hope, fear and insomnia: journey of a jobless man (3)

Some nights, Frederick couldn't sleep. Other times, he woke at 4 a.m., for his cellphone and played video games for an hour or two, until he grew so tired that the phone fell from his hand and he was once again. It was hard to say exactly what caused the insomnia - anxiety about unpaid bills, fear of never finding another job, an internal time clock accustomed to working the night shift - but it was a problem he shared with many of his former co-workers. Once, he woke at 3 a.m. and in the dark for his phone. "Should be sleeping," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I guess there's a lot on my mind." A friend from Old London, responded, "You're in our . But we all have a lot on our minds. in there."

That winter, Mr. Deare jumped on every lead that came his , no matter how unlikely they were to out. There were some obvious long that he took just to keep in shape. Then there were jobs that looked like he actually might have a shot. A friend told him about a laundry company looking for a truck driver. The job paid $10 an hour with no benefits, but Mr. Deare figured that he was in no position to be . So he pulled on his parka, over to the employment agency and spent an hour in the waiting room, only to learn that the company wanted someone with experience driving a truck, not a forklift. To say that he was disappointed would be an . If there was a light at the end of the tunnel, he sure as couldn't see it.

Mr. Deare tried for months to get hired at a school for troubled children where his cousin works. Finally, he managed to an interview for a teacher's aide position. It sounded as if the job was his, as long as he didn't fail a drug test. He urinated into a cup, passed the test, then waited for the call. One week went by. Then two weeks. Then three weeks. He left messages, but nobody phoned back. He was not to complain, but the strain of not having a job was starting to show. His moods from frustration to depression to rage. To lift his spirits, his fiancee would tell him: "You know the kind of worker you are - and you know you're out there putting in the applications; you're doing the . It's not . This is what the country is going through." She made this often, but it was hard not to take each personally.