Will Write For Food

albany_edenLast week I went to my appointment to register at the local unemployment office (the Cosmos sure loves its writers…). Having spent two years with an unemployed 39 then 40 year-old who became progressively whiny the longer he stayed at home, I did what any normal girl would in this situation: all in my power to avoid attracting a man at this place. I wore my baggiest sweater and old boyfriend jeans and my juvenile-looking glasses I have had since the fifth grade. I topped off my look with Ugg boots, which, men have told me, are not sexy.

As I played Free Cell on my phone in the waiting area, I just wanted this meeting to be over.

Then I saw him. He was lean but muscular, in cool casual jeans with perfectly rugged facial hair. I let down my ponytail and took off my glasses. He was just close enough for me to get a slight whiff of his yummy cologne.

“Eden, Albany Eden?” I heard a voice say.

“Yes, that’s me!” I said as I popped out of my seat to face the Adonis of the unemployment agency. Then my Greek god looked at me, confused.

“Albany Eden” I heard again, but sexy beard’s mouth was not moving. Suddenly the enchanting cologne dissipated as Adonis made his way to the middle-aged man sitting beside me.

“Raymond Dawson, please come with me,” he said, matter-of-factly as he walked away. Then a cloud of foul body odor seemed to fill the whole room.

The man who had called my name was standing behind my Adonis. He was cross-eyed in one eye, heavily overweight and proudly displayed his open fly. When he shook my hand, he squeezed my ring so tight that it hurt. I held my breath as he led me to his office.

He took my documents and looked them over, not speaking for almost ten minutes.

“You are missing page 3” he said. I took the file, located the page, and gave it back to him. He continued eyeing the document.

“Well, your file is incomplete. I cannot accept it.”

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“In this box next to title, your employer checked ‘other’ but did not ‘specify.’ See, it clearly says ‘other’ then ‘specify.’”

“I have that information, she is the payroll manager. I can just fill it in for you, or we can give her a call.”

“No, you must get her to fill it out herself, sign and stamp where she adds the title and then bring it back here to me.”

“Really, sir, could you please make an exception? I have already been here three times.”

“Well, you can drop off the file in the mailbox downstairs, then we will have to schedule another meeting. You have a web cam right? Because, we can meet online too.”

He was so clumsy with the printer and the computer; I could not bear the thought of him and his open fly—or what he might show my by mistake—on a web cam.

“Well, I have Skype but no web cam. Unemployed you see, don’t have budget for the luxuries” I did not want to take any chances.

As he input my information into the computer, he had to call in his boss to help him. It seemed to take forever. After 50 minutes of stinky air and saying nothing as this guy fumbled through the registration process, I was free to go—until next week.

I don’t know if it was deliberate on behalf of the unemployment agency, but avoiding another meeting with this guy is very powerful motivation for me to find a job quickly!

I realize this was not a dating catastrophe, but, lately, I have been meeting more interesting men who do not do wildly inappropriate things, so I had to look elsewhere for inspiration!

– Albany Eden

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