So, yesterday, one of the secretaries comes up to me and asks if I want to pitch in for the lunch party we are throwing for our summer intern who is leaving and another secretary who is also leaving. She tells me that it will be $10. I think that this is absurd, but I say nothing. I then get an email that an old man is retiring and that if I want to attend the party it will be $12 (gift included).
So, here I am, a mere GS-07 making pittance, and now they want me to pay $22 for parties for people I barely know. I don't really have the money this week, and a party was the last thing that I planned to spend $22 on.
So, now I'm in a position where I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. I look like a dick if I say, "No, sorry I'm not going to give money." And I look like a dick if I come to the party without paying (because you know people would say, "Why aren't you at the party?").
So, I suck it up and pay my $20 (I only had that much and my $2 wasn't going to make or break the party).
Today, I go to the party, and, as expected, I do NOT get $10 out of lunch, but there is actually a ton of food left, so I could if I wanted to, but ...
Along come folks from all over the building. I swear, these odious, cheap leeches can smell food across the building and several floors up. We are on the 9th floor and these abhorrent creatures come crawling up from the 2nd and 4th to scavenge our food. Now, if I had known that after the party it was a free for all, why the fuck should I have paid my $10? They didn't pay!
And people ask me why I hate working where I do.
The klaxons wail, the sirens scream. Al Qaeda has launched an attack in New York as I walk down Broadway at Times Square. Fortunately, I’m at home sitting in my room when I hear the air raid siren blaring that calls the volunteer firemen to the station. I’m running with the firemen because there is no fire engine to ride, but that is OK because I’m swimming in the ocean and I can still hear the fog horn of the ship right next to me.
I roll over disapprovingly, begrudgingly, one might even say with displeasure, and I turn off my alarm. It’s now 7:30 in the morning, and my head is pounding, my mouth feels as though I’ve brushed my teeth with Q-Tips and rinsed with sawdust. My hair and pillow remind me of an ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts and mounds of ashes. My eyes are bloodshot and hurt every time a ray of light dances across my retina. I can’t decide if I’m more angry at staying up so late or having to be up so early. But, I’ve been torn from the warm bosom of slumber and thrown into another day. I get up and make my way to the shower where I can wash some of the pain down the drain along with the smell and taste of last night.
I’m at LtL’s apartment at 8 am—just as promised—for the ordeal of moving his stuff yet again. It is the third time I have helped him move. Fortunately, he is grateful and appreciative, and I always get food for my trouble. The van is packed and ready to go. We are on our way, with LtL behind the wheel attempting to bury the needle, or perhaps he is actually trying to bury our front fender in the back of the car in front of us. No matter. It isn’t long before we are in heavy traffic that seems to follow us all the way on our 2 hour road trip to his future.
We finally arrive at the place. It is in an old section of town. It would be nice if weren’t overrun with undergraduates, but that is the drawback of needing to live near a university. Fortunately, there are some very attractive coeds around to ogle as they walk by. The apartment isn’t too bad, it’s small, even quaint, but it is an efficiency, and no matter what you do with it, you are still living in one tiny room. He also neglected to tell me that he lives on the top floor (30 steps all told not including walking around the landing to the next set of stairs or the walk down the hall or the walk up the street and up the front steps). LtL thought that we would get the van unpacked, get back home, repack a second load, return to the new apartment, unload, and return home in one day.
At some point earlier in the day, I received a call from my former supervisor, whom we shall call the SEAL Leader for reasons everyone at work would understand. Apparently, someone decided at the last minute not to go on a trip that was scheduled to leave on Sunday. As recompense, a requiter, one might even say reward, for my hard work the Leader asks me if I would like to take the empty place on the trip. I of course say yes as this is very exciting and a great opportunity.
After the van is finally unloaded, we head home. I need to wash clothes and pack, LtL still has half his old apartment to clean and he still needs to see some play his woman directed. Traffic is so bad that it takes us 4 hours to complete a 2 hour journey. We are wiped out when we return and still I help. We moved a red, velvet hide-a-bed couch out into the van. I don’t know what happened to it after that. All I know is I went home, made dinner, washed my clothes, packed my bag, and fell asleep within seconds of hitting the pillow.
So, I went to the basement of my building today to get my thesis scanned, converted to PDF, and burnt onto a CD-ROM. I am friendly with the guy in the Photocopy Center, and he said it wouldn't be a problem.
When I get there, I am confronted by an older, chubby man wearing a wrinkled sport coat that seemed very out of place here. The jacket begged to be on the back of a used car salesman at a used car lot.
But, I digress.
So, Johnny Slick (who's prices are so low they would blow you away) asks me if he can help me. I almost said I was looking for a red convertible with standard transmission, but instead I asked if my friend was around. He said no, but could he help me. I said no, it was nothing important just some personal stuff. He replied, "Well I'm the manager of this office, is there anything I can help with?" Again, I said no, it was personal, and I said that I would just leave the stuff on my friend's chair. I thanked him (for nothing of course) as courtesy dictates, and walked out.
I got about three steps out the door and my Spidey-senses started tingling. I knew what was happening back in the other room, and I needed to confirm my suspicions.
I walked back into the room, and as I thought, Johnny Slick was thumbing through the stuff that I clearly told him was personal.
What a bastard. Well, I guess that that proves that nothing is really private where our government is concerned.
OK, so two bits of exciting news in my otherwise boring life:
I just found out yesterday that I passed the Foreign Service Written Examination. According to Monster.com: "In the fall of 2001, almost 24,000 people registered for the written exam, and approximately 13,000 took it." According to the State Department "about one third of takers have been asked to continue on to the next phase, the oral assessment." So, sometime between September 15, 2004 and May 2005, I will go on for the Oral Assessment!
The other bit of good news is that it seems that they really are working hard at getting me a more professional job here, but unfortunately, it won't kick in until October with the new Fiscal (that's pronounced "physical," BTW) Year...but I'm patient.