Sometimes (but not too often) I wake up with the idea that possibilities exist to resolve problems big and small in my family and the outside world. Today was one of those days. Dare I say that I felt hopeful? I’m not even sure what “hopeful” means anymore in a world where little girls are deprived of the right to an education, and even shot for making the effort. And right here in America our government—supposedly a world leader and shining example of democracy—has totally shut down and is on the verge of financial collapse. While the House and Senate have continued to collect their hefty pay checks and enjoy better health benefits than many of their voters, thousands of citizens—especially young people—have been out of work. Why? Because the Republicans want to dismantle Obama Care and the Democrats refuse to be blackmailed. That law was already passed—for better or worse—but the Republicans want to erase it or else allow the world to suffer the financial consequences by refusing to raise the debt ceiling.
So how could I possibly feel hopeful or optimistic today? On Friday night, I happened to see Diane Sawyer interviewing Malala Yousafsai , the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for pursuing her education and for having the courage to speak out for the right of all girls to go to school. Malala almost died, suffered nerve damage, months of painful rehab and still has trouble smiling. Nevertheless, this sixteen year- old spoke at the U.N. to thunderous applause and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She failed to win the Nobel Prize, but she has returned to school and continued to speak up for the rights of young girls to be educated in those countries where it has been forbidden by male extremists. Despite her brush with death, her voice and spirit have become more powerful than ever.
Today I picked up the New York Times and was pleased to see the front page head line: “Senate Women Lead in Effort to Find Accord.” Although the majority of senators are men, it has been the women—Republicans and Democrats—who have managed to create a negotiated plan. Bravo, Lady Senators, let’s have a round of applause for adults who were willing to compromise and risk political fall-out from the Tea Party extremists in the interests of accomplishing an urgent task—governing. We’re not out of the woods yet, but women are leading the way.
Today was also Max’s first interview for a really great entry level job, since graduating from Vassar College in May. Even if he doesn’t get it—and I pray he will—at least Max has managed to get through the door. Finally, somebody somewhere has actually RESPONDED to one of the hundreds of resumes sent into the black hole of cyberspace.
The unemployment rate for 22 year olds has jumped from 4.5% in 2000 to 10.4% between 2009 and 2011. According to a Georgetown University Study, the unemployment rate among Film majors in 2013 is at 11.4%, second worst after Architecture majors, whose unemployment is at 12%. Equally depressing is the fact that half of recent college grads are working at jobs outside their majors that don’t even require a degree (thus creating worse unemployment for high school grads).
Max just called to say his interviewer—second in command of a top flight magazine—took one look at his resume and said: “It looks to me like you want to be a film maker….”
“I’m also very interested in writing, and I really like your magazine,” he replied
“We only publish award-winning writers here,” the editor told him, in an icy British accent.
“I know, but right now I’m looking for an entry level job.”
It obviously didn’t go the way the Elisofons hoped. No relief from the purgatory of two generations forced to live together, with us continuing to support him. I’d like to think that if he could get one of these high-level interviews, there will be more—however few and far between. Otherwise, at some point Max will be forced to do what 50% of college grads do—take a job outside of his field. You’d think that being a young film maker AND writer would double his chances of entering one of his fields of interest. Well, it didn’t go that way today.
But there’s always tomorrow….
On a positive note, Sarah told me she has a date with Jake—her first since the bedbug scare two weeks ago. Jake has invited Sarah out for dinner and to hang out at his parents’ house, where he’d been staying while his own apartment was being fumigated.
Suddenly, the plans changed. Jake called and wanted to hang out chez Elisofon instead.
“Is that okay?” Sarah asked, bringing the phone into my room so Jake could hear my answer.
“Yes. That’s okay.” But would it be OK? Jake was welcome, but the bedbugs were not invited along. I called his parents, curious about the switch from their house to ours. They assured me that bugs were not the issue. What Jake wanted was “his privacy with Sarah,” and his parents didn’t have the space to offer it. At least in our apartment, Sarah had her own room and could close the door.
Of course her bedroom shared a wall with ours, and her bed was right next to that wall…. Something I tried not to think about. Besides, Max had a female friend staying over because they planned to shoot a video early in the morning, so how could I tell Sarah she couldn’t bring Jake home? At least Jake wouldn’t be sleeping over. But my nest would be crowded. The farthest thing from empty, we would have six people and a dog doubling (and tripling) up in our three small bedrooms.