I saw a midget today, so I felt like writing. You don't see midgets every day, unless you are one, so I've always taken them as little reminders that the world is interesting.

This particular midget was standing in line (between a fireman and a construction worker; very Village People) at the Burger King downstairs from my temp assignment at Rich Bitch Clothiers. It's on the edge of Times Square, which is cool, but honestly, Times Square's better at night.

So I get there at 8AM on Monday, elevate to the 5th floor, and lo & behold, the place is locked down. There's a big metal grille in front of the main reception area & all the lights are out. Hmm. Well, nothing for it but to stand here & see if I missed the Rapture.

Presently another elevator slides open. A diminuitive woman steps out, suddenly sees me, and nearly injures herself leaping back into the elevator. Apparently even in my Sunday best, I'm an incredibly ghoulish and frightening presence. Peeking back timidly out of the elevator, she asks, "Can I help you?"

"Yes, I'm here from Jelly Temps."

"Oh," she sighs, relieved. Since there's apparently no way an axe murderer would say such a thing, she steps out into the darkened hallway, opens the grille, & sits me down to wait for the boss lady.

Boss lady's nice, but very small. Everyone here is small, I find out, because this department deals with the Petite sizes. I feel rather more like Gulliver than usual, which is a lot.

Seems I have a lot to learn about women's clothing, which is hardly surprising. It's just data entry, but you have to know the terminology. Some rules:

1. Don't confuse Woven with Knit. They're like matter & antimatter, and the building will explode, then null itself out of existence if you do.

2. Don't confuse Missy with Petite. There are varying levels of teensy little squatty people, & they get irate when you label them incorrectly.

3. "Novelty Bottoms" is not a funny name for a line of clothing.

4. Classic Navy is not Casual Navy. Matter + antimatter = BOOM. SWIP!!

5. Don't say, "Dang!" every time you type in a $59.00 price for a polo shirt.

6. Don't think too hard about the factories these things come from, or the fact that some kid in Hang Tung just worked a 12-hour shift for this ugly, piece-of-shit pair of $79 golf pants hanging next to you.

7. Don't laugh out loud when you accidentally type "Crapped Pant" instead of "Cropped Pant". They'll want to know what's funny. And it's not funny. Especially not two hours later when you're still trying to keep from laughing about it.

8. Almond + French Almond = BOOM. SWIP!!

Now, allow me this moment of clarification. As many of you know, I am as colorblind as a particularly colorblind bat. But even if I wasn't, would I know whether Lemon Sundrop should be coded 700 for bright yellow, 710 for pastel yellow, or 720 for deep yellow? Maybe I would, that's why I'm asking. And Kumquat. What the hell is Kumquat? Riviera? Who's to say?

So it has by now become obvious that I will bug the boss lady at least once every 15 minutes to clarify these matters. Poor boss lady. She's been working with this group of little women and gay men (rrrrrrREALLY gay men) for so long, she's forgotten that there are those of us who don't know a pedal pusher from a clamdigger. But I'm learning.

Had a couple of job interviews this week, but nothing workable. Bookstore gig pays $7.75 an hour, & that ain't cricket. I would've thought there'd be a cost-of-living adjustment up here, but then I thought about it. The cost of the book is the same. It's printed on the jacket. The rent's probably higher. How could they pay more? So I forgive them. Mostly.

Had this conversation with a local instrument store manager:

"So where ya from?"

"Fort Worth, Texas." Didn't figure I'd spring Weatherford on him.

"Texas, huh?"



"Yeah, it's hot..." Ramble, ramble, heat, then there's the humidity, oy. Nothing. Then:

"Can't do the hot."

"Well, neither can I. That's why I'm here."

Now maybe we can talk about a freakin' job or something.

"So what's there to do in Fort Worth, Texas?"


"Absolutely nothing. Another reason why I'm here."

"How long you been in New York?"

"About two months. I'm fresh off the boat, so to speak."

"Fresh off the boat? Fresh off the boat, that's funny."

But he doesn't look like he thinks its funny. Nor does he look like he will ever start talking about the job.

"And you came here from where?"

"Fort Worth, Texas." Titslap, Alabama. Rotfoot, Michigan. Fuck & Fart, Tennessee. What's the right answer? Tell me the right answer!!

"Riiiight. Fort Worth, Texas. Well. So, why do you think you're qualified to work here?"

Okay, here we go. Blah, blah, musician for 15 years, recorded my own CD, studio experience, familiarity with the gear, blah, blah fishcakes. And here we go with the blank stare maneuver. Thank God in Heaven I don't carry a gun.

"Okay, well, I'll keep your resume for about 30 days, after which you'll have to fill out a new application..." brush, brush, get away from me, kid, ya bother me. So that's how it is, is it?

"So it's not looking likely, then?"

"Well, I mean, your qualifications are a little on the light side, but we might call you as a last resort."

Just then, Natty Dread comes in the office looking furtive, something about Eryka Badu's people being here to pick up a big order. (what, they forgot the microphone stands?) All right, he'll be right there.

Can't lose anything, I guess:

"So, what's this gig pay, anyway?"

"Mostly commission, small salary under that. Not really enough to live on for most people."

But then the...why the...fuck it.

Now, I'll have you know that on my way out, I passed two, count 'em, two employees attempting to make a sale on digital recording gear, and I know for a fact that they didn't know what the FUCK they were talking about. So what happened here? I thought about it, after the initial ego bruise, & I have a few possibilities:

1. He was looking for someone with more sales in their background. (possible)

2. They get some extremely knowledgeable people in there, with it being in Manhattan & all. (unlikely, considering the pay and the employees I saw)

3. He just didn't like me. (maybe, especially if:)

4. He thought I was a stupid fucking Texan.

I really, really, really, REALLY hate to invoke the spectre of victimhood or discrimination here, but it seems to me that the man has obviously never traveled far beyond the east coast, except maybe for the occasional trip to the west coast. See, Flyover Country is generally believed to be bereft of intelligent life. A good deal of this is based on the Senatorial output of these central states (though to be fair, Strom Thurmond is an east coaster). However, there are many intelligent people scattered about the plains, & I like to count myself as one of them. This is not commonly known in New York, & I fear Wifely & I may be losing a few job prospects because of it.

The insinuation on this particular manager's expression was, "If you're from Texas, why do you think you can work in a real store?" Texans wrangle cattle. Texans cook up a mean plate of calf fries. Texans write sad, melodramatic country songs with sad, melodramatic steel guitars in them. They are a sociological oddity, not real people who work real jobs in real cities.

I can just imagine his mental picture of Fort Worth: An old frontier town down on its luck since the boom, with old rickety cars and chaw-spittin' fat people crowding the sidewalk to catch a glimpse of the rodeo parade...oh wait, that is Fort Worth. God dammit. But still, I resent the bias. I mean...Fucking Yankees. There, I've said it.

In other news...

Got on the Asian Train somehow on Friday. Same train I usually take (the good ol' R train), but for some reason this car held nothing but Asians. Which is fine, & I probably wouldn't even have noticed except that everyone was utterly silent and staring at Gulliver again. Oy.

Mom, what the hell did you feed me as a kid to create such an oversized monster? I mostly remember Captain Crunch and fried chicken. Is that the special Bigass Freak serum? Dang.

On Saturday, me & Mrs. Freak went to the actual Sunset Park for which our neighborhood is named. That is, we found a hole in the chain-link fence that for some reason surrounds this gorgeous park. We found a bench and enjoyed one of the best views of Manhattan & the harbor I've yet seen. A little further out than the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, but you get a bit more sky out in the open grass. Quite lovely. A housemate down the hall from us suggested maybe it was blocked off for part of the year to protect the grass. Oh, well. We used the sidewalk, anyway.

How is it that the salespeople at clothing stores know I'm not a big spender? Got ignored like a mofo at one in Manhattan, but ended up with a few nice, cheap shirts and a belt for my rapidly shrinking waistline. It was starting to get a bit clownish, me hoisting my oversized pants up to my chest while I waddled through the store asking for help...oh.

Did I mention that I saw a midget? Well, I did. Do you know what I like about midgets? They don't stare in disbelief at people who are bigger than they are. Amen to that, and pass the Captain Crunch.



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