Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Fog of War

Since I have been using sleep, tiredness, or that there's not enough time as excuses for missing things, I woke up three hours before my interview this morning, so that I would be well awake and have plenty of time to get ready, time to even go to the bank beforehand. I woke up at seven this morning, had a bowl of cereal over the morning paper, a nice cup of coffee and felt generally good.

The other two temp agencies I have been to in my life have been really similar to today's experience. Filling out some paperwork in the lobby, the same information they presumably already have when you e-mailed them your resume, then simple computer skills tests and a simple typing test that despite its simplicity always brings out the jitters in me and my normally quick fingers seem wooden as I type the wrong thing and then have to backspace and then that thought that you are losing time making me really nervous, and then after all this, a hurried interview with one of their placement people.

They were interviewing people in the same room that we had to take these computer tests, and it was so distracting. Of course, I couldn't type as fast as I normally do when I can eavesdrop on hearing someone have to sell themselves, and I am especially going to be distracted and think that I am at the wrong temp agency, when one of the interviewees tells their interviewer that they have a copy of their CV also, and the interviewer asks, the person placing people in jobs asks this young man, "A CV? I don't know what that is. What's a CV?"

This was pretty remarkable, and yet I heard something not too long after that is in strong competition with it for the most remarkable thing I heard today. After talking to two of the placement people, which I am going to take as a good sign, I rode uptown to Columbia to get there at noon for when they distributed tickets to a talk next week by A.M. Homes and Jonathan Lethem, and on this train ride, I sat across from two women. One of them pulls out a bootleg copy of that Disney dogsled movie and starts talking about how an hour into it, the copy just ended, and how pissed she was. And her friend sympathized and said, "That's too bad," or something to that effect, because what can you do - it's a risk buying bootlegs and more often than not, you end up getting a shitty copy and being out of five dollars.

And then the other woman again talked about how pissed she was and then, shockingly, said that she was going to get her money back. This isn't Barnes and Noble's. These are bootleg videos bought on street corners. I didn't know there was a refund policy. And neither did her friend. Her friend laughed as if this person could not be serious, and then she said that she always returns them if there' anything wrong. One or two seconds of blackness she'll tolerate, but anything beyond that, even if it's ten seconds of bad image, she returns the videos. She returns them all the time, she says.

Waking up at seven, even though I got plenty of sleep, made my body so tired. I couldn't even stand up come three o'clock and I passed out in my bed, totally unable to stay awake. I woke up and just ate half a pizza from Nina's where I got in an arugement with perhaps Nina herself, with some old lady who tried to charge me 15 even though they have a pickup special of 6 and I felt pretty silly bargaining over a pizza. Now, I am going to watch American Idol and then Rent and drink some beer. What? My life is awesome.

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