‘Driving with the brakes on’

Well, the latest Layoff Day was as miserable as I thought it would be.

I should be used to saying goodbye to my friends by now. But it never really gets easier.

I spent the day working on a project for some jag who should have been working on it but probably would have screwed it up. I see the previous two issues his team published and the complete lack of punctuation in the sentences. And the owner added literally 97 special requests to this process. All of which I handled and had to tap no fewer than four people to help me handle.

It all came together, thank God. And surprisingly, the only tears I shed where when my friends came to hug me and goodbye.

However, there was a wonderful rage-filled moment when the jag sent an email to all my boys with the SL: “Greetings from your new editorial director.” Fuck you, jagoff. Let the body get cold, OK? I’m still here, doing YOUR work and not my own. So thank God I still had a full (read: already reduced, and about to be reduced AGAIN) team through yesterday.

One of my boys emailed me to say, wow, holy power trip up there. Yeah, no shit. Good luck with that. No more Goddess for you when my own Layoff Day arrives.

“I might be more a man if I stopped this in its tracks
And said come on, let’s go home.
But she’s got the wheel,
And I’ve got nothing except what I have on.”

— Del Amitri, “Driving With the Brakes On”

I heard this song on Pirate Radio and thought of my earliest days with the company. Back when I was brought in before my start date to attend a copywriting class with the owner.

I met a boy that day. He was videotaping the whole ordeal. The tapes got lost somewhere. Probably because another attendee challenged the owner on something. They made that person disappear fast. The footage soon followed.

That boy asked me out at some point. And I probably dedicated a million words on this blog to the ensuing thrills and aches.

He didn’t survive a major layoff, and I did. Said relationship, whatever was left at that point, didn’t survive either. All I have left of him is a Drive-By Truckers CD and a Facebook friendship with two of his friends who live in my neighborhood.

He would love Del Amitri. Maybe he does love them. I almost wanted to send him this song but for what, really? Do I tell him I am meeting the same career fate he did? That I feel just as emasculated that my livelihood that I love now has an end date and there’s no new beginning in sight?

He’d probably say the right thing about it. The man was never at a loss for words or an intelligent observation. He’d probably look damn cute saying it. And then he’d retreat, like he was so good at.

Beat me at my own game, that one. I thought *I* was emotionally unavailable until I tried to pull him out from under the rock he loved hiding under.

“When you’re driving with the brakes on,
When you’re swimming with your boots on,
It’s hard to say you love someone
And it’s hard to say you don’t.”

Anyway. Hard to stay dead inside when so many emotion-invoking things keep happening. I look forward to returning to my status of being unavailable to jobs and heartache. But right now, I am more available than I ever wanted to be. And the fear of falling … fear of failing … is more than my cold little heart can take.

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