7-15-02, 8:46 AM -

Eerie silence. Just the rattle of pages from my fellow temp's school notebook. Not a soul in authority has yet addressed me, or even come near here. "Here" is a rectangular room on the 5th floor of a hotel in Times Square. Good Morning America or some such abomination of excess perkiness is filming on the corner outside my window. I am supposed to be doing data entry for the gummint, inputing applications for airport security personnel. Instead, I'm waiting for the network to come up (my fellow temp tells me) and trying to stay awake.

Finished up my gig at MLC (More Lawyer Crap) last week, got glowing reviews despite the fact that I didn't do a damn thing. In my many years of tempdom, the one revelation that has amazed me most is how much you can get paid for doing absolutely nothing. And I do mean nothing. On Friday, I processed 2 invoices and refilled the copier paper. And that was it. Posted inanities on homerecording.com for the rest of the day at $15 an hour. Amazing.

Through a crack in the adjacent buildings I can see the spire of the Empire State Building, where Wifely is probably as hard at work as I am. She can review 600 forms a day for the state gummint, but they don't want anyone doing more than 400, so she just does them every now & then to keep her boss from freaking out. Amazing.

We're hoping that the end of Intern Season up here will mean good things for Wifely's job search. "Intern season!" "Wabbit season!" "Wabbit season!" "Intern season!" BANG!!

The ol' music thing is on hold while I resolve some technical issues with my ZIP drive. Fucking equipment. I did find a cheap way to build a light show, so I'll soon be taking a trip to the Home Depot to electrocute myself. Funsies.

They've officially reopened the actual Sunset Park in my neighborhood, so I spent a bit of time there Sunday. Beautiful plumage. Saw a bitchin' game of Gangsta Dominoes on my block last night. It ain't right, man. Dre cranking from the hoopties, head wraps a-blazin', and four guys sitting around a card table playing Chicken Foot. I think I'm in a dysfunctional 'hood. Pimpin' ain't easy.

9:24 AM -

Just went to the bathroom, passing through a maze of tables full of staffers anxiously doing nothing. The place has that dark hotel-seminar feel about it, all black felt walls & brass corral posts, and you can never quite see where you're going for all the twisty turns. Nor can you hear anything for all the sound dampening. It's kind of like a haunted house. You creep down a dimly-lit hallway and suddenly there's a shadowy form in a doorway who directs you to the next scare. BUGGA!!! Aggh, it's an old fat man choking on a bagel!!

The security guys throughout the building look like retired Mafiosos, hair slicked back and pinstripes just a little too loud for normal people. They probably all worked for Joey Two-Stomachs before he got rained on with his own .38. Except there's this guy my age with 'em, who's probably bucking for Mafia private. Maybe he just likes a good game of dominoes.

9:45 AM -

Ah, it seems someone's discovered the problem. I swear to God I thought of this earlier, but I felt stupid to say it. Is it plugged in? It is NOT. Serves me right for being quiet. I love the gummint, I do.

So maybe I'll get some work in a minute.

10:00 AM -

Or maybe not.

Found out there's such a thing as a McMcDonald's. It's a McDonald's, but it only has half the menu. I found this out when I ordered a Quarter Pounder and was told that I only had the choice of a Big Mac or a Cheeseburger. I looked at the menu, and sure enough, no Quarter Pounder. I saw that a couple of blocks down, there was another McDonald's. I wonder if they take care of the other menu items. But why would you open two separate locations, each with half a menu? My brain hurts. Gimme a damn Big Mac, then.

Overheard this in the hall earlier: "Dude, I saw this band last night. They rocked. Sounded just like Living Colour!" Living Colour? 'Cult of Personality' Living Colour? Wha...where...huh?

1:00 pm -

Finally got some work. Yep. Just as exciting as you think it is. Some of these applicants' stories are kind of interesting, though. Got a guy who was a Lance Corporal in the Marines and retired to run a pizza joint in Queens. I feel sorry for his employees. "Private Snowball! Get yer ass up to 334 West 8th Street pronto or I will make a gelding outta you!"

This other guy actually listed every single time he's smoked weed for the last 10 years. He had to attach a supplemental form to include them all, like he's Cheech Marin or something. What impresses me is that he remembers them all so well. "Yeah, man, that was the time I pissed in my old lady's shampoo bottle. And that time I licked a toad. Dude!" I mean, he even included the locations. Like the government knows, and will call him out if he forgets one. "Sir, I'm afraid you left out the time you and your friend Lucky used butter knives for ice skates." "Dude, I forgot that one! Oh, man, I guess I don't get the job." Though they may be impressed with the man's thoroughness. I know I am.

And I keep seeing people who were born in the United States but list no education. Is that possible? What, did they work on the family farm? Maybe they're Amish. Though I think the Amish go to school, even if they do have to wear funny hats. That's how I judge a religion. By the hat. If there's a funny hat involved, I can't deal with it. A God who requires a funny hat is no God for me.

Just met another temp who's also a preacher. Whoaa. And he's from Oklahoma. Heyy. And he wants to be pals. Yowwza. Oddly, I feel a strange bit of kinship with this man, for the simple fact that he knows where my hometown is. What a stupid sentiment. Am I going senile ALREADY?

5:00 PM -

A serious thought for a moment: I keep running into people at these assignments who seem to live in a different universe. In their universe, you work 12-hour days whenever the boss says, which is pretty much every day. You complain about it constantly, but for some reason you're afraid to quit or find another job. Some of them have kids or spouses, but most don't, because they don't have any time to date. And the bosses assume that if you mention your unhappiness to them, there's something wrong with you.

I have a passing familiarity with this universe, but it scares me. How many people live in this universe compared to the one I live in? In mine, a 60-hour week is ridiculous and cause for badgering the boss to hire more people. If the boss won't, then it's time for me to leave. Am I crazy? Maybe I just lack the proper MBA brainwashing.

Sorry, that was a bit over the top. But what's up with that, anyway?

6:00 PM -

Time for eatins. Maw's cookin' up a mess of chicken legs, since I'm getting off late. Maybe I'll stop by the ESPNZone store on my way out of Times Square. Maybe I'll cut out my brain with a soup ladle. Anything's possible.



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