My car is still in the shop so I've been reduced to taking...the bus. The bus! I haven't taken a bus since I was in the seventh grade. I needed to get to a job interview in Universal City, about 20 miles from my apartment. Normally I would have just called a cab if the car were unavailable. 'Normal' went down in flames months ago.
First I had to 'plan my route', which can be done online. Supposedly. I finally figured out the route, found the bus stop, and waited for the bus which promised, a mere ninety minutes later, to deposit me at (well, near anyway) University City. So there I stood, just before eight o'clock on a Tuesday morning, with about a dozen other poor, car-less souls. What a hodgepodge of humanity. Guys in suits, women with kids, old people, and this guy in a wheelchair whom everyone seemed to know. So, we all clamber up the stairs and...damn. I mean, damn! Remember the cantina scene in Star Wars? All those guys were there - the butt-head guy, and octopus-face, and this woman who was a dead ringer for Jabba-The-Hutt. I swear to god! I had no idea where to sit. I mean, the bus was nearly packed. It was a toss-up between the Humong family and their seven kids, the transvestite dude in the blue wig, and Butt-Head Guy. I ended up next to the transvestite - at least I was reasonably sure he wouldn't hit on me.
Turns out it was much worse - I actually knew him! Or had in my previous life, at any rate. It was Mark, one of Barney's many attorneys. He'd lost his job - drugs - and been disbarred. He'd worked as a paralegal for awhile and now was shilling texture-coating to poor hispanic families in East L.A. We actually had a pleasant conversation, comparing job-hunting notes, sharing our disbelief and horror about the Boston Marathon bombing, and commiserating about the generally shitty state of the world.
Mark got off about half-way through my ride. We promised to Facebook each other. Anyhow, an old lady who smelled like rotting sneakers took his place and sat there muttering to herself and reeking of moldy gym socks until I finally made it to my stop at, no make that near, Universal City. I ended up walking about a half-mile before entering the H.R. office, all wind-blown and sweaty, and 10 minutes late for my appointment. It didn't really matter because there were about five people in the office, waiting to interview for the same job. An hour and twenty minutes later it was my turn.
It was like speed-dating. The H.R. queen bee asked exactly three questions:
1. Have you ever worked as an Administrative Assistant before? (No)
2. Do you have any special skills that qualify you for this position? (No...well, I have a very organized kitchen. Does that count?)
3. Have you ever been convicted of a felony? (No)
Thank you, Ms. Wiseman. We'll call you.
Well, crap. What a waste of time. I won't even go into the ride home. Let's just say it required a shower, a Valium, and a nap.
Recipes and Household Tips for the Recently
Impoverished - Tip # 3
I found a recipe for lemon-bars that calls for only two ingredients: a box of angel-food cake mix and two cans of lemon-pie filling. Simply mix the filling and the cake mix, spread into a nine-by-twelve pan (spray first with non-stick coating) and bake for 45 minutes at 350-degrees F. I added a bottom crust made from crushed coconut cookies - all ingredients courtesy of the dollar store. Incidentally, I checked the price of pie filling at the local Savemart - $5.49! And that was for the Western Family brand!