Category Archives: Adventure

So What’s the Answer? Thoughts after a Year of Being a Statistic

Lordy, what a surreal year. I packed up my desk in a cardboard box nearly 365 days ago and started my little adventure as a statistic. That just doesn’t seem possible.

It feels very strange to read all those stories about long-term unemployment and to know that all those stories are about you. Everyone has an opinion about what to do about “the jobs crisis,” and they feel free to share it with you. Answering the question, “What do you do?” takes some creativity, if you want to avoid the looks of pity (and sometimes scorn). Not to mention the well-meaning job search tips.

You need ready cocktail party conversation topics to head off discussion about your ongoing situation with your friends. How many ways are there to say that things are still the same? Nope. Still unemployed. No jobs out there. I still don’t know what I’m ultimately going to do about it. I am still on Unemployment, but it’s not going to last forever. Freelancing is slow, but I like it and would like to keep doing it if I can. I like not working in an office. Still not feeling all that bad about my situation and still enjoying having time to find myself. I may as well enjoy myself, because I’m fucked either way, right?

How do you respond to all those people who tell you to stay positive? Really? How is losing one’s job in the “worst economic downturn since the Great Depression,” brought on by corporate greed and insanity, something to be positive about? Woo hoo! I’m unemployed! I have no real hope of getting a new job! Get out the champagne! You keep saying that things are turning around, but what’s your proof? While we all have to play with the hand we’re dealt, you have to admit that I have shitty cards right now, no? Asswipe.

That one’s not so hard (I take wicked pleasure in it . . . sometimes), but what do you say to Barbara Ehrenreich, who in Bright-Sided hands it to you straight? Positive thinking is delusional thinking, she says, and it blames the victim for the job loss. Thinking positively gives the illusion of control over things you don’t control. It can be a comforting illusion, though, to think that you can take lemons and make a tasty beverage. Here’s the thing, Barbara. I am mad as hell, and I know exactly what got me here. I don’t for a minute believe that this was done to me for my benefit. I vote, I protest, I speak out. But I also still have to live with myself every single day. And I don’t want to live with a bitter person. I didn’t ask for this, but I’ll be damned if I don’t use the time to my advantage and find something to be happy about.

The above is just what to say in conversation. It doesn’t answer the question of what you’re going to do with your bad self every day. The proverb is a wise one. Be careful what you wish for. Having all the time in the world is dangerous. When it comes down to it, there isn’t a real reason to get out of bed. Or shower. Or do anything besides watch TV online and drink all the time. You don’t have any money. You can’t really afford to go out, but staying in all the time makes you a little bit weird. Your friends have jobs, well, most of your friends, anyway, so they aren’t around during the day. Your house is clean. Too clean. Or, it might be a disaster, and you can’t bring yourself to touch it. Dating’s difficult, as who wants to date someone with no money and no prospects? Not to mention someone wearing old clothes and the dregs of once-good makeup and hair products. Sexy.

The truth is that unemployed life can really suck ass. I don’t like being broke. I don’t like thinking about the future. In spite of everything, though, I can’t say that this has been all bad. Some of it has been really fucking great. I’ve given in to TV and wine more times than I care to admit, but I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking about how to answer this question:

How do I live a good life, anyway?

I don’t know yet, but it’s been interesting trying to figure it out. I thought I’d resurrect this bloggy thing and write a few posts about what I’ve done with my surreal year. We’ll see what happens.

This isn’t a good idea, but I’m doing it anyway. The name’s Sara. Sara Scott. I kept this thing anonymous because . . . well, I drink, smoke sometimes, use the word “fuck” liberally, and hold socialist views. I didn’t think it wise to let the whole world know. Also, I found the idea of writing in public terrifying, so I figured if it wasn’t really me doing it, I’d feel more comfortable about things. It worked for me for a while, but now hiding behind my Big Wheel just feels cowardly. So, there you have it. My name is Sara Scott, and I occasionally do bad things and say bad words. So sue me. You won’t get much.

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Mmmmm Doggies! The 89 Bus to Outer Space!

Yesterday evening, I caught the 89 bus to meet up with Date in Davis Square. As I tapped my card, the bus driver called out, “Good Evening! Thank you for riding the T! Doors are closing!”

Startled a bit, I said thanks and took a seat near the front. Another rider pressed the stop button, and even though the mechanical voice registered the request, she called out, “Stop coming! Woo hoo! We’re riding now!”

As she jerked the bus to a halt at the next stop, she thanked every rider. “Thank you, folks, for riding the T! Doors are closing! Mmmmm doggies! We’re riding now! Yahoo!”

I looked around the bus at the other riders. Many wore nervous smirks. Was this the bus to Davis Square, or an alien abduction? “Yes, indeed, folks! We are riding!”

“The bus driver is insane,” I texted to Date. Next text, “She keeps saying whoo doggies! And then she thanks us for taking the t.” I kept looking around. A few riders shrugged their shoulders. Language barriers tumbled down. Amusement registered everywhere.

The bus driver kept it up. “Mmmmm! Doggies! Yahoo! We’re riding. Eighty-nine to Davis Square! Thank you for riding the T! Next stop coming! Bus connections!”

A decided freak she was, but the thing is, people started responding kindly to her. A rider sitting next to me got off the bus at Winter Hill and thanked her for the ride. “My pleasure. People ain’t got no manners these days. I always say thank you. Thank you, folks, for riding the T! Mmmm doggies! Yes, we are moving now!”

She kept this up all the way Davis, where everyone thanked her profusely as they got off the bus. What a fun trip to outer space.

Adventures at the Fetish Fair Fleamarket

A friend of mine and I pride ourselves on being open to new experiences. We’ll bravely go and check out some weird art exhibit, eat strange food (provided, of course, that there’s a vegetarian option for me), see some new band, take belly dance lessons, what have you. Sometimes we find something amazing. Sometimes we find something dreadfully boring and awful. Almost every time we find something to laugh about. Life’s too short to spend it doing the same old thing, we say as we take off on a new adventure.

So when my friend e-mailed me earlier this month to see if I would be interested in going to the Fetish Fair Fleamarket, I wrote back, “Hell yeah, if for no other reason than to say that I went.”

“Exactly!” she wrote. “If nothing else, it will be hysterical. But you never know…”

Over the next couple of weeks, we exchanged expectations and laughed over the course titles (and cringed over others—I’m sorry, but I do not find abject humiliation sexy, and I don’t think I ever will). We also talked about our theories of why people engage in this kind of activity and rehashed stories from our own limited experiences, both of us having tried some kinky stuff but never really going in for the whole S&M thing.

From what we’d gathered, S&M doesn’t really have anything to do with sex. It has to do with power and submission. We wondered how this would display itself in gender roles (defining gender not as one’s sex, but as qualities associated with masculine and feminine). Both of us have an intellectual bent, and so we were approaching the topic as slightly naughty anthropologists. You know, the kind who giggle.

Wanting to blend in a teensy-tinsy bit, I wore dramatic makeup and donned my gecko necklace (the little silver lizard points South and looks just a little creepy). My friend was running late, and so I strolled up to the hotel lobby. My expectation of seeing fastidious people (I thought an overly hyped sense of cleanliness was a fetish) was shattered by this slovenly old guy who kept leering at me as I climbed the hill. Keep walking, UglyGeezer, I thought. You aren’t getting lucky with me.

I surveyed the scene once in the lobby, and I have to say that I’ve never seen such a gathering of unattractive and unhappy people. Where were all the sexy ladies with their whips and spiked heels? Where were all the buff, leather-clad men? What about the naughtiness? I don’t know, but there was skinny late middle-aged, wrinkly chap whose leather (pleather?) slacks were sagging at the ass under his LL Bean parka. I turned away from him and saw a woman wearing what I think were supposed to be spider web tights, but she looked as though she’d sprayed on more varicose veins. Both the man and the woman looked miserable. I continued my survey and saw that while a few people were smiling, most of the market-goers looked defensive and defiant. I spied a few people who looked like fellow slightly naughty anthropologists. I was already disappointed. A sign warned participants that photography would not be tolerated. Damn! I thought. So much for photos for the blog post.

My friend was likewise disappointed when she entered the lobby. “My God,” she said. “Have you ever seen more unattractive people?”

“Oh, you haven’t seen the elderly guy in the cop bondage outfit yet.”

We bought our tickets and went into the show. The sign pointing us to the vendors read “Venders.” My friend and I looked at each other and smirked.

On display in the hotel ballroom was the usual array of leather, glass, and latex sex toys that one can find at any sex shop in America. The leather and latex hoods were interesting, but I only saw one man buy one. I liked the Mardi Gras masks, and my friend loved a couple of bags that could double as hysterical purses. We saw some velvet and lace corsets and garter belts that were to die for (and priced accordingly), but we also saw a poster advertising a woman with the hook (think Gitmo). A bondage exhibit promised to show things in action (we were hoping to see a rack and a wheel on display, at least), but all we saw were some truly hapless folks trying their hand at whipping. A quick stroll through the “art” exhibit revealed mediocre photographs, featuring women (and only women) tied up awkwardly and trying to look like they were into the experience.

After about an hour of wandering around the various displays, we figured out what was bothering us about the whole fetish-y thing. With the exception of one hotel room full of gussied-up women selling vintage lingerie, there was a complete and utter absence of joy. The lack of sexiness was palpable. We walked through display after display of blatantly sexual wares, and nary a dirty thought crossed my mind. I think I had dirtier thoughts during jury duty. The people at the fair seemed to approach their fetishes grimly, almost militantly. The vibe was almost like a bully saying, Yeah, I’m into some kinky shit. What do you want to do about it? After walking through that show, my answer is nothing.

“Well,” we said as we left the exhibit for some thrift-store shopping (where I found an adorable schoolgirl skirt) and dinner (we also went makeup shopping), “We’ve been to the Fetish Fair Fleamarket. Check another one off on the life-experience list.”

We laughed.