My Monday began with a very simple declaration: “FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK MMMMMMMEEEEEEE!”
That, my friends, was the sound of agony. Not of a tortured soul. Not of a voice yearning to breathe. Not even a repressed hedonist with the prose of an 11th grader. More precisely – that was the agony being experienced by my central nervous system as a rusty nail pushed it’s way through the fleshy bottom of my left foot.
9:00 in the morning and, already, this day was off to a great start.
Monday wasn’t supposed to start this way. Sure, it had been a long weekend – filled with an audition, a video sketch shoot, and an attempt to recover on Sunday – but I was supposed to wake up with the Eye of the Tiger. On Monday, I finally decided to get back out on the job market at full blast. Even if it meant only sending out one resume a day, and working my way up from there. I was not going to surrender to pessimism. I was going to be unstoppable. I was going to go out into the world and land a new writing job. Because now, I had the resume and the experience. For a year, I’d been enjoying great success as a blogger and a contributing writer on Guidespot.com. After I landed my first substantial freelancer’s check, I made up my mind: “Forget temping. I’m lucky enough to live in a world where I can make money as a writer.” 2009 was going to be mine, bitches. I could already see my first interview in Rolling Stone being published in January 2010.
“It’s not mandatory that you get a tetanus shot, but if it’s been a while, you should probably come down.”
That was the sound of the record to the soundtrack of my life being pulled mid-“Death or Glory”. To be more straight-forward: the nurse working at the health care facility that accepts my crappy HMO insurance.
“You should get down here before 2:00 if you decide to get it.”
One hour later, I’m not sending out my resume to Maxim, or writing a pitch letter to ESPN Magazine. I’m sitting in my doctor’s office. There’s no wifi. I’m stuck watching the rain collapse in buckets on the outside streets. I hate this. It’s Monday morning and my blog is getting no traffic. I was too tired to write anything on Sunday. “Alright, Matt; then just wake up early on Monday and write something then.” Clearly Fate had other plans. Even worse, hours are slinking by and my resume is in no one’s hands. The whole day is going to go by and jobs are going to get snatched up by less talented, yet slightly more attractive guys. Times are getting tough and my $80 jury duty check barely got me through the weekend. Very slowly, but surely, I can feel The Fear creeping into my brain. The Fear that one morning I’m going to wake up with no cash, back in my first crappy studio apartment in Forest Hills, Queens, with no choice but to get on the god-awful E Train Express to an entry-level job in Midtown that I hate.
At that moment, I started to feel like the protagonist in my screenplay (I’m writing a coming-of-age teen comedy). The story is about an 18 year old kid with big dreams, dying a slow and ironic death in the suburbs. I’ll skip the coyness and just say that it’s completely autobiographical. Ten years ago, I sat in class after class in high school waiting for the last bell to ring. Then I was free to leave, move to New York, and start my life being famous and important. Ten years later, I can’t even defend myself against the stock inventory of Home Depot. This is quickly not turning into the future I wanted.
A few hours – and one semi-painful needle later – I’m back at home. I’m working furiously to send out my resume. I’m resigning myself to be okay with the fact that my blog is going without new content on a Monday. “There will always be the rest of the week.”
The day drags on.
Caitlin comes banging on my door, wound up like a mitochondria after thirty shots of espresso. Caitlin is the six year old daughter of my upstairs neighbor. She rarely takes “No.” for an answer, and makes that clear as she insists on bothering me when I tell her I can’t be bothered. In retrospect, the first mistake I made was answering my door. After twenty minutes (which includes her breaking into my apartment – not cool by her mom or me), I’m able to get her away from me and back to work.
It’s now 4:45.
I can maybe work for another hour. By 6:00, most businesses will be done for the day. I have a rule about job applications: I don’t do them on weekends and I don’t submit them after 6:00. I’m still exhausted from the weekend. My arm is tender from the tetanus shot. I’m beginning to think I should call it a day. That’s the luxury/curse of being self-employed: you set your own hours, and then spend your after-hours wondering if you did enough. This whole day did not go as I wanted. I’m wondered if this is even worth it. Maybe I should just contact a bunch of temp agencies; it’d be easy money. Maybe I should go on Unemployment; at least then I’d be getting some steady money from somewhere. Either of these options seem way easier than the course I’ve set myself on.
Then it shows up in my Gmail – an e-mail from a music blogger job. They liked my writing sample. They liked my resume. They want to talk to me on Wednesday. My eyes widen, “I want to get paid to write about music!” I respond back and confirm an interview time.
What just happened? Did my hard work just pay off? Can I actually get my semi-mutilated foot in the door to somewhere respectable in this town? To be considered for a job as professional writer? You and I both know the answer, my friends. My faith is restored. I wrap up my last application and then call it a day. It’s 5:30. My foot is still a little sore, but I want to get out of my apartment. I decide to drop-off my laundry and go take a walk. I need it. I deserve it. Always remember the lesson learned here, folks: even a day that starts with a rusty nail through the foot can still end on a good note.