I have this fabulous new theory. Okay, first I have to make so many incredibly bad decisions, all in rapid succession, that eventually when I make a good decision, people will be so incredibly astounded, that the media will have to be called in and Oprah will do a show about it and I’ll get my own reality show and Johnny Depp will leave his skinny, waifish wife for me. And yes, I’ll finally win that pesky yet elusive Nobel Peace Prize.
But in the meantime, I’m still in the making stupid decision mode. And having to live with all the incredibly stupid decisions I make. Each one a little worse than the last. Case in point:
I started my new job on Tuesday. Did I mention I sorta/kinda didn’t really want it, but dammit, nobody has come even close to offering me a job in 16 months and I live in poverty and I just thought it might be nice to have an extra $40 in the bank at the end of the month? Yes, I think I did.
And rather ironically, I didn’t even really try at the job interview. No warm smiles or eye contact. No “I would really like to work here because it seems really cool and I’d be a great worker.” Nope! I just sat there like a worthless pile of DNA, nervously looking out the window at all the homeless people converging on the sidewalk outside. And yet, to my utter amazement and yes dismay, I went to a meeting at my old place of employment last week and heard that I had “acted very confident” during the job interview. What? First of all. Pah-leazee Me? Confident? Yeah, right. It must have been my evil twin Wittyzilla. Because secondly, about my highest level of interaction with the lady was maybe, just perhaps…total indifference.
So I was a total wreck last weekend in anticipation of starting a new job I knew I didn’t want. I was a total twitching, panic stricken mess. I even shot off an e-mail to “A” telling him I was going to fail and I wasn’t sure why I had even accepted the job.
Tuesday finally came and I felt like puking. But there ARE pharmaceuticals available for us nervous types, so we fixed that right up! So I get to the place and go into my new boss’ office to, I don’t know, say hello and ask what to do, and she says, “I have to write a confidential memo, so I have to have you leave my office, so I can close the door.” (click)
Its funny when I started at my last job, the first day I was there, they had a huge welcome-fest where everyone introduced themselves and gave lengthy speeches about why they loved working there and how much their jobs meant to them, etc. etc. And then there was a big cake and sodas. And everyone talked to me after the meeting. And showed me my desk. And were extremely friendly. And two women even invited me out to lunch.
Here? I’m suddenly looking at my new boss’ door closing and turning around to see this huge room teaming with a bunch of mentally ill people who looked like they slept under a bridge last night. There are like 4 other employees, but they were all in their office with their doors closed. I guess. Although how would I know? I’m not Patricia Arquette in “Medium”.
I was scared. I didn’t know what to do. My sole instruction from last week in a brief orientation was to “talk to people.” Ugh! First of all, I’m not a big talker. Like duh! Why do you think I don’t go on many dates? And then, I live out in the ‘burbs with the Pilate People Tribe. I shop at the Yuppie Grocery Store. THEY don’t know that I’m not one of their ilk financially. But here? People in filthy clothing. Old hairy men snoring in chairs. Others blankly staring at the wall.
And then I hear someone say, “Remember me?” and it was this guy who used to talk to me when I previously went to the Crazy Crazy Place 3 years ago. At that time he had invited me out several times. But not before detailing how much he liked to wear baby diapers and be spanked by “mommy” (me, presumably). As I walked over to him, he then let out a loud prolonged whinnying noise. Can we say the word: Cringe.
Why can’t I get a cute yuppie guy to whinny at me?? Why??
Anyways, I did finally spot a woman who works there P/T and was able to get the key to the art cabinet because when I had seen it briefly last week, it had been a disaster. I also figured in doing that, I wouldn’t have to talk to any guys who smelled like poop from 1987. Yay me!
About ten minutes into cleaning, some old guy asked me if I would play Scrabble with him. That, believe it or not, is one of my tasks….playing board games. And even though I consider myself somewhat of a wordsmith, he won handily by putting down such words as “Sh” and “gt”. Who wants to correct a guy in a mental health place?
By then it was finally almost time for my “art” class. I had briefly met this really off-the-wall chatterbox woman volunteer last week, who had been running the class. Although I use the words “running the class” lightly. She downloads pictures of coloring book kitties off the internet and then they sit and color them every week, evidently.
I soon realized that even though she knew I was the new “art teacher”, she wasn’t about to give up her Crown of Kitty Coloring Art Domination. And even though it usually takes a little while for you to not like a person, it was pretty much instantaneous with her. The woman never stopped talking. Ever. Just nonsense stuff, but mostly stuff about herself.
I finally had about 4-5 people gathered in a small room and suddenly all of them except one were all talking really loudly. Not to each other. Just bitching. I had told them that the first assignment was a self portrait. Just write down a word or two on how you see yourself and then draw yourself. I assured them it didn’t have to be perfect. Just be free.
Chatterbox, of course, was talking the loudest, showing everyone her latest kitty drawing. Another woman, about 50, was practically yelling, “I can’t draw. Why are you making me do this. I can’t draw. This is stupid. I can’t draw. ” Another guy was all up in my face because he wanted to sharpen every pencil in the entire building and there was no pencil sharpener. And then when we found a battery operated one, the batteries were dead and he was flipping out.
I frankly didn’t know what to do. At my last job, we never did groups alone. We always had co-facilitators. I finally got things down to a dull roar, by trying to help people one by one. But Chatterbox woman just kept talking. By now, she was coloring her next Kitty Picasso. She was coloring so hard that the entire 6 foot long table was shaking. I asked her if she could maybe calm down on the coloring, since it was affecting the other artists and she did for about 20 seconds and then just started up again.
People did start to draw, even the “I can’t draw” whiner. I, of course, was very encouraging to everyone. I decided to draw too, just because my nerves were totally shot and my drugs were quickly wearing off.
And then the pencil guy to my left started flirting with me. First he admired my drawing. And then he said he went to art school in London. Looking at his work….doubtful. And then he started building on that. Like that he did customized artwork on cars. And then suddenly he owned the shop. And I was thinking, Dude, if you own a business, why in hell are you laying around a free drop in center in ragged clothes?
And then some creepy young guy came in and was talking quietly to Chatterbox. When he left, she loudly announced that he wanted to sleep with her. Ummm, that’s nice. And then when I went to help this other lady and make a suggestion, since, you know, that’s kind of my job, and Chatterbox went, “You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.”
I tell you, I almost went Dick Cheney on her.
It was finally over. I cleaned up really quickly. I didn’t even really do what I wanted which was to have everyone talk about their drawing and how they felt, etc., mainly because I felt mostly like a fucking traffic officer in the middle of a traffic jam. I hated it. And I love art. But this really had nothing to do with art.
I went in to get my purse and coat in my new boss’ office, because everything has to be locked up because there is a lot of stealing there. I guess she was now done writing the confidential memo. I sorta thought she might ask like, gee, how did it go today, since my last boss was all about that. How did it go. How did everyone act. How are you feeling? Do you need to talk about anything? This woman? Nothing. She didn’t even ask how it went. I think she vaguely nodded her head towards me.
My first day!! Am I being a baby hoping to be asked how things went? If I were a boss, I would ask a new employee how things went. Or did I find everything ok. Yes, maybe I needed a little coddling. Well, I actually need a lot of coddling, but I would have settled for one single question: “How did it go?” And I would have lied and said “Fine” and walked out the door.
I did work again on Thursday. No boss or art group that day. Just wondering aimlessly around stinky guys until I was invited to play cards with some women. Chatterbox was there but avoided me. YAY! Although she did briefly make a big show in front of my table to ask for internet access to “download artwork for the art group”. Ok bitch. Got it. Happy now?
When I left and went to my car in front of the building, a guy who had been sitting in a stupor for the three hours I had been there, was out of the sidewalk. He suddenly jumped up on some wooden benches and was screaming, “Make it stop, make it stop!”. I scrambled to get in my car, all scared and shit, but in a way, I totally knew what he meant….You know.