Unemployment, ie What I Did Not Write About: Having Nowhere to Go

I saw the play Sweat last year, and it was amazing.  It’s a slow burn, but when it burns, it’s an inferno.  But one line that really struck me was when one of the characters on strike talks about waking up in the morning and having nowhere to go.

That really stung.

It stung because, back when I was unemployed, surviving (barely) on substitute teaching, I would often wake up and have nowhere to go.

Sometimes this was due to snow days, when I would wake up and find the city shut down and I had no work that day.  At first, I didn’t mind.  I had Pillsbury cinnamon buns and biscuits; I baked them and opened the oven door after I was done to heat up the apartment.  I didn’t have any furniture or TV so I sat on the floor, watching From Jesus to Christ and other PBS shows early in the morning before the sun rose.  (I actually have fond memories of that.)

But other days were deeply distressing.  It was distressing because I was trapped in my apartment.  I was desperate to go out and go somewhere else, but I felt that I could not.  I had so little money at the time.  I went to the park whenever the weather was good, and I went to the library almost every day.  There were few other places I could go.

I think that was one reason why, when I was so miserable in my last job, I made a point to doing everything I could.  I would go to plays, the orchestra, parties, manicures, facials, special events, anything I could.  I wanted to remind myself why I went to work Monday through Friday.


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Beethoven Piano Sonata 2 in A Major

The pianist is Daniel Barenboim.

According to one of the comments on this video, by the time Beethoven wrote his sonatas, the professional pianist was much more of a thing than it was in Mozart’s day, and this helps to explain the virtuoso nature of Beethoven’s sonatas, in comparison with Mozart’s.

I don’t know if that is true, but I do know that, during Mozart’s time, the piano was seen as the instrument of the aristocratic lady.  (Men did play the piano of course, but the piano was seen as a woman’s instrument.)  Aristocratic ladies did devote time to practicing the piano (as Jane Austin attests) but I doubt many of them ever reached the same level of skill as a professional pianist.

Anyway, the second piano sonata is also very beautiful.  I wish I had taken a class in music theory, so that I could explain what it is that I am hearing.  Perhaps YouTube has a video on music theory.  (As a comedian once said, “Punch your keyboard twice and hit search.  There’s a video for that.”)


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Chalice at Cleveland Museum of Art


I don’t know who made this or when.  The church that owned it probably didn’t know either.

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Des’ree You Gotta Be

I totally forgot about this song until I saw Captain Marvel in March.

Here’s hoping you challenge what the future holds.

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Romaine Lacaux by Pierre-Auguste Renoir


So, I read the first part of an article in the Washington Post which talked about how people hate Renoir now.  I don’t get that.  People complained about how he portrays women, but seriously, have those people ever even been to an art museum?

Anyway, I don’t consider Renoir my favorite artist by any means, but he certainly deserves a better reputation than he currently has.  Fortunately, taste is ever evolving. Who knows?  Ten years from now everyone may love Renoir again.

In the meantime, this is a Renoir painting from the Cleveland Museum of Art.


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Meditation on Irrational Thoughts Part 6

The idea that if something seems dangerous or fearsome, you must become terribly occupied with and upset about it.


This is so true for me.  I am constantly absorbed with my fears.  I am worried about my health, injuries, my job, the fact that I am single and childless, money, my future.

This is one reason why I am so annoyed with one of my co-workers.  He worries about everything, and he is very pessimistic.  I have to work hard to ignore him and not get sucked into it.

I think about this when I see people doing something daring.  Are they not worried about the risks?

I think his point is that we don’t have to allow our fears to overwhelm us.  For example, I used to be terrified of losing my job, because I was laid off six years ago.  But I deal with this by doing well at my current job, paying down debt, and saving money.  I also try to be realistic about my fears.  My co-worker is convinced that he is going to be fired for almost anything, even though the people I work with are reasonable.  I try to be realistic in terms of what could cause me to lose my job, and also try to build my skill set, to make myself more desirable to employers.






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“You’ll Be Back”: History and Fiction

I have heard that George III has, in the UK, largely a positive reputation.  They know of his illness and madness, but by that point, the monarch was largely rendered irrelevant politically.  It was Parliament, not the king, that was sovereign.


(George III by Benjamin West, Cleveland Museum of Art)

He has a vastly different reputation in the US.

Lin Manuel Miranda portrays that reputation rather well in his song “You’ll Be Back,” a deliciously catchy song that I find myself singing and humming frequently.  In it, George III is both ridiculous tyrant.  Lin Manuel actually portrays him as a bitter ex.  His portrayal has no relationship to history.

Indeed, the view of Americans that George III was a tyrant has no relationship to history.  It was Parliament, not the king, who decided to tax the colonies, close Boston Port, and send troops which the colonists were required to quarter.

None of this is new.  Shakespeare’s play Richard III portrays the titular king as a villain, who murders people, even his own wife, without any remorse.  Richard III, the historical figure, bears little resemblance to the character.

None of this is to say we should hate Hamilton or Richard III.  I just find it interesting to consider how historical fiction deviates from historical fact, and why those deviations occur.  In Richard III, it is very obvious.  Elizabeth I’s grandfather, Henry VII, deposed Richard III in order to become king.  Shakespeare could not have portrayed Elizabeth I’s grandfather as a wicked traitor.

With George III, it is less clear.  I think part of it stems from the Declaration of Independence, which specifically addresses the king and describes the king as a tyrant.

The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

I don’t think that is the entire story, but I do think that is a big part of it.

As it is, the Cleveland Museum of Art has a large portrait of George III in its wing of early American art.  It resides in the same room as a painting of a very young George Washington.

But when push comes to shove, he will kill your friends and family to remind you of his love.  🙂


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