Then Again, They May Have a Point

Well, okay. I just finished writing that post being snippy about people not hiring me, and then… well, here’s what happened.

Giant Camel, who has “marketable skills” and “a pleasant demeanor,” is at “work.” Supposedly “work” is a place where you perform tasks for money. Frankly it sounds too exotic for me, but he seems to enjoy it.

I decided that I would be a good little wife and make dinner, so I got a chicken out of the freezer to thaw this morning. I thought it was probably ready, so I decided to start cooking. And that’s where we went off the rails.

The chicken is sealed in plastic, like everything else in the world. I don’t want to use the household scissors to cut it for two reasons: one, salmonella, and two, Giant Camel. He is “artistic” and I can only guess what bloody craft scissors will inspire in a person who keeps bleached oxtail bones on the toaster oven “just in case” and who once said to me: “Oh, I was saving my hair from my comb in a Ziploc bag to make a little decorative bird’s nest for you, but I think I left the bag in the car when you gave it to charity. Oh, well.”

So I get a steak knife out of the dishwasher. This steak knife is special to me because one Easter, my grandmother sent me a box of household goods and two sweaters. On top was the steak knife, attached to a note: “I thought you could use this for something.” You know, something. Maybe steak, maybe not, you know how people are up there. Something. Now, I put silverware in the washer business-end-up, so the eating surface is more exposed and more likely to get clean. This means that occasionally you stick yourself with a knife, as I did this evening. I proceeded to yell, drop the knife so that it skittered into the back floor of the dishwasher, and then realize I wasn’t really hurt. No, I actually hurt myself leaning into the dishwasher to get the knife out.

So the knife and I are finally ready to free the chicken. So off we go. Do I pierce the plastic so that a little jet of chicken blood shoots out at me? Of course. Do I startle and drop the chicken into the colander? Of course. I eventually get the chicken out and go to extract the giblets. When they’re at work, they’re organs; when they’re shoved back in and left in a pile, they’re giblets. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could avoid getting to eighth base with the chicken and kind of gloosh the giblets out by shaking the bird, like with canned goods. Well, watery chicken blood sprayed further but only something I assume was a pancreas flopped out. I showed to my own pancreas as a cautionary tale – “if you stop working, you end up like this!” Of course, the remaining giblets were still frozen into the bird, so I had to reach in and peel them out with that two-fingered come-hither/g-spot motion.

Then, I do the Salmonella Dance, a feisty little Latin number involving turning the faucet on with my elbow, rinsing my hands, getting the bottle of detergent without really TOUCHING it, washing hands, washing bottle, washing everything. It carries through the entire chicken preparation process – get the cooking sherry, pour it on the bird, pour shake the pepper on, smooth the pepper across the bird, reach for the cooking sherry, remember you have salmonella literally all over your body, wash everything, forget if your hands are wet with water or bird juice, rinse, repeat.

So I get the damn thing herbed. I yell at Giant Camel – who is not here – for using all of the special seasoned salt I got for my birthday. This more than anything may be a sign of my coming crack-up. I got upset because we were almost out of the special seasoned salt. This is even worse than being the kind of person who gets seasoned salt for his birthday and is pleased. I add a little chug-a-lug of cooking sherry, then seal the bird into the pan with foil. I have to wedge it in because it’s a little round cake pan and tuck the foil around the bird like it’s bedtime. Then, of course, I have to do the Salmonella Dance.

I did preheat the oven. I did not check the racks before I preheated the oven. The bird won’t fit so I decide – 1540 on my GREs, ladies and gentlemen – I decide the best thing to do is fold up a tea towel, take the top rack, extract it, run into the bathroom while chanting “no whammies no whammies no whammies,” and run the shower on it cold. Then I can, you know, just set it aside. Did I note where the shower head was pointed? No. Did I turn it directly on my head? Yes.

I leave the now-cool oven rack in the bathroom and drip my way back into the kitchen to put the bird into the oven. I do a final round of the Salmonella Dance. I forget to move the giblet-heavy colander out of the way and get suds all over the pile of organs, nixing the potential for gravy. Having forgotten the tea towel in the bathroom, I dry my hands on my pants and then wonder if that’s “sanitary.” My boyfriend and I share underwear because medium Hanes boxer-briefs all look alike, but God forbid I get germs on my jeans.

I then proceed to tell thousands of strangers how goofy and Lucille Ball-like a cook I am – and I haven’t even started on the carrots! Join me next week, when I plan to somehow drown while trying to make baked fish and green beans.


Fuck Work, Unless You’re Hiring

Weeeeeeeell, I’ve got some good news and some not-so-good news. And then some more not-so-good news. Let’s go in reverse order:

I did not get the job I thought I was going to get. During my interview, it was strongly implied that I would get a second interview. Instead, they’ve elected not to acknowledge my emails. So, there’s that.

So now, having run through all my friends who have friends who might be hiring, I’m ready for the next rite of passage for this generation: I’m moving back in with Dad after Giant Camel’s and my lease in Philadelphia is up at the end of July. So, there’s that. I’d talk about how I feel about all of this, but since most of our readers are within five years of my age, I’m going to assume you know how I feel.

Now, the silver linings:

-       I’m going to keep looking for jobs, mostly so I can say I’ve been looking, BUT having already mentally processed the defeat of having to move in with family I’m going to concentrate on writing during my last while in Philadelphia. I have my eye on a couple of moneymakers (greeting cards and the much-discussed romance novel), but I also plan to do more blogging, and I have a few more projects in mind. This will be good for me, in that a) I won’t go crazy, b) one of these might make money, and c) then I can hold my tattered little manuscripts out to my father, stepmother, readers, and potential employers and declare, “See? I wasn’t just playing Playstation and crash-dieting and crying! I created.”

-       I get to go to the Texas State Fair in the fall, and to the Chickasaw Indian Casino for my birthday. I’m pretty sure that for my eighth birthday my father took me to an arcade and gave me some money to feed into loud machines covered in blinking lights for a minimal shot at reward. Twenty years are as an evening gone…

-       I get to dish about the crappy temp job I had last winter. I withheld it because I didn’t want prospective employers to find the blog, read me aggressively sassing a job, and decide I was unfit. Now I am exponentially less sanguine about prospective employers even looking at my resume, let alone my cover letter, let alone checking to see if I even HAVE a blog and wrote three books, so what the hell. For months I’ve had little bits of paper floating around with notes about that job, and now I can throw them away.

So, as you might remember from my post about Dawn Davenport being my spirit animal, I worked at a large, poorly run tech company. To cover my ass I won’t name it, but the name is as stupid as “CompuCom,” so should you draw any conclusions from that… My job was to load mobile phone apps onto mobile phones, see if they crashed and were in the correct language, rinse, repeat. Theoretically, this might have been a fun job, but. Most of the apps weren’t in English, resulting in a lot of “fun” with Google translate trying to find the keyboard shortcut for those letters only one language uses, a la “Ѭ.” Even before I began, random layoffs raged – the guy who trained me went a week before I did, which is incomprehensible. So there was a strong slasher-movie aspect – every day you’d show up and someone else would be gone. And most of the remaining people were either assholes, lunatics, or some new and exotic combination. So imagine me getting up at 4:30, taking a two-hour bus ride, then sitting quietly in a freezing office writing up, in extreme detail, why an application (we did not test APPS on PHONES but rather APPLICATIONS on DEVICES) to find a nearby bus station in Stockholm didn’t seem to work, but I couldn’t be sure because it was all in Swedish, all the while having no job security and the worst English-speaking coworkers I’ve ever had. Also, we had to flag things that might offend Islamic sensibilities or annoy the Chinese government. I can honestly say I find both of those things extremely difficult to predict. So you can see why I needed to try to mine it for humor.

Some of the best apps:

-       A body mass calculator that, if you typed in the information wrong, gave the reading “INFINITE BMI LOL YOU ARE OBESE”

-       An ovulation tracker that you could set to text your husband when your eggs were ready: “Honey, get home quick!” I got in trouble for not flagging this as potentially offensive to Islamic sensibilities.

-       A numerology “thing” that told me that, according to my name’s numerical value (verbatim), “looks like you should be peep-year-old aunt bath bar next door.” No clue about Islamic sensibilities, as usual, but this offended the hell out of me.

-       I plugged something in wrong and got an error message reading “OPERATION ATTEMPTED ON SOMETHING THAT IS NOT A SOCKET.” Of all the metaphors for my sex life…

-       A soundboard of clips and sound effects from “Young Frankenstein.” I thought I had my headphones in while I was testing it – turns out they weren’t pushed in all the way and Madeleine Kahn was just screaming away for fifteen minutes. The fact that no one mentioned this to me tells me all you need to know about that office.

And my co-workers: One guy wore a purple-and-leopard-print Santa hat around all day, indoors, in January; on guy ostentatiously backed into a parking space in a VOLKSWAGEN JETTA (if you’re parking in a LOT, your car isn’t good enough to do that); and my supervisor typed interoffice messages in this font. Everyone was queer for sanitary wipes and used them many, many times daily – on their hands, on their workstations, on each other for all I knew – as though they knew I was deliberately not washing my hands after I peed. A poster in the breakroom (it had no chairs in it, but hooray for posters!) advised us that we could donate blood at the nearby Fluid Processing Center.

Fluid. Processing. Center. That’s a slippery slope, isn’t it? Crazy John’s Discount Fluids. Flow-n-Go EZ Fluids. Fluids r’ Us. And then when it gentrifies: the Fluidry.

So in short: fuck work, unless you’re hiring in the North Texas area. I’m available August 1st.
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