but mostly for the things I've learned or achieved while working there, and mostly for the people I have met in these last three years. And for the people with whom I cultivated a relationship mostly during the hours I was at that place. For that I thank the place. And also I will miss the free diet coke and my MP3's. That's something to miss.

So what this all means for the journal, I'm not sure. As I said, I'm busy a lot right now doing pitches around town and other things, and I'm not in front of my computer all day so who knows how often I'm going to be able to write. Frankly, in more ways than just this, I'm not sure what my life is going to be like for the next few months or so, but I'm in no rush to nail it down. And so until things sort of make themselves clear, I'm just going to write when I can. It may be 4 times a week. It may be 2. Who knows.

But this is an exciting time for me. And getting to watch my stories all day long in my underwear drinking beer and listening to the symphonic hum of the Mexican gardeners' electric leaf blowers all day makes the last three years worthwhile.

And I'm afraid, people, that the big two year anniversary of pw is going unnoticed this year due to the craziness and upheaval. I'll try to celebrate it soon, but if I can't, you do it in your own private way, and I think you know what I mean...

The Robert Downey Jr. Happy Song Corner


Downey is experiencing rolling black-outs.
  home   back   index   next   howl