I kind of panicked for a few days when I first got here, thought that I should just go back home. No job, no friends, no furniture, what was I thinking? I handled it pretty well, you know, by lying on the floor and sobbing. That was fun for a few days, but then it occurred to me that hey, I’m in Florid@, this is crazy. So I went to the beach. I signed up to be a volunteer at the humane society and also with Big Brothers Big Sisters – I’m guessing I’ll be the sister. Went and saw some bands play, went out and found a job, two actually.
The full-time job is through a temp service. The possibilities boggle the mind. The assignment I am currently on is data entry. All I do for eight hours a day is type 1’s and 0’s. I know, I know, it sounds fabulous. Oh sure, occasionally there are other numbers, but it’s pretty much and 1’s and 0’s type of thing. I thought I would never be able to find a job more boring than my last, yet here I am. Luckily the pay sucks. Wait, that’s not lucky. No, the lucky part is that I can get lots of overtime. If I work 10 extra hours a week, I can almost make what I was making at my last job. Unfortunately after 8 hours, all I want to do is run screaming from the building, with my bloodshot eyes and cramped up hands, to the nearest bar.
My first day here I was in an 8 X 6 cubicle with two other people. They score the tests that I get to enter. Let me tell a little about the tests because it’s just absolutely fascinating. Not really, but it’s my diary, so then. The tests are a battery of neuropsychological assessment tests designed by a bunch of doctors with a government grant. I bet those guys know how to party. Each test has about 4000 questions and takes about 4 hours to complete. Participants are paid $75 for completing the tests. After the first couple of tests I entered, I realized most people always got certain questions correct, and it was easier to copy and paste the data, rather than enter a 1 followed by 4 zeros 31 times in a row. Oddly enough, one of the questions people often miss is “Is the south pole north of the north pole?” For the record, the correct answer would be no.
I was told the average number of tests I was expected to enter an hour was 3. I can enter around 12. Am I getting paid 4 times as much? No, no I am not. So I compensate by wasting time. Also, I now have my own cubicle, which is good, because the guy I shared the cubicle with the first day – I’ll call him Mike because his name is Mike – took off his shoes halfway through the day. The hell? Since when is this acceptable behavior? Airing out your stinky feet in a cubicle you share with two other people that is roughly the size of a coffin - except a coffin would have better air circulation – is just so not cool. Mike wants to be a lawyer. I can totally picture him as one of those sleazy lawyers that has one of those commercials on tv – “have you been in an accident? Let me help!” Except Mike’s not even cool enough for that, he’s just kind of blobby and pasty and drinks a lot of coffee and has pungently smelly feet. Enough about Mike.
So then the part time job is in a shopping mall at Bath and Body Works selling overpriced hand lotions and candles. The company is a little fanatical about their training and adherence to conformity, but for a part time gig, it’s doable.
What else? I bought a sofa bed because sleeping and sitting on the floor was not as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be. Who knew? I bought a scale – I threw mine away before I left, thinking I could live without it. Ha ha ha. It’s worse for me to not know how much I weigh than it is to know. Without a scale, I become convinced I’ve gained 10 pounds or more. I know I’ll never be happy with the numbers, but as long as I know how much space I’m taking up in the world, every single day, it’s just better, it just is.. Last, but not least, I bought cigarettes. I quit smoking about 2 years ago, so I was a little worried I would be out of practice, but not to be concerned, I am more than making up for lost time. It was like, “Hello, old friend, welcome home!” Yeah well. Some people might think that this makes me weak, but I trust none of those people are here. I may have complained in here around two or three or seventy eight times about my roommate always smoking, but that was because she was doing it IN the apartment. I smoke outside, so I’m far, far superior. Plus, she was just really hooterific.
You know what I had forgotten about Florid@? Lizards. Those little things are everywhere, and before too long I have the feeling a cat may catch one and bring it to me as a gift. Oh the joy. Also, love bugs, I don’t know the technical name, so love bugs. When I first got here, the swarmed my car. Interesting, I thought, they’re all stuck together. Then it was “Oooooooh, they’re STUCK together, ewwwww.” And we’re walking . . .
I must get back to typing the all important 1’s and 0’s – it’s like programming, but with no actual purpose. The fate of the neuropsychological world may just depend on me.
2002-10-01 at 12:21 p.m.