Everything is Already Something Week 27: Happy Anniversary, I’m Unemployed!

Allison Page, drinking bleach and taking names.

Holy shit, you guys…I’ve been writing Everything is Already Something for a YEAR! (Well, 1 year tomorrow, but I write every other Wednesday, so you’ll have to settle for today.) And a crazy, crazy year it has been. Actually, it’s been a crazy month. I don’t even want to think about 12 of those back to back. That would be awful.

A little over 3 weeks ago, I got laid off. Isn’t that just soooo adult of me? When I think of layoffs, I think of somebody’s dad losing his job at the ceiling-fan-parts manufacturing plant or something. I don’t think about me. And it had never happened before. But here we are. The reactions from other people have been really interesting. Particularly the contrast between my San Francisco friends and my Minnesota friends and family.

Allison: “I got laid off!”

Mom/Aunt/Dad/Girl I Went to College With: “Ohhhh myyyy Goooood! What are you gonna do? Move home! What are you gonna do?! Ohhhhh myyyy Goooood! You’ll be homeless in a month! YOU’LL BE SELLING YOUR BODY ON THE STREET!”

Allison: “I got laid off!”

SF Friends and Acquaintances: “Hell yeah! You’re gonna make so much art now! Let’s drink hella drinks.”

Unemployed breakfast.

Unemployed breakfast.

The truth, of course, lies somewhere between those two things. Oh, and I’m an aunt now. That just happened a few days ago. I have a tiny nephew named Jacob! It’s…a pretty weird feeling. A combination of feeling very adult and also definitely not adult at all. I’m going through one of those glorious periods of my life where everyone else is having babies and I’m writing a political sex comedy. Deja vu.

I got all pumped up about self producing a play that I’m very passionate about this coming October…and then we had to bump it to 2015. This year is only two months old and it’s already throwing me for a loop in at least 6 different ways. I suppose it’s a good thing that I love change. Generally speaking, I roll with the punches. Mostly because I have the awareness to know that whatever happens, I will most likely be fine. I don’t know if my life could get as chaotic as it used to be even if I tried. Of course, I could be totally wrong about that and end up sleeping on the floors of closets again. I look forward to finding out.

The most surprising and encouraging thing about being unemployed is how bizarrely confident other people seem to be in my potential ability to not need a 9-5 job. As opposed to saying “Oh man, you better apply for this job at a grocery store so you don’t die.” there are people saying things like “Oh! Get a literary agent!” or “Just do more on camera stuff!” or “Write for this magazine or this website!”. I had a conversation with a friend of mine while she gave me a ride home from a reading of a new play the other night, and she expressed happiness about having a feeling that more and more of her theatrical friends and collaborators are transitioning from having to have full time desk jobs to making their real passions their full time endeavors. Like a switch from full time job with art on the side, to full time artist with jobs on the side. That’s a big difference. Often it also comes with a big difference in financial compensation, of course. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a job that pays those damned bills, and doing the passionate stuff after. I mean, I’ve been doing that my entire life, so I definitely feel it’s a valid way to create things in this crazy expensive world. But I think we can all agree that if we had the luxury of being able to dedicate more time to the things we love – that would be pretty great. That’s an overly optimistic expectation, obviously. The odds that you’ll find me at a desk in an office, or selling shampoo, or baking fucking peach pies for cash are pretty high.

Hello, sir! Have you considered switching to...to...I feel nothing. I am a husk.

Hello, sir! Have you considered switching to…to…I feel nothing. I am a husk.

But for now, I’m going to pretend that I’ll never have to do that, and see just how much cool stuff I can generate. (HINT: probably not as much as I wish I could.) It’s like my own personal forced artistic revolution. I would never have left that job of my own accord. I’d have to be an idiot to do that. Great pay, free food – I mean, I’m not an asshole. But the fact that I got laid off is giving me some weird opportunities to spend some time in my brain and figure out just what it’s capable of. Like when a guy who’s totally into cars gets a new car and says something like “Let’s see what this baby can really do!” and drives it as fast as possible. That’s what I’m going to do with my brain-car.

Right after I get caught up on House of Cards.
And West Wing.
And Downton Abbey.
And Bob’s Burgers.
And Murder, She Wrote.
And every movie starring Cary Grant.
And everything on Hulu.
And everything on Netflix.

Priorities are hard.

TELL ME WHAT TO FEEL!

TELL ME WHAT TO FEEL!

See Allison live! Tonight 2/26 in a reading of Stuart Bousel’s EVERYBODY HERE SAYS HELLO! at the Exit Theater at 8pm, OR at PANELMONIUM!, 8pm Friday 2/28 at the Dark Room Theater, OR Monday, March 3rd in a reading of Rachel Bublitz’s UNDER THE GODS GOLDEN CLEATS, 8pm at The Tides Theater. More info for the last two events is readily available on Facebook.

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7 comments on “Everything is Already Something Week 27: Happy Anniversary, I’m Unemployed!

  1. AnotherUnknownActor says:

    I’ve been out of permanent non-theatrical work for nearly three years now. In that time I have learned that (1) what I foolishly called a “network,” wasn’t; (2) age discrimination is alive, well, and violently real; (3) (re-)establishing a network is a Sisiphyan task if you don’t actually LIVE in the Bay Area; and (4) I have had to completely redefine my paradigms of self-esteem and personal validation, which is not done by merely adding water and shaking well.

    • Allison Page says:

      I’m glad you said this, because I know that you commented recently on another post and said something similar, and each time this comes up it gets me to wondering what you’re looking for – or expecting out of – the/a theater community out of pure, blind curiosity. I’m sure we’re all varied in what we want out of something as indefinable as a ‘community’. I don’t love that word for it, but I’m hard pressed to think of another. Previously you mentioned the Olympians Festival as being only semi-welcoming, when I think I have always felt like it was a pretty arms-wide-open function…which is probably part of why I wanted to take part in it in the first place. (Though I love the festival, this response isn’t really about that, it’s just the only specific example I’ve got.)

      And, yes, generally I’ve found that it’s better if my self-esteem has absolutely nothing to do with anyone apart from myself. I mean, it is self-esteem, after all, not group-esteem or peer-esteem. But then, my general opinion about anyone not requiring my services/not casting me/not liking me is pretty much just “fuck ’em”. I have that cross-stitched in a frame on my desk.

      I babbled on there a little, but back to my main question: what is it you’re looking for that you don’t feel you’re finding and what is a network to you?

      • AnotherUnknownActor says:

        In short, a social and professional “home,” in which to establish and nurture relationships with like-minded people.

        Allison, I enjoy your babbling and could listen to it all day.

  2. Heard you were selling your body on the street. Do you take bitcoin?

  3. Allison Page says:

    Also, I lied, the UNDER THE GODS’ GOLDEN CLEATS reading is at 7pm, not 8pm. I can’t keep this shit straight.

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