Underemployment: the paradox between stress and freedom

The past few months have been such a whirlwind I’m banking on the fact that I have yet to catch up to myself. Time keeps slipping away from me, season by season and year by year, and the months seem to go faster since I moved to California.  Since I don’t have a corporate job at the moment and am surviving by means of my nonpaying internship, of which I might add is the best job I’ve ever had, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands to think.  This can be a good or bad thing depending on my stir-crazy state of mind and whether or not I’ve been consuming vino while thinking.  Conversely, I’ve also had a lot of time to roam freely, work short-term gigs, and spend my benjamins (righttttt… more like lincolns) on whatever I please.  Let me tell you, underemployment looks good on me and allows for happy days and many happy hours, but just as anything, it eventually becomes static and stressful, even when you have the last few months of freedom  and elation  that I’ve had.

A few months ago, I decided on a whim that I should audition for Wheel of Fortune. Having the luxury to do such crazy things while in LA is an opportunity nobody should miss right?!  Well, obviously I didn’t make the cut or else you would have heard about it by now, but I have every intention of going back one day because I was made to be a game show contestant!  I even answered a puzzle correctly and sprang up like a jack in the box with coils beneath me when they said my name. It’s such a pity that they couldn’t handle my awesomeness.  I owe that lady a good thwack to the head and a Chuck Norris style roundhouse.  Oh well, at least now I have this wonderful pencil I don’t want to use and a Vanna White bobblehead I’m sure will be worth millions one day like all of those beanie babies were!

A little while down the road, while I was alternating between desperately scouring the internet for jobs, eating, and sometimes showering, I heard of this gig though a friend of a friend where I would be slinging sandals on the beach.  Being the person that I am, and knowing I could make $250 in one day to make rent, I said let’s do this!  I arrived at a retro hippie van on this day to learn within 5 minutes how to literally make a flip flop, and I was off to the races.  There I sat, in a van on an 80 degree day, asking what color soles and straps people wanted while a line began to form outside of the van.  Mind you, I had no idea what I was doing and the people I was working with were nowhere to be found unless I yelled their name.  What in the hell had I gotten myself into?  There was a man who came in that wanted 10 embellishments (little hearts, stars, and things like that you pin on the strap to decorate it).  10 embellishments!  They were all gold stars.  Of course he carried on about how he owned a jewelry business and knew just about everyone in town because he was so rich and as I sat there like a slave worker pinning these embellishments to his flip flop I could just about smell the stench of douche wafting from him and I thought to myself, this guy could definitely use a crash course in humility and this is what is wrong with America.  People like this rise to top, rather than the good-hearted magnanimous people of the world.

A few weeks later I was sitting on my laptop and spitting out more cover letters when I started getting restless for an adventure.  I was still rather broke, but I remembered that Jimmy Kimmel was just down the street and his show tapings are free.  As I walked toward the show I noticed these two guys that were being extra friendly to people in the crowd.  I don’t mean they were hitting on girls, like I’m sure you thought.  They were just being loud and making hilarious comments to people. Any other person probably would have just shunned them off as idiots.  I was mildly amused and started smirking to myself. The next thing I know they are asking me if I want to go back to the green room for Kimmel’s show.  Well, anyone in their right mind would say yes to that right?!   So off I went to through 2 stages of security to the green room, which is rather cool. There are a couple of pool tables, games, and free drinks. The celebrities were hiding in their dressing rooms though. Damn you Russell Brand. Of all people I thought you’d want to go cause some mischief with the peons.  In any event, what a particularly festive evening!

Of course, no summer recap would be complete without a weekend rendezvous in Vegas. Vegas, oh Vegas. You’re like my sexy unborn love child.  I don’t quite know what that means but it seemed to flow well so we’ll go with it. I’m a firm believer that nobody should ever shoot down the chance at a road trip, particularly if that involves going to a place where all of your inhibitions can be left behind.  So off we departed for sin city:  NO hotel booked, NO real plans except to meet up with our friend, and NO man left behind.  80 miles outside of Vegas, the ol Volvo (Betty White) started sputtering and coughing and acting like it was on its last breath.  I can honestly say that Justin’s car has probably broken down at least 5 times in the last 5 months.  At that point I was certain he had drugged me in order to get me to go.  Then I became agitated.  At the rest stop I started looking for people I thought might be headed to Vegas. My plan: ditch the car and hitchhike to Vegas.  We’ll figure out the rest later.  At this point that seems a little silly, but when you are in 100 degree heat on the side of the road I think you start to become delusional and anything seems possible.  After a $200 tow to a shop in BFE (Baker?)  the guy said the car appeared to be running fine. WHAT?!??!?!??!!?!??!??!?!?   Apparently old Betty can only hack so much heat on the old fuel pump.  New game plan:  wait to leave until dark.

After finally arriving in Vegas at 9, checking in at Days Inn, and getting lost for a good 2 hours TRYING to get IN to Aria, we had found our friend.  At this point I hadn’t drank in so long I was a one shot wonder rather than 2!!  After numerous flippies off the bed, we donned the Aria robes and headed straight toward the slot machines.  Energy drinks kept me going until 5 am, but my whole next day was shot. It was then that I realized the cold hard truth.  My body is getting too old for Vegas. L  By the time Sunday had arrived, we’d had enough and took off right after checkout, only to find out that was everyone else’s plan!  Traffic from Vegas to LA is horrid on Sundays. Thanks for letting me know world.  We hit a couple of other smaller casinos on the way back in order to kill some time and they had so much character I fell in love with them.  Shout out to Whiskey Pete’s!

­­­In retrospect, some of these experiences may not have been possible provided I had been working a 9-5 job, and for that I am grateful.  Nonetheless, how does one lead a life full of security (money), and adventure at the same time?  It’s a juggling act indeed, and it is one I am currently struggling with.  Not because I don’t want to grow up, (well that too-growing up blows!) but because I am still haunted by the profound affect my father’s passing had on me 2 years ago and how it has continued to ignite my wanderlust fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spirit.  Working hard can (sometimes) bring you copious amounts of wealth, but it won’t make you, nor your life happy.  That comes from within.   I suppose however, even I need a little bit of stability, which is why I’m taking a little hiatus  in Orange County right now.  Word to the wise kids:  finding that balance between the paradox is when you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.  When you find it, don’t turn back. And.. I’m out.

~Live to Inspire~

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