It is currently day three of my new job. I'm standing in front of a store. Metallica is blaring.
"Ah, these kids listening to their vampire music! When I was their age, I took me girlfriend to see Frank Sinatra and she was screaming and standing for him!"
The old Scottish guy who looks disturbingly like uncle Scrooge is talking. Not to me per se, and not really talking either. More like mumbling incomprehensibly. The only reason I haven't pushed him towards oncoming traffic is because he's one of the owners.
"But that was real music... none of the crap you kids listen to today. Oh I remember a lot of the good bands back when I was a kid. I love that stuff and I listened to it with a passion!"
The battle between those that like Metallica is briefly overcome by those in favour of rap, judging by the shuffling noises from the PA. Lil' Bow Wow's voice comes alive through all fifteen speakers, echoing through the empty parking lot.
"Oh now they are listening to black music! My mother was stabbed fifteen times by a black guy! I really don't like this music! What is this crap you kids listen to? I really don't understand why you guys do this!" The music makes the mumbling even more unintelligible.
He walks towards the garbage can, still talking. Not to the garbage can either. I slowly walk backwards towards the doors.
"Four shopping carts have gone missing! Four!" The man is obsessed with them.
"I counted them all twice, there are only 48 of them now!"
I take this chance to make a run for it inside and disappear.
A few weeks ago it came to the point where I found myself completely broke. Employment Insurance had finished, funds had ran out in my bank account and all I had left to my name was some assorted change in the pockets of various pants.
Until then, I had used the advantage of the cheques the government sent me, to look for work and be a little picky about what I applied for. By picky I mean that I applied for jobs that asked for a little more than just "Ability to read and write" or being able to distinguish between a Tall and a Grande at Starbucks.
However, when you find yourself with no money, you have to put what little pride you have left aside and start looking for something, anything, to get the flow of cash going again.
It would seem that the field of Technical Writer, for as unexciting as it may be, is dead. I'm one of those thousands of unemployed people that the employed (a rare breed of people these days) either snob (because being unemployed is like being of the pariah cast) or feel sorry for. You know the kind: they give you that understanding smile and tell you that the market is picking up, that things will get better....
While I do appreciate the encouragement, it does not make me feel any better. Especially when people give me puppy-eyes and inform me that I am the master of my own domain, as if it is my fault that a job can't be found. Seriously, it's not like I'm unqualified or I am not trying. The problem is, I don't know the right people.
Because I didn't want to go down to the local grocery store and ask my former manager for a job, much less work there again, I called up a friend that runs a security company. After a quick call and some paperwork, I was officially a security guard.
Like I said, looking back in my history of employment, it would seem that every job I've had so far has been thanks to knowing someone from the inside. It has become obvious that when you go look for work the traditional way, there is a lot of competition you have to fight against.
So perhaps being a security guard isn't the best form of employment ever, but it's better than stocking shelves and besides, I look spiffy in the uniform. That's what I tell myself when I fall asleep, crying.
Ironically enough, my first assignment is at a grocery store.
The first thing I did was to introduce myself to all the staff as "Leo" and get to know them. I did this to avoid having problems people calling for "Leonardo" and I not having a clue that they were looking for me.
"LEONARDO TO THE FRONT!" Sound of guns shooting, people screaming "LEONARDO TO THE FRON..AARRGGH!!" Hmm. I wish.
It seems that the only problem people have is with my first name.
At College for four semesters, I kept having any document that had my name on it written as Leanne instead of Leandro. It puzzled a lot of people, especially me. I just muttered `Casablanca' and something about `Still have to get my vagina implant' whenever a professor queried about that.
People who look at my ID usually refer me as `Leonardo'. When I ask them where they read that, they point at the document they have been looking at.
I point out it's `Leandro' not `Leonardo' and they go, "Oh."
"Can't you read?" I ask.
"I'm dyslexic," they tell me in an irritated tone.
I've met a lot of dyslexic people.
As I am walking around the store, bored out of my mind, I decided to entertain myself a little by looking at things in a Jerry Falwell state of mind. You know the type: right wing Christian mentality, capable of spotting perversion and attacks on morality on just about everything.
The first thing I noticed was a product display with the photo of a kid who looked way too happy for something as insignificant as Kool Aid. My guess is that the kid, rather than mixing the crystals with water, snorted a few of the bags. The rest of the display features psychedelic colours followed by floating products, clearly a sign of intoxication. If this isn't telling kids that doing drugs is good, I don't know what is.
Clearly children’s food is filled with messages designed to corrupt their young minds. For example, a box of cereals that featured marshmallow clone soldiers from the Star Wars movie. Fairly innocent, at first.
If you think about it, the clone soldiers were genetically altered. Kids eat the marshmallow representation of genetically altered soldiers. In other words, eating genetically altered food is okay, and also fun.
And talking about cereal, what's the message children are getting out of Trix? You know how the whole gag in the commercial: rabbit tries to get cereals, kids snatch the cereal away and say something like "Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids!" and they laugh, evilly.
The rabbit walks away looking like someone just shot, cooked and ate his parents in front of him. And we're supposed to laugh at this? This is teaching kids that discrimination is plenty of fun and we should abuse those who are different, without any of the guilt that should come along.
But it gets worse. Remember the Monsters Inc. movie? The movie featured a big blue furred monster and a small one named Mike Wazoski. Mike is a monster. He has a big eye. Get it? Mike is the one eyed monster. That's also slang for penis. So here we have Fruity Peel Outs (and may I emphasise fruity!) which feature the one eyed monster. And kids put this in their mouth! I'm not sure if to look at this as some corrupt way to turn all our children homosexual or if this is some perverted way to promote paedophilia.
As you can see, I have plenty of time at work.