At Last, My Job Has Come Along
After wallowing in the most unpleasant depths of unemployment for what seemed like several lifetimes, the stars finally aligned, the universe declared its long-awaited intentions, and someone in HR’s heart grew three times its size the day that I got a job offer.
During the period of stressful uncertainty that comes with unemployment, I may have inadvertently discovered how Jim Henson created the Muppets’ numerous diverse personalities. Some days I would take on the world with the zeal and over-confidence of Ms. Piggy, while other days I would be filled with the self-doubt and anxiety of Fozzy Bear.
I even had a phone interview where my answers sounded like the garbled nonsense of the Swedish Chef gradually moving toward the high, nervous pitch of Beeker (I didn’t get that job.)
All Muppets aside, I noticed that the weather played a large role in my mood and this winter brought a lot of crummy weather.
Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again When I’m Employed
Most people I know have called in sick at least once on a rainy day, claiming anything from food poisoning (never serious enough for the hospital, just a little poisoning) to a sudden, short-lived fever (unlike Bieber fever, which I was told may last forever.) Whatever is ailing them seems to be cured by watching movies in bed all day.
Job or no job, a rainy day drains my energy almost as quickly as watching 5 minutes of “Sex and the City” with my wife, although rainy days do not make me dumber. Believe it or not, the desire to stay in bed is even more discouraging when there is nothing important to do.
This is hard for people with jobs to believe, because the only respite from the exhausting work week is the glorious arrival of Saturday. The sad irony is when every day is like Saturday(as in unemployment,) Saturday eventually loses its allure and every day starts to feel like a Monday.
I’m Never Gonna Stop the Rain By Complaining
It is amazing how quickly a rainy day can become inconsequential. When I was finally hired, I stopped noticing the rain and became more aware of life’s endless possibilities. I eventually had to take notice of the rain again because as I was contemplating life’s endless possibilities on cloud nine, I was getting soaked by real clouds without numbers.
This is why I keep a small umbrella stashed away in my truck, tucked neatly between the road atlas that is so old it probably lists everything west of the Mississippi River as “Injun Country” and a first-aid kit full of 30 different variations of Band-Aids in case I see a hitchhiker with a hangnail.
On the first rainy day of orientation, I arrived at the shuttle stop to find several individuals getting soaked (because of their lack of umbrellas or foresight, or both.) Without thinking much about it, I offered them protection under my very small umbrella. I was surprised when they all quickly declined my invitation.
If it were my wife, a family member, a friend, or if I were more attractive there would be no apprehension about violating each other’s personal space. However, because these people did not know me, they preferred to get pneumonia.
I initially thought it was ridiculous that these folks would not snuggle with me under my umbrella. They had no reason to fear me, so I assume they all must have smelled bad and were embarrassed about it. I began to ponder the few situations where I would not join someone under their umbrella, and have listed them below:
Instead of letting it hurt my feelings, I developed a Good Idea to solve the problem.
With a few simple adjustments, a regular umbrella can be transformed from a self-serving device into a community-oriented instrument of goodwill. I believe that umbrellas were meant to be shared, or else everyone would just wear ponchos.
For too long, people who forgot their umbrellas believed they only had two options:
1. Partaking in a Potentially Uncomfortable Situation
2. Getting Soaked
Every great spiritual leader from Buddha to Jesus to Gandhi to Confucius taught in great depth about the importance of giving one’s neighbor the shirt off of one’s back. I say why not keep my neighbor’s shirt dry in the first place with an “Umbrell-awkward,” the umbrella with retractable extensions hidden inside?
I look forward to a time when we can all wake up, see it is raining outside and smile in anticipation of who we will get to meet underneath our umbrella that day (at a comfortably safe distance.)
As for right now, I am going to go stand at the bus stop by my house because it is raining, and I see a lot of angry-looking people waiting for the bus (probably because they forgot their umbrellas!)