Friday, January 06, 2006

"I was busy doing something close to nothing, but different than the day before"

Copied from my LJ-8/3/05
Yesterday I got the best news I've had all summer. Effective Monday, I have medical insurance. Still no word on a raise, vacation days or other benefits, but I am so thrilled and relieved to have medical coverage.

Still, I can't let myself get complacent. I have to keep looking for something better. This job is hardly a career move, more like a desperate stopgap between me and homeless destitution. Not only am I not using my nursing degree, I'm not even using my years of experience in tech support. It's still a horrible place to work, in terms of workplace environment as well as location. When I call Highland Park a ghetto hellhole, by no means am I joking. It looks like a war zone with strip malls. On the way home yesterday I stopped at three different convenience stores looking for a loaf of bread before finally gving up. Apparently all the stores around here sell are lottery tickets and blunt wrappers, both in astounding variety. Last night our security guard called us, terrified to leave her station. One of the local crackheads was menacing her for no apparent reason, screaming threats and throwing rocks at the guard shack. She called the police but they never showed up. In fact, Highland Park doesn't even have a police force, and Detroit cops apparently have bigger fish to fry.

Tracy still has not been fired but supposedly it's in the works. Until then I'm back to working the 3pm-midnight shift. While Tracy is here, Pat insists that we don't run any print jobs in the evening as that is his job. And at the moment, for the first time since I started working here, we're all caught up on incoming scanning jobs. That means that, other than the hour it takes me to run daily reports, we've spent the last two evenings doing absolutely nothing. So ol' Pat can be a slacker too. I didn't know she had it in her. I web surf and she plays online card games. Occasionally we chat, but we're just as content to go about our business in silence.

Last night Pat asked me what crab tastes like. (How does someone live to be 48 without ever tasting crab?) Later I regretted getting on the subject of food with her, because we started talking about our favorite cooking shows and she maligned my much-beloved Paula Deen. "That woman is a pig! I can't watch her. She stuffs her mouth with so much food, it just grosses me out. And she fills everything with butter and grease." Le sigh. Spoken like the 4'10", eighty pound stick figure she is. She has said on more than one occasion that fat people disgust her. I'm hardly skinny myself, but no one ever accused her of having tact. Pat has an odd, almost adversarial relationship with food. She eyes everything I bring in for lunch suspiciously, and says she eats only once a day.

Pat is an attractive woman, with piercing hazel eyes, multiple gold rings in her ears and nose and eyebrow and a shock of spiky silver hair. She walks with the cockiness of a banty rooster. She's a likeable enough person but as I've said, we'd never be friends outside work. She says the web bores her, that she's already seen it all. How do you respond to that? It's a remark only someone who never reads could make, and she freely admits she doesn't. Working the evening shift this week I learned something new and surprising about her: Pat listens to two hours of conservative talk radio every evening. So yes, while you were home watching Big Brother last night, I was listening to Bill O'Reilly argue the merits of teaching intelligent design theory in public schools, punctuated by Pat's occasional exclamation of "I agree!" I know better than to judge a book by its cover, but it's just not what I'd expect from a butch lesbian with approximately fifteen facial piercings. Go figure.

Music: Aquanote-The Pearl
Mood: Content