I have a lot of time on my hands. Since I still don’t have a job, despite everyone I know telling me I’d have one in a couple of months and it’s now been 7 months, I think a lot about how I am completely worthless to society (in my opinion). To make myself feel more like an individual in this huge city, I try to think of things that there is no way on Earth someone else is doing in London at the same moment. That is not to say I try to do things no one else is doing because I don’t. I just navigate through my day’s actions to see if there was anything even remotely unique.
“Am I the only person in London eating a Bun at this very moment?”
Buns are amazing chocolate snacks that to my knowledge are sold only in the USA. Even at that, they aren’t very common. Chances are, yes, I am the only person in London eating a Bun. Sometimes if I don’t feel very convinced that I am the only person performing a particular action, I will add a qualifier.
“Am I the only person in London who is sitting in a McDonald’s eating a Bun?”
If I could achieve something like “Am I the only person in the world [verb] a [such and such]” I would feel really special!
“Am I the only person in the world currently making up a dance routine to Biggie’s ‘Who Shot Ya’ roughly fifteen years after it was released?”
People say I can’t dance because my body moves in unconventional ways, but I tell you, when I’m out on the dance floor I always get a following. People join in and try to copy my moves. I’ll tell you why. It’s because most people don’t feel comfortable dancing, and the point of dancing is to have fun, not to try to figure out the sexiest way to have your hand sliver all over your body.
Karen is pretty much as good, if not better, than me at dancing. Occasionally we’ll be doing something like cleaning out our room for a yard sale when a hoppin beat will come on the radio or cassette tape that we recorded ten years ago and have recently found during the clean up. We just look at each other and immediately start dancing and then we make up a routine without any thought. Simple.
But back to being an individual.
Working in retail is depressing for a variety of reasons, really every reason if you think about it. Don’t think too hard or you will get so depressed you might not go to work and subsequently get fired from your retail job. Then you would really be in trouble as it’s your only source of income.
Most of all, on top of everything, it shows you how truly meaningless you are. I say this in the sense that you will encounter so many people each day, and the amount of people who make the same jokes and same comments is staggering. It makes me wonder “How many jokes and comments do I make on a daily basis that millions of people have also made about this same instance?”
For example. During the xmas season we (Banana Republic) offer giftwrapping to all of our “guests.”
It is December and a “guest” has picked out something special for that special someone, and has brought it to the counter for purchase.
Me: [sigh] Is this a gift?
Guest: [sheepish “you caught me” smile followed by giggle] Oh, just a present for me!
Me: [sigh, followed by forced laugh that is so pathetic it makes me depressed that I even attempted to make it sound real] So no giftwrapping then. That will be 60 pounds.
Another example. This one is really a kicker because not only does it show you how meaningless you are as the example above shows, but it also shows you just how stupid people are.
A “guest” walks up to the counter with three T-shirts.
Me: That will be 200 pounds, please.
Guest: So…you’re American. Did they ship you over here for the opening of the store, because this is an American store right?
Yes. I was put in a box in between the Gavin Chinos and ruffle dress shirts. After I spent a couple of weeks at sea, my crate was unloaded and I was sent to Brent Cross Shopping Centre in a little white van, where I was unpacked and sent straight over here behind this counter where I’ve been ever since.
Unfortunately for me, the move was quite expensive, as you can imagine. The money they spent packing me up and moving my whole life to England is still being taken out of my paycheck. Perhaps that is why they pay me close to minimum wage to take your overpriced clothes and stuff them in a little paper bag.
Could it be that there happened, just happened, to be an American living in London, a city of 7 million people? Nah, the crate theory is much more plausible. Let’s stick with that.
In fact, let’s not even see me as a human being. Let’s ask me if I was “imported” because that makes sense. That makes even more sense because it implies that I’m some sort of product. If we are going to believe that a company spent thousands to move a minimum wage worker, is it really a stretch to just go ahead and ask if I was imported?
I’ll end on a positive note. Because I’ve been unable to get any kind of a job that made it worth me missing tons of parties and also missing having lots of friends in college I obviously have been depressed. But, I figured, I worked this hard so why let the recession get me down? I have decided I am going to keep building up my skills. Currently I am working on creating my own Web site so I am going to learn Adobe Dreamweaver. I also have an idea for a funny book I am going to write, but my research for that is going to take quite a while. I don’t want to say what it is because someone will steal my idea. I also can’t say what my Web site is, but it’s going to be good.
This way, in 5 or 10 years when someone decides to take a chance on a graduate in a recession, I can say “Look what I did while I was unemployed” instead of having to say “Yeah…I drooled on myself for the past 5 years and really did let all my hard work go to waste.”