yes, it's been a while. but don't you fear--nothing has changed. Eh, who is exactly reeeeally interested in my Welfare, anyway?
Chances are, whereever we left off, I was sitting around in seriously uncomfortable reception area, hating on something. And said something, in turn, was sitting around and hating on me right-back. The welfare office and I are just symbiotic that way. Yes, like bedbugs and box springs, we are. Wait--bedbugs are actually parasites sucking off with human beings, but in a bad way. So, that's a bad analogy. But back to the welfare office...
Now that I'm back from my break at the blog, I've got some bitching to do. That is the job of the jobless--bitching. And dammit, I am good. I don't remember where I left off other than my empty pockets, which seems to be where most of my tales, delinquent accounts, and thrifstore pants leave off anyway. Yes with the empty pit of my pocket, it's a journey like side-dishes that touch each other, like bile and other wasteproducts, where it all ends up in the same place. Hmm, I'm doing it again. Back to the story.
Blahblahblah, I finally meet my worker, Linda Brown. I've got a sobstory to tell her, and in turn, she's got a blank look and a generous hand-out of attitude to give right back to me. She's seen my kind before; it is all over her face. I'm one of those human-people-urchins that fill up her day. Human-people-urchins stuffed with woes, guts, and possibly contagions, and maybe snot. Understandably, she's gotta get me out of there quick-like; I feel a sneeze coming on.
Linda Brown has got a tidy, slick ponytail that I'm fairly certain is made from real hair--just not her own. She is pleasant and coldly cordial in an I'm-sick-of-your-shit sort of way. The fact that I have just met her and not had the chance to give her my shit--of which I have plenty--is besides the point. She knows. It's in her eyes. She is polite, even a tepid degree of warm, provided that she is the one talking, and you are the one quiet. I figure out the rules quickly; conversation is for the working class--the lowest rung, which lies on rungs far above me. I don't even know what a 'rung' is; no wonder I'm on Welfare.
After 7 hours of aforementioned waiting room social hour(S), it's almost closing time. There are pages upon pages to be signed and jotted that were never given to me. When she realizes I don't have my "pink packet", which reminds me of something that causes cancer in rats, her eyebrows arch. And people's eyebrows only arch in places like these when you've blown it. They are like rabid cat's backs that way. And you, little applicant with the missing document, you, are the mousey. Now go get your gubment cheese in this maze. But this metaphor is getting weird again. Waiting for Welfare will do that.
Ms. Brown is apologetic that I will have to come back the next day with said papers and gives me an appointment. The paper says 10:30 at the top. I have flashbacks to the waiting room I just left, flashbacks to the check-ups back in the golden years when I had insured visits with doctors that ended, a little sadly, with parking tickets--that's what appointments mean to me. Here, in the waiting room of all waiting rooms, it's a scary process. And a really boring one once you finish your book. So, when she tells me I must come back again, I think about more waiting, it hurts. No, I mean, physically--my ass, it hurts, because I've been waiting all day. It's gone as numb as my Will to succeed at this point. I mean, I haven't even left the house yet, hell, I haven't even left the welfare office yet, and I'm already shifting in my seat.
So, I ask her, Excuse me, do you think that I will actually be seeing you at this time? Or will it take quite a while? I just have an appointment later that day and you know how appointments--
--At that, her whole ponytail almost blops off because her face gets that tight. The air is full of "oh hell no". I am breathing its sulphur.
"Why would you ask me that?"
I gulp. She says it so plainly that I indeed wonder. Originally, it seemed a good enough question, a lot better than the last time I tried to buy a single donut hole across the street. I question myself. I come up with "Um," It's soft and squeaky.
"Does that not say 10:30 on that paper? Why would you ask me that? Do you understand that it is an appointment? Why would I see you at some other time and tell you to come at with this one? Here I am trying to help you..."
Although I have cringed myself into a speck of raisin on the chair, I still manage to interject.
"Sorry," I eek. "You know how appointments are. I just waited a long time. Sorry."
She explains more about what appointments are. That what I had today, you see, was not an appointment. But what I have tomorrow, is. I am wondering, by the pacing of her exposition, if she is going to give me a bucket of crayons, which would be great if I do indeed have to wait. The explanation is lengthy, so now I see why the waiting takes so long. She should have just made me look it up for homework, really. But occasionally, she will reflect on my question and repeat, " now that don't make no kind of sense". But it does, to me. But I'm glad for the details. Because on Planet Loser where I come from, surely we don't know what appointments are. Planet Loser is a crazy place, really. There, we just freeforall when we want our teefs pulled, punch each other in the mouths near the abscesses and call it a days work. Her appointment explanation is killing me. It is killing me to where I want to test out her theories immediately and make one of these "appointments"--between Ms. Brown, and her maker. I mumble either 'thank you very much' or 'fuck off and die.' Tomato. Tomahto.
The next day, I am running to get up the elevator. It is 10:28. I am like a frantic white rabbit, but this ain't no wonderland. Ohmigod. Have I learned nothing from our discussion? I know damned well what an appointment is. My being late would make no kind of sense. Oh no. What happens to the chair raisins at 10:31? Is it to the end of the line?
Speaking of line, there is a long one just to walk in the door, or to say things like "excuse me, where is the restroom?" or "I'm an invalid/graduate student." I skip the line--it's long. I am scolded. I wait in the line. I am then scolded because people with appointments don't wait in line. By this time, I've developed a strong conspiracy theory that goes like this: somebody, somewhere, is fucking with me.
Here is proof: the clock is fucking with me too, it's moving forward. 10:29. Man, move it crazy drunk dude behind me in line, I gotta go. I had my lecture yesterday. And I now know what an "appointment" is and those things mean business. Everywhere I go, government employees give me linda-brownian-stare. I ignore them. I run for the elevator, hurtle bound the strollers and "dayuumn hey babies" as I whiz by. I make it to my appointment. Less than a minute late. Catch breath and then...
forty-five minutes later,my name gets called. Well, at least this appointment story won't end sadly when I get outside to the parking meter; I took the bus here.