7/12/2018

While I’m waiting on the job situation I want to share some random thoughts.

Subways. Personally, I think there is a “best place” to sit in the subway, and I bet others will agree with me. It is whatever seat leaves one side untouched. That is, the seat nearest the door on bench-like cars (just the sides have seats in two long benches) or the end of any “L-shaped” seat on the other cars. This is for a variety of reasons. One: when it’s ultra-hot, just sitting next to another warm body can raise your own body heat 5 degrees (I swear it’s true!). So, you don’t want someone on both sides of you. Two: for those of us who are wider than the carved-out allotment of the seat, there’s a certain sense of lack of entitlement to squeeze into an empty space between two people (wide or not) and I never take it. Three: when you sit in an “end” seat your pudge can spill out on the unoccupied side without worrying about encroachment.

The subway dance is interesting to watch once you’ve procured your desired seat. On a car with L’shaped seats, people invariably sit on the outside seat. Followers must ask them to schmooge over to acquire the seat near the window, where one side is against the wall, the other against the person on the end, but the knees are banked against the pole side of the “L”. Most don’t bother, which leaves the acquirer free to put their bag in the seat closest to the window.

Another common problem I find on the subway, maybe specific to me, but I doubt it, when you are sitting next to someone of questionable social status (homeless, smelly, large, etc.). When a seat opens, I often find that, though I want that seat, I can’t move because I am afraid I will somehow offend the person I’m sitting next to, that they will see my move as avoidance of their person. I know this is quintessential privilege guilt in play, but that’s the game we play.

The other day I had my desirable seat next to the door when I noticed there was a much older man with a cane leaning against the door. I immediately stood and offered him my seat. It was only after he passed me to claim it that I realized I had not done the couple sitting next to me any favors. The man reeked. They bravely held on to their seats for at least three more stops, probably not wishing to offend. And this is the game of let’s pretend that we play in NYC.

Motifs. Do you have any motifs? By that I mean something you collect, that becomes your symbol, or that calls to you. These can change over the years. Mine were turtles, for many years. They can serve the function of easy gifts to receive from people who don’t know what to get you. I don’t know how turtles became my motif, except as a private sex joke between Vincent and me. For years I received turtle statues, cards, pictures, a tattoo and that was all fine until I realized I no longer felt any real affinity. So, I vocally let everyone know I’d switched to elephants. I did this for many reasons, one of which was realizing the plight of the elephant and seeing a lot of social media on them.

Motifs are particularly interesting when looking back on one’s life and re-evaluating their meanings. As a fat child I was hyper-sensitive to anything that could be referenced in a fat joke. My ears were attuned to words like “pig”, “whale”, “elephant”, “orca”, etc. I wouldn’t even speak these words, for fear of somehow calling down judgement on myself. Or maybe they simply rang of judgement in my own head. It hasn’t been until middle age I’ve been able to let go of these words’ affiliation to me. So, I sometimes claim elephant, because they are beautiful creatures, with wisdom and memory. Seems more apropos.

But I have another motif of the last six or eight years. Dead trees surrounded by living ones. In 2011 I took a picture of such a tree at Yellowstone. It’s not necessarily surrounded by life, but by color and eternity. After that I found myself either taking pictures of such trees or doing so in my mind. These images would leap out at me wherever I went. A year or so ago I realized I was drawn to these images because they represented how I felt about my life. Like something dead, but still there surrounded by the life that must go on. The growth that surrounds but doesn’t encompass. The trees were a metaphor for how I felt about my life and job and status. The beginning of the end that led me here.

***

So, the basket with all my eggs has fallen. It’s actually good news and bad news. The job I’d been waiting on, that I’d gone in and tested twice for, that everyone was telling me I was a shoe-in for; decided to take a “pass” on me Agent A informed me late yesterday afternoon. However, an amazing woman I know had texted me in the morning with a possible job offer to start Monday. I’m not saying more about that now for fear of jinxing it, but.

If I can start working next week, and get a letter stating employment and income, I can get an apartment and move by the end of July. But, we are down to the wire. Agent A told me the hiring person would be back in the office on Monday, and she might be able to get a better explanation of the pass then. Agent B commiserated with me and offered to have some things lined up in the temp world, should I need them. Today, I am waiting to hear from my wonderful friend.

In preparation for this unexpected opportunity I found a much better place to print out documents and update my resume just around the corner. Much cheaper than Staples.

As I sit and wait I ponder that out of all the dozens of jobs I’ve applied for, the encouraging people I’ve met and spoken with, the fact that unemployment is at record lows here, and everyone says people are hiring and in need: that the one glimmer of hope I have comes from a friend. It is kind of scary how little control I have over what I can “make” happen. Is it ageism? I don’t know. But this tree’s roots aren’t dead yet.


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