I keep reaching for my ID card.
I’ve been out of work for about three weeks now, but I’m so used to clipping my company ID card to my belt each morning that it feels weird leaving home without it.
The photo of me is atrocious and that little piece of plastic makes me feel like an animal that’s been sedated, tagged, and released back into the wild, but now I must admit that it’s a little scary not having one.
My sister-in-law is into astrology and I asked her to do a chart for me—yes, I’m that loopy—and she tells me that September will be marked by not one, but two eclipses, which in the zodiac world are signs of great change.
What kind of change, whether good or bad, is not specified and we don’t have any say in the matter anyway.
It’s just that I’ve had a big change already in seeing my magazine shutdown and the eclipses ain’t even here yet.
My sister-in-law tells me that these events are important for the mutable signs, like Gemini, which covers yours truly. The people in this group are supposed to be highly adaptable, flexible and communicative, which will come in handy on job interviews.
I’ve been following up leads when I can and I’ve turn to some of my own writing projects, but it feels strange not showing up for work at my building five days a week. And I keep reaching for that damn ID tag.
This is the second job to go south on me this year, and to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one job may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose two looks like carelessness.
I had only been at Crain’s for four months before the end came without warning or so much as a howdy-do. I was working in midtown near Grand Central and I was just getting familiar with the neighborhood.
I already had a few morning regulars that I’d greet as I walked down from the bus stop on Fifth Avenue to my office.
There was a cashier at Duane Reade on 42nd Street who was trying to teach me Spanish.
It started one morning when I walked in there and greeted her with a hearty “hola!” which is about the only Spanish I know.
But she was determined to change that and she’d converse with me in her native language, kindly translating when I was completely confoso.
But now that’s all over; yes, we have no mañanas.
Then there’s Mike, an elderly African-American man who sits outside St. Agnes Church on 43rd Street with a cup by his side and a massive edition of the Bible in his hands.
Every morning I’d drop a dollar into his cup and Mike would say “how you doing, brother?” It was a nice morning ritual and it's a shame I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to either one of these nice people.
In my darker moments, when hope is eclipsed by fear, I worry that I’ll be sitting next to Mike on the church steps with my own plastic cup. Dios ayúdame…
But we shall not speak of such things. I have supportive friends and family, a reasonably good attitude, and a firm belief that there is more to life—and to me--than just a plastic ID card.
Let the eclipse begin.