I quit my job today. I wasn’t planning it, but I had thought about it for a while. I thought it was time – and I don’t want to overstay. Not at a party, a job, life. Nothing worse than turning around and all the balloons have lost their gas, hovering on the floor and Grandma’s cleaning up the leftover fairy bread. You should never overstay.
I jumped from the truck at a house out of town. The usual – groceries, bleach, kitchen scrubs. I said I was going for a smoke, and then came back to say – actually, I might just roll. And then I rolled. Walked to the station, bought a pie and sat in town.
A friend called just now, offered me money as soon as he heard I’d quit. Like all of a sudden I need money. They wanted me to take it, I could tell. Like it would make them happy – to see me eat a meal on them, to treat myself to a film in, or a dinner box special and eat in the park. It’s the first sign of the spiral down, I guess. Not the lack of a job but the sympathy – not my recognition of poverty, but another’s.
I often take a taxi back to work and then drive home. But today I took the bus. There was an old lady in front of me wearing wide-rimmed glasses who kept turning, as if to check I was still there (did she want me to be, or not?). One lens was fogged up and I’m sure she couldn’t see through it. Everyone was on their way home from work with their bus-faces on and looked to the men digging to fix some pipes on the sidewalk. A girl swayed in an awkward dance to headphones. She’d be looked at as strange without the headphones. Disconnected is disregarded, I said to the lady in the foggy glasses when she turned again. She winked, or blinked, it’s hard to say.
It’s like the bum on the street. He sits with his longneck, watches traffic, bites his bottom lips like it’ll fall off if he lets go; fingers his shirt. Everyone assumes of him, but if he was sitting indoors in the same indelicate way, would he be so different?