I'll do anything legal for $18 an hour.

You'll be so proud of me — I've started looking for work again.

Not by choice, certainly. There's nothing much better than tilting back in this rickety recliner and watching old movies, or laughing at squirrels in the tree out my window, napping whenever a nap is needed, petting the cat, scratching my ass, whatever. There's nothing much better, but I suppose it sucks that there's nothing much better.

Now I've paid the rent for December, and that's it. My life savings are depleted, except for some walking around money, but there's not enough to pay January's rent. Which means, no more putting off the inevitable. Gotta find a job again, and soon.

Probably it was stupid to walk away from the three jobs I've had but quit, since coming to Seattle, but stupid is my habit. 

After ignoring calls from my temp agency, they've stopped calling, and I'll need to apologize and grovel, and/or find a different agency. Before doing that, though, I'm doing anything legal for $18 an hour.

Unlike 30 years ago when the wage was $5 an hour, I won't need to ride buses all over the city gluing posters to newsboxes and telephone poles. The internet should make things easier.

The ad is live on Craigslist, but I'm doubtful it'll work. I'm lots older than the last time I did this, no longer willing to push a broom or scrub toilets, and America has changed, too. It's not the squeaky-clean 1990s any more — who's going to hire a stranger for housework or fishmongering?

So until the phone rings, I'm also looking at help-wanted listings, and mailing out my none-too-impressive résumé.

♦ ♦ ♦

That said, if you're in the Seattle metro and looking for a butler or chauffeur or someone to tend your senile granddad, drop me a note, please. $18 p/hour, four hours minimum.

♦ ♦ ♦

After breakfast with the family this morning, my bus pulled away just as I got to the Burien Transit Center, so I was stuck there for a half an hour. I grabbed some space on one of the rare benches, and looked around for Metro Transit's help-for-the-homeless team, as described in the article I mentioned this morning.

A black blonde was pacing the concrete grounds, probably trying to keep warm. She was a little jittery, maybe from the cold, or maybe she was on something. Three times she sat beside me, at as much distance as the bench allowed, but only for a few jittery minutes. Then she stood and walked around again. Then she sat, jittered, and walked again, etc.

There was something indefinably wrong about her, and she's someone, I suspect, who could use some help from Metro's help team.

A shaky old white man, emaciated and wearing clothes two sizes too big, pooped in the bus station — with his pants on. He'd been standing, but then hunched over, and from thirty feet away I could hear him grunting. There was no doubt what he was doing, and the security guards watched, but said and did nothing.

Seems to me, if there's a helpful intervention program, he's a man who merits help.

Another woman, older and white, leaned on a wall, talking loudly to herself or the wall. Her central theme was that everyone should go away, because Omar doesn't like them. "Go away, go away," she announced repeatedly, sometimes adding, "Omar doesn't like you." Three transit security guards watched her from twenty steps away.

Then she changed her patter to something racist: "Go back to your country! Omar wants you to go back to your country." It wasn't clear who she was talking to, but it had become offensive, and the guards moved in.

It's the first time I've seen security at the bus station do anything but stand around, and they did a rather smooth job of ushering her off the premises without being too terribly loud or mean about it.

Being nudged away by security, though, isn't helping anyone.

So in thirty minutes at the bus station, I saw three people who needed help, and were offered none.

That article from yesterday's paper grated at me: "Metro outreach teams at Burien Transit Center aid passengers in need," was the headline. "Burien Transit Center is staffed seven days a week, morning and night," it said, with trained helpers for such lost souls. 

Well, there I was at the Burien Transit Center, and I've seen plenty of people there who need help, seen it many times, but I've never seen Metro's help team. Never seen any staff there, except the security guards.

♦ ♦ ♦

At home, I re-read the article, then googled and found the webpage for Metro's program that's supposed to be helping people.

I want to believe that whoever's running the program is trying to help, but it's difficult work, and maybe they're short-staffed, or maybe on this particular Saturday someone called in sick.

When I found contact info for the program, I sent an email, but not an angry one. No criticism. Instead I wrote a few polite paragraphs about what I'd seen, offered to help, and attached my résumé. 



  1. Doug, as you are unlikely to recall, my favorite film is Zero Effect, featuring Bill Pullman, Ben Stiller and Kim Dickens, and directed by Jake Kasdan. I have two questions that are not exactly about this fine film, but demonstrate my total lack of understanding of how your site works and how the whole shebang World Wide Web works. As I recall, you were nice enough to review this movie even though it is nobody in the world's favorite movie except mine. But how do I search for your review? That's one of the questions, although I suppose the question is really "How do I search your site for key words that might have caused a bar of soap to be inserted into one of your bodily orifices when you were a child?" The other question is, perhaps obviously, Did you indeed review Zero Effect or has my brain finally completed its disintegration? I am aware that this isn't just an "or" question as both of the statements can be true.

    Thanks for your help with this and I'm sorry that you're sort of stuck with my decaying brain because I doubt any other commenting site would accept an organ as befuddled as mine.

    In god we trust: all others pay cash,


    1. I saw Zero Effect on your recommendation and liked it. There's a search box, upper left, and if you input Zero Effect it should find my review.

      It doesn't search for comments, though, which is kind of annoying when I want to remember a conversation.

      And all my movie reviews are alphabetical here, but I'm sure I'm 99% of the visits to that page, where I try to prevent myself from rewatching something sucky I've already seen.


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