Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The one where Greg loses his job, just before the holidays


Here's this: Greg lost his job Friday.

Here's this too: He lost it from Apple, one of the most secretive companies this side of the military-industrial complex. So I can't blab about it the way I do most things. For once, I'm gonna practice discretion. All I'll say is, it was a terrible choice, his coworkers and managers are still upset about the choice, and Greg didn't take it well.

He's better now. Friday was bad, but his final projects for school kept him busy. Monday was a day in limbo, more or less. Conversations with now former coworkers, now former managers, emails sent out to various connections he'd made over the past three years. Friends stepped up to offer jobs--any jobs--and support. Family, removed, did the same.

Greg had bought tickets a few weeks ago to see John Waters deliver his (meh) Christmas monologue at (ugh) B.B. King's place just off Times Square, so we went tonite. A sold-out show. We'd debated selling the tickets because, well, money, but we didn't sell the tickets. We decided, come shit or shinola, we deserved to indulge. It's the holidays, Greg's fired, we already bought the tickets--just go.

We went to the John Waters thing, and had to be present 2 hours before Mr. Waters wandered onto the stage. We had to be present because it was general admission--first come, first seated. Who wants to stare at a thin aging (but fabulous!) man in an orange suit--for two hours--100 feet away, from bad seats? Show up two hours before curtain, and you get to see him from 10 feet away... but you have to kill those two hours.

We got a decent seat, stage right, at a table for 12. All tables. Cabaret seating. Greg and I were as close to the stage as we could get without purchasing VIP seating ("includes a meet-and-greet with the star after the show"). Greg and I realized we had two hours to kill. We would have To Talk. Not that we don't Talk; but now we had a Talk of some importance hovering over us like a sword dangling from a string. Greg was sad, and I hate it when he's sad. Greg kept apologizing to me, and while I usually like it when he apologizes, because I'm a terrible person and think everyone should apologize to me each chance he or she gets, this time--this subject--this job-loss thing--I didn't like it. I wanted him to be happy, I wanted him to enjoy the show absolutionphilia-free.

Like I said, Greg bought the tickets to the John Waters show himself, a few weeks back. Greg seldom buys tickets to things, which is how I knew he was looking forward to the show before he got canned. After he got canned, he saw the show as a needless, stupid, irresponsible purchase. So, we sat at the table, 1o feet from the stage, and waited on the other seats at the table to fill up with the other audience members who'd made their own needless, stupid, irresponsible ticket purchases. And we each mulled over, in our heads, The Talk that we were gonna have to have, because two hours is a long time.

Added bonus: the hostess, when seating us, had placed two menus on our table, and helpfully pointed out the $10 minimum, per person, sign on the table. It wasn't surprising, but it did add to the tension. More money needlessly spent. More reasons for Greg to feel guilty.

Oh, also, just before going into the place, Greg and I took a walk around the block. Doors weren't set to open til 6, Greg and I had arrived (separately--me from work, Greg from the apartment) 15 minutes too early, a slow walk around 42nd Street and its environs seemed the best course of action. Kill time. On the walk, Greg was sad. "I don't know what to do. I don't know what's the best choice. I've emailed [anthropology friend] and talked to [computer tech friend]. " And some other stuff, which, as I said, I'm trying to be discreet about. Give me props for this discretion, because I'm not known for it.

"I don't know," Greg kept saying as we walked around the block. And the first thing he said at the table in B.B. King's was, "I don't know," only he was talking about the menu, not his career.

"I'm not hungry," I told him.

"I'm sorry." He wasn't talking about my appetite.

"I don't blame you," I told him, also not talking about my appetite.

Then we were talking about appetite, and looked over the menu, weighing our options.

There wasn't much light at B.B. King's. I mean, there was light, but it was a sort of manufactured natural light, coming from two enormous digital screens on either side of the stage, flashing ads for the acts coming to the stage in the coming weeks. And candlelight. And some overhead lights, which were dim.

Greg was across from me, and looked gloomy from both the light and the situation. I kept thinking of how happy he'd been a few weeks earlier, telling me he'd gotten these tickets, and said, "We're here. So let's just enjoy it."

"I'll enjoy it. We should've sold the tickets, though."

"No way. Unless you wake up with a dead hooker, covered in blood, you should enjoy where you are. And we're here." And no, I didn't actually say that. But what I did say meant essentially just that. Unless you wake up with a dead hooker, covered in blood, you should enjoy where you are.

Greg never really buys into my hokey fix-all platitudes, btw, which is one reason I love him. He cheered himself up (no thanks to me).

"I think we're going to be alright," he told me. "This is hard but it's not necessarily bad."

"I've got this degree now," he told me. "I've got more options."

"I think I'll have the lemon meringue Martini," he told the waiter, when the waiter finally stopped waiting and decided to take orders. (I ordered a Scotch and soda, because that's what I usually order, and the thought of drinking a lemon meringue nauseated me.)

During The Talk, Greg, perhaps helped by the Martini, was more optimistic than I'd seen him in a while. I'm a sucker for cockeyed optimism. And maybe his dour demeanor over the past few days was more from the sudden job loss than from a loss of future.

Whatever. We'll see. We ordered food, we chatted with our table-mates, we drank our drinks (two for me, one for him--but it was a very potent one for him, and included Pop Rocks on the glass rim and Danny DeVito's Limoncello), and watched the show. We thought about the dog, at home, and took offense when John Waters said, "I don't have a dog. You know, because I'm not lonely." Then forgot we were offended a few seconds later, when he said, "The way to attract a man is to be nude and to install a bar beside your bed."

Greg laughed. Often. He leaned back so far, sometimes, to let his laughs out that he bumped into the woman behind him. She didn't seem to mind. She readjusted herself, moving back sometimes, or sometimes leaning forward to Greg to laugh into his laugh.

Job loss. It's sometimes funny, sometimes serious, hopefully never terminal.

1 comment:

Matt Osborne said...

Apple is evil and I'm glad you both could have a good laugh. There's nothing better for sad, angry people than comedy, IMHO.

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