Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Exiting the Rat Race

My position with the Very Large American Corporation (VLAC) was eliminated last week, for the most cliche of reasons: what's left of my job was moved to India in a great globalization scheme. But speaking of India, I'm a practicer of yoga, and I had a wise teacher once who told our class: "Find something to enjoy in the position." In my case, I'm finding plenty to enjoy in the VLAC position elimination.

Goodbye to all this:

and this:

I am free, free of the NYC rat race!

I've got big plans now: to write more, to freelance, to work part time for the anarchist cafe down the street, to volunteer for a good cause, to garden, to practice yoga and belly dance more, to be a housewife for the first time in my life, to cook dinner at home for friends cuz I'll be too broke to go out to NYC restaurants. I'll have more time now to pet my cats. And read so many books! It will be lovely.

However, I will not become a dirty hippie. Last night, as Dave and I ate one of my world-famous home-cooked dinners, we watched a NetFlix movie, "Alice's Restaurant," that Arlo Guthrie movie based on his song where he and his dirty hippie friends throw a bunch of post-Thanksgiving trash over a wooded cliff in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It was made in 1969 by the same guy who directed "Bonnie and Clyde," starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.
Anyway, there we were, eating my fabulous wheatberry/chickpea/roast onion concoction that I love, plus a green salad, as we watched these horrible, self-indulgent, dirty man hippies riding around on their motorcycles and trashing an old church that one of them had bought for a song so they could amuse themselves by desecrating a place of worship and think they were changing the world by smoking pot and balling chicks. Yuck. I can understand why women joined consciousness-raising groups in the '70s, and also why the Conservative Right despises that old-timey '60s hippie culture. Did I really ever think it was cool? I mean, it was groovy that Arlo was a Vietnam War draft dodger, but the people he hung around with just looked like a bunch of substance-abusing losers who were going nowhere and had no philosophy.

On the plus side, it did get me thinking that the U.S. government really should reinstate the draft so there would be a bigger anti-Iraq War movement and we could get out of there faster.
But I digress. The thing is, I'm careful about balancing my checkbook, for example. There's $20 unaccounted for right now in my current balance, and it's annoying me. I can't ever imagine myself throwing money cares to the wind, dirty hippie style. No way, no day. I enjoy regular showers (and yet being careful of water use due to global warming concerns and this planet's limited natural resources, etc., because I am not a dirty hippie who thinks it's revolutionary to throw trash over a wooded cliff) and bikini waxes too much. So you better believe that if I ever run out of money--and I'll admit, I'm doing OK for now thanks to my annual bonuses and paychecks saved from VLAC--I'll be looking for an entrance right back into the rat race.


potdoll said...

Joyceeee! Whoah - News or What!

Good - no shitty rat racing means you can have some bad girl adventures!

Anonymous said...

Oh you really must see The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, 1971, written by Joan Didion. At a lot less than halfway through I wanted to take out my eyeballs and soak them in warm sudsy water. Weirdly, there's no music. No score. Is that a subtle message or what? It's the only '70s drug movie I've seen that makes me want to completely avoid all drugs, even helpful pharmaceuticals and innocent aspirins. As for Alice's Restaurant, haven't seen that since .... whenever. Don't remember a thing. Always though Abbie Hoffman was overrated, an act. Maybe his brightest moment was when Pete Townshend whammed him over the head with his guitar.

Joyce Hanson said...

I guess it takes an artistic visionary like Joan Didion or Arthur Penn (director of "Alice's Restaurant") to cut through the hype. Who's doing that these days? And what will this decade be remembered for?

Anyway, Potdoll, the sad thing is that I can't describe the wildest of my bad girl adventures because I'm using my real identity. I just hope that some of it seeps through in my tone of voice.

Anonymous said...

Context is everything. What looks foolish now, might have made sense for those times...I wonder how accepting the rat race as inevitable will look 35 years from now!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Joyce,

I envy your freedom.... Enjoy it for me!!!!!

Sally B

Lisanne McT said...

As far as Arlo and his pals go,it was new and pretty revolutionary at the time..they were destroying the moral of the "June Cleaver" era...hey i was into punk rock and looking back we looked ridiculous,but AT THE TIME, we were pretty revolutionary,as anon said"context is everything"

how can you work in an anarchist cafe yet be so attached to your bonuses et al...?
AVOID THE RAT RACE! It ain't all can live a perfectlly fine life without it!

Don't let the lost 20 get you crazy...!!!! LET GO!

Joyce Hanson said...

I received an email from a friend in England, Clayton Blizzard (see link to Clayton on my home page "Friends & Fun"), congratulating me on my exit from the rat race, and it was so well stated that I'm adding it here in the comments section:
"Congratulations on your redundancy. Surely, 'Massive Pay-off' is the sweetest phrase in the English(ish) language. Or maybe 'Suspended With Full Pay.'
"It makes me think of what Bob Marley said: 'Why should you have to bow to these things?' ie, dress code, open plan offices, strip lighting, hierarchical archaic top-heavy industrial relationship of power and so on and so on. Still, much inspiration and lyric from the stress of the coercive employment market; an anachronistic pigswill of an arrangement which shortens life expectancy - but is, ironically, fostering creativity for me personally.
"I didn't know you could get on the rock n roll stateside - do they call it Welfare? (Is that cos it's well fair? a-ha ha ha) Either way, it's a healthy place to be compared to the stifling conditions of continuous employment; get writin innit."

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