Within a few hours, the walls started closing in and I felt short of breath. Nothing brings on a panic attack quite like enforced inactivity, and this was mandated tedium at it's dullest. I could tell that I'd be freaking out if I twiddled pencils much longer, so I mumbled something about not feeling well to my boss- who agreed that I looked pretty shaky- and I went home.
The next day, I just couldn't cope. The office atmosphere, the holidays, the cumulative disappointments of the past couple years combined with the terrifying prospect of a no-future 2010...it was too much. I called in sick. I could scarcely afford to miss the hours, but I was afraid that I'd have a complete public meltdown if I went to work...it was not an easy decision, but I chose sanity over salary.
At 10:30 I received a call from an unknown number-probably a bill collector, I thought, letting the machine answer.
A woman's voice began leaving a message...I heard the words "I am looking at your resume" and made a mad, breathless dash to the telephone.
Am I still looking for a full-time job? As a matter of fact...
Do I have time for a telephone interview? Why, yes. I do.
And I did.
I must have given pretty good phone, because I got a callback later that day, scheduling me for an in-person interview the following week. This was the first non-Bureau job interview that I'd had in well over a year- I spent the days preceding it in a heightened state of nervous anticipation, playing and replaying myriad scenarios in my head:
Interviewer: So, Mr. C.- it seems that you have a history with the North Carolina State Police...you sold some bootleg Japanese cartoons to a Trooper back in 1996 and he was indicted as part of a RICO sting and your fingerprints were found on a VHS copy of Dragonball Z...
Me: Wait...I can explain. It started with a Traci Lords tape...no, wait, I mean Jackie Chan...
But that never happened. Instead, we talked about the job and whether or not I could do it.
I can do it, I concluded.
I went back to the Bureau office feeling a little better about the future. Just a little.
The next day, I was in mid-nothing at work when my cell-phone rang. Officially, we are not even allowed to answer our private phones on the office floor (security!) but I recognized the number as my potential employer- throwing caution to the wind, I answered.
It was my new boss, calling to offer me a full-time, permanent job with good pay and great benefits. Was I interested?
Yes. I accept.
Would I mind doing a drug-test?
Why? I'm pretty sure that I have tested all of them at some point in my life and I don't feel like repeating most of the experiences...oh, you mean a piss-test. Oh. Sure. (I didn't say it like that)
Can I take it now?
So I did. I passed, was officially hired and I start next week. The new job is in a nice downtown building that is directly on the City bus route, door-to-door from my apartment to the office! Amazing.
Some folks hate the bus, but I prefer it to driving when it come to commuting. I enjoy the 30-minute "book-time" each way...plus, my car needs work. The less I drive, the better.
I turned in my Federal badge Monday and said goodbye to my friends at the Bureau. I won't miss the office, but there were some decent people there and I feel better for having known them...but that is the past.
This is now. Now is looking good.
- I won our 'Fantasy Football' pool this year. I'm using my unexpected windfall to buy a vintage Morley pedal to use for...
- The Monday Machines CD, which should be completed and released on April 1, 2010- no fooling! But that is the subject of a whole other- and as yet unwritten- post. It may well be the happiest post of my life, so be warned.
-Goodbye to all this: