Views on politics and current events

Monday, September 11, 2006

Now This Is A Trend I Can Get Behind

From StepBlog:

August 2, 2006

The New York Times ran a front page story Monday about a new trend - men who are laid off or lose their jobs and are unable to find suitable replacements are deciding to just stay home. The guy profiled in the story, Alan Beggerow, is using his time play the piano, read non-fiction and write Westerns, after getting a really good night’s sleep every night. “I have come to realize my free time is worth a lot to me,” he says.

No kidding! Coincidentally, the same day the story ran, Loverman stayed home from work. He was feeling puny, as we say in the South, after having gotten all dehydrated playing that rock and roll music the night before at an outdoor party. After a nap, he worked on a beautiful cabinet he is building, worked in the yard, played guitar and started dinner.

I was reminded after reading the article and thinking of Loverman happily puttering at home of a line from Office Space, when a consultant says to the main character, Peter, “Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.” “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob,” Peter replies with an ironic smile. Amen, brother.

This all plays into a strange neo-feminist slacker fantasy I have of getting to a place where Loverman doesn’t have to work, and can stay home and do all those things he did on Monday and other such things that will improve the quality of our home and our lives. Sure, I would love to be able stay home too, but for some reason seeing Loverman getting dressed in his togs of oppression to go off to the office everyday seems like such a WASTE of his talents.

So, as one that embraces and supports loafing, I was cheering on Mr. Beggerow. Many readers of the story felt quite differently about it, according to several of the letters to the editor.

But c’mon, surely you’ve felt this way? Wondering why you go work for the Man day after day after day when you could be hanging with the kids, doing yoga, sewing, gardening, blogging, etc.? I know why we do it - mortgages to pay, kids to feed and make happy and be secure, etc. But even though I like my job I am not one of those blessed people who skips off to the office every day to receive deep personal fulfillment from work.

Mr. Beggerow and his wife aren’t independently wealthy. He’s decided to just… care less about money. His wife is pictured laughing in the article ,so she doesn’t seem to mind too much, though it sounds like they’re getting kind of close to the edge financially. But, they’re not overly worried, living instead in a new paradigm.

“When you are in the mode of having money coming in,” he explained, “naturally you are thinking about planning and saving. And then when you don’t have the money coming in, you think less about the future, at least moneywise. It is still a concern, but not a concern that keeps me up at night, not in this life that I am now leading.”

I have long harbored a fantasy of not working myself, in addition to making it possible for Loverman to do so. Buying the occasional lottery ticket is as close as I’ve gotten to doing anything about it, and let’s face it, it will never happen. But it’s nice to dream of being a slacker. One can dream.

August 9, 2006

So last week, I blogged about an article I read in the New York Times about people choosing not to work, getting off the merry-go-round, out of the rat race, on the slow train to happyville. The article focused on one guy, Alan Beggerow, and I wrote about him. Then he read my blog and wrote back! In the comments! The dialog continues! How cool is that? To me, it’s the coolest thing about all this new communications stuff. Dialog. Strangers not being so strange. Making the big world somewhat smaller, or at least more accessible.

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