Friday, December 04, 2009
My boss, who is an ultra-Republican Marine, says the "arty people" can "smell the stench of right-wing on [him]" and tend to be unreceptive, so he sent me instead.( He does have the stench of "right" about him, but at least he has a sense of humor about it.)
Anyway, on my first trip , I hit coffeehouses and tattoo parlors near the local art school and several strips of stores and restaurants, including a few blocks in my neighborhood.
My second day found me in an all-black neighborhood and I wound up doing a tour of the local barber shops. It is worth noting that I am white, have a clean-shaven head and was carrying a dubious-looking Federal badge, because the first establishment I visited went silent on my entrance. Uh oh. Suspicion.
"Can I help you?", asked the barber looking at me sideways, eying my badge.
"Just a little off the top", I replied, waving my hand over my bald head.
The barber paused for a second and then he and his customers started laughing. Ice broken, I explained that I was trying to get the word out about jobs. After my spiel, I was graciously given window space for my pamphlets. I wound up using the same line at a few other 'tense' visits, always with a positive result. I enjoyed the glimpse into a world I don't normally see- the barbershop, black or otherwise. (I haven't had a haircut since 2005)
My third excursion took me into a South Fallentown neighborhood that was part Hispanic slum and part redneck trailer park. Many of the bodegas and restaurants flat-out refused to acknowledge my presence but some places let me place brochures next to the Lottery materials, which I found a bit ironic. I dropped off a few at the adult video store too, just for the sheer wrongness of doing so.
I had an internal interview today and I have every reason to be optimistic, since my credentials include holding the exact job that I interviewed for.
Three times this year I have been told : "Good work. Nice job." This is always the prelude to getting laid-off. No incident or criticism, just straight from "nice job" to " no longer required".
During the interview, my potential boss complimented me on my "good work".