Communique from Hicksville

     Life sucks, guys.  It sucks donkey balls.  I’ve been unemployed for almost two weeks and it’s already started to affect my self-esteem.  This is the first time since I was 16 years old that I don’t have ANY job.

      I applied for four positions today.  I have two resumes: the smart one for the office and teaching jobs, where I list all of my academic experience and time spent on data management teams; and the “I-am-not-overqualifed-and-will-not-make-trouble” resume for waitress jobs.  I haven’t worked in a restaurant since I was an undergraduate and I hated it then, but at least it’s cash money at the end of the night, and right now, it’s any port in a storm.  I actually applied for a research project today: a medical manufacturer is testing a new waterproof material for body casts and is hiring people to wear a cast on their leg for 5 days and fill out a workbook detailing their experiences with said cast.  It pays $700 and I would have to use crutches to get around.  If they call me back, you can bet your ass I’ll be blogging that one.

       At night, I check local Backpage and sex worker ad malls.  This is bad.  It is bad for me to do.  I intentionally left New York for a while and went someplace where there would be no opportunity for backsliding.  I did it on purpose because I knew that if I stayed in New York I’d be back on Eros Guide as soon as my money ran out, and I just couldn’t keep living like that anymore–not if I wanted to stay sober and change my life in a way that I could be happy in.  I had to go someplace “safe,” and protect myself from myself, and that’s what I did.

          There are no commercial dungeons here and the fetish section of Backpage has a grand total of four ads on it.  I am pretty sure that the dommes are actually fetish-friendly escorts (nothing wrong with that, of course).  They are wearing bikinis and tacky lingerie.  This is not New York-style domination.  

            The only sex work that I see in this town is working in a strip club (not going to happen) or escorting (too terrifying).  So, I’m safe.  

            Safe, stranded in hicksville, unemployed, and almost broke.  Trying to get a job as a paid guinea pig for a medical company who makes casts.  Fuck. My. Life.

             On the upside, I found an AA meeting in town where smoking is not allowed, and for this, I am grateful. 

             The final chapter of my Escape From New York is forthcoming.  It’s hard to write because it was so painful.  I still can’t believe that I did it–that I changed my life so completely, and so suddenly–but it had to be done.  For my mental health, it had to be done. 

             I talked to one of my domme friends in Brooklyn this morning.  She asked me if I was going to get back in the Biz when I returned to New York.

             The truth is, I honestly don’t know.  Several of my regular independent clients, like Fortinbras and Mr. Wolf, say that they would love to see me again when I return.  I could grandfather those guys in.  Lord knows I’ll probably need the money.   If I keep doing it, I’m going to have to radically change my business model, for my own sanity and peace of mind.  Definitely no more commercial dungeons.  

               But will I even want to work in the industry again, after a few months off?  So far, to tell you the truth, I miss a few of my favorite guys, and I definitely miss the fast money (the money is sex work is almost never easy, but it is fast, and I am going to have a very hard time getting used to money being slow again), but when I was on the airplane and thinking that I would not have to look at any more masturbating wackadoodles or boundaries-pushing assholes or clients out of their mind on coke and booze for a while, I was actually pretty relieved.  

              I dream about the Studio almost every night.  Some of the dreams are not good and all of them are weird.  I honestly think I might have some PTSD.  

               I marooned myself in Hicksville to save myself from myself, and now I’m sitting at this shitty little desk dumbing down my resume and C.V. because education is kryptonite to these anti-intellectual motherfuckers and I’m applying to jobs like “lab assistant” and “High School Substitute Teacher” and looking at Escort backpage ads asking myself “Would it really be that bad?  I have given a million free blowjobs.  If I got paid for it, what would be the harm?  Would God strike me dead with a lightening bolt or something?  Is it really any worse, or any weirder than, say, pretending to be a coked-out Englishman’s mom and bringing him to the doctor for a sex-change operation?”  Most of my property (what remains of it, anyway) and my birds are back in New York and people pray in the AA meetings here (which is their right, but boy do I miss my Atheist AA) and crosstalk is allowed and encouraged and there are lots of old geezers who have been sober for 40 years complaining about how AA has changed.  It drives me nuts when they do that.  Hey Gramps: you don’t own it.

          My friend Drug Monkey says that I’m just going through a rough patch right now and things are actually looking up in my life because I made an important change, but I don’t know if I see it.  I feel lonely and discouraged.  I know I am being hard on myself because two weeks of being unemployed really isn’t a very long time.

           The music in all the stores and restaurants is Country Western and the same Classic Rawk that the Baby Boomers have been listening to for the last fifty years.  Jesus Christ, guys, could you shake it up a little?  How many times can you listen to the same fuckin songs?  Put the Pink Floyd down, man.  I’m only half your age and I’ve already overdosed on this shit.   Good lord. 

            And with that, I’m off to AA.  TWO meetings tonight, TWO.

            Things will get better.

             And I will not–WILL NOT–put an ad up on Backpage.

8 thoughts on “Communique from Hicksville”

    1. Thanks, Celine. You are a sweet person and one of my favorite Twitter friends. I wish we had a chance to hang out in NYC before I moved…but I’ll be back there again.

  1. ” I’ve been unemployed for almost two weeks and it’s already started to affect my self-esteem.”

    It shouldn’t. You’re just introjecting the meme that says that the unemployed are feckless scroungers.

    You’ve been ferociously independent for many years, you’ve worked hard to better yourself educationally, you’ve looked for jobs commensurate with your abilities and training, but the jobs just aren’t there. The days of full employment are over, because that’s what the ruling class wanted, and got.

    That’s why you ended up as a performer in the muppet show that is the biz, and got PTSD in the process.

    As Robert Reich points out, the ultra-rich rentiers who run things would rather have a larger share of a dysfunctional economy than a smaller share of a vibrant, growing economy with a thriving middle class and a measure of social mobility.

    Fuck ’em. Fuck the lot of them.

    There’s nothing wrong with you.

    1. Thanks, Tony.

      There has to be work out there that utilizes my KSA and education, it’s just that I’ve been focused on academia and teaching for so many years that I don’t know other professional job markets. Now that I’m not doing sex work, I think it’s safe for me to go back into politics. I really did enjoy the campaign work and my internships in DC and the state Capitol. It’s an election year.

      It’s true that I started working at the Muppet Show out of financial desperation, but, to be fair, it was more than that. I have very ambivalent feelings about the work that I hope will become clearer to me in time. Some of my choices in life have not made sense.

      I do not think that the “ultra-rich rentiers” can tell the difference between a healthy society and a sick one, and I don’t think that they give a damn, either.

      As always, thanks for stopping by.

  2. Dear Miss Margo,

    When I got sober back in the early ’80s, there was a lot of complaining about how AA had changed. These complaints fell into a two categories:

    1. Too many people were coming into AA who were not really alcoholics. There were two types of interlopers who were destroying AA for the real alcoholics.
    a. Drug addicts. While cranky old timers accepted that drug addicts needed help, they had their own program (NA). The dual or cross addicted could come to AA, but they had to be ‘real’ alcoholics, meaning a drinking history roughly equivalent to the one complaining, and they could not talk about drugs, only alcohol. There were resolutions brought up in business meetings to limit discussion of drugs.
    b. People who had not really bottomed out. This was anyone who had not drunk as much or lost as much as the person complaining. One fellow said that anyone who still had a job was a ‘high bottom’ drunk. The problem with these high bottom drunks was that when a ‘real’ alcoholic, the kind you see in the Big Book, came in they couldn’t relate to the stories they heard. So AA was not helping those it was designed to help. It had turned into some kind of Yuppie self-help, spiritual improvement society. Back in the day they used to tell people to go back out and drink some more, that they weren’t ready. In AA, having been in prison, being divorced, having children who refuse to speak to you, these all become status symbols. If I had a dollar for every ‘can you top this’ story I heard. . . Of course, when someone shared about loss in a real way, not bragging, it could be terribly moving. But the lower you had sunk, the more special you are now, since your recovery is that much bigger and better. And that makes you some kind of AA superhero.

    2. AA had gone soft. This softness could be people not working the steps, the way they did in the old days, or people not letting the program regiment their lives, showing a lack of seriousness (see Yuppie self-help society above.) I knew people who did the steps by the Clarence method, named after one the original members. Back then you did steps 1, 2, and 3 right in the hospital. And they knelt down and turned their lives over to Jesus (the famous Jesus). Anyone who did not do this was not really doing the program. I thought this was the best ‘AA fall from grace’ viewpoint. AA was corrupted before the Big Book was even written. Clarence probably thought that this God as we understood Him business was an accommodation to New York Jews or something.
    Another way that AA has gone soft is that today it is all about ‘feelings’ (said with an appropriate sneer). Apparently, feelings are not just unimportant, but a dangerous diversion from real recovery. Bill Wilson got in touch with God, not with his feelings. Somehow people lost sight of the fact that the program was about God, not about our feelings. Now, everyone goes on and on about their feelings, not drinking, the steps, or God, which would help the complainer stay sober.

    Don’t drink and go to meetings,

    1. Hi John;

      LOOOOOOLLLLLL when I hear stories about people in meetings who used to get angry about the presence of drug addicts, it really cracks me up. Just the hypocrisy of it all. Drugs are not good for you and some, like crystal meth, are scary as hell, but I am having a hard time imagining any drug that is more poisonous and vile than alcohol. I never got into drugs because I couldn’t find one that really captured my imagination, and then when I got serious about school, I couldn’t risk do anything to be arrested. That said, I do not consider myself to be in any way superior to a heroin junkie just because my drug of choice is legal.

      I must admit that sometimes I love the war stories because 1) they helped me to feel like less of a degenerate when I learned other drinkers had experienced similar horrifying experiences. It lessened my shame and self-hatred because I could say to myself, ‘You did this because you were drunk, and not necessarily because you are a bad person. Alcohol does this to other people, too.’ That doesn’t absolve me from responsibility, it just provides perspective; and 2) some of them really are entertaining in a black-as-a-mineshaft type of way. I know one guy met his friends for drinks at the Oak Room and came out of a blackout two days later on a train headed for Boston, WEARING A TUXEDO. Another one did not recall being the Best Man at his friend’s wedding.

      But yes, I have seen it get to be like a competition, like we’re all contenders in the Suffering Olympics or something. It echoes a lot of the narratives in our culture–the prodigal son, the reformed sinner, heck, the prostitute turned into an honest woman. People eat that stuff up in this country. I honestly think it is one reason Bush was so popular among Evangelicals.

      I could not do AA if it was run like the quasi-paramilitary organization some of the geezers think it should be, and I do not understand how some of these guys got so possessive of a vast global program they cannot possibly hope to control, but, hey, there are fundamentalists in most churches. I think it’s astonishing that AA has remained as conservative and doctrinaire as it has. The agnostic chapter in NYC is the only heretical branch I’m familiar with and they are constantly in hot water with HQ (to be fair, they are often deliberately, and needlessly IMO, provocative).

      Wish I could write more, but I have to run an errand.

      P.S. How do you know all this shit, John? Did you go on retreats? And how old are you? Are you listening to Pink Flloyd right this very minute? (just joking)

    2. Well, I am 60 years old. While I’ve never liked Pink Floyd, I’ve learned a lot about life from Merle Haggard. And I know about AA because, sadly, I lived it. I did go to young people’s retreats. Back then (I got sober in June 81, and slipped for one night in Nov 83, my last drink) there was a young people’s group, which I barely qualified for, being under 30. We had retreats at some Presbyterian center in Stony Point, NY. I guess we called them conferences. We had more dysfunction per square foot than you could imagine. It was the event horizon of dysfunction. Great coffee, though. If we didn’t have at least two complete nervous breakdowns, a dozen relationships begin, and a dozen end, it was not a successful young people’s conference. What I remember now about my early days is how much pain everyone was in. So much desperation.

      Everybody wanted to be fixed, to be told what to do to feel better. Some were just angry at everyone, as if the pain were a choice. It wasn’t. It was just the condition of early sobriety. Like people told me — you don’t feel bad because you stopped drinking, you feel bad because you drank for so long. Under pain like that, people make bad decisions based on what might alleviate the pain, take on new relationships, new theologies and philosophies, what have you.

      I was in a meeting in Derry, Northern Ireland, and I was talking about men who prey on female newcomers, the guy told me that everyone coming through that door is dead. And where there are dead, there are vultures. I think this is true for a lot of the angry imposition of beliefs on others we see in AA. It’s feeding off the dead — fulfilling a need for confirmation of the superstitious belief that something or other is taking the pain away.

      The pain ebbs and flows, and only diminishes with time. I think the best goal to have in early sobriety is to do as little damage to your future prospects as possible. No tattoos. No radical breaks with family. etc. etc.
      But I am rambling,

  3. Hi Margo,

    All in all you’re just another brick in The Wall. Sorry for the snark, but I couldn’t resist.

    As I have said before we are all creatures of habit. We get into these grooves and it is so hard to break free of the inertia. I think I have a sense for the feelings of loss you are experiencing. They are completely normal and to be expected. With time they will fade. Really, it is all just so much brain chemistry when you come right down to it. You have made a big change in your life, which took more courage than I think you realize. It is a major accomplishment and don’t let anyone else say otherwise.

    As for your self esteem for being unemployed. That is just your working class upbringing talking. Work, get a job, be productive, make it on your own…blah, blah, blah. Don’t get me wrong, all those things are good, but they have been pounded into us from the time we were old enough to start school if not before. Do you think if you were upper middle class or wealthy that your self esteem would be taking a hit or that if you took the summer, or six months or a year off to “dry out” that you or anyone would think twice about it. It is important that you do something just for yourself. Take a hike, or go to a movie, whatever. You can’t see it in the city because of the lights but if the night is clear I like to drive out to the country and just look at the stars to see the Milky Way.

    You’ll get back to the Big City someday.

    Take care of yourself


    Now where is my Dark Side of the Moon tee-shirt.

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