Every now and then you might notice this strange feeling creep over you that Humanity might actually be okay- you know, something happens that makes you say "Wow! People DON'T suck!" I suggest you get a job canvassing door to door for a good cause- it'll cure that right up.
Before you ask, OSPIRG stands for "Oregon State Public Interest Research Group" and its a nation wide organization (letters vary: NYSPIRG, CALPIRG etc.) They basically research a cause like "Improving air quality" or "Lowering ground water pollution" and then attempt to get bills passed that will enact said causes. Admirable organization, but one that has deal with politicians, the public and the police on a regular basis. Admirable, but to be pitied at the same time.
I had just moved to Portland, once again trying to escape the psychic whirlpool of the Monterey area, and was fairly desperate for work. Oregon is a great state, but I suggest that if you plan to move there you have a job lined up for you ahead of time, as there is VERY LITTLE work to be had.
I went to their head quarters to apply for a job with them, I was hoping for an office slot of some sort: general clerical, reception, or graphic design. None of those were available, of course. The crew that was milling about when I came in was comprised of folk who were young and chipper--as openly accepting as a virus--with smiles and bright eyes that somehow made me think of squirrels.
Only in retrospect can I say that these were the pack markings of a tribe who had become VERY GOOD at getting the general public to give them money within a few minutes of meeting them. That alien sweet syrup that I felt congealing around me was, in fact, the attitude of unwavering perkiness and unreasonable enthusiasm. It makes my guts feel cold to even recall it.
The interview was surprisingly negligible--all they really needed to know from me was whether I was too deranged to interact with other humans and whether I could legally work in this country. They tell me that the job is commission based, which pretty much ended it for me right there... after all, I need to eat and I'm not willing to gamble that on my ability to convince some total stranger, who I just likely interrupted in the middle of something REALLY important- -like their favorite T.V. show--into giving me their money. Fuck that noise.
Anytime I try to sell something to a stranger I am filled with a feeling of whorish emptiness that makes me utterly sick and angry. All forms of outside sales rep. are gross and foul--totally against my nature, I leave it to those who have no ethics.
I start making noises that I don't think that this job will be right for me when this really beautiful girl who had been "just checking out" the interview grabs my arm and says "Oh, c'mon! Pleeease?! Just come out with us today- give it a chance! You might like it!"
Prolonged eye contact.
So I'm being clutched by this hot college girl and the manager looks at me and says "Well, howabout it?"
What the Hell am I supposed to do? I'm weak like that. Before I actually realize what's going on I have agreed to go out and find myself sitting next to her driving out to some ritzy 'burb of Portland and feeling like a weak willed slug.
Hot college girl is flirty and touches me a lot, so I try to make the best of it. The team leader tells us that it's not likely we will score much from this area because, ironically, the folks in these parts have so much goddamn money that they guard it like there were no tomorrow. Hell, I suppose I understand- best to be able to afford the lung filters when the air-pollution gets too bad to breathe than to peal off a few bills and try to prevent it... stupid, short-sighted, self-absorbed fucks.
Anyway, hot college girl gets paired up with me (insidious) and we head out to start canvassing. This girl is a fucking whiz at it! She has this smile and naive look that simultaneously arouses and disarms. Its like all she has to do is say "Hi! I need some money!" and folk grab their chequebooks. Creepy. Her natural ease with it makes me feel a faux confidence with the whole shtick so she aks if I want to do a house on my own. I think "Sure, I got the spiel down, why not?" She proceeds down the block and I hit this house.
The door opens showing a fatty, balding, upper-middle aged man with a dead flat face.
"Hi, my name's Sean and I am working for OSPIRG trying to get the Clean Air Act-"
"YOU GODDAMN SON OF A BITCH! HOW DARE YOU!! GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY PROPERTY!!"
"What? I, uhhh-"
"YOU MOTHERFUCKERS MAY HAVE BEATEN ME ON THE GARBAGE BILL, but I'll BE DAMNED if you ever EVER GET A RED FUCKING CENT OUT OF ME OR MY NEIGHBORS!!"
"Jesus man, sorry I'm g-"
"I MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE BEST MAYOR THIS TOWN EVER HAD BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I DESERVED WHAT YOU MOTHERFUCKERS PUT ME THROUGH!!! GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY PROPERTY YOU TREE-HUGGING PIECE OF SHIT BEFORE I CALL THE-"
"HEY- calm the fuck down bitch! I'm going- Jesus H Christ! GOD!"
Well, that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. Hot college girl kept making eyes at me which was the only thing that kept me from finding the nearest bus stop and bailing right out. I asked her about the ex-mayor and she told me that 'He'd put up a pretty big fuss over the garbage bill'- well, uhhh, no kidding! Before I could question her any deeper she says:
"Hey, every Thursday we all get together and go dancing at bar/cafe that has a really good jukebox and bands play there all the time!"
"Hmmm, that's great."
Side note: I NEVER hang out with the people I work with, it feels alien and somehow innately wrong like I were still at work, like I have to guard myself, like I have to wear a "face" for them- fuck that noise. The very concept of it made me uneasy.
"The cool thing is" she continues "on Thursdays its 'ladies night' at the place and the girls are supposed to ask the guys... they want... to dance with them!"--eyelashes bat, eyes sparkle in the moonlight.
I want to fucking scream and bolt right in that moment! I mean GOOD LORD this girl was saying to me basically that sex might be a perk if I were to stay with them--it was like I was being inducted into some fucking cult! Not to say I wasn't aroused--I mean she was a really hot college girl and all--but was fearing for my immortal soul!
Heh, no, ultimately what made me call in "dead" the next day was the people I had the pleasure of meeting. So many doors simply slammed in my face as if I didn't exist. People saying outright that they could care less whether the air they breathed was clean or not and "Please go away before I let go of my Rotwieller."
I only worked for them for one solitary day, but in that span I discovered that it takes the zeal of a fanatic to stand before the dull-eyed, lazy, sick, apathetic ape that is the general public because the bulk of humanity is a waste of proteins who do not deserve the experiance of being.
I also learned that one way to make a fanatic is to lure a shmoe with the promise of sex... I'm no fanatic, never have been, I can see the malleability of perception thus I can't get behind one opinion so deeply that all else vanishes--ie, I understand nature too much to be a martyr... but sometimes I do regret not staying with them longer... at least until Thursday...
REVSCRJ is a writer/musician living in Monterey, California. Constantly on the verge of homelessness, he hopes that you enjoy his work or else his life has been in vain. Contact REVSCRJ at firstname.lastname@example.org to lodge complaints, notify of lawsuits, or receive spiritual advice.