Monday, December 27, 2010

Who You Find on the Grind

In addition to sending out enormous amounts of resumes to random companies, I have been back at my old hustles...namely the old lady garment industry. For those of you new to this blog, I pride myself on finding strange, legal ways to get money. In the past, I've worked a traveling roadshow of 2-3 racks of clothes made of spandex, lycra-esque material outfits perfect for your Nana or prematurely aging mother or friend. Apparently the roadshow had made its rounds and came back to my town.

These fools called me up on a Tuesday night to work at 7:30 AM the following day, and like a dog in heat finding a mate unexpectedly, I quickly accepted and got suited up for the job.

I knew what I was getting into and rejoiced in obtaining some sort of income outside of my monthly allowance via my parents. I gotta do something to contribute to my eating and drinking habits, right? I like to feel like I'm at least 3% self sufficient with this moo-moo hustle; it is where it's at.

Unlike my previous roadshow experience, my second shift was marred by a random sleet storm. After consulting with my coworker, we both opted out on working that day. I called in, thought everything was cool and kept on keeping on. Though I admit it, I probably could have driven to work in my sedan, to make myself feel better I refused to get into any car that was not an SUV that day. If I didn't get into a normal car that drove fine on the roads, I could think that there was no way my Beefy Corolla could have taken that road... that's how I reason it, anyway.

I roll into work the next day and some chica is up in my biznaz tryna run my racks. At first, I was confused so I called my contact at the rando company. She apparently fired me and my other coworker who didn't come in that snowy day without telling us and apparently wasn't going to tell us. She hired some other bias via craigslist (only fueling my love-hate, mostly hate, relationship with craigslist) and they were all up on the schedule. She quickly said that since I showed up for my previously scheduled shift that day and only lived 10 minutes away that I could keep my hours. I was relieved mainly because I already bought my Christmas presents and spent more on them than the usual $10, thrift shop, hand-me down gifts I usually get for my family. So, I continued working.

Since I would now be working at the same time as these new chicks, I decided to get to know them and I thought I'd share with you the type of people you encounter while hustling random grinds around town.

The first girl, whom I will call Bsnooki (not to be confused with Snooki). Bsnooki was amiable and quick to tell me the facts of her life. Coming from a farm (she never said what the farm produced, so I assumed for myself what they grew), her dad was a pothead and her brother was in jail for selling the ganja. She herself was on probation for a DWI, being only 20. She moved out of her parents house at 15 (what, can people do that at that age?) and into a dude's house. Then she was in the army for a year, a year she apparently spent sleeping in her locker so as not to do work. She seemed reliable enough, though her boyfriend was apparently the jealous controlling type and they lived in the basement of his 109 year old grandmother's house. Bsnooki was a talker, and it kept me entertained. I played up my hoodrat roots living, saying I once lived in an apartment when I was young and had divorced parents. I tried to relate and thought I gave a pretty good impression of also being from a similar background. She talked of the rough life and paying bills, and I talked about how hard it was to decide which J Crew shirt to buy and which relative I would ask for money to make that purchase. It seemed a match made in heaven. The last time I saw her she was going to an audition for a dancer position from an ad she also found on craigslist. It's to be determined if this dancing took place on a pole or a stage, or a combo. More power to you, Bsnooki, you get through that probation!

The next lady was someone I'll call Belinda. She was a little older than the rest of us, but the pounds of make up she wore concealed her age...and quite honestly, her identity. She had a tranny glow about her, but she really was a sweetheart and her troubles were insane. She had high blood pressure, a heart murmur-type thing, her grandpa was about to die, and she seemed to live in an animal menagerie from what I understood about the amount of pets she had. Her thick Southern accent and odd colloquialisms (something "thicker than a cat's tail on Christmas day" is a good thing, right?) along with my Melly from the Block way of talking made communication difficult at times and I found myself nodding along as she listed what I assumed were her ailments. I became a little scared that she would pass out and I would not be able to do anything but rely on the sample-giver outers to CPR her back into working order. I don't think her health was helped by her cigarette habit, but she seemed okay with her way of life...well, aside from the fact that some medicine she was on would make her walk in her sleep at night and dig through drawers and boxes of cereal, or make and eat a peanut butter sandwich.

My favorite buddy was Bojangles. I don't mean that she was fat by using that name, but instead to imply that we bonded on our love of Bojangles biscuits. She was also a recent graduate from an accredited university and felt for my unemployed way of life. She hated being stuck in the Dash but also didn't know how to get out of it. We both had the same opinions about education, law, and sleep walking. In our 4 hour work shifts together, I got to know her real well and I felt like we were really sistas. Out of all the people I've met on the grind, she had to have been the only one I could have an intelligent conversation with and still laugh about the odd looking people that came into the store. Although we hugged as I left, Bojangles was the only person I did not get the number of upon my last day of work, thus dashing my hopes of having 3 friends in my hometown to hang out with.

I also met some weird people that gave out samples. I feel like I don't really need to describe them because, well, if you've ever been to a bulk store, you know the samplers are just plain odd (except for Bantwone). They will give you extra samples if you work with them though, which can be nice when you don't want to buy a day old hotdog from the club restaurant.

After all that, I'd say I'd do it again. I like the samples, the stories, and the money.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In a District of Columbia Non-State of Mind

Wow, how time has flown and yet nothing has really been done to remedy this unemployment predicament I am in! Jk jk, I'm on the job prowl and for that, I had to traverse out of my comfort zone and into the District. As for the delay in updating, I apologize. I know you four people have been patiently awaiting an update!

Anywho, it was to the good old Capitol town I went earlier this week. I've been there before, in fact, I had a wee bit of an obsession for most of my life and have gone at least once a year. Something about old statues and homeless people, along with the highest STD rate in the nation, just makes my heart skip a beat and I have to go back.

This trip was unlike my others because I was actually doing something productive by getting some interviews via my buddy Berica. In hard economic times like this, it helps to have friends who will pass your resume, and not your blog, to future employers. I had three set up for Tuesday and a Happy Hour with some real working girls afterward, aka the perfect day.

In post interview celebration and pre Happy Hour time, I headed to the subway to try and navigate my maybe future home. I took the long way to the metro stop and after an hour of walking, got on. Maybe not the best plan in 28 degree weather, but it worked. I looked at the metro map and figured I'd go to the Smithsonians since they were free.

As I got out of the stop, the wind had picked up and I realized I needed to get inside somewhere quick and immediately stumbled upon the Holocaust Museum. In an effort to get feeling back in my toes, set the mood for Happy Hour, and celebrate Hanukkah, it seemed like the perfect spot. It was free because it was the off season, so I ventured inside. I couldn't help but be reminded of a previous visit to the Holocaust Museum that I shared with my friend Bkelly.

I was visiting Bkelly as she spent the summer working for some non-profit. We couldn't think of anything to do, so we went to the Holocaust Museum's gift shop, naturally. We looked around at the menorahs, the Torahs, and the postcards to pass the time. We both spotted a tiny, ancient lady who seemed to straining to reach a book (at least I remember her playing up the damsel in distress bit) so we walked over to see if she needed help.

She motioned for us to follow her to the back of the store, and we did, thinking that something was just too high for her to reach in her Merrels. All of a sudden, a table appeared before us with a mound of books atop it and an empty chair behind it. The lady sat down and handed each of us a book. She explained that this was in fact her book about her experience in the Holocaust.

Moved by her words, I thumbed through it. There were pictures of her as a young girl and I genuinely was interested, but just not in buying it. As I looked through it, I tried to find the words of consolation for such an experience and also the words to say that I was just looking and not intending to spend $20 on her book, Bkelly sat the book down and walked away, leaving me looking like a putz.

Now, it's not that I didn't want to buy the book or didn't feel for the lady, but I was a college student with limited funding and limited time to read. Trying to politely get out of the conversation without purchasing the book, I proceeded to ask her to sign the book, thinking I could get her to sign it then walk away and leave it somewhere where she wouldn't see me put it down.

Unluckily, she informed me that I would have to pay for the book before she could write in it. This was a predicament indeed because there was just no easy out. I caved and put the book on my credit card then returned to the table and asked for it to be personalized. The lady did it with the biggest smile and quickest pen. I walked away feeling I had made this lady's day.

I met Bkelly outside, who was laughing at me for being a softie and buying the lady's memoir. I mean, how can you say "no" to a lady who has been through the Holocaust? It's just not right!

When I returned home after my trip, I opened the book, because I believed it deserved a read for both the lady and my $20. I never finished it because it was probably one of the most poorly written books I ever started. I felt like I should almost edit it then send a copy to her to republish. I read the back of it and got the jist.

I felt I did both her and I a favor by reading the synopsis, but I also remembered to not go into a museum's bookstore again unless I wanted a signed book or rock candy.