Before the sun was up, I was fussing around my bedroom pulling out dress shirts, ties and pants, looking for something that was not too this or too that. Nothing too color loud. Nothing that was too fitted or too loose. After a few minutes of tossing this and that aside, I finally found something that I could wear to the job fair. I set up the ironing board, grabbed the spray can of water and starch and went to town on making this outfit look like I just bought it from Macy’s that morning.
By 5:30 in the morning, I was in the bathtub letting my mind wonder as I listen to the world spring to life outside my bathroom window. Usually when I take a bath, I live it up. I would have the laptop on this little bathroom seat that my mother had bought years ago for my grandmother with some kind of movie playing. I would soak in eucalyptus scented Epsom salt, white distilled vinegar, coco butter body wash and olive oil. To top my experience off, there would be a cup of tea with cookies by my side. Yeah, I pamper myself when I can now… However today, I just kept it was simple as possible. After an hour or so, I was greasing myself up with some coco butter Vaseline, then with this lemon lotion I got from Bath & Body last summer and finally some raw shea butter. Of course, in my rush to get in the tub, I forgot my towel and underwear, so I peeked out of the door to see if my mother’s bedroom door was close. As I tip toed to my bedroom naked as the day I was born but smelling 10 times better, my cat Kimmiko comes running towards me at full speed.
You see, Kimmiko has this habit of wanting to rub up on me especially after a bath or a shower, leaving all her hair and smell on me. Isn’t that lovely? Smelling like house cat is not going to impress anyone. I dashed into my room closing the door behind me, hearing her hit the door with a loud bang. I put on some jeans, a shirt and a hoodie, collapsed into my computer chair and started to over my resume for the 100th time. After a few minutes I went into the kitchen and made my mother breakfast; some scramble eggs, blue berry pancakes and crispy turkey bacon with a side of whole wheat toast. After that I took my mother’s clothes she was going to wear and ironed them out for her. By this time she was up stirring around the house, getting herself ready.
There were a few things I needed to do before I headed out to Canarise for the job fair. The main thing was to print out my resume. This was something I would’ve done the night before, but my feet were once again swollen and it was painful to move around. Thanks Diabetes… The house PC which was connected to the printer, for some reason would not align my resume correctly, so I had no choice but to use my laptop. I brought this printer, a Lexmark all-in-one plus fax for 40 bucks on Black Friday 2008… I took it out of the box, about 2 weeks ago. I know, I know… Why the hell did it take so long for me to us it? No real answer, but the funny story with that is I had to get a USB printer cord because none came with the printer. Imagine finding that out years later.
Since this was my first time using my laptop to print anything, I had to take the time to install the software. After installing the software, an error message appeared. NO INK MUST CHANGE CARTIAGE was displayed and I really couldn’t believe that in the short time I had set up the device, my mother had used up all the ink in the printer and didn’t tell me. So at 8am, I was stuck with no resume to present to anyone at the job fair. Great… I grabbed my keys and headed out. Of course, some one left the incinerator door open and the smell was over powering. The smell was like death mixed with rotten baby puke on top of day old shit. Holding my breath, I hopped into the elevator, where someone had urinated everywhere. Clearly, my day was not going the way I wanted it to at all.
I ran up the block to the Rite Aide to see if they might carry my brand, but their shelves barely had anything on them. After grabbing a coffee and butter roll from Dounkin’ Donuts, I went by Radioshack to see if I could get the ink there. As I turned the corner, I was greeted with a closed gate and tumbleweeds. I went back upstairs and finally changed into my clothes for the event, wondering what I was going to do.The Job Fair was going to start at 10am with an expected turn out to be in the thousands. I had planned on arriving there at 9am, calm cool and collected with a nice little McDonald coffee. Unfortunately, at 9am I was dressed, ready to go, but stuck in the house waiting for Radioshack to open so I could finally get ink. By 10am, the Radioshack associate explained to me that Radioshack only carry HP ink, not Lexmark. Yeah… I had to think of a plan B and quick. I told my mother that I would meet her there, went on a mad dash through folders looking for just one hard copy. Lucky for me there was a copy of my current resume in some department of labor papers. I gathered my belongings and hustled over to the Sutter Ave. train station. Underneath the platform, there is a little drug store which makes copies for 25 cents per page.
The young lady behind the counter smile at me as I asked for 20 copies of each page (My resume is 2 pages, I have no clue if that is a good or a bad thing, but it is what it is).
“Nervous?” she asked.
“Yeah… It’s been too long and I really need to get something.”
“I wish you good luck!”
I swear she was the best. She offered to even staple each page for me, but because I was in a rush, I told her it was okay and brought paper clips. I went to the train station and as I was going up the stairs some random dude started to call out “Yo, Slim!” in my direction. Since I do not make it a habit of responding to the cat calls of men, I continued up the stairs and into the train station. None of the bloody machines were taking any bills and the token clerk was not in the booth. Shoot me now, I thought. It wasn’t even 10:30 and I wanted the day to be over already.
Finally she came from behind one of the locked doors behind the turnstile and wobbled back into the booth. Once she refilled my metrocard, I ran around the corner from the station to the B15 bus stop. The B15 is one of the most unreliable bus lines out there, never really sticking to the time listed. This was not one of those times however and a bus was speeding down Ralph Ave. As I waited those few minutes for the bus to arrive, the guy who had called at me earlier walks by me, saying that he could have gotten that card for me. Don’t care… As the bus rolled on, I grabbed one of the free double seats and planted myself by the window. A woman, who was… well, a nice way to say it is plumped, wedged herself in. While others around me were listening to music, talking on their phones loudly or just looking like they had lost their puppy, I was elbow deep in my messenger bag sorting out the pages. Even when the bus arrived my stop, the New Lotts Ave L train, I still was sorting and paper clipping everything together as I walked up to the train platform. I used travel to Canarise all the time a few years ago, in fact I knew the area where the Job Fair was being held very well. It was held at the church one block away from the nursing home my grandmother had stayed in during her final months. I walked over to the long entrance line in the parking lot of the church, took a deep breath and waiting for my turn to head inside.