After the Job: The Road.

That was the plan anyhow.

How to celebrate the first day — days — off in some 9 months?

Hit the road!

Hit the highway for speed. An open highway is therapy. Road trips are therapy. Just me and the Subbie, the wind and the space. Bliss!

Get outta town. Go camp. Check out one of Arizona’s innumerable weird cool historic funky towns. Spur of the moment. No planning necessary except preliminary research about the location of primitive/dispersed  campsites. Aka boondocking.

Hit the road! Go! Go! Feel the wind. No. BE the wind. Listen to the sound of wheels turning. FEEL the car. Be one with her.

That was the plan Thursday anyways.

Then I drank too much. Not overly so. Just enough to give me a bone-cruncher Friday morning.

“I’ll try for Saturday. I’m not going far.” Only a coupla hours drive to a town in the middle of nowhere. Like so many Arizona towns. Just one of many reasons I resonate with Arizona! Don’t gotta go far (unless you’re in Phoenix) to find isolation, space, alone time, quality time with weird locals.

Saturday – yesterday – came. Got up late, got to yakking with the roommate. Next thing I knew, it was high noon!

Coulda gone, true, but it felt hurried. “Maybe tomorrow. Or another time,” I decided.

So I fulfilled my craving for the road with an appetizer. A jaunt to Jerome, an old mining town that survives / thrives now on tourism.

Been there several times before. It’s a great getaway for a day. An hour drive through mostly open Arizona desert, up through Mingus Mountain then winding the mountain into a mining town that died. Then got resurrected by artists and then tourists.

There’s more on Jerome, just not today.

Returned home early last night — about 8 p.m. I was wrung out and not feeling well.

By 10 p.m., my stomach was in turmoil. Heavy either from contents (beers half a big burger, ice cream) or something unsettling in the meat. Was a toss-up whether I was gonna, well, toss the cookies.

I didn’t. Yet wouldn’t have minded had it come to that.

Lights out at an obscenely early 11:30 p.m. Didn’t sleep well and don’t know why. Then awakened at an obscenely early 7 a.m. The roommate doing laundry. We discussed & agreed on a later laundry time.

So this, my last free day in a string of 4, is a kinda comedown. Tomorrow begins a VERY PT job — 10 hours a week — doing work I have absolutely ZERO interest in. Menial labor and menial wage. Again. {sigh}

I didn’t hit the road like I wanted. Oh well. The trip to Jerome did provide an appetizer, a mini-getaway. Today I feel wrung out, slow, low-energy, sluggish, sleep-deprived, blah.

Rather than uplifted and bouncy in step for days on the road.

Oh well.

There’s always … when this new job ends! Yes, already anticipating the end to this job one day before it begins!

Not a very exciting post. Then again, inner energy and enthusiasm are waning today.

What can I say but time sure flies when you have days off! I’m so grateful FOR the days off (due to end of job). I’d really forgotten what it was like not to have to be somewhere (workplace) 7 days a week!

In all, a fun and fruitful 4 days — though little got accomplished in the Road Trip Department. I LIKE having days to myself, free of responsibilities and Must Be Somewhere at X Time.

Nice re-familiarizing myself with free time. And re-acquainting myself with myself.

All for today. Toodles.

Advertisement

He’s standing near the counter when I walk in.

I prepare to turn left toward his office.

“This way,” he says, leading us toward the right.

“Ohhh, the BIG office,” I say. The sales office with the small kitchen area.

The wealthy sales manager’s in her chair, expecting me, smiling in her scary way. “Susie’s” not someone I’d want to cross.

I’m surprised by her presence, say nothing but I get it. The boss about to lay me off has a witness and helper if I resist, raise a stink.

No chance of that. I know what’s coming. I want out. I’m ready to go. Relief’s tapping me on the shoulder.

He’s mild-mannered, kind, gracious, low-key, the boss. He stands a comfortable 12 feet or so away. “Susie,” the sales queen, remains at her desk silent, watching.

“We no longer need your services.”

“Okay,” I say. Matter-of-factly, calmly. As if someone just informed me of the temperature outside.

He holds a white envelope. “We’re paying you for the rest of the week and two weeks’ severance.”

“Thank you,” I say, genuinely surprised and appreciative.

“Now your key please,” he says.

Ah yes, could’ve easily forgotten that,” I think. I loop it off the ring.

“There’s a box for you in the other room for your things,” he says.

“Okay. You don’t need me to work this evening?”

“No, it’s all taken care of.”

Wow, that’s fast. Getting someone from a small staff to cover my 1-hour call-screening shift on short notice,” I think.

I gather my things from my cubbyhole, fridge, freezer. Work files. Reading material. Coffee cups. A couple bowls. A can of chili for emergency dinner if I come to work empty-handed.

Don’t forget the coffeemaker. The last guy laid off forgot his. Had to come back to retrieve it. I don’t want have to come back.. Not out of hate, despair, depression, woe or anything like that. Just want a clean and complete departure. No strings left undone.

He hangs around, waiting. Not hurrying me but ensuring that my exit is complete.

“You have a lot of stuff,” he remarks, eyeing the full box.

“I know. It’s all organized, just in different areas.”

He escorts me out the door. “Thank you for your service,” he says. “Thank you,” I reply, sincerely. Part of me wants to give him a goodbye professional hug in appreciation for all he has done and been — including, importantly, the best boss I’ve ever had in the United States.

But the signs & intuition say don’t. So I don’t.

He returns to the station. I load my car with my things and pass down the driveway for almost certainly the last time. No need to return.

The last time a guy was laid off, a few months ago, the boss informed each of us of his departure and informed us he was not to be allowed back on the property.

“Is he expected to cause trouble?” I asked.

“No. It’s policy. Just be aware.”

Now I’m the subject of those instructions to the employees.

No one except the abusive bully — the kingpin, the mob’s made man — involved in this so-called “personalities conflict” likely has a clue about my departure. To most of the staff, I’m there, then suddenly I’m gone. It’s certain to raise questions and eyebrows. I can’t control what the kingpin says. I can’t concern myself with his bad-mouthing, distortions or one-sided hostile and hateful judgments.

I can’t defend myself or speak on what REALLY happened or dispel rumors, though a part of me wishes I could.

What does it matter, really. Part of why I left — had to leave — lies in just that: an unhealthy environment. A toxic workplace (the good boss excepted), a poisoning pen whose ink polluted the pages, turning them from a tale of dream job to nightmare.

Day 2 of unemployment. I’m OK. Better than OK. I’m good. Glad to be gone. Relieved. Speculating about what’s going on in the minds of my former coworkers and around the station to “explain” my abrupt departure.

Only the bully knows, really, and he ain’t talkin’. Not the facts anyhow! 🙂 No mention of the son-of-a-bitch abusive bully he really is.

The truth’ll never come out. Not from him.

But someday I’ll write a letter informing my boss of what’s gone on behind the scenes for the past 6 months. When the time’s right. That time’s not yet but soon.

 

The hardest habit to break, I’ve found in these past 2 days, is constantly checking the clock on my phone to ensure I get to work on time. The nature of radio. You can’t show up late!

Free time, unstructured time. What a foreign / forgotten concept!