Yesterday my boss told me that our program will not be renewed, meaning that I’m out of a job. The fortunate thing is that our money doesn’t run out until Fall 2004 -- so I have almost 2 years to find another job. Meanwhile, he’s trying to raise money from other sources, but given the current economic situation, I’m not sure how successful he’s going to be. Hopefully things work out, but you never know.

A couple of days ago, I saw an interview with Andy Rooney on Tim Russert’s CNBC show. Russert asked Rooney what he would do if someone gave him an envelope containing the exact date and time he’s going to die. Rooney wisely replied that he wouldn’t open it -- who wants to know that, anyway? This sort of feels like that. I know I’m not going to die or anything, but that great stable job I counted on isn’t so stable after all. I know I’m going to continue to be employed for a long time -- almost as long as I’ve worked here -- but now I see the end. I guess my situation is better than for people who are unemployed, or people who are on a much shorter contract, but I can’t help being scared. My search agent is only pulling up six jobs. In 1999, it pulled up hundreds.

The bright side is, that now I can look at other options for the future. Pantaliamon and I will soon be out of the credit card debt we amassed during college -- all those groceries and text books will finally be paid off. Which means that I don’t necessarily have to work a job that makes as much as I make now. And -- this is the really tantalizing idea -- maybe I can go to proper graduate school. Not continuing education like I’m doing now, but a real school with a full time curriculum. I’ve never had the luxury of learning for learning’s sake. And this is the first time I’ve ever been able to look for another job without being secretive or feeling guilty.

But even with a bright side, I still can’t help feeling depressed. Both my boss and his assistant have been near tears the last couple days -- I’m sure they thought they would be in education forever. We haven’t even told the office manager, yet. I’ve always been sort of down on this job -- sort of like a rebound relationship. Yeah, I kind of like it, but I wish I was still working in Public Radio. Now that it’s coming to an end, I maybe appreciate it a little more -- and what the people here are working to do.

Today when I was in line at Subway for lunch, one of the other customers -- a tall, lawyer-looking white guy in a suit -- started talking to one of the workers in Spanish. It was a total cringe moment. See, the people who work in that Subway are Palestinian. They don’t speak Spanish. She just looked at him with a dazed expression, wondering just why the hell this dork was talking to her in a language she didn’t understand. But he didn’t get it, and continued trying to talk to her.

I hate when other Americans try to talk to fast food workers in their worst high school Spanish as it is, but to actually confuse someone from the Middle East with a Latin American is even more embarrassing. It just goes to show that people need to be more sensitive about ethnicity. I’m still not altogether certain how anyone who knows Spanish could ever confuse a Latin American with someone from the Middle East. I guess there are people out there dumber than I thought -- I guess a law degree can’t mean that much.