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Good Call

Looking for work is not demoralizing, not this time around. It’s necessary, fuel for the fire, padding, a way to work out how I feel right now on someone else’s dime. Vets are expensive even when they can’t do anything. I would have spent more. Now I just have two holes but figure I can work on filling them the same way.

Unemployment requires I look for three jobs a week. I attend a mandatory workshop Tuesday that doesn’t threaten but makes it clear you’re supposed to be out pounding the pavement. Expect to be audited. They can snoop you eight times. I hate this part but do the dance. They’re the ones paying.

Wednesday night I spruce up my three-year-old resume on the Worksource website. It can’t hurt; at worst it will show some reviewer I’m doing something. Thursday morning I have cold-call emails from even more recruiters. I’ve got six job contacts for the week–they can wait until Monday. I don’t want to be applying at Safeway.

One persists in emailing. I’m picking up a rug, getting some lunch, trying to work through not sleeping and I don’t want to talk to her. Do you have jobs of this specific type? I email. Yes. When can I call? Seems convenient–too eager. At least she’s not an Indian boiler room operation–Anglo name and writes English too well for that. I tell her I’ll be free in an hour.

I call her office and get someone who sounds confused, sends me to a scratchy general voicemail, and email her of that fact. Moments later the phone rings with a south county area code.

It takes half a minute to like her. Well-spoken without being pushy, self-effacing, doesn’t talk over me. I take a risk: looking for something short-term while I work out everything. Can I ask why? Take another risk: I’ve spent enough time in little fluorescent rooms on exciting projects that go nowhere. I’d rather do that for myself. She laughs.

We talk about my cat, her cats, how hard that is. She lost a daughter to cancer, been divorced twenty years. Her brother and I have the same problem with women: they decide an attractive grownup who can take care of himself is not for them. But don’t worry, they all come back–her ex just called her. We even talk a little about what kind of work I’d like, what she can do.

It’s so good I want to keep talking, and when the call ends I see the golden light outside. Time has passed. I feel the light but not the time. There are many people out there in the same places, with the same shadows. It’s good to know this.

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