It was a beautiful day

My blog reading and commenting will have to take a back seat for a short while. I start a new job tomorrow and I need to devote my undevided attention to acclimating myself to my new environment. I love the honeymoon phase. You’re forgiven for your trespasses and everyone is nice to you. The (presumably ugly) truth will be revealed around mid-July to both me AND my new employer. I no longer work in the same building as Guap, but we’re still dating.

Finding a company willing to hire my old ass was miraculous. I’m in the terrible spot that so many in my generation find themselves in; too young to retire but too old to hire. My current inadequate healthcare policy doesn’t meet the minimum requirements set forth by the Affordable Care Act, so my insurer is cancelling it on June 15th. The market-rate monthly premium would have cost $1,200/month (without dental coverage). My new job is on staff with full benefits, so that’s one less worry I have. I get 15 paid vacation days, to boot. That’s up from ZERO for the past four + years.

The work itself won’t be as eclectic as the job I just left (which I loved, by the way). Also, my new taskmasters seem to be wound a bit tighter than the kind, benevolent souls I left behind. But I am no longer in a position to take into consideration such things as how interesting the work might or might not be, or whether or not it’s a pleasant working environment. Those are luxuries I can’t afford. Those considerations are for the young or people without children. I can’t provide for my two beautiful daughters as a benefits-free consultant, so I had to take it. Good Lord. How many of us end up like this? Thoreau was right.

The competition for the position was fierce. Navigating the multiple interviews was complicated and exhausting. It went on for nearly two months. I think they finally decided on experience over vigor.

As a pseudo-reward to myself, I took Friday off, got in the car and drove down to Atlantic City for a meditative walk on the beach and to prowl the casinos. It’s a repulsive place but I love it. The boardwalk is choked with the flotsam and jetsam of humanity. An unending parade of the broken and destitute. Inside the casinos it’s even worse, especially during the weekdays. My bride never goes with me. It makes her sad. She doesn’t mind if I go once in a while, as long as I don’t make it a lifestyle or insist she go with me. [Although she came down once to attend a Tom Jones concert at Caesars Palace. It was great, cheesy fun. A memorable night.]

photo(3)Yes, there is surfing in New Jersey. Don’t these guys have jobs?

I lost many hours to the craps tables. It’s always like that. I go into a trance and when I snap out of it, I can’t believe how much time has passed. Rolling dice has a warm, narcotic quality to it. I love when it’s my turn.

photo(6)They don’t like it one bit when you take pictures in the casino.

I love the aesthetics of the game. The way the dice feel in my hand. The smoothness of the felt. (I rub it for good luck.) The clickety-clack sound the chips make when you rifle  them in your palm. The calls of the stick man and the sharp proficiency of the box men. It’s a delicious game.

You meet interesting people, too. A community forms. You all live and die by the roll. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. Just look at these two beautiful, old geezers. They’ll clear out by 6:00 Friday evening to make room for the girls in tight, black dresses and New Jersey Guidos with overly-manicured eyebrows and gold chains who’ll come roaring into town in their Camaros. You’ll find these same two dudes back at the same table come Monday morning.

atlantic cityWhy can’t THIS be my new job?