Monday May 1st 2017

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Back on the Chain Gang

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Previously ……… The starting point: The Unemployment Chronicles, Vol. 1

—  Vol. 4  —

Later that week …

Third restaurant I’ve been to where I ask if they’re hiring and the manager says, “we’re always looking for experienced waitstaff.” The exact wording every time, all three places. You’d swear it’s straight from The Manchurian Candidate. I must be triggering a programmed synaptic reflex with my wording. I’ll have to be more careful.

Pay attention to what they’re saying, you realize this doesn’t in any way mean they’re actually hiring, just collecting applications. Some are staffing for the holidays, so they want a farm squad of resumes they can call up if they need help. It’s an extremely polite way of saying no, so I can’t really be upset about it.

That said, I’m worried that concealing my grammar school information will come back to haunt me. I should have just made something up. You think they’re going to look into this?

“We did some checking … you went to Milton Grammar School. It says St. Agnes on your application … You think we wouldn’t find out? … Lie about something insignificant like this, what else you hiding? … You should have just left it blank.”

So I guess I did the right thing. We’ll see.

Phone rang. Interview 3:00 today.

Life Insurance cash is going fast with mortgage and bills. I’m actually thrilled I got a call. In this economy, I’ve decided that if I can make $12 an hour I should be thankful. Don’t want look old and desperate, therefore I’m going to put on make-up and drink a fifth of tequila. Should work.

Well, well. Looks like you’ll pioneer this trip. Go forth and prosper. Donner Party, table for six. Donner Party? Last call, Donner Party, table for five.”

I have to find something that keeps me working from home. I mentioned the cat situation earlier. I’m still referee of three animals who consider me their doorman.

As enjoyable as the addition of a rescued kitten has been, it’s greatly altered the dynamic (as expected) and one individual is always physically and/or mentally stressing out another, although it’s gotten better lately. Three months in and cooler heads prevail — because I’m here. If I’m gone nine hours a day, this house becomes Papillon.

Later that evening …

Heading back into the trenches — waiting tables, ugh, with the chance to get back to the bar … as if that’s incentive. They only “promote” to the bar from within.

They hired me on the spot. Met with two managers, both gave me the “what does team mean to you? How about service?” blah, blah, blah.

Once again, I wanted to say “no” but I got nowhere else to go. “No” seems to have gotten me nowhere and the mortgage needs to be paid.

Orientation Sunday morning at 7:30 AM.

I’m happy to make a little money, but this is truly tough to swallow.




I can only imagine how you feel — like you finally got that appointment for the root canal.

CJ and I got into a nice little fight tonight. It happens rarely, but when she gets going, she gets crazy. And I can’t help but laugh, which is the wrong thing to do … believe me. I tell myself, whatever you do, don’t laugh. And then I do. It’s like a death wish. I finally exited, stage right. At a bar spending more money I don’t have — and I’m still giggling like a little girl.

Ah, love and marriage.

Must be the 24/7 over the last five weeks. It’s like Survivor!

What are we fighting about? I don’t know. Stress, I guess. But for some reason I wanted it. I needed it. Fuck it. It’s not her fault.

Kids told us not to fight, for the first time. Mind you it’s not a fight, more of an argument. The kids rarely see it. But it’s reality, so I guess it’s good. The “reality,” that is.

One more drink, then I’m off to Walmart to buy black Dickies for my “orientation” on Sunday. It is what it is. I’m drinking some bourbon called Ten High. Horrible. Washing it down with Miller Lite. Nice.

Will I make it to Walmart? Will I make it home? Tune in tomorrow — same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!”

Oh Christ, I used to clean paintbrushes with Ten High. Hang in there. One unwanted step at a time, meaning the Dickies.

It gives me chills, not sure how you’ve gotten so far. I freeze at the thought of anything to do with that job. I don’t know if it’s the pride-swallowing or the abuse, maybe it was just working in Glendale.

The rudest people on the face of the Western Hemisphere —  concentrated between the Burbank, Glendale and Ventura freeways — don’t be surprised if some end up in your section. Eventually you question humanity, the point of it.

My problem will likely be prospective restaurant employers — who have my resume and know where to find the website — reading any of this …

THEM: What does team mean to you?

ME: Go to hell.

THEM: How about service?

ME: Fuck off. Are we done here?

Something will work itself out, rest assured. For now, obvious fake smile and don’t stab anyone in the neck with your pen.

Check back in when you get home.

Went to Walmart. For the first time, I was one with the tweekers and misfits. They accepted my off-kilter gait and welcomed me with the obligatory nod and “you are so fucked-up” smile of recognition. Unfortunately, I answered without the prompt … that being a question; yelling, “I’m not one of you!”

Really, that’s what I said. Ten High. I’m dead serious. Perused the Dickies like I was at an adult bookstore. Whenever someone looked at me, I turned away, but they knew … they knew I was a blue-collar posing as a white-collar. Fuckers were on to me. My defense was opaque.

Plus, there’s no place to try things on — so I tried to pull them over my shorts and fell on the ground. I’m home now. CJ is making me food. Turkey sandwich. She says I’m not looking too good.

High Ten … works like magic.
The day after …

 I started drinking at 3. I’m in my office watching sports … mainly I just want to be left alone. CJ doesn’t know what to do. It’s not her fault.

I woke up at 3:30 last night (morning) and haven’t batted an eye since. Absolutely dreading tomorrow morning. Not sure why I’m having such a hard time with this, you’d think I was going to prison. It’s honest work. Ego is evil.

Maybe it’s reality. I did this shit at 16. Never thought I’d be doing this at 41.

But at least I wasn’t born in Somalia. Things could be so much worse, or so I try to justify.

To be continued (link below) …

  • “The job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43% last year and nearly 100% for those on the job more than a few years . . . . White-collar federal workers have almost total job security after a few years on the job. Last year, the government fired none of its 3,000 meteorologists, 2,500 health insurance administrators, 1,000 optometrists, 800 historians or 500 industrial property managers . . . . The nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 or more enjoyed a 99.82% job security rate in 2010. Only 27 of 35,000 federal attorneys were fired last year, none laid off. Death claimed 33.”                          Some federal workers more likely to die than lose jobsUSA TODAY

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Next chapter: Vol. 5We are the chosen ones

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