Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Pay Day

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Total Black: $367.92
Total Red: $227,843.18

I got paid today.  My first paycheck of 2009.  And I earned less than when on unemployment.  Too funny, no?  But I only worked two days last week, so that’s not exactly fair to spin it that way.  It does have a dash of irony to it though.

One of the most unexpected effects of getting paid has been this overwhelming urge to spend.  Perhaps it’s a typical reaction akin to that of a malnourished person attempting to gorge himself with food.  All day long I had this antsy feeling that I needed to go buy something or treat myself.  A massage pulled me the most.  So too a nice dinner.  A couple of beers at the bar.  A book or two.  But for this project, I don’t think I would have held back.  And it was quite unnerving to feel this urgency come upon me suddenly . . . and from nowhere.  Got me wondering.

As I examined this sense of compulsion rising up in me it triggered an opposite sense of revulsion.  Most of the wonders that waltzed through my mind involved various levels of human interaction.  Going out to eat or grabbing a few beers invited the possibility of meeting someone, chatting with her or him, maybe making a new friend or even a possible date.  And the massage . . . you can’t get any more human interaction there unless . . . well, I’m sure you can finish that thought yourself.  Even buying a book meant heading to a bookstore and browsing the stacks—probably buying a coffee as well; there’s always the chance you could chat with someone about some book you’re looking at.  What I didn’t have whizzing through my head were visions of online shopping or grocery orders or movie tickets.  Only things that put me in places where I could meet people

I calmed the screaming beast by grabbing a coffee (and a water and a tea and a scone) at a nearby Starbucks and reading.  As I noted in Getting There From Here, I spend the majority of my money either on food, coffee, etc., or on books.  I’ve never been one to go hog-wild on clothes or music or similar consumer goods.  But even coffee ads up.  There’s something about shopping and spending money though.  Why does it feel so good?  Besides the human interaction there’s another layer to it.  There’s a thrill there.  Something new and crisp and yours.  The sharp edges and stiffness of a new, unopened book.  That slightly chemical scent to a new pair of jeans.  The shiny perfection of an untouched new cellphone.  The loud crinkle as you remove the plastic from the cd case and the slight pop as the disc comes out for the first time.  Maybe these sensory elements of shopping are intentional.  Market research is a multi-million dollar field after all.  Not sure.  But there’s something to it that will require a bit more time to unearth.

Didn’t expect pay day to bring these thoughts.  Luckily, actually, after paying this month’s COBRA, there wasn’t much left to spend.  And I’ll need the bulk of it to print up business cards for the Recession Art Sale.  One bit of good news today: I got the $17,000 job.  It’s a temporary attorney position that pays $40 an hour and runs for six days a week for about six weeks at ten to twelve hours a day.  This project will start paying off finally.  I’m feeling more and more confident that it’s truly within reach to be debt free by 8/9/10 as planned.  As long as I keep that beast under wraps, that is.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 18, 2009 at 23:06

One Response

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  1. Congratulations. NY gets to keep you. I figure that’s $136,000 a year. I’m sure they’ll be impressed enough to hire you for the next 44 weeks.

    Larry E

    September 21, 2009 at 14:24

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