Thursday, December 01, 2005

Another Day, Not Another Dollar

So today is the third day in a row I have ventured to the “Self Sufficiency Center”. Yesterday spent more time driving there and back then at the frigging place to meet with “my” eligibility worker. Sign my name a bunch more. Had to sign an affidavit that I hadn’t paid my rent. Well duh!
I had to set my alarm last night because my appointment was for 8:30am. And me with no coffee at the house.
Of course I'm thinking um, traffic. Leave and of course no traffic and I arrive early,the doors are locked. Okay, I sit in the car and knit. When the time is close I walk to the door and again “something here doesn’t look like the other”. Of the six of us, three are smoking, two are on cell phones (mine has been cut off!), all of them are wearing newer shoes than I am, and well, everything looked newer than my clothing. Sheesh. Oh and having just purchased a pack of cigarettes for my sweetie - $4.39 a pack! How do these folks afford this habit?
I get a number like I’m in a deli and wait to be called for fingerprinting.  Woo hoo,I’m the first one called. It turns out that they want to take digital prints of both my indexfingers.  I assure the woman that no one else has the same left index print.  Really.  Shelaughs a bit, and says for some reason “they” want both.  I offer that maybe they areworried I will lose one in a farming accident.  I get a big laugh. Thank god she had a sense of humor.  
Finally get to the General Assistance orientation part.  They had to have gotten this womanstraight from central casting.  She is wearing a lovely black sleeveless top and black slacksshowing off some very shapely arms.  Completing the outfit are these funky high heeledclogs, which are, regretfully brown.  She performs a roll call and someone offers that themissing folks might be outside smoking.  Of course they are.  “Any one I didn’t call?”  A woman raises her hand, Central Casting woman asks her name, “Baby, you were supposedto be here 3 days ago. I had you down for 1:30 today.  You want to go now?”  Another womanraises her hand and says that “they told me to come in even though I just got here.”  Central Casting say, "who told you that?" then whispers "the white guy?"  It was so hard notto bust out laughing.  She says, a social worker will call us individually and talk to us overthere in a cubicle. “Social workers are different than intake workers, they have degreesand will ask more personal questions, like, do you have any mental condition that mean youcan’t work, and that sort of thing.”  I kid you not.  Again, I am laughing, on the inside.
Somehow I get what I believe to be the only white social worker.  She is very soft spoken,slightly apologetic, in her mid-late forties, wearing a pendent that looks like a Chinesecharacter, and a Native American looking ring.  Wonder if she is a lesbian.  Can’t imaginewhy she is working here, white girl guilt?  Anyway.  It’s over quick, and I return to the“cafeteria” (vending machine, two fridge – one of which is dead) to await Central Casting tocall me over to her cubicle.  Somehow I must past muster because she calls me “baby” too. Maybe it’s because I’m from NY, which she comments on approvingly (it’s amazing whatthey know about me!).  We laugh over a few a things, and I’m done.  Do I know whetheror not I will get a damn dime from these folks, nope, but I have to come back on the 14th tomeet with an “employment counselor”.  Yeah!  I don’t need them to find me a job,I need cash.  Now.  Yeesh


Jennie said...

Phew! I'm exhausted just reading it. Loved your "farming accident" joke. Good one. Sorry this is so painful. Makes me want to hurry up & redo my basement & move you two in.

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