Tooth cartoon characterI went to the dentist yesterday and the hygienist I usually see was out sick. So I saw a very nice temp girl. As I was the first appointment of the day and as she’d never worked in that office before and had to learn how to use the equipment while using it in my mouth, said appointment was at once interesting, amusing, and painful.

Even so, I was actually kind of happy that my regular hygienist was out, pain and hilarity and all, because my regular hygienist knows me (I taught her youngest son) and knows that I was not working last time I was in–you know, six months ago–and I didn’t want to talk about it while also having my gums scraped. Because if there’s one thing less fun than having one’s gums scraped, it is talking while having one’s gums scraped. Particularly talking about one’s continued non-employed status.

But then the temp hygienist girl noted my jeans and thermal shirt (which is admittedly the best dressed I’ve been in more than a week) and said: kind of casual today–are you off from work?’ 


Rather: *choked, garbled sigh*. Because, you know, her hands were in my mouth.

I responded: Yahrg bla blug uff mung. Which roughly translates to: I’m out of work right now.

And she said (all free from mouth-hands): oh that must be nice!

And I was like: BLARG! Which roughly translates to: BLARG!

Or: no, it’s not nice.

As I sat there and as she continued to fumble around my mouth and squirt me in the eye with the water pick thing (twice), I thought about how much I missed not living in fear of casual conversations with strangers.

But that’s not the thing I miss the most.

After my appointment, I wanted breakfast. Ordinarily, I’d go to a local diner and get a $4 omelette. But not any more. That’s $4 better spent on something more important. Like electricity. As I drove past the diner, I thought about how much I miss being able to pay for stuff. I thought about this again while looking over my grocery list and crossing off things like ‘peppercorns’ and ‘parchment paper’. Paying for stuff–or, more, paying for stuff without really thinking about it–is definitely something I miss.

But that’s not the thing I miss the most.

I miss having coworkers. I miss getting dressed and wearing things like necklaces and scarves. I miss mascara (I never thought I’d say that!) And I miss all kinds of things which were unique to my job–I miss air travel and rental cars and bars where nobody knows my name. And airline and hotel status (I miss that a lot.)

But these are not the things I miss the most.

The thing I miss the most is: having a purpose. I miss the feeling of driving to work, knowing that I’m going there to do something meaningful. I miss knowing that at the end of the day, someone will have a skill or a piece of knowledge that they didn’t have before, thanks to my assistance. I miss having a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

That temp hygienist? She got out of bed yesterday morning and was like ‘I’m going to get rid of tartar! Maybe I’ll even convince someone to start flossing! Sure, I may squirt someone in the eye with the water pick thing (twice) but my day has purpose! Yay!

Ok. She probably didn’t consciously think that. But that’s what she did.

Me? I returned home, put my pajama pants back on, and continued to fill out online applications and email resumes. And then I flossed my teeth.


Note: I realize that this is the point where you are all going to tell me to do volunteer work. And, yes, that would give me a purpose. But I also miss being able to pay for stuff. So I’m not really in a place where that’s a reasonable thing for me to do, as I spend most of my daytime hours searching for work (and a big chunk of my nighttime hours, too.) I need a purpose and a paycheck. 

A Note on the Note: Up next–a post about what you should and what you should not say to someone who is looking for a job. Spoiler alert–one of them is ‘you should do volunteer work!’ Oh, and another is ‘it must be nice!’ Because my response to that will always be: BLARG!