A trip to the unemployment office
Well, first, it's not called the unemployment office anymore. It's called the...drumroll, maestro...The Career Center. Ta-da. No it is not a Career Center. Let's face facts here, people. It's the unemployment office because you go there because you're unemployed.
I tried to sign up for unemployment benefits--that's code for money--a couple of times over the phone, but the sheer volume of people seeking career advice--that's more code for money--caused the Career Center to implode. First I was shunted to another day based on the last digit of my social security number, and then when I called on that day I was held in a holding pattern, eating up my cell minutes like Pacman on speed, then after about twenty minutes I was unceremoniously disconnected.
So I decided to go in, in person. With much trepidation, I might add. Because in this country, it is shameful and embarrassing to be out of work, or poor, or just not a bright and shiny lie. But heck, I'm an actor and a writer. I need life experiences to keep my creative juices flowing.
And you know what? It wasn't that bad. As a matter of fact, it wasn't bad at all. Just regular folks needing a little help. I even saw a woman there who I used to see on the T when I commuted. Small world. We're all in this together, people.
I took two books I'm reading: A Journey in Ladakh by Andrew Harvey and One Man's Wilderness by Sam Keith. (Sorry. I haven't updated weRead on Facebook. I've been a little busy.) Both books are about people searching for spirituality, each in their own way. One, in Ladakh, India, and the other in Alaska.
The Career Center was a bit hard to find, sort of tucked away on a side street. I asked a UPS driver where it was. He told me, and he was the one who ruefully told me it was called the Career Center now, and we laughed, then he said there were a lot of people there and wished me good luck. Boy I tell you, the regular response of people when they learn you got laid off is that you've been diagnosed with cancer.
It wasn't that crowded. I expected the place to look like they were giving away Springsteen tickets, but it was quiet and friendly. I had to fill out a form, then sit for a bit longer than an hour. I read a bit about the man building a log cabin in Alaska, then while I was reading about the British intellectual looking for spiritual enlightenment in India, my name was called.
A brief meeting with a consultant, and I was out of there.
Oh, and I also learned that the state is hiring prison guards. Now there's a job for a writer/actor.