Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Diary of a Working Boy

Well, I got a job… that was easy. A great job? No. A good job? No. A decent job? I guess so. At least it’s something for now so that I’m not sitting around the apartment freaking out about not having a job. That’s not good for anybody. It all started out fairly innocuous yesterday. I mean, I got up and had some coffee with Marie – really I got out of bed, put the coffee on and pulled the covers off of Marie and told her to get up as she had to go into the office… as, well, somebody’s gotta be working. And while we were having our coffee (after she told me I was a bad man and crawled out of bed) Marie must have figured that if she had to fucking go into the office then I should suffer too. And suffer I did: humiliation, ego crushing, masculinity stomping, overwhelming desperation and nearly a few tears of pitiful sorrow were shed – we’ll get to that later. Marie suggested that I put in my resume at some temp agencies in NY. So I got online. There were a few professional looking temp agencies that looked like they fit my meager skill set and I sent my resume in as per request. There was another temp agency located in Manhattan that looked like it was for the average man, and looked more like a Day Labor type place that wanted you to show up in person - that was a bad sign, i.e. they need bodies, not minds. So I got my shit together and went into the city. Once again I got a little lost, but eventually found the place. It was a Day Labor place for sure as it had the defeated and destitute feel of a waiting room for the next bus to Death. People - mostly black or hispanic (now that I think about it I was the only white person in there besides a couple guys that worked behind the desk) - were sprawled out on chairs in varying states of conciousness either watching an afternoon gameshow or yelling at someone on their cell phone about how they were trying to get a job. My gut hurt as I filled out the paperwork as I thought about all the poor decisions I'd made in my life that had led me to that waiting room of eternal suffering. Then one of the white guys that worked in the office got up in front of us to give us a motivational speech about 'hanging in there' while they looked for work for us as the television blared inanities in the background. He told us how shitty the economy was and how the whole country was going in the shitter because of the Recession and he drew a big imaginary line with his finger going down the dirty stained wall behind him towards the worn out and sad floor. Then he told us all to hold on a little longer and that they'd get us work. Nobody said a word. And when I turned in my paperwork the girl behind the counter looked up at me and said: "You know this is only paying minimum wage right?" as she looked me over, I think determininig that I looked to clean or not broken enough to be in there. I sensed I still had an air of hope about me, as I have some big dreams keepin' me afloat in these hard times. But who was I, jobless and all, to turn down the prospect of work and money? And I asked her what minimum wage was. "$7.50 an hour." She said. "Okay." I told her. Then she asked me if I could work that day. I wasn't quite prepared for that one and I told her that I had an appointment that afternoon, as I wasn't really dressed for manual labor and I didn't have my manual labor mindset - I was still hoping that I might one day be a writer and sit behind a desk: SOON. I kind of did have an appointement at NYU. I was going to stop in and talk to an advisor about their adult education Bachelor's program that gave credit for life experience - I've had a lot of life experience; in fact I was in the process of having another one. Then the girl asked if I could come into the office at 5:00 the next morning and she could try to get me on the same job that she wanted to send me out to just then. And she asked me if I could do retail. Sure. Retail. I liked the sound of that. It wasn't a wharehouse. I hate warehouses. Then she said that the store was in SOHO. I like SOHO. It's nice down there. And I told her that I could cancel my appointment. That way I wouldn't have to get up at four the next morning and I would increase my chances of not working in a warehouse. An hour and a half later about ten of us were on our way to SOHO on the subway following a lady from the office like we were on a field trip from school. But I'll bet they would have at least paid our subway fare on a field trip from school.


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