It’s a Thursday evening, and while I have the morning shift at the gym now, Arlene is off, and Cathy doesn’t close, which means it’s my turn to. Every time I work this shift, I realize, the only thing I truly miss about it is the members who come regularly in the evening. I know most all their names.
When I found out I’d be laid off, there were only a few members that I knew I wanted to tell, so they’d know why, one day, I wouldn’t be here anymore when they come to work out. Coincidentally, the first two that I thought of came in this evening, and while I’d already told one, I was able to tell the other.
Mr. Kruppa was the first one I told — a couple of weeks ago because I didn’t know whether I’d have another chance. Tonight, on his way out, he asked me about canceling his membership.
“We fought and fought to get this place put in, and now they screw us around. They don’t care about our health. So I’ll go somewhere else,” he said, and gave me a wink.
It’s silly to think of, but it felt almost like he wanted to cancel his membership partly because he knows I won’t be here anymore, and that possibility means so much to me. I know he’ll miss me, because he told me so, and I’ll miss him too. I’ll miss a lot of people.
Another person I’ll miss is Mr. Abel, with whom I’ve had several interesting conversations. He’s traveled to 65 countries. His daughter wrote a dissertation about James Joyce’s Ulysses and he emailed it to me so that I could read it. I was so glad to see him this evening, because it gave me a chance to let him know, too, and to say goodbye.
Losing my job means the loss of my steady paycheck and a loss of stability. But it also means that my coworkers and I are going to be split up. It means that I’m no longer going to regularly see the people I’ve come to know and value.
It’s kind of special that I’ve reached a place where losing my job isn’t even the worst part of losing my job. It’s the goodbyes I have to say and the knowledge that I will lose touch with a lot of really great people.
I’m not as worried about my coworkers, because I know I’ll still see at least some of them occasionally. And there are some that I really won’t miss at all. My last day is Monday, and I don’t know how I’ll feel on that day. I think it’ll be surreal enough that, as I leave, I won’t feel much of anything at all.
But I may not feel that way come Tuesday.