Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Laid Off Lunch #5

What goes around comes around.

When I got laid off in December 2008, my friends met me for lunch and listened to my tales of adjustment and confusion at the unexpected twist my life had taken.

And one by one as they've been laid off, we've had lunch so that they can tell me their tales of adjustment and confusion.

For today's lay-off lunch, I suggested Ettamae's Cafe, a favorite of mine in the neighborhood and a place my newly unemployed friend had never been.

Walking in, I was greeted as the "Duchess of Jackson Ward" by the "Jester of Jackson Ward." Chef Matt, who was a tad busy working over a hot stove, merely called me Karen.

My friend arrived, having awakened a short half hour earlier; he's already learning one of the pleasures of unemployment.

We settled in upstairs and ordered lunch while catching up.

He'd recently been to Philly for the first time, so we discussed our consensus about Philly locals and the abundance of great live music any night of the week.

And don't even get me started reminiscing about Naked Chocolate Cafe...

Back in J-Ward, I got one of today's specials, a cold sesame noodle salad with arugula and cilantro; he got the enormous salmon cake sandwich on my recommendation.

If my Richmond grandmother had been at the table with us, she'd have been appalled at our manners.

We had so much to talk about while the well-oiled noodles were slipping out of my mouth unintentionally and his thick sandwich was challenging his ability to get his movie star smile around it.

It wasn't pretty, perhaps, but very satisfying.

He's still at the early-onset stage where he can't find enough to do to fill his days. He's also unsure how to feel about himself since he, like most guys, defined himself by his work.

And while I had had neither of those issues, one thing we did agree on was that extroverts like us need people by the end of the day. I now have work, but it's solitary work for the most part.

Like me, he's found that more frequent evenings out are doable when no night is a school night.

Sounds like he's already learned two of the benefits of unemployment.

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