In and Out

originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 10/12/10)

This morning I had my dreaded “Job Search Assistance” appointment with the Employment Development Department for the State of California.  Barf.

For the last two weeks I’ve had to record all the jobs I’ve applied for as well as upload my resume to the job search assistance website for California.  Double Barf.  I’ve also spent this time imagining the horror that awaited me – body pressed against sweaty, smelly body in a crowded flourescent-lighted city office as I and dozens more listened to an underpaid and overworked city official describe in excruciating detail how to conduct a job search online.  Having the same city official look at me with disdain in her eyes as she encourages me to apply for any job out there – hey, we have a receptionist position open in this office! – nevermind that I have a very expensive graduate degree that I have yet to pay for (8 years later and counting, groan…).

So it was with barely-contained anxiety that I dressed myself as professionally and cute as could be this morning, as if my clothes could shout “Hey, I don’t need you to tell me how to find a job!  See how well-dressed I am?”, while having visions of myself pulling a George Costanza with my petulant interviewer.

Imagine my surprise, then, as I pulled up to the office in Marina Del Rey with plentiful parking just steps from the office door, walked in and noticed that not only were there no other people waiting in line, but that there were only two chairs in the waiting room – as if they never expected anyone to wait.  Guess I didn’t need to bring my book.  I sauntered up to the counter, vaguely confused by the situation, where a very cute man took down my name and asked me to hold on just a moment as he rounded up my interviewer.  Should I have a seat?  Oh no, that won’t be necessary.  Why thank you.  Smile, smile, make eye contact with the Very Cute Man, bat the eyes a little.  Hey, if a little flirting is all it takes to make this process go faster, then I’m all for it.  I’m glad I decided to dress cute.

Just then, Darryl, my interviewer, appeared in all his big, black, boisterous glory.  He asked me for the paper I had filled out with my job search results, at the top of which I had written in big letters so I wouldn’t forget – BRING SS CARD.

“Can I see your Secret Service Card?”

“Huh?”

“You wrote up here to remember to bring your Secret Service Card.”

Wow – there’s even humor here!

“Yep, I brought it, it’s gold-plated, you ever see one?”

“Ah, I’m just joshin’ with ya’.”

I immediately like Darryl.

Darryl takes me back to his cubicle, where he reviews my passport (and my Secret Service Card, which was in my passport) and looks me up in the system.  He then proceeds to tell me that there are three things he needs to cover with me.  1) – that I am who I say I am, as evidenced by my passport.  2) – that I am capable and have been looking for work, as evidenced by my completed paperwork.  And 3) – that I have a resume posted on their job assistance website, as evidenced by my resume staring back at me from Darryl’s computer screen.  Bing, bang, bong.  Looks like we’re all covered.  Darryl then informs me he’s looking forward to his blueberry muffin and that he must accompany me out the door because, hey, if Denzel Washington were in here they don’t want him to be ambushed.  I’m not sure why Denzel Washington would be in the unemployment office in Marina Del Rey, but I went with it and also heard Darryl’s story of meeting Denzel while working as an extra on a film set.  Only in Hollywood.  I got my parking validated by the Very Cute Man and I was outta there.  It took about 5 1/2 minutes total.  Awesome.

Speaking of in and out, I am completely absorbed by the story of the Chilean miners and will be glued to CNN all night watching for the moment that they extract the first miner from that Death Hole.  The Chilean government has gone to great lengths to make this a media-friendly event (they have a live satellite feed of the process) and yet they also seem to be doing a good job of keeping the men separated from the media vultures that will no doubt be immediately swarming them.  I am interested to see this story unfold over the next couple of days.  I’ll be sure to have my box of tissues nearby.

All this talk of in and out, I think I need to go get a burger…