Thursday, July 10, 2008

Birthday Cake, Central Air, And Outrage


First, the Balabusta turned thirty-five. I am not totally ready to be thirty-five. I had sort of had it in my mind that at the age of thirty-five I would have a couple of children, and a mortgage. The fact that I am, at the age of thirty-five, hysterically applying to jobs for the third summer running does not totally thrill me. But OK, thirty-five it is.

I went to my parents the night before my birthday for dinner, and we went out for Mexican/Guatemalan at our favorite neighborhood place, and then we came back to their apartment to find that the bomb squad had closed off their block. We stared worriedly from the big black van to the trees in front of my parents' building to the shul at the end of the block.

Questioning of the cop on the corner revealed that a mysterious package had been discovered, and the squad had responded. He suggested we come back in fifteen minutes or so, so we retreated down the street to the Thai place a few doors down, had a drink, and waited while the bomb squad blew up the package, and my father called the laundry delivery to suggest that they deliver the next evening. When we got out, the yellow tape had been rolled up, and we were free to go back inside.

Ah, modern times.

Anyway, the next evening I had lavish Chinese food with the Fella, and coconut cake, and the bomb squad did not come. Very nice.


This week, I did two job interviews. Yesterday's involved an astonishing trek across Oakland on a very hot day, but when I arrived, they had air conditioning--which was enough all by itself to make me want the job. Ohhhh. To quote the demon from Dogma--"No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater than...Central Air."

On the way to the interview, though, I had one rather surreal moment. I'm on the bus, which is making its way down International Boulevard, around Fruitvale. A middle-aged woman gets on the bus, sits down opposite me, and says an entire paragraph to me in Spanish.

I smile sheepishly, and say "I'm sorry, I don't speak Spanish." She smiles back and says, in English, "I was hoping you could tell me where to get off. I'm looking for the Mexican store."

Now, let me remind you, we're on International, just past the Fruitvale BART station. For those of you unfamiliar with Oakland, let me just explain that this is a part of town where even the Aryan Nation office has a sign in the window saying "Se Hablo Espanol". I stare out the window, watching an endless line of businesses roll by and wondering which of them could specifically be "the Mexican store". "I'm sorry, I don't know," I said falteringly.

Three blocks later she pointed, said cheerfully "Oh, there it is!" and leaped off the bus. It was a grocery store.


This morning I get a response back from Heckle, asking why I got two, rather than three months pay at the end of the year. Turns out the payroll people didn't take enough out, so I frittered away that money in groceries and the electric bill.

I also get an e-mail from Jeckle, explaining that the kid I gave the extension to has turned in his late work, to Jeckle, rather than mailing it to me, and DO I WANT TO COME IN AND GRADE IT?

I am filing for unemployment. I doubt I'll get any money, and God willing, I'll have a job in a week or two, but I want them to get the paperwork.

I've started to clench my back teeth. This can't be good.

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