Sunday, August 2, 2009

Unemployment is Boring

Although my ideal afternoon involves some sort of fruit platter, a book, and a nap in the sunshine, I have, perhaps unsurprisingly, grown tired of this R&R adventure known as unemployment. There are only so many naps a person can take, after all. Alas, there's some sort of a recession thing going on, and nobody in DC appears inclined to offer me gainful neurobiology-related employment.

However, sending out resumes, cleaning the apartment, and cooking The Pit dinner only take up a portion of my day, and I have increasingly grown bored of all the time-wasters that the Internet has to offer. So, through a series of unlikely interactions, I've found myself a part-time job as a friend of the elderly. Yes, you read that right...somebody hired me to take a slightly senile Holocaust survivor out to lunch several times a week. Now, I've always gotten along well with seniors, and friends have accused me of actually being about 80 years old at heart. So when this unorthodox arrangement was proposed, I figured that my bank account wasn't growing any bigger, swallowed some Ph.D-related pride, and started on Friday.

What with all the aforementioned elderly affinity, I figured I would be a natural at this lunch thing. Unfortunately, for my first day a bit more than lunch was required...the old lady (henceforth to be called OL) I was babysitting was having her apartment cleaned, and it was my job to get her out of the house for several hours. Several hours that turned into six hours when her stacks of accumulated newspapers turned out to be more than the cleaners could handle.

OL was game enough when we went to the deli for lunch, and seemed just fine picking over the produce at Trader Joe's and the grocery store. But then she was done with our little outing, and wanted to go home. Sadly, the cleaners told me they needed a couple more hours at this point, so off we went to peruse the sales racks at Macy's. Two hours later, we were both sick of Macy's, walking around, and each other.

Also, we were having a bit of a communication problem. See, I'm fairly certain that we only understood about 50% of what the other person was saying. In my case, OL's combo of Old Country and New Jersey accents made comprehension sometimes difficult. Hilarious, but difficult. In her case, well... she's old, and all old people suffer from a bit of hearing loss. In fact, high frequencies are the first to go, and my speaking voice has been memorably if uncharitably compared to that of a chipmunk. So you can see where the problem might be.

The whole situation was not improved when we got to OL's house, and she discovered that the cleaners had thrown away her precious stacks of newspapers. Rather than a kindly if incomprehensible stranger taking her to lunch, I instantly became one with the vast cleaning conspiracy. Crazy like a fox, that one. The upshot is that relations are currently a bit strained. Perhaps I can repair things tomorrow by taking her to her favorite restaurant...the very kosher Red Lobster.


  1. also, it should probably be Old Grandmother (OG), unless of course she is not in fact a grandmother. In which case OL will have to suffice, I suppose.

  2. i thought this was very amusing.

  3. One of the many complaints that OL has about her son is that he has not provided her with OL she will stay. And I'm glad this is amusing you guys, I should have an update up tomorrow.