The Life of Riley is a weekly post that details my activities since I ended a thirteen year career as a corporate drone. These posts are usually long, personal, and geared more for my own memory than the reader’s entertainment.
Sunday (Day 210): Too Many Expectations
Showed the house to #1GF!’s friends. Every time we go to the house it feels like we should be working on it. After we got home, I was supposed to do some writing so that I could take the next couple of days off. Instead, I spent a lot of time upgrading WordPress to the latest version. In one of my breaks, #1GF! said she was itching for a pork dinner, so we went out to get one. The meal wasn’t as good as she had expected thanks to the gravy not being to her liking. After dinner, I wrote a little more and we played Fluxx until bed. I won more than I lost, which is unusual when playing cards with #1GF!.
Monday (Day 211): Teenage Colonoscopy
We got out of bed at 10 AM after spending a full hour slipping in and out of consciousness. It was like being a teenager, except with fewer feelings of dread. After we got up, we watched Jerry Springer for the first time in months. I forgot how screwed up people on Springer are. One guy mentioned “domestic abruse” and I thought it was just a one time screw up until his family repeatedly used “abruse” as if it were a legitimate word. For the rest of the day, #1GF! went through cookbooks in an attempt to find something interesting for dinner, and I read a philosophy book to prove that dinner had meaning.
We both eventually gave up and got some takeout Chinese food. New Year’s Eve consisted of eating chicken wings, watching a movie, and playing Guillotine until the ball dropped. Apart from Dick Clark becoming the baby boomer generation’s surgical equivalent of Michael Jackson, the only interesting thing about New Years on TV was one woman’s New Year’s resolution. When asked what her resolution was, the woman screamed out, “TO GET A COLONOSCOPY!!” The way she yelled it, you would’ve thought that “colonoscopy” meant “win the lottery”.
Tuesday (Day 212): Mr. Stinky
Got up at 8 and made some eggs for #1GF! to give her the strength to make it through three hours of Jerry Springer. I finished a philosophy book, which was the second book I read this week. The book didn’t give me any new information, but might have been interesting to someone who wanted a basic overview of philosophy.
We spent the rest of the day playing games, and #1GF! whooped me in both Fluxx and Guillotine. I showered at night, and didn’t figure that there would be any need for deodorant since it would be such a short amount of time before my morning shower. I didn’t plan on doing any heavy lifting or yard work, so I figured I’d be fine. I woke up in the middle of the night choking on the stench of whatever had died in the room, I groggily clamped my arms down by my sides, instantly refreshing the air. I don’t know if my subconscious planned to keep my arms clamped to my sides for the rest of the night, but I prayed that #1GF!’s sense of smell shut down when she fell asleep.
Wednesday (Day 213): Advertising Changes
Advertising hasn’t been going well, so I spent most of the day and night analyzing and rearranging it. I gave up some income to test some new ads, but the income was trivial anyway. The way I look at it is that I can’t find ads that work well if I stick with ads that work poorly.
At night, #1GF! kept thinking the wind was a mouse running around in the kitchen, so she didn’t get much sleep.
Thursday (Day 214): Mr. Happy
I worked on FineTune Friday: Botoms Up! all morning and sent my Sketchup files to the architect in the afternoon. Spent more time moving my advertising around. I left the house to go to the dentist and was surprised at how cold it was out. I was dressed in the same jeans and t-shirt look that I’ve always worn, but I felt like sort of a bum. Dressing in jeans and a t-shirt is fine if you are earning money, but when you’re not, the uniform takes on a different feel.
In the office, I sat next to a guy who kept swearing under his breath and complaining about being left waiting for his appointment. I found it a little amusing. I spent the time smiling because forcing a smile tends to make me think happier thoughts and turns the fake smile into a real one. I do this quite often when I’m in public so that people don’t mistake me for a bearded lunatic.
It wasn’t long before I got into the chair, and the hygienist asked me what I was doing for work since I quit my corporate gig.
Hygienist: So, what do you do?
Me: I write a web page.
Hygienist: Oh! What’s it about?
Me: Uh, well. It’s. It’s about a lot of things.
Hygienist: How do you make money?
Me: Advertising and such.
Hygienist: Ah. But, what’s it about though?
Me: [getting red] Geez. I guess it gives people a daily dose of entertainment? I really don’t know.
I spent the rest of the time relaxing in the chair while she cleaned my teeth. Later when the dentist came in:
Dentist: That’s something you don’t see often nowadays. Someone smiling.
Hygienist: He works from home.
Me: [smiling] I do. It’s great.
Friday (Day 215): Site Abruse
I kept messing with the advertising and ended up breaking my site. Hours later when I figured out what had gone wrong, I thought I had better create a backup. I backed up part of a folder, copied it on top of the work I had done, and blew it up again. Ten hours rolled by before I got it all back together again.
At one point during the day, I found myself impressed with someone who earned around $1,500 a month blogging. I then did a quick calculation and realized that I was impressed with someone who earns less than the poverty level. That’s when I thought about giving up and going back to killing my soul slowly within the confines of a grey corporate cube. For the first time, I really started to doubt whether writing is a viable way to make a living.
That same day I got some advice from someone I respect that said that I should probably start a more focussed site and leave this one behind. I’ve thought that before, but the advice came at the wrong time and compounded my feelings that I was headed in the wrong direction.
Saturday (Day 216): Fascination, ooh OH oh
I woke up feeling as low as my web traffic has been over the last couple of weeks. #1GF! did her best to convince me that at least she thinks I’m cool. I put on my Finetune lounge station because I found lounge music does wonders for my mood.
At some point, #1GF! started cleaning the apartment, and I played the guitar along to a couple of Fu Manchu albums.
When I was starting to become a nudge, Macoosh called and we invited her over. We ate cheese and crackers like civilized adults and then went out to dinner. Afterward, we went to Fascination to gamble with the older crowd. #1GF! paid for dinner and Kerry paid for Fascination. I was the resident hobo.
Fascination is a combination of bingo and ski ball, where you roll two rubber balls down this ancient machine in attempt to light all the lights. There were probably 25 to 30 people in there representing a good 1800 years of Earth time, and the games started at $0.30. I won once and I threw my arms up in the air as if I had just won the world heavyweight title. I didn’t mean to, but my arms shot up before I knew what was going on. I forked over the $2 payout to the ladies because I’m a hobo and they were paying my way. They bumped the price to $0.50 and I won again. This time, $5 went to the ladies.
After a half hour of rapid-fire games and a thermostat that couldn’t decide between an oppressive New England summer and an arctic winter, I led the charge out. We all went back to watch Superbad, which Kerry brought over. Maybe I’m getting old, but it was a fun night.
What I Learned
- “Abruse”, and “Bescuse Me” are unusually fun to say.
- People in NY think Colonoscopies are fun and worth telling the world about.
- Without deodorant, I stink up fast.
- Dressing like you’re poor when you have money coming in feels different than dressing like you’re poor when you’re not working.
- If you are impressed with salaries that are lower than the poverty level, then something is wrong.
- Gambling with old people is fun for short periods of time.
- It may be time to seek income through other avenues even though writing is all I want to do.
- I have no idea what this blog is about.
- I have no idea how to explain what I do to people who have regular jobs.
- Despite the lack of a healthy income, I’m still living the dream.
- Everything is an illusion, so picking an illusion that makes you happy is paramount.