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.