I'm out of work--I don't have any free time, and Bernard Madoff
A few years ago, a friend asked me to do something and I told him I'd have to check my schedule to see if I had time. Laughing, he said to me, "You're an out-of-work writer. If you don't have the time, no one does."
Well, that wasn't quite true, but I did see his point. Writers (and actors and artists and musicians and a host of others who have non-traditional, non nine-to-five jobs) don't always look like we're as busy as the rest of the lemmings. But, if I can hold to the rodent metaphor just a bit longer, we're probably busier than most, more like that crazy hamster spinning its wheel than most people would imagine. Most of the time we're working; we're just not necessarily making money.
So, of late, as news of my, ahem, available "free time" gets around, I've had a few invitations to meet some friends during the day. And I hate to be a jerk, but I'm too busy. I still have three stories to file to Cape Cod Life. There's the resume that needs fine-tuning and the samples that need uploading on the Web site (a heckuva lot harder and more complicated than one might imagine; nothing is easy anymore) and there's the business of doing my own IT troubleshooting now, thanks to the good people at HP who don't seem to be able to fix a "communication error." What we do seem to have is a failure to communicate. The Halfway House Club opens tomorrow evening, and that means bearing down there. I have a long list of people I want to contact and meet with and an office to set up.
Plus there are the holidays and everyday life to keep on top of. Today it snowed, or something. There's cold, slippery crap outside right now, and I still haven't gotten the snow tires put on my truck.
I guess the thing is, I've never been one to just sit. I can't sit on the beach and just bake in the sun. My oldest still remembers me taking her hand and going for long walks on the beach during summers on the Cape, saying, let's just see what's around that bend. Forget TV; I don't understand how anyone can just sit and watch. I always need something in my hands--a book, a guitar, or a wooden spoon in the kitchen--or I always need to be working towards something. It's just the way I am. I like being busy. And I always find things to keep me occupied, to the point where I wonder where the hours in the day went.
I suspect this trait will keep me active in my old age, keep my brain alert, or what passes for alert with my brain.
An aside, I'm also keeping up with the story in the news about Bernard Madoff, the Wall Street investor who is accused of cheating investors out of $50 billion. I interviewed Madoff back in the late '80s. His firm then was headquartered in Jersey City with a view of the World Trade Towers, and used the computers that my company sold. Part of my job was to interview the company's top customers and write business stories. I remember him being very personable and likable, but also a brusque man. He had that edge that you would expect from someone who likes money and making it, and like some successful men, you got the idea you didn't want to get on his mean side. I say some, because over the course of my career I've had the pleasure of meeting and talking with some of the most successful people in business, and many successful people are kind, generous, and gracious. In this country we're innocent until proven guilty, but given the news of the past year on Wall Street, one wonders just how many are going to be brought to trial, and how many are going to get away with murder.