a frame from a movie not yet made

a girl alone in her kitchen. one wall of the kitchen is mostly windows that look onto the side of another apartment building. she is fixing dinner. she glances over to see a familiar face in the window facing hers. it is an old friend from college in town to see a friend from high school who has relocated. they stare in shock and amazement then rush to windows to begin screaming at each other over the gap. they had not left on the best of terms.


the joys of gainful unemployment

there are so many reasons to be pleased about being jobless: waking up late, spending entire days in pyjamas, partying in the middle of the week with no worries about being hungover and grumpy at work, discovering my catlike reflexes (most often utilized to catch the fruit flies in our apartment, think an old asian man with chopsticks and you've got the right idea); but the true joy lies in simply having time. when we are caught up in the rat race we often forget to take time for the things we really value, diverting vast amounts of energy to supporting the system rather than our own lives. my values in life have always been simple: eating well, sleeping well and doing what makes me happy. no more and no less. granted these are all much easier said than done with artificial food somehow being cheaper than real food, anxiety and stress causing many of us to toss and turn all night long and so many conflicting messages about the things we should be doing with our lives. when we are caught up in the system, pumping away from 9-5 with barely enough time, or energy, to accomplish those 3 simple goals we have a tendency to forget ourselves, we just forget to take the time to nurture ourselves.

while being unemployed causes it's own stress and anxiety, particularly with our fabulous current economic situation (which i will complain about in about in a future post), it is of a very different sort, and in a way i can't quite peg down it is real to me in a way that job stress simply isn't. my challenges are now more than making it to BART on time, disguising hangovers and annoyances behind tight smiles and assurances that i am fine, making the same phone call trillions of times to accomplish a simple task and feigning productivity on days i would rather be just about anywhere else. now my challenges really have to do with me and the ways i
choose to spend my time, not the ways i have to spend it.

what is gainful unemployment you might ask. gainful unemployment is a glorious state of living that involves being without steady work and yet somehow being mysteriously productive.
i've spent an absurd number of days staring at computer screens daydreaming of how much i could get done if i just didn't have to be at work! jackets would be mended, walks taken, new food eaten, napping , movies watched, stories shared, new places discovered, in short: everything. so i quit, all three of my jobs and took my gainfully unemployed ass on the road. i traveled for 5 weeks across the u.s., making layovers in dc, new york, kansas, denver, rocky mountain national park, and boulder. once i got back i was faced with the decision of how to make money: do i jump back into working the 9-5 and hope my vacation was enough to hold me over for a while, do i say screw "respectable" work and become a drug dealer or a prostitute, or do i tell the entire monetary system to shove it and become a hobo? after toying with all aforementioned ideas (and many more believe you me) i chose the middle ground and settled on substitute teaching. and i love it.being a substitute teacher i consider myself among the connoisseurs of gainful unemployment. getting requested mostly for elementary schools and after school programs, i basically get paid to go and play all day, with the cherry on top being that i choose when i work. granted there's some disciplining and many an adolescent ego to be checked, not to mention financial incentives to work as often as possible, but for a meaningful not highly demanding job you couldn't ask for much more. in this indian sumter (a new word i just created combining summer and winter) i've been going to the beach after class, spending long afternoons basking in the sun, cooking/baking and started a garden, not to mention beginning and finishing many a backlogged creative endeavor. why have i been so personally productive? because i've had the time!

outside of the joy and hilarity of working with young people, there is a lifestyle that comes with this kind of work that simply suits me. i am a hard worker, but only if i feel it's really worth my time. i'm not one of those that can work for profit alone, i need purpose behind my efforts not just incentive, and having the freedom to decide that today i will be more productive outside of work is mindblowingly beautiful. that sensible old black lady inside has always advised me of the value of slow movements, and for a while i ignored the wisdom in her words, not just out of choice but necessity. the way my life was structured, survival meant being on my toes always. and now that i have the time to move slowly again i am taking full advantage of it. long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, listening to old favorites and discovering new ones, so basically i've developed habits that make me prime dating service material. any takers?

word to your mother

well said (click me i'm a link!)


an ammendment to the beginning

as i told it in my first post, the "point" of all this is to tell stories. and while that is true it is only a partial truth, mostly it is about space. space is a precious commodity in these days with the most abundant resources of it being on this interweb thingy. so i am claiming a small piece of this virtual insanity and declaring ownership of it in the name of jihan the unabridged. i will fill it with stories, pictures, fables, mental meandering, jackassery, crotchetyness, non-sequiturs, humbugs, and anything else i can think of that just might make you smile, think, wonder, dream or laugh; they may also have other side effects, but i'm taking no responsibility for those.

i am an incessant thinker, and i call the train of my thoughts the spiral. it's so named because although there is definite progression to it, it is certainly not linear; kind of like a slinky stretched on end. any new piece of information gets dragged about on the spiral as i look for different perspectives on it, what looks good at one turn of the spiral might not look so good after the next bend in the track. there's simply not enough space in my brain to contain the girth of my spiral and so i am taking it outside of my cranium and into this space. welcome.


so this is the new year

and i have no resolutions. actually, i do have one:stop the bullshit. really, that's it. very simple and straight to the point. of course the ways i'm going to accomplish this exceedingly simple objective are varied and convoluted, but the point still stands: the era of bullshit is over.

one day, i suppose it was a couple of years ago now, i sat down to think about life. i have always been an old woman, and not just an old woman, but a sensible old woman, it just comes naturally to me. even as a child i would spew grandmotherly advice and expertly administer tough love; and my greatest wish in life, which it still is, was to be old; to be past having to care about what anyone thought of me. my official i'm old and free outfit has been planned for over a decade: a jogging suit that makes the little rustling noise when you walk, preferably in a lurid purple and pink floral print, a pair of sunglasses with a gold chain and metallic gold keds, all topped gloriously with a visor perched on completely grey hair {i can feel the breeze against my face as i step out onto the street in it now}. in many ways i already was that old lady, i took the liberty of the old, saying whatever i felt and allowing no bullshit. at this point in my life this truth somewhat concerned me, i didn't want to find myself old never having been young.
so i began to allow bullshit in my life. i became like alice, giving myself very good advice that i very seldom took.

although my sanity has been questioned many, many (many) times i have always possessed this absurdly sound logic that is very out of place for someone of my age. it's apparently hard for people to place my age (i have been carded while buying a lighter), but when people actually have a conversation with me they usually think i'm someone's mother. an extreme example of this being: a few months ago while discussing god with my grandfather, he stopped, took a good long look at me and said, you sound like you've been on this earth a hundred years (considering that he was 85 and a solid 60 years closer to this age than i, i trusted his perception). it never surprised me that my peers thought of me in an elderly a way, my parents are both older, my only sibling is older, and i was a year ahead in school so i was always around people much older than myself, but to have an elderly person say i sounded older than they, that was something to take note of.

2008 was really the summation of all the bullshit i had sown in those couple years, and i think i can say without fear of exaggeration that i have quite the green thumb. and while bullshitting has it's allure, the long lazy days, the drama that results from not letting that sensible old black lady have her say, this young black lady is tired of it and retirement is sounding pretty nice. and i have made steps toward it, i now own a fanny pack and ridiculous sun glasses (no gold chain, i still don't think i'm ready for that yet), pulled out my broom, declared shenanigans and begun to sweep like hell.

to celebrate my re-entry into agedness, i am enjoying a heaping serving of applesauce, listening to records, and painting my nails the color of a lurid jogging suit i hope to own. happy 2009.