"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Posts Tagged ‘Arthur Miller’

Up In The Air

In Books, Economy, Feelings, Film, Life, Living, Music, Unemployment on November 30, 2009 at 10:58 pm
Help!  I need somebody,
Help!  Not just anybody,
Help!  You know,  I need Someone…,
Look at me. Still here. Languishing unhappily in this place some might call Hell.  I listened to Jason Reitman today as he discussed, in an interview with Robert Seigle on NPR what he learned from his experience working with “real people who had lost their jobs” for his newly released movie Up In The Air” starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga.

“If you’d asked me before I did this movie, ‘What’s the worst thing about losing your job in this type of economy?’ I would’ve probably said the loss of income,” Reitman explains. “But as I talked to these people, that rarely came up. What people said, time and time again, was: ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ … It was really about a lack of purpose. They would say, you know, ‘After I finish this interview, I’m going to go get in my car, and I have nowhere to be.’ And I can’t imagine thinking that every day.”

“I can’t imagine thinking that every day” young Mr. Reitman said.  We’re not just thinking it, Mr. Reitman.  We’re feeling it and that, I can tell you from experience is far, far worse.

You can’t  imagine getting up every morning with no one in the entire world expecting you.  No one even knowing or caring if you’re  even ALIVE or not.  Days blend into weeks.  Weeks into months.  You check and recheck the calendar constantly to remind yourself what day of the week it is.  Or watch The Today Show.

There is no greater hell than to have to begin and end each and every day having had nothing to do.  Nothing to think about.  No Where to be.  No one to be with.  No one who gives a shit.

No one says “See you tomorrow.”  I  go whole days, weeks and months without ever having to part my lips to make a sound.  I can go equally as long not ever hearing the sound of my own name.

The phone never rings.

Death of a SalesmanYou are absolutely right, Mr. Reitman.  It is not the loss of income that is the thing.  I used to always joke if I wanted to work soley for money I’d be a prostitute.  No, it’s not the loss of an income that we miss most.

Work is the anchor of a life. Look what happened to Willy Loman, for gods sake. Everything you do in life is because you work.   Work is not a privilege.  It’s a RIGHT!  There can be no Life, Liberty or PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS without WORK!  Work is the American dream!

Once you have your job and feel secure in it and have adapted to the routine of collecting and managing the paycheck, that’s when L.I.V.I.N.G begins. Every plan, every decision, every thought, even your commute to and from work each day is dictated by the completion of at least eight hours and the blessed assurance you’ll  repeat that routine again tomorrow.

Before work you may do a load of laundry, drop the kids off with the caregivers, stop at a drive through for a McGriddle, stop at the dry cleaner, plan dinner while you’re driving.  Once you get to work, you chit-chat about those mundane, shared experiences with co-workers, grocery shop on your lunch hour, use online bill payer at work, pitch in for birthday cards and cakes for co-workers you hardly know (or may not even like) .

After work, you complain about traffic, listen to your car radio (or iPod), pick up the kids, stop at the grocery store or Pet Smart or Target or just head straight home because dinner has to be made, the dryer has to be emptied, the floor needs to be vacuumed, homework needs to be done.  Bills need to be paid.  Everybody has to pee.

Meal time, bath time, bedtime,  quiet time.  All the while your mind’s already reflecting on tomorrow’s in-basket, e-mails that need to be responded to, deadlines, projects, special assignments or just the every day joy of the every day routine of everyday people doing what they do every day–  anchoring their lives so they can orbit all the things they really love and care about.  The JOB is the sun.  Family.  Friends.  Food. Music, TV and NPR all nourished by the Sun’s life-giving, life-sustaining  perennial rays.

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They DoThere is no community without  people who are working. Studs Terkel wrote a book about it.  Real people don’t give a shit about “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.”  All they wanna do is work so they can live in the same neighborhood they grew up in, make their parents proud and live close to them, grow their childhood friendships, marry their childhood sweethearts, share the old neighborhood and their most cherished memories with their children and then check out realizing some content with the measure of their life. People have to be working to do that.

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before.

I’m estranged from my family, too ashamed to let them know where I am and how I’ve ended up.  I force myself to be cheerful and happy seeming around my only child because I don’t want to worry him or be a burden to him.  He’s all I have–  That’s human.

And then there is my dog.  He’s what keeps me alive right now.  I will not relinquish him. I will not surrender him. I will not give him up.  I love my dog.  He’s here with me every day.  He sleeps in the bed with me. He keeps me hanging on with hope that tomorow… maybe tomorrow something excellent will happen to me at last.  Maybe I just might survive this depression/recession– decession.

Or maybe I’ll just end up like those elephants in Africa who don’t survive the drought or the long trek toward water.  I’m prepared for that, too.

I the meantime I hope.  Maybe once again I will be able to do a load of laundry, drop my dog off at the pet sitter, stop at the drive though for a McMuffin, drop off the dry cleaning, eat  birthday sheet cake at the office, plan dinner, save for an Elton John concert…  Be not afraid everyday.  Be normal.
When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody’s help in any way.
But now those daya are gone, I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors.
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won’t you please, please help me
Help me..,
HELP me…
Oooooo…. ♫♫
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