Unemployed, 26 and Living at Home; A Coming-of-Age Tale
All of my belongings scattered around me and my iPad in hand, I casually searched for the plane ticket I had saved in my e-mail while the attendant laughed at me. “How do you ever get anywhere you want to go?” I looked up at him and smiled-- because the answer was so simple-- “It just always works out.”
Once I found my reservation, I handed it to him. He read through it and deflated my confidence as he informed me I was at the wrong airport. My plane was leaving from Miami, not Fort Lauderdale. In my stupidity, I thought it was leaving from Fort Lauderdale and I told that to the guy at the Miami airport as he gestured toward the shuttle I had just missed.
“What can I do?”
A couple days before, I made a hasty decision to meet one of my best friends in Miami for a few days of relaxation and a memorable New Years accompanied by her mini-harmonica necklace. After playing the blues riff and getting a group of Germans to sing about life in America, a biomedical engineer and an aspiring writer drank too much tequila and woke up in their rented Kia Sorrento on the corner of 5th and Michigan. I looked at the clock and told her we needed to go. She gazed at her phone and whispered, “No, dude. We have three more seconds." No amount of hangover was going to stop me. I was not going to start 2012 having missed a flight. That would be irresponsible.
Instead, I started 2012 somewhere in 2011 when I misread my ticket-- or perhaps never read it at all-- and got confused about the very nature of its content. The attendant entered my details into the computer and said, “Your original ticket is supposed to arrive in Washington. Would you rather arrive in Richmond… where you’re from?” I told him that would be great and the tickets came out of the little machine and he said I was all checked in and quoted me the amount of money his good nature had saved me. As I walked away after another successful New Years with my good friend and said mini-harmonica necklace the attendant yelled after, “Be more responsible!”
When I got home my dad said, “I don’t know how you do it” and I could tell from his tone it wasn’t a compliment. He hypothesizes that I put myself into difficult situations just to see how I’ll fare. And he’s right. If you read this blog, on top of the fact that you’re probably of blood relation, you also know the last time I wrote I was heading to Australia to work on a ranch. Well, I did that. And then I woke up one night after a total of three years abroad and I missed my family desperately. I decided to save as much money as possible and come home for Christmas and look for a job.
Now I spend my days sorting out the most precarious situation I’ve ever put myself into: unemployment in the U.S., living at home at 26. With all this extravagance and success, it’s a wonder I stay grounded. I guess I have my father to thank for that. Yesterday when my mom yelled at him for blowing leaves into the bushes, he lifted the blower and held it for a long second in her face. She walked away saying nothing, with her hair pointing back at the sky. Before getting into the car, she burst forth with a simple sentence brimming with venom. “Vacuum up the pine needles in the foyer!!”
When we got home, the windows were open, the place smelled like gas and there were pine needles embedded into the wall.
So—I say to all you bachelors out there—your parents’ place, or mine?