Parties in DC are the worst when you are unemployed. You’ll be minding your own business, just trying to enjoy your fourth (or sixth—no judgments in the land of unemployment) Cape Cod, when some 22 year-old Hill staffer will come bounding up to you to asking, “So, Lindsay, what is it exactly you do?” You will inevitable blush and mumble something about being unemployed and the terrible job market, and the Staffer (now even more grateful for the privilege of answering a Senator’s phone all day long) will throw in an obligatory kindness by remarking on the failing economy.
It’s one of the rare dances (with the possible exception of the Electric Slide and hardcore grinding) that is equally awkward for all those involved.
So it goes without saying, that I am extremely grateful to now have my current job. But upon recent reflection, I realized that there were a couple of aspects of unemployment I should have appreciated more at the time:
1. Fried Food is Your Friend
I once saw an episode of the cautionary tale/TLC show I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant about an unemployed woman. The unlucky lady in question was so depressed about being laid off that she began to fill her inner void with food. Unbeknownst to her, though, she was also filling her inner void with a fetus. Nine months and a dramatic-television-reenactment later, she experienced quite the toilet surprise.
While I’m not advocating you model your diet after a secretly pregnant (and seriously in denial) woman, I do miss the comfort food.
My personal DC recommendation for “best unemployment food” can be found at H Street’s Star and Shamrock Tavern. Their fried macaroni and cheese sticks are one of the biggest gifts that unemployment brought into my life. I didn’t even know macaroni and cheese could be fried, but as a girl from the South I should have known to dream big when it comes to frying possibilities.
2. Day Drinking
You know what’s even better than a Happy Hour? A Happy Day. Without a schedule to follow or appearances to keep up, your love of Franzia’s finest boxed-wine can reach new heights. Bonus points if you start to give David, the bartender, unsolicited advice on which DC soccer league his daughter should join.
3. Optional Pants, Optional Showers
In an effort to create stability in a world of chaos, you will subconsciously create an “Unemployment Uniform” to wear for days on end. My uniform consisted of Winnie-the-Pooh pajama shorts from the 6th grade and a gray flannel top. I will not detail my shower schedule for the masses, but my hair has seen better times. Embrace your ratty uniform and dirtiness.
A time for slacks and pantyhose will come soon enough. And when it does, you might just find yourself remembering fondly your days of 3pm wine and flannel.
- A ‘Really Hopes this Leads to a Fried Mac and Cheese Endorsement Deal’ Lindsay