By Gary Fleming
I wake up to clouds and rain and the voice inside my head sarcastically whispers .... ”Ah! Good. Rain. “ and the dialogue unfolds as it does every morning as I struggle to deal with my situation and this self inflicted quarantine I’m under.
“Just how fucked are you?” the voice asks rhetorically.
“hmmmm... “ I says to myself....., “pretty fucked wouldn’t you say? Just last week you moved to an entirely different state for a new job..... $5k up front and out of pocket to get an apartment and move, and just two days after arriving get the call that I’m fired thanks to the insidious covid-19 beast. Left high and dry by a company that could have made a single phone call to say “Hold off on your move” “but didn’t have the foresight. Yes. Wholly and truly fucked”
“You knew it didn’t feel right, you knew it felt like a mistake...what were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that I wanted to get a fresh start..... I was thinking I wanted to try and get a leg up after decades of debt and finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel....I was thinking my daughter has just a year and a half of school left and this could solidify her tuition payments....I was thinking living in a neat little artsy town right on the Delaware river would be a lifestyle I could embrace.....What the fuck was I thinking, Right?. “
“Well....its cold. It’s raining and you are completely cut off from any social interactions with your entire life waiting to be unpacked and organized. Cheezus! Now I’M getting depressed, So what ya gonna do?”
“Think I’m gonna watch Jeremiah Johnson”
“Right. You’re unemployed, no income, no opportunities on the horizon, no benefits during a global medical crisis that has the taint of a zombie free Walking Dead episode and you’re going to watch a movie?”
“Yes. You are wholly and truly fucked. Ok, what’s the play here? Tell me why this makes sense”
“I don’t know. Drinking bourbon all day while stalking LinkedIn contacts and surfing Indeed has merit, but also fraught with peril and madness; a roller coaster of emotion sure to conjure up anger, tears, epiphanies of reality that I should have seen sooner....... Versus a movie that follows a Man into the Rockies to escape his past and live an honest life of survival through his own wits and efforts."
“Of the top five stressors, I am hitting at least 3 of them depending on what list you’re looking at.....Divorcing, Moving, New Job start / job loss and finances.... Thank GOD death of a loved one, #1, isn’t on this list.
So amidst the manic burst of tears and hysteria-tinged laughter and the absurdity, yet reality, of my situation, I am opting to hunkering down and following Robert Redford into the Rockies as he battle’s all the internal beast’s that solitude can create, facing his demons and ultimately overcoming his challenges to be at peace.
Kind of a cliff note version of working through the five stages of grief and trying to get to Acceptance as soon as possible. It’s been said that you can’t rush it but time is a luxury I can ill afford.”
“Ok Einstein....... So you get to stage 5, acceptance, in just under 3 hours...what then?
Riding high on testosterone and false hope with a heightened sense of “ Get ‘jo shit together, I pour a tall glass of bourbon, steel my thoughts to updating my resume and sending resumes out to at least 6 companies.... Make contact with some friends in high places, recruiters and pace the cage while thinking through my options and strategizing.
Think I’m gonna turn the networking machine back on, think I’m gonna remove my LinkedIn Connections of people I no longer respect due to their negative actions / inactions. Think that every time I start to lose it thinking about my daughter I need to turn that Manic Moment and Deluge of Tears into a rallying cry of “OH HELL NO!!! and ask myself “what would Jeremiah do? “
“Sounds like you’ve thought this through”
It’s been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and if that’s the case, I’m in an 18 wheeler hauling ass down that highway with every day offering new opportunity to either screw it up again, or learn from it, survive it and look back on yesterday with a smirk as though to say “Missed me again, lol”.
“Sounds a bit cocky”
There’s a fine line between cocky and confident. Cocky produces scars, of which I have many. Confidence produces results; failures and successes and of the two, failure typically comes first.
Thomas Edison is credited with having said ~“I have not failed; I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
Brings to mind something a bartender said at 1 in the morning in a Florida beach Tiki Bar....... ~“I don’t make mistakes, I make decisions that aren’t right for the situation and suffer the consequences that come with it!”
And the reality of that wisdom has just slammed into my grey matter like a the wave you don’t see coming and mercilessly slams you into the sand, administering a brain enema that you won’t soon forget and the lesson of never turning your back on the ocean.
Much can be learned from bar tending Jedi’s at 1am, but also from the inebriated patrons if in the right place at the right time.
Like this little gem I heard from a drunk Scotsman in the wee hours of the morn in Portland, OR...... ~“If you’re going to break the rules you have to be with the right people”
And in all three of those quotes lies Jeremiah Johnson and my path to, if not enlightenment then perhaps a little clarity on how to get out of this abysmal hole I find myself.
“Nice Rant, feel better?”
Actually, yes. A little better. The ticking of the clock is a motivator and a reminder that Today is the Tomorrow, you worried about Yesterday, which in and of itself is a positive because it tells me I made it through another day, and in the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara,
~ “After all, tomorrow is another day”.
“Ok, enough with the rhetoric. Get to watching and keep your ass positive and motivated. I’ll be here, staring back at you from the mirror and ready to metaphorically kick your ass every morning you wake up and ask the question “Just how fucked are you?” You got this. Say hello to Jeremiah.