Saturday, March 28, 2009

Personal Narative (reblog)

Its a funny world where you can't waste time at work by doing personal
correspondences! maybe that kind of thinking is the reason no place
that I've ever worked wanted me near a computer. I started applying
for graphics jobs back in the eighties when i worked for GTE
publishing. They print the phone books for the southeast US Ohio and
the Nynex=New York books. It was the dawn of the whole computer thing
and The company bought a system that allowed you to do graphics for
those little yellow page ads. While I worked there I watched the whole
Art Department change from people that drew stuff to people that sat
in front of a terminal. I wanted in because I could have gotten in at
the ground floor of a major publishing revolution. I stead I spent the
year running the little ads through a wax machine so that they could
paste them up in the traditional manner. Some parts of the system took
longer to catch up. After I got passed over for a few openings I
dropped out to work for The local Renaissance Festival. I'd have to
get up at sunrise on Saturdays and ride the bus for two hours. In
costume. The bus stopped at the county Jail.
At the festival I sold Bamboo flutes for a man who made them. Since I
was a paid Performer, I also marched in the parades, and tootled
little jigs and reels for hat money. Mostly I flirted with attractive
young women. (it's part of the job.)
That was fun. But ...I didn't feel like traveling around the country
at the time so that left a whole year to fill up between festivals. I
worked as a file clerk for various temp agencies. All the while I
watched Other people struggling with their Macs and PCs envious, but
physically active. Can you Imagine how much paperwork there is for the
Insurance claims department at a major drugstore chain? I used a fork
lift to take down pallets, then sorted through the alpha numerically
stacked boxes looking for a single sheet of paper, which i would then
copy and take back to the office where no one would speak to me
because i was a temp. Most of the tome there was just me in a
warehouse with a million documents.
For fun I would hang around Downtown St Pete where the bars and banks
are. Friday afternoons if i wasn't working i could easily pick up
thirty bucks with a few Bach and O'Carolan tunes. One day A guy
stopped While I was playing Shakuhachi out side of a liquor store.
"You Should Come work Where I work," He said. Turns out that he meant
the hands on / children's museum which had just opened up."I already
applied," I told him.
"Well, they're hiring again. and you could use me as a reference," he
told me. So that was the next five years. School Tours, Insect Petting
Zoos, Sanitizing the 'Touch Tunnel.' Some of my friends used to call
my car 'The Black Hole.' It took years to figure it out. The Museum
had a portable planetarium. Really and inflatable dome and a
projector. I ended op being the guy who used it so, mornings i would
show up and stuff the "universe," into the back of my Toyota Celica,
and drive off to one of Pinellas County's's questionable schools.
Later, I told folktales with a guy names Uwezo Sudan. when he left, it
wasn't quite the same. I felt lost telling kids about Anansi and
trying to fake a Jamaican accent.
I dabbled in college but my heart was no longer in my work. then I
took some interest in a young lady who had been working at the museum
since i started. she had taken off for about a year and then returned
after her fiance/ business partner left her in charge of a sign
painting business. (she had trained me to Typeset on a GSP vinyl sign
cutter, so during her absence, I made the signage for exhibits and
what not.) She was in charge of special events and she considered me
responsible so, I would stay over at the Museum with her when we had a
sleepover for children. We also did little workshops where kids and
families could make masks or learn about fossils by making a
plastercast of a shell or something. We never dated, but we did talk
seriously about life and stuff. One day she came to me, very upset,
wanting to know what I did with the money from the folklore project.
Apparently there was a budget I was never told about. I always
provided my own musical instruments and props for the show. Then they
hired a new story teller who began spending money on educational stuff
like silly string.
Then we were told that My friend had been in an accident. We were
given a gag order not to speak of it. Then were were told that she had
been attacked and left for dead at her apartment. She never regained
the ability to speak due to extensive brain damage. I was terminated
soon after. The reasons differed. Some people were told that I sold
Drugs at the museum. (False) that i showed up late for work, (True)
Other people seemed to realize that I had been assaulted by the
Education Director who was in charge of The Folktales budget.
No one said much to me after I left.
I only saw my friend once after she came out of her coma. Her parents
hovered around her protectively, and she looked like some one who had
been sewn back together. I know she couldn't talk, l but there was
something in her eyes, that I understood. We both cried. I lost faith
in the human race on that day.
She still owes me a book. I loaned it to her about a month before her
assault.The book was "Song of the Forest" by Colin McKay
It's Out Of Print.

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