Thursday, March 3, 2011

south of north of Coney

In other words, Coney Island.

One:  I had the interview at Luna Park the other day. I was interviewed for the less-qualified position, and there are actually two of them, exactly the same, except that one will start sooner than the other.  The woman who interviewed me was lovely, and I think I did well.  She didn't mention money, but the job developer said it was $12-14 per hour, which is really less than I would like, but I'll try to talk them up to 15 or 16 if I get an offer.  It's seasonal, and would end in October.  The office is right inside Luna, and the job would entail a certain amount of time outside the office in the park, distributing paychecks and schmoozing employees to try to avoid the 67% turnover they experienced last summer.  The temp aspect of it works for me -- hey, who wants to be in Coney during the winter?  Also, they would require a drug test.

Sidebar:  I do not approve of drug testing, though of course I said I would take one.  Here's the thing -- if the issue is illegality, a background check would clear that up.  If the issue is possible intoxication on the job, who don't they ban any use of alcohol?  What if someone comes in hung over?  Also, there are a lot of prescribed drugs that might show up in a test.  I believe that Adderall (prescribed for ADHD in adults as well as kids) contains some sort of amphetamine.  Some people still take old-school antidepressants which are barbiturates.  I myself have a prescription for lorazepam (generic Atavan), a low dosage for bouts of anxiety.  And how about the whole issue of violation of civil liberties?  It's one thing if someone shows up at work obviously intoxicated, but what someone does on their own time should be their own business.  I generally do not apply for jobs where it's indicated up front that they drug test.  I think it's very wrong.

That having been said, I have decided that it's a good idea to start taking a goldenseal supplement and drinking a lot of fresh-squeezed lemon juice.

Two:  I had to go to the Coney Island HRA center this morning (luckily, I was excused for "independent job search," which is actually a Connect-to-Care computer class this afternoon).  They needed to make copies of documents that Barry handed to our caseworker two weeks ago.  These people may be overworked, but that doesn't mean they aren't fucking morons.  The woman who called wasn't our caseworker, but we referred her to him several times.  We find it impossible to get him on the phone, but you'd think this woman could have gone from the second floor to the third, walked to his desk, and asked for out file.  You'd think.  But no, I had to bring the suckers again this morning.  And as I said, it was a good thing I was already excused from Back-to-Work, because they require a document from HRA if you have to be there during work hours, and HRA insists that you don't need a document and they won't give you one.  Which of course, can put you at risk of -- all together now -- being FTC'ed.  Apparently they are FTC'ing people like mad because BTW is so overcrowded.

So Mrs. Abramova at HRA said that I had to bring the documents this morning by noon, and that I should go to the second floor and call her extension.  I was there before 10, and called her extension several times, and it didn't answer.  The receptionist didn't know who she was.  The receptionist asked me for her extension, and then she dialed it and got no answer,  Gee, thanks.  Finally, on my tenth time calling her extension, another woman who happened to be walking past Mrs. A's cubicle picked up the phone, told me Mrs. A was in a training session, but that she, Mrs. G, could copy the documents and put them on Mrs. A's desk.  Since I was a little concerned that these might meet the same fate as the documents Barry handed to the caseworker (not left on his desk -- HANDED to him), I came home and left a voice mail for Mrs. A and said that Mrs. G had left the documents on her desk, and that she should please call if she still didn't have them.  (I left out the part about her asking me to see her by noon when she was going to be in a training session.)

I hadn't noticed before that the HRA office is right behind the old Child's on the Boardwalk, which I believe Lola Star has converted into a roller rink.  HRA is about eight blocks west of the amusement area, past the baseball stadium (which used to be Keyspan Park but I've forgotten the new name).  It's kind of creepy and deserted there this time of year.  I thought about walking back to the subway via the Boardwalk, but my feeling was that the Boardwalk would also be creepy and deserted.  Plus, it was extremely cold.  It figures that I was at Back-to-Work yesterday when it was 51 degrees out, but at Coney Island today when it was 28 (plus the wind off the water is mighty strong).

Whether I'm working there or not, I look forward to seeing Coney in the summer.  I look forward to having a hot dog at Nathan's, even if I can't eat the roll (and have to skip the fries).

I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this, but I wrote a poem some years back called "palm sunday, coney island," which was actually published.  It was in a small literary magazine called "Exit 19" or Exit something, comprised of poetry and stories that all involved a place.  They never sent me my copy, and I no longer have a copy of the poem.  I do remember the phrase "the sturdy inaugural turn of the wonder wheel" (I wrote everything in lower case back then...maybe I thought I was e.e. cummings).  I know that I actually wrote it on the subway -- I had traveled backwards to Coney to pick up another train line (a number of lines terminate there).  And it was Palm Sunday, which is the first day every year that the rides begin to operate.  (They run on weekends only until Memorial Day.)  I looked out the subway window and felt very Coney, and scribbled down the poem then and there.  (I wrote poetry very quickly and usually at one sitting.)  Most of my poetry is lost now, but I do remember parts of a few good ones.

Mitzvahs (or is it "mitzvoth"?) of the week:  my sister-in-law Elise, who would be a saint if there were Jewish saints, went to a Jewish non-profit (she works for one and knows them all), and brought a pile of free dressier clothes for Barry.  Three suits, maybe a dozen button-down shirts, and as many ties.  (You can't wear jeans to Back-to-Work, so Barry's basically been doing it in one pair of black chinos.)

Then Elise offered to take me to the supermarket and she would pay.  (This is a double mitzvah since we don't have a good supermarket close by and she drives.)  So I did a pretty serious shop, and got us stocked up on things I can eat and things Barry can eat (which are almost total opposites at this point).  It was a good shop, and except for the fruits and vegetables, should last us for a good bit.  I'm hoping we'll get food stamps within a couple of weeks.

I'm concentrating my job hunt on creative companies and universities.  I need work soon, but I'd prefer somewhere that I can be happy, and hopefully make a decent wage.  After these CTC classes, my Word and Excel will be sharp, and I'll have Powerpoint and Quickbooks.

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