I entered the long night in 2009, three years ago. I had seen the night coming long before that and the twilight of that night was as obvious as twilights always are. As the long night fell and the last of the light of day faded over a faraway horizon, I did as I had always felt was right, I tried to light a candle against the encroaching dark. My wife chose to ignore the dark. She used my candle to fool herself into thinking that the night was so very far away. In the end, as the flame guttered and faltered, she began to curse the darkness as she allowed herself to see, for the first time, the cold night we were in.
I started seeing just how deeply in trouble we really were. The economy was crashed, jobs were incredibly scarce and I was just off an injury leave. The situation was somewhat dire and I was having a lot of trouble getting any kind of traction in the job market. My wife had gone through three jobs in as many months; she’d get hired for some low-level counter position then start showing some form of competence (well, more than the “fresh from high school” regular hires they had so it wasn’t hard), they’d give her some real responsibility or fast track her towards a management position and she’d have a low-level nervous breakdown and either quit or lose the job. She’d lather, rinse and repeat until, finally, the offers stopped coming.
For my part, I was hammering away at “the breadwinner” job. She’d decided that I had to be the breadwinner. That way, she could become a little hausfrau after I’d built up some seniority and stability and she’d not have to work. Therefore, most of my efforts were concentrated in upper management and eventual high-dollar positions. That was fine, really, since lower-level opening wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole. I had too much experience and they knew for a fact that I’d dump their minimum wage position the second something better came along. I was having little luck and what few nibbles at the hook I was having would invariably get screwed up by the wife nagging me to do things a different way until I did.