I receive a bit of news: The Departed was laid off. It was not unexpected; the only surprise is that it took as long as it did.
He announces this turn of events on Facebook, prefacing it with comments about how he’d been with his company for 17 years, the last eight of which were spent avoiding the axe – transferring departments, changing jobs. Much of those eight years, he was married to me, and I saw the signs, and encouraged him to take steps. Finish your college degree at night, I suggested. You’ve only got another year to finish, you’ll be done before you know it. Or, make a lateral move and get into a job where there’s some growth. Take a pay cut, we can afford it.
But he always replied with a reason why he was better off staying where he was.
Of course, it no longer affects me – assets have been signed over, ties are all severed. All that remains are a couple of shared Facebook friends, neither of whom I see with any regularity.
I don’t wish him ill – I wish him his own karma – but I still feel a little pang of happiness at one possible consequence of this news. He is unlikely to be able to afford to live in our area much longer: Already high rents are rising, fast, while he is unlikely to be able to match the salary he’s losing.
I may be able to visit the local burger joint without looking over my shoulder. I may be able to buy cheese at Trader Joe’s without scanning the parking lot before I go in. I may be able to bike the area trails without scrutinizing the faces of the other cyclists, just in case.
I smile as I make sure the locks on the gate of my house are still secure.