Last week I received a letter in the mail from the NY Department of Labor ordering me to appear at an appointment at 250 Schermerhorn Street on October 17 at 1 pm for a mandatory job search seminar. If I missed the meeting it stated I would potentially lose my benefits. So I schlepped my ass onto the G train and slunk over to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop. I got there ridiculously early, having left at the same time my friend who I'd crashed with in Bed-Stuy had to go to work so trolled Livingston Street, one of my favorite degenerate strips of Brooklyn right by the Fulton Mall.
Livingston Street is home to a Dallas BBQ, Papa Johns, Popeyes, Taco Bell/Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins combo, countless perfume and pattie shops, a gargantuan GoodWill and New York's only IHOP. Trying to find something healthy to eat that that fufills my new dietary restrictions in this mecca of bad taste is like trying to find a Chanel store in Nebraska aka impossible. Despite my love of IHOP, I didn't really feel like spending $11 on pancakes, so I settled on a steam table joint on Flatbush Ave that looked like it at least had some vegetable matter. I ordered the salmon, sweet potatoes, and greens. Bad choice. The salmon was full of bones and the scene inside was a total starch fest. After watching a mother feed her daughter fried chicken and mashed potatoes and orange soda I looked at my depressing vegetable matter and realized there is a reason that most people eat like shit. It tastes way better. Especially if you are on a budget. A $3 salad is gonona be far grosser than a $3 chicken sandwich at your neighborhood fried chicken joint. Disheartened and heart-burnt I moseyed over to the GoodWill store back on Livingston.
To those who haven't been there, you should go. The only reason I am sharing this spot with you is because I go there about two or three times a year and I doubt any readers are in that hood too often so there isn't going to be much competition. If you are looking for 90s gear it's amazing. If you are looking for fabric it's even better. The dress racks are full of traditional African dress which, while may not be the right cut or appropriate style for a lot of us out there, are made up of the most wonderful prints and colors. The vintage rack is useless, but expect brilliant colored knits and ridiculous leathers. I scored two dresses on my way to my appointment, both perfection.
Time running short, I dashed down the street to the ugly behemoth of a building that is the New York State Department of Labor Kings County headquarters. I waiting in the security line and showed the guard my letter of appointment, half ripped to shreds from the house party we'd had the Friday prior. Seriously, the only thing that got damaged in my entire bedroom (which was filled with headbanging dudes) was my appointment letter and employment history form. Sweet. He laughed at said, "Dog ate it?" I smiled and got on the elevator. The 3rd floor was where I was required to report for my appointment. The room was full, every seat taken. I waited in line to check in dodging uncouth individuals trying to brazenly cut in front of me (ahh...social services draw the best crowd.) The woman behind the desk took one look at my letter and laughed and said, "Dog ate it?"
Once all checked in, I was given another form to fill out and followed a group into room #3. There were about 40 of us grouped together and the instructor warned us we could be there for up to 2 hours. There were 300 people called in to report at 1:00. He listed several numbered categories we could fall into. 1: Union, 2: Temporary Layoff, 3: Seasonal Unemployement, 4: Highly skilled, creative, and technical fields, 5: Everyone else. I put a 4 on the top right corner of my supplemental paperwork and hoped for the best.
My name was called third. The instructor told me that because of my field there was nothing they could do for me as far as job placement, "but I'm sure you already knew that." Thanks, indeed I did. All told, I spent more time roaming around in preparation for my appointment than I did in the federal building. I was out of there by 1:30.
And so, still unemployed, still getting benefits. Trying to figure my shit out. Applying for editorial jobs but so is everyone else. No one wants to be freelance right now so when a permanent position turns up, everyone applies for it. I am trying to change fields which makes it all the more difficult. Oy...