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When you’ve been laid off, it’s always Friday

My Dad always used to say, “Eliot, the hardest thing to do is nothing … you never know when you’re going to finish.” 

Eliot Kamenitz, newly unemployed (Photo courtesy Robert X. Fogarty, Dear World project)

Eliot Kamenitz, newly unemployed (Photo courtesy Robert X. Fogarty, Dear World project)

That was one of my main concerns when, on September 30, The Times-Picayune laid me off. Well, cash flow was also topping my “uh-oh what now” list, but I was worried about what I would do with myself with all this free time.

I am learning that it’s very easy to get enslaved by free time.

For most of my nearly 32-year career at the TP, I had Fridays and Saturdays off. Since September 30, my brain has becomed befuddled. Every day seems to be Friday. I open the fridge to get something and think, oh yeah, got to go food shopping today. Well, it’s a Monday. Today’s not food shopping day. Every Friday, my day off, is when I pick up my sight-impaired friend Eric and we drive to Dorignac’s. With great day off-leisure and abandon we wander the aisles for food stuffs.

So here I stand in front of the fridge, ready to make a list and pick up Eric, thinking it’s Friday, but it’s Monday. I’m sort of caught in a Pavlovian Ground Hog Day.

And so the other time shoe drops. Well, I can get my car repaired today; it’s Monday, I usually would have to wait till Friday, but now I don’t. And on Monday night I can go to a play because I usually work Monday nights but not now.

Ok, frame my upcoming photo show, deal with a rental property issue, prepare the guest room for incoming bed and breakfast customers (yes I have a license), do laundry (finally, no more mismatched socks or critical mass undie shortage), line up a freelance job, clean the house, deal with some bad internet service issues (please hold till hell freezes over for the next available representative … your call is very important to us but we really don’t mean it), meet friend for lunch, enjoy the sparkle in my two cats’ eyes due to regular feedings and litterbox cleanings, try to figure out why the house plants need water after all these years of “I’m too busy” drought, and after receiving a Tuesday phone call from a prospective part-time employer, I can immediately go to the CBD and take a screening test. I would have had to wait till Friday otherwise.

Tomorrow, fellow laid-off comrade Rusty Costanza is picking me up at 9 a.m. and we are driving to Hattisburg, Miss., to pick up new camera gear we bought and also to grab a great barbeque lunch with our friend Chuck Cook. We’ve got to meet him by 11 because Chuck has to get back to work. This will be on a Thursday, which is a good thing because I have to go food shopping on Friday.

Eliot Kamenitz is a New Orleans photographer. You can read more about him and contact him at his website, The photograph above was taken as part of the Dear World New Orleans project; for more information on this unique look at local people, click here. To read Catherine Lyons’ interview with founder Robert Fogarty, click here.



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