Watching: Nothing. Michelle was over for dinner last night and turned on the television, and it took me like five minutes to figure out what buttons to push to get the cable to show up on the screen. I had forgotten.

We ended up watching that show where people do shit for thirty seconds in an effort to win $25,000. I got depressed when I realized that I'm utterly talentless, as I don't think there is anything I can do for thirty seconds that would be impressive enough to win me five bucks, much less 25 grand.

Listening: To the new Alanis song, "Precious Illusions." I have developed a pattern with Alanis, in that I like every other song she releases. Once I know who I'm not, then I'll know who I am.

Not Listening: To the new Cousteau CD, mostly because (a) I didn't know there was one until two days ago and (b) I can't afford to buy it anyway.

Appreciating: The idea of the Slurp 'N Gulp at 7-11. I haven't had one yet, but people, this is genius. They came up with some contraption that will let you have both your fountain drink and your slurpee in the same container. Genius, I tell you.

Congratulating: Athena, Scott, and Aidan on the addition of beautiful baby Ty to their family. Much love from the East coast!

It's storming right now.

There is nothing I love quite so much as a summer thunderstorm. I love the way it sounds, the rumble of thunder, the rain pounding through the leaves and tree branches outside my window. I love the smell of water, of wet earth, even the slight scent of electricity in the air.

One of these days (no, really) I am going to get a digital camera, and you will be able to see what I see out the window as I sit at my computer. It's a scene I've become very, very familiar with over the past couple of months.

It looks like a forest, really. Only if I peer very closely can I see a small piece of someone else's roof, a few feet of road down the hill. Otherwise, it is tall trees, trunks climbed by ivy, branches heavy with leaves, or else totally empty of them for whatever reason a tree would be empty of leaves in the summer. (It's dead, maybe? In which case, should I worry that one day it's going to topple into my living room? Because that's where it would go, should it ever decide to topple.)

Now it's over, almost as quickly as it started. Thunder is still rumbling, but it sounds like it's moving away from here. The sun has even started to peek out for a few more minutes of daylight.

Wow. For those ten minutes, I was content.

Most of the time, I am not.

I am beginning to think that I will never work again.

Tomorrow, I am going to what feels like my millionth legal placement agency, trying to get contract work. Seriously, this has to be the 6th or 7th place I've been to. I have the routine down by now. It's all about filling out the standard job application, the W-4 and perhaps a state tax form or two, handing over a hard copy of my resume and references, telling some recruiter what I'm looking for, listening to the recruiter tell me how slow the market is but your qualifications are fabulous and I'm sure we'll be able to place you just as soon as we have some projects coming in.

Whatever.

It's gotten to the point where my biggest motivation for getting a job is not because I'm dying to start my career. It's because I am tired of living off my parents.

It's a really difficult situation, at least where my father is concerned. One day, they're both telling me how they don't want me to worry about money. All I need to do is focus on getting a job, but they understand that it's going to take some time, and I shouldn't stress about the rent or groceries or the light bill in the meantime, they will take care of it.

So that's all well and good until I do something crazy, like get the hell out of my apartment for the weekend and go to New York to see Kate and Rob, or to Philadelphia to see Corina.

Then, I get lectured. The Monday after I got home from New York, my father calls and tells me that I had no business going because I can't afford the gas money.

So, I'm confused. I have the opportunity to get out of town for a weekend where I could stay at Kate's parents (for free), see her perform in a play (for free), and go into the city to eat and drink (for not quite free, but he didn't need to know that), but I should not have gone because I can't afford the gas?

And he told me I couldn't afford to go to Philadelphia for the same reason, and I explained to him that If I called Corina and told her I couldn't come up because I don't have gas money, she would have laughed her ass off, told me to come anyway, and slipped me twenty bucks as I was leaving. I told my father this, and asked if that's what he wanted me to do. Well, of course not, says he, that's crazy.

It's just freaking frustrating. A large part of the reason I moved to the East Coast was so I could see these people without paying hundreds of dollars to get on a plane. I spend the entire week holed up in my apartment, searching high and low for jobs and sending resumes by the ream out into the void, but I'm not supposed to spend $20 to see my friends and take my mind off how pathetically unemployable I am?

I'm not discounting his position, honestly. I know how ridiculous it sounds to complain about not being able to have fun when my parents are keeping my 30-year-old ass clothed, fed, and sheltered. I would be happy to respect their boundaries. I just can't figure out where they are.

My mother is a little better. I think she senses the depression closing in on me, and she tells me not to worry about my dad, that's just how he is, they know I'm not sitting around watching television all day with the intent of sponging off of them for as long as I can, so if I want to get out of the house occasionally, I should.

So, that's what I'm doing tomorrow, although I am just going to my parents' for the weekend. (At least they won't complain about the gas money this time.) Fortunately, my father is leaving on Saturday for some golf tournament somewhere, so my mom and I will have some time on our own, which always makes me happy.

Before I go, I do want to thank everyone who wrote and empathized with the story of my life as related in the previous entry. You people will never know what you do for me.


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