Thursday, February 17, 2005

I've had to say "Homunculus" six times today.

I'm sad to report that I've had no breakthroughs or epiphanies on the career front, although I am eating Sour Skittles like it's my job. If only I could devise a way to be paid for the burning sensation on my tongue, I'd be swimming in it.

I'm not the only one in the world concerned about their current and future employment, however. I was somewhat surprised to discover what a troubling matter it is for seventh graders on the 6 train. In one of my most fruitful eavesdropping sessions to date [second only to a ten year old kid out-philosophizing four Oberlin hippies on the necessity of the war in Iraq], I listened to a good six stops worth of man-to-man heart-to-heart between the two scrawny schoolkids sitting across from me.

The boys waxed romantic before launching into a heavy analysis of the economy. Gold Tooth inquired after a recent trip his friend Puny Mustache had taken to the Dominican Republic. After expressing his sadness that he couldn't have escaped New York's frosty winter for a few days in a tropical clime, Gold Tooth asked whether or not Puny Mustache had succeeded in orchestrating a few romantic moments under the big island moon with any amorous local ladies during his trip. Puny Mustache, miffed at the mere suggestion that his robust manliness would fail to attract every eligible female in the entire Dominican Republic, assured Gold Tooth that he had done just fine with the ladies. Gold Tooth then asked whether or not the Dominican women wanted to come back to New York with him, because if they did "you can't let women do that to you, man. They find out you're from New York and next thing you know it they're here, spending all your money, and they don't ever get a job, and then you gotta support them. Nah way, man. Nah way."

It was at this point that they somehow turned their conversation to the state of the Union. I had previously been listening to my iPod, but at the prospect of hearing their views on politics I turned down the volume while still wearing my decoy headphones.

I was ready to laugh hysterically at the seventh-grade take on the economy until Gold Tooth began telling Mr. Mustache about how his uncle had lost his job during the first Bush administration and, unable to find another job anywhere, was forced to move into his car a few months ago. Tooth said his uncle's been out of work for three years now and was finally evicted from his apartment just as winter was beginning. He says he keeps his TV in the front seat, his clothes in the back, and a grill in the trunk for cooking food. Mustache said he knew a guy who did the same thing. "I hate Bush," Tooth said. "Nobody I know's doing any better. Everybody I know's doing worse." Mustache nodded.

The solemnity of the moment was somewhat breached when they began speculating where one would engage in intimate relations with one's girlfriend were one living in one's car. Tooth speculated: "You take her home, she be like 'We gonna drive to your house?' and you be like 'No, we home. I got a grill in the trunk and everything.'"

Tooth and Mustache stayed on when I got off at Spring Street, and my walk to work was a little bit less like the march to the guillotine when I could be comforted by the fact that my car was nothing more than the vehicle that took me to and from my house every day. I am lucky that I have a job and a place to stay, I really am.

I just wish I liked it, is all.

Or, at the very least, that I hadn't just received an e-mail telling me I have a two-hour training next week discussing "the new global workflow to set book prices and print runs, which will be followed up by a Q&A session." I really like that this e-mail was entitled "Invitation," as if there were any measure of choice or amusement involved.

I guess for today I have to be content with the fact that I don't live in my car [which is so small I can't even fathom where I'd fit the grill] and that my secret work boyfriend spoke to me today at the photocopier. Granted the entire conversation was:

SWB: Hey, Kathy, do you smell pancakes?
Me: Yeah. That's really unfair. And also impossible.
SWB: Unless someone smuggled them in.
Me: That's total bullshit!
SWB: Yup.

Pancakes have never smelled so sweet.


Anonymous brad said...


1:42 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...


1:58 PM  
Anonymous Stupid boy said...

On the career issue, I always recommend mental helth nursing.
Pros: I worked in a canteen in a mental hospital once and the nurses basically seemed to get paid to watch tv with the patients. And you get paid for working while you do your degree I think.
Cons: You catch yourself thinking about how "cool" some of the patients are and worry what this says about your own mental health.

6:58 AM  

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