Recently, I've been spending my days in the bucolic purgatory of Ham Springs, Virginia, trying to drum up last-minute job applicants in order to meet our recruiting goals. Last week we were forced to lay off our field staff, but we still had one area that wasn't completed. It's a four-hour round trip from here to Ham Springs, but it's a beautiful drive along country roads and I do love me some long country drives, so I was pleased as plum pudding to find out that I wuz gonna get paid to take me a nice long spin in the sticks.
On the first day it rained non-stop, which sorta impeded my enjoyment of the scenery as well as nearly causing me to wreck my car. A few miles into my trip, my passenger-side windshield wiper stopped working; it's really hard to drive on winding, narrow county roads with only one half of a view and I became a mite fearful for my well-being. Luckily, I found a place to pull over without too much problem and since the exact same thing happened with my other wiper a few weeks ago, I knew what that problem was and was able to fix it without much fussin' and cussin'. Well, some cussin'.
Damn my fucked-up bad luck, I muttered to myself as I worked, it seems like it's always raining when my windshield wipers break.
It didn't occur to me that the only time I check the status of my wiper motors is when I'm using them, which I only do in the rain. Duh. No wonder it's always raining when they fail.
Yesterday was clear, sunny and almost warm enough to roll the windows down; a fine day for driving.
I did see an eagle, but it wasn't coming for my liver, it appeared to be diving into a creek to catch something. It disappeared behind a bridge as I sped by, causing me to have a Marlin Perkins flashback as I imagined the raptor ascending with wriggly prey clutched in it's talons. I love nature shows but the real thing is always better, unless it's Jaws or something.
Meeting my work goals was easy. I had a room set up at the local community college which is situated directly above the public library. I went to the library and politely accosted people that I observed reading the "help wanted" classifieds.
Hello. I'm from the Government and I'm here to help. Are you interested in a part-time job? Follow me upstairs and we'll fill out your paperwork and administer a short written test.
I kinda expected a touch of suspicion, but I found people to be very receptive, as lay-offs at the local pork mills have been putting a powerful hurt on the local morale- and on the economy, too, I suppose. My mission was pretty easy...
Hold up a sec, I gotta take a minute and bask in the glow of my own blushing self. My job has been to make certain that the Bureau has the workers that it needs. When I dropped off my paperwork at the office last night, I overheard the evening shift making phone calls, offering people jobs. The hiring has begun!
In all, we will hire roughly 1,500 people locally in the next month or two. My staff and I have been creating jobs. I'm proud of that accomplishment.
But it's done. Now what?
I'm being transferred to the IT department, where I'll be in charge of computery-type stuff. My cut-and-paste skills have gathered me considerable acclaim among the bosses, so I was offered a choice of working in the field or moving to IT...I love the autonomy of field work, but it would mean working Saturdays and I'm unwilling to give up my radio show, so I took the IT job.
I love to rock too much to give up the radio show. I used to write and record my own music all the time, but I quit after arm surgery in 2001. I thought that particular part of my creative self had vamoosed for good, but it turns out that it was my approach that was lacking:
I can't create music on a PC, and that is what I have been struggling with for many unproductive years- it's not that I can't use the technology- I record other bands on a regular basis- it's just that I can't even string together a simple chord progression while connected to a PC.
I need to have my word machines separate and apart from my noise-making contraptions.
Fortunately, my Twin just happened to have an old stand-alone 12-track digital recorder cluttering up his apartment, so he gave it to me. I pulled my Roland synth and Gibson bass out of mothballs, moved all my music stuff to one side of the room and set to work- my first project is basically a long-winded and self-indulgent exploration of guitar harmonics, space noises and sour notes set to an arrogantly thumpimg bass line. It's not much, but it's more than I've done in years and it felt good to lay down tracks again. I'm amazed at how much of a change in mood this simple re-arranging of electronics has produced.
I'm thinking about buying a new Drummer-in-a-Can. The canned drummer technology has come a long way since the old days of clunk-chinka-clunk-boop-boopa-clunk...come to think of it, my very first computer experience was writing drum machine programs for my old drummer,the robotic Roland Arfive. Today, I'm a Federal IT "expert" and I reckon I owe some small debt to Arfive for helping me understand machine thinking. Funny how life works out.
Last night I saw my best friend Ron on TV. He was playing the banjo and talking about roots music. During the interview, the PBS station displayed his website address, so I went over to
his site and what did I see? Ron has listed the musicians he has played with and there are some highly respectable names amongst them- and I'm on it too! At the top, no less.
The Twin is flying into town tomorrow and he, Ron and I are going to go shopping for houses. Ron is a houses expert as well as a great musician.
Jobs and houses in a positive context.