Tag Archives: sitting

Dude, what happened?

This guy doesn’t know what he’s doing, sitting on that park bench, waiting to make a move. He should have made a move like an hour ago, or even if he tried to do something like half an hour ago, maybe he could have pulled something off. But now there’s no chance. Even if he got up right this second, he’s going to be late. He’s regretting ever having gotten up and gone into the city today. Or even more than that, he’s regretting going onto craigslist looking for jobs, spending all of that time writing out his resume, taking the day off so that he could go into this interview.


And for this, it’s pathetic. He knows it, too. He got up early. No, even before that. He’s been getting up early for days, ever since he got that email from the recruiter telling him that she set up a meeting. It was one of those moments where his heart let out something that can only be described as a double beat, like one beat, but with the power of at least two, followed by a silence, a long moment where he could feel the sweat build up in his glands, that moment right before his skin would get wet, it was cool, but not in a comfortable way, like an electric way, like even though he knew it was sweat, it could have very easily been fire. And that moment stretched out forever, he wondered if his heart would ever start beating again, and right before it did, it always did, for a fraction of that infinite space, something inside just kind of wished that it wouldn’t start up again. He didn’t want to die or anything that dramatic, but going forward didn’t really seem that appealing either, and he wondered what it would be like to spend an eternity right here, right in this elongated pause in between beats.

But then it beat and he couldn’t go to sleep that night. The closest thing he got to rest were these sort of sleep-like states where, even though he was aware that he was in his bed trying to not be awake, the dreams came at him anyway, dreams of showing up to the interview, trying to blow on his hands to evaporate some of the sweat from his palms, trying to figure out what he’d say to the secretary when he walked in the building. And then he’d have dreams in the other direction, where everything would go almost ridiculously according to plan, if he had a plan. But they’d hire him and right away he’d be the boss and he’d accumulate so much vacation time that he’d be on vacation almost instantly, a tropical island getaway, one of those seaside resorts where he wouldn’t even have to raise his hand to order another drink, no, the hotel staff would be so accommodating, they’d have it all timed out, so that exactly as he took his last sip, the empty glass would be replaced by a new one.

This was like three days of non-sleep, all the while the pressure of figuring out what to say, when to show up, how many copies of his resume to print out, what subway he’d take to the office, what kind of tie would he wear, should he wear a full suit or just a jacket and tie, did he need to get a haircut or would that look too eager? And he got there like three hours early, just in case, just in case the subway broke down, or it started raining and the tunnels got flooded, or if he lost his MetroCard and all of the machines at the station stopped working, so he’d have to walk to the next stop just to be able to pay for his ride, or if he got to the building on time but couldn’t find the right entrance, so many variables.

And in his rush to get out the door in the morning, he was starving, but he didn’t eat anything, and he usually drank like three or four cups of coffee, but not today, nothing, and so he couldn’t go to the bathroom when he woke up, because he was so nervous and he didn’t have the coffee in his system, and everything just felt off, hungry and full at the same time. He figured he’d get something to eat, get a cup of coffee. But not now, not just yet, maybe in an hour, just so that he’d get that nice after-lunch buzz, just one cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine to really make him stand out, to bring out his inner go-getter.

In an hour or two. But for right now, he might as well just sit on this park bench and try to calm down, to cool off. And he sat there and watched everybody else coming and going to their jobs. He looked at his messenger bag, which really wasn’t necessary, he only had one folder inside, five copies of his resume printed on not-too-fancy cardstock inside of that. Did the bag look as hollow on him as it felt carrying it around? Could you tell from looking at him that gravity was having a hard time keeping this empty bag fastened to his shoulder?

And he couldn’t get off of it. The sweat came back but this time it did feel like burning. And even though the minutes ticked by in what seemed like an exponentially decreasing speed, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he should’ve gotten something to eat a while ago, that now he wouldn’t have time to walk around the block and find a deli, to eat something without making it obvious that he’d just eaten, that he should’ve gotten up ten minutes ago and started walking toward the building, that his phone’s ringing in his pocket and he should at least answer it, say something about being right outside, that he should really at a minimum take his phone out of his pocket to see if it was the recruiter or the employer trying to figure out what happened, why he didn’t show.

And what’s it going to feel like on the train ride back? Just because you look like a commuter coming back from a job doesn’t mean everyone can’t tell that it’s all bullshit, that you’re the only pretending, just for one day. What are you going to say to your cat when you walk back inside the apartment later on in the evening, when he’s looking up at you, asking without asking, how did it go? How are you going to just sit back down on that couch like nothing happened? What did you do today, dude, what happened to your day? Are you going to have to get this shirt dry-cleaned again? What about the slightly more expensive resume paper, are you just going to add that to the list of money spent on almost making it to a job interview? And what’s the point of trying again? What are they going to say if you ask for another day off? How is next time going to be any easier?

The economics of sitting down

I wish I could be a taxi driver. It seems like the best job in the world. I love to drive, I love listening to music, so on paper anyway, it just seems perfect. But then I think about the physical toll sitting down all day would take on my body. Every once in a while I’ll drive upstate, to Massachusetts. It’s like a three hour drive. Recently I drove up to Buffalo. That was close to six hours. It was a long, long time sitting down. My lower back hurt so much by the time I finally got to the hotel. I went to the gym to see if I couldn’t run it off, but I couldn’t. It was like I actually injured myself just sitting down.

But I wonder, if I were a full-time taxi driver, would those lower back muscles strengthen up? Maybe I’d get really good at it, but then all of my other muscles, the muscles I usually use for walking and stuff, they’d start to atrophy. And I’d just be stuck, sitting.

And traffic. When I drove up to Buffalo, the majority of the trip was spent simply trying to get out of the city. It’s the worst. Every once in a while I’ll think, maybe I should buy a car. It could really come in handy. But then I’ll get stuck in an epic traffic jam and I realize that this city is no place for driving.

Except for taxi drivers. That’s got to be the best, being a taxi driver who gets stuck in traffic. It’s like if you’re an office worker and the power goes out. You just sit there and hang out, right? It’s not like anybody can get any office work done nowadays without computers. And you still get paid, right? I guess, for a taxi driver, getting stuck in traffic all depends on if you have a passenger before you get stuck. Because once they’re inside the meter keeps running. Sure it’s a little slower if you’re at a dead stop, but whatever, a paid break is a paid break.

Recently my brother and I took a cab home from somewhere and for whatever reason the driver got on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, a notorious parking lot. Sure enough, we get on and it’s just bumper to bumper, nobody moving. This driver was loving it. We sat in there for like half an hour before we finally insisted on getting out right there and walking towards the nearest exit. The driver was like, “You can’t just get out of the cab here.” But we did. And we beat every single car to the nearest exit. It was terrible though. We still had to pay like thirty bucks, then walk to the subway, then wait for the subway. The whole point of not taking the subway was to get home quick.

But whatever, every once in a while you have to pay the idiot tax. That’s what I call it when you just lose money for no other reason than making idiot decisions. Like going to Atlantic City for the weekend and losing hundreds of dollars playing Texas Hold ‘Em. Great idea Rob, you thought you’d just walk up to a table of card players and win? I only played two hands and lost everything.

But that wasn’t the idiot tax for that trip. The idiot tax was when I decided to go to the ATM and win a little back playing Blackjack. I’m telling you, twenty-five dollars a hand. Lose. Lose. Lose. Lose. Nice playing with you sir. And that was only part one of the idiot tax. Part two was taking another hundred bucks out and hoping I could instantly win it back on one round of roulette. Nope. It’s like if you get caught urinating in public. The idiot tax.

I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be a great cab driver. Any job where you have to rely on tips is always going to be disheartening, because tipping is optional, and given the option, some people will always be like, nope, no tip.

Maybe if somebody invented a taxi where you could stand up while driving. That would be so much better actually. Why aren’t all cars designed this way? Scientists are always wagging their fingers at us, telling us that we’re all getting so fat because our bodies aren’t meant to be living such sedentary lifestyles. So make all cars standing room only. As a bonus, you’d be able to fit a lot more people inside. Airplanes also. And movie theaters. We should just eliminate seats all together, so everybody has to stand all the time.

And I’m not talking about rickshaws either. That probably wouldn’t be the best job. I’m sure lugging people around like that has got to be grueling. And you don’t stand a chance against a car. I mean, if you get into an accident with a car, you’re dead. Unless everybody had rickshaws. Then that wouldn’t be so bad. But wait a second, if everybody is standing up, then what’s the point of a rickshaw? Because they’d be standing up also. And since they’re already standing, they might as well be walking, because that’s what the drivers are doing. I guess if everybody stood up, everybody would go out of business. Can you imagine how long that line would be at the unemployment office?