I fuss with the sales associates who try to move me to the automatic checkout. I keep telling them that the machines will take their jobs. The young workers smile and say, “Yeah…” They accept it. I sigh. At such times I scream (in my head) “Am I the only one in the room wearing glasses?”
Unemployment numbers are high, homelessness has increased, and prices for food have skyrocketed. At the same time, huge numbers of people line up for the privilege to pay high prices for the latest tech toys and/or to see the sequels and prequels to movies that were made over a decade ago! I admit it is a confusing scenario… Is the US economy up or down? Who do you believe?
I will add to your confusion. Welcome to my world.
9/11 happened and we the people were devastated. Employers seized the moment and thus began the downward slide of the US worker. First we saw layoffs of airline workers. Initially I recall reading and hearing that airline workers devastated by the events of 9/11 and were leaving the industry. The airlines didn’t wait for attrition to occur; instead they moved quickly to cut jobs. Not only were the jobs lost but also severance packages. We the people were exhausted and traumatized. We didn’t see what was happening to worker status. But the employers did. They quietly and quickly followed the airline industry’s lead, and the tradition of severance packages seemed to fade away.
Then the most remarkable thing happened. US employers decided to relocate outside the US. Actually they deserted the US en masse. How strange! You would think these companies would decide to stay home where they could be protected. But instead they followed their hearts/profits to countries with cheap labor, and sometimes to countries with questionable alliances.
Technological innovation has reduced the remaining number of jobs in the US. These “innovators” tell us that these changes will create new jobs and give us more time for leisure. They urge us to enter the world of the jobless economy. But we already know that many of our workers are unprepared for the newly created jobs. And leisure doesn’t buy food, or pay the rent. A new class division is created: the “have jobs” and the “have no jobs.” It appears that the employment/unemployment statistics are “lost” or at least jumbled in translation. After all, a jobless economy does not generate unemployment reports.
So I am in line waiting for the 40 something cashier to total my purchases. A 20 something clerk asks if I would prefer the automatic check out. I explain I will not cross that line today, I am saving a job.
Then I look up and see… I am the only one wearing glasses.
Janet Cormier is a painter, writes prose and poetry, and performs comedy. JC prefers different and original over pretty. She loves collecting stuff, but cleaning not so much. Janet also talks to strangers… a lot. Her column appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.
There once was a town it seemed that was always cold. Even when it was warm it still was always cold.
The people were mean. The people weren’t green. The people weren’t clean. They all forgot their dreams and no one could sleep.
Not even sheep, could make them dream. They all had forgot there meaning, and what it meant to be free.
They lived their lives as shadows. they lived in poor man castles, some were drunk and staggered, and some were slaves in shackles.
They all had forgotten, what once was their motto,— to live in darkness, you could never cast a shadow, and in the darkness, shadows never follow
and when the light shines from the sun in the seasons, whether frost bitten hands, or those wearing mittens, the sun always shined on the ones who asked for wisdom
and one did….the lonely boy on christmas.
and this lonely boy just wanted one thing for christmas, a dog or a kitten, wrapped up with a ribbon, a bright blue ribbon. If he had a dog… he could pet him with his mittens and watch him chase pigeons, and play fetch with the children.
But it never happened, no gifts were given to him on this christmas.
or any christmas.
there he sat in the town of castles and shadows, where the cold seemed to sting, everyone and everything.
and he began to reminisce of his families last christmas, the last time he was given a kiss on his head, and that warm feeling he had, and the last words ever said by his dad.
“you must live by yourself we can no longer take care of you”
and he said to them “I’m just a boy…what do you expect me to do?”
but his father and mother, they didn’t love one another, and they didn’t really mean to say what they said, so one day they both got into their cars and left.
But before they left they both kissed him both on the cheek, and said
“I’m sorry son, that we have to leave. Here are the keys this is your very own castle. And never leave, always stay in the shadows. We will always be with you, but we must leave and we hope for your forgiveness
and then they had left the lonely boy on Christmas.
At the same time there was a young widow, who always sat by the window, with a sad glow, waiting for her husband to come home.
He and her, also lived in this world.
The world that was mentioned in part one, a world of no fun, where noone could smile in fear of being stung. because the cold was too cold, and some were too poor to buy coats, and besides,
the castles were hidden by shadows, and moats protected by ghosts, but still there was hope that her love would come home. and every day she wrote from a journal
that was given to her, from her husband who had disappeared, in the cold of the winter, and made her from married and happy, to a way too young widower.
Her name was Rosaline, and she was only eighteen when she found the man of her dreams. But one day he left to go to the store, and was never seen anymore, and
people had said that he had gone missing, in a cold storm, on a frosty Thanksgiving, and they stopped searching after a few weeks, cause noone could survive out in the
cold on those peaks. But Rosaline, never stopped looking out that window, till one day it started to snow. and then it suddenly stopped. And out from they sky an angel just dropped.
Before I tell you how the angel dropped, and why the snow stopped, we must go back to the spot where the boy sat patiently, waiting for the day, when his family
would come back, and how all he wanted was that dog for christmas, a little dog wrapped up with a bright blue ribbon, but really
gifts were not on his wish list, just a little slice of happiness, outside of all that darkness
That day the boy decided to leave, he said to himself, I’m going to get a tree, so he left his castle and stepped out of the shadows, and headed to the forest outside of
the meadow, and began a long walk out of the darkness and into an even darker forest. He could have went left, and went towards the shore, he decided to go
north, and ventured forth towards, the forest and the trees, and the bright north star. He knew little of where he was, but it was better then where he would be, and
besides it was christmas he wanted a tree.
Before he left, he dressed in his warmest clothes, hat and coat, and scarf to protect his nose, and the only possession he had with him, was a backpack of provisions,
and a compass, and a map. And off he went, and took his first step out of the darkness, while in that same town a widower wept.
Oh Where did he go, got lost in the snow? She sang to herself, while she sat by the window. Oh where did he go? And when will he return, to give me his love, I so desperately yearn”
She repeated these lines, like she was hypnotized, the saddest moment in a beautiful life. She was only 23 when he said good-bye and went out into that cold november winter, and was never seen alive, but keep faith good reader, a good love never dies.
“Oh where did he go? When will he return? why did you leave me, it wasnt your turn.” She sang this song in morning, she sang it still mourning, and that was when she realized, that her eyes were not blind, and in her heart she believed he was alive.
At the same time she sang by her window in that empty house, the compass was pointing telling the boy to go south.
But the map said that the meadow, was the way to go, but his heart told him to follow the star, and into the dark, he ventured in, to the deep forest, where
the trees lied there in.
Well dear reader, you must be weary of me, so let me tell you how the boy found his tree.
And also a brand new family.
It starts where we left, with the boy’s lonely trek, and ends, well were not quite there yet. So the boy began his climb into that deep forest, while the angels sang to him,
this simple chorus. Follow the star son, follow the star, follow the star son, follow the star. Yes, the boy was lonely and scared, for sure, but in his head and heart he
was strong and secure. People would leave him, for that he was sure, but never his family, that scar was the worst, and his head began to hurt. But before the tears
started to fall, he took a step and all of a sudden he was not by himself, and while he was down and thinking about life, he somehow had wandered onto the thinnest of
Oh reader, Oh me oh my, What did this boy do on that thinnest of ice. He walked oh so carefully, and he could hear the ice creak, and then there was the crack in the
ice he could see. He thought to himself, dang if I wasn’t thinking about all my problems, I might have seen this coming, and i could have done something, instead
of being stuck where I am, and then something happened.
The ice cracked, and splintered
and cracked, and splintered and cracked,
and the ice fell underneath his feet, and the boy was suddenly over his head, and while under the coldest degrees, he began to see,
Christmas wasn’t about getting presents or trees, it was about being happy. He was under the water gasping for air, trying desperately to be freed from a horrible death indeed ,
then at this moment
a hand reached out to him. And now enters the man, Jim, the widowers husband.
Hey Kid!! Hey Kid!! Can you hear me? Grab my hand! Hey Kid!! Hey Kid!! Can you hear me, grab my arm, I’ll pull you in. That was the voice of the widowers husband.
All the boy could hear was a muffled sound, but saw the arm, and tried desperately to get out. He grabbed the strange hand that had come from above, and Jim pulled
him out with the strongest of tugs. Jim pulled the boy off of the ice, and made sure that he was alright. Can you hear me kid?! Can you hear me?!
But the boy was barely breathing, cold and shivering. What could be done to save the lonely boy on Christmas?
Jim started a fire with some sticks around him, and hoped and prayed that something could heal him. But as the fire grew stronger, soon the boy breathed in, and looked into the eyes of the man that saved him.
And at this very moment, the widower was sleeping, and dreaming what seemed to be the same thing. It was about a boy who fell on a dark night of the thinnest of ice,
and her husband was surely alive, and saved this boy’s life.
The widower hadn’t left her house since her husband had disappeared, but she had to leave, her heart was telling her so, that she had to go, out of the darkness and
back into that snow. And as she left, she took a deep breath, and that was when she realized for the first time her self, that the darkness she lived in, this town, of castles
and shadows, there were more places to see, like the place in her dream. She visioned a stream, lit up by a bright star, and there she ventured out into the dark.
And there she sang.. My heart tells me to follow my dreams, and I will sing this song until he hears me. So she began singing. My heart tells me to follow my dreams,
andI will sing till my angel hears me. And just like that, the star lit up the whole place,
and though they were far apart, she could see his face. By the place in her dream, right by the stream, where she would find her Jim, and where she found…..me.
Yes I was the lonely boy on Christmas, but now that I have grown, I am no longer alone. My family, Rosaline and my father Jim, we live outside of the darkness, where the shadows live. And though you must find your own way, and sometimes follow that dream, to get the biggest tree, or play station three, all you really want is a good family, and maybe a dog. Like the dog that I have. But really in the end a mom and a dad, and people that love you. And believing that the right star will shine above you.
So there you have it.
Merry Christmas to all of you, and all of yours.May love and light unlock all your doors.
I remember a time when I walked down the hills of my old campus, and people would greet me, say “Hey Jay!, What’s new? Want to smoke?” And I would, and I would stay in a corner of someones dorm room, staring at a wall. The TV would be on, and then it would be late, like five in the morning. I remember these times, not as good times, or bad, they are just recollections of the kid I used to be.
After that kid died, and he was no longer a kid on campus, but more of a lonely wretch who ate alone, where once his mind was empty, now was forever jumbled, forever contradicting, fighting itself. Then emerged the new me. The new me. What ever that means.
I dealt with my depression and my mania, and the pyschitzophrenia, the hospitals, the lost friends, the worried faces. From one day on, I was no longer anything but a ghost of my self. Today, I reawoke the ghost.
Last night, I fell asleep without my cocktail of pills. I left one out, because it ran out. I woke up feeling great! Energized, ready to take on the treadmill, that I had forgotten about, at a gym where I once went. And I felt good. It was nine o’clock before the day began. I decided it would be a good day. I was going to make it a good day.
I noticed today was the job fair at the Radisson. I went. Mainly it was a bullshit experience, but more over, it was a wake up call. There were men and women all dressed in their finest suits, about three hundred of us. All of them looking for a job. I don’t know about the rest of them, but I felt rushed. One company would have a line of 12 people waiting to talk to them. I would be one of those 12, and to make things run smoother for the sake of the line, my interviews only lasted long enough to find out I wasn’t qualified.
While talking to the people I tried hard to show a lighter side, I cracked stupid jokes, maintained eye contact, and suppressed each try at thought broadcasting. It wasn’t enough. I left feeling miserable. On the steps of the Radisson, I lit a cigarette, and headed towards government center. I dropped off a resume at a publishing house, and left in fear that they woudl call security on me. I don’t even get it, I was dressed in a blazer and a shirt and tie. Yet, I still felt like shit.
Today, my dad called me, he has been talking to my grandma. She is much older now, and unfortunately I am afraid the only time I’ll see her is when she passes. That makes me sad. It makes me sad to think about my dad losing her.
I guess I’ll end this with what really makes me sad. What makes me sad is that I miss my old self. I miss the days when I didn’t have to take medication. Now, if I miss one day, I am a complete mess. A ghost of my former self. Keeping down the enemy in me one med at a time.
First off, I’m wearing a Queers shirt, and I never thought it to be offensive.
Second off, wearing a Dead Kennedy’s shirt in Boston would be a bad idea.
Further More wearing A Ted Kennedy’s shirt would be even worse.
What’s the deal with people using “like” all the time, that really bothers me.
so lets talk about my day today, first off I had three tables, one was a table of two who ordered two cups of soup, and left me a dollar. Whats with that, that really bothers me.
The other day this family came in and prayed for ten minutes while I held a ceasar and two baskets of bread in my hand. No consideration. None.
that same day, i worked a double and there was this family who insisted on calling me by my name, ordered me around, and then all I asked them to do was write a survey about me and they said sure. they lied folks, they lied. Not only did they leave me broken crayons and kids dough. but also a 11 percent tip.
Last night, that being the same day as this double, there was this group that didn’t speak english too well. And the guy said I’ll Have Z Stella artois. I said what? And he said Stella Artois with z bottle. That really bugged me too. They left me seven dollars on 63 and took the survey.
side note. theres this kid that wants me to bring in the picture to work, but it might just cause me even more bad luck then i already have.
Yeah, thats about it.
People who order soup and request free salad should be permitted from eating establisments….atleast mine
So I wait right? its not an amazing life, but its what an English Major from Umass who got his BA does. Its cool, but here are some stories from my work. First off, made 17 dollars at lunch today. I work at a joint where i am required to encourage survey taking. So regardless of how I am doing, I have to encourage the patron to write a survey about me. Now I have enough problems dealing with people as it is. I try my best, but it seems like it’s not enough, but that’s o.k. Anyway a couple of suits came into work today, and they were not interested in me, or the specials, or even a friendly hello. I guess when you are working at a place like mine, people assume you are some kind of failure in life, and that’s why you work lunch shifts. At night, maybe people understand, but during the day, they have an idea about you. This idea is that you are a failure. But that’s o.k
Maybe they think your a stoner, or a loner, or a broke asshole. What they don’t know is I am a writer, and I can intellectually blog about each experience I have with them. So, that was today. I had three tables, one was a really nice guy with a retarded son, and I was genuinely nice to them. The suits, fake nice. The other table was a table that used a coupon, that took five dollars off the bill, and then with a whopping 24 dollar check, they decided to tip me 10 percent, FML. Anyway, I am writing now this in my apartment listening to MadVillain. Still unemployed, still waiting, and of course still blogging.
people at restaurants shouldn’t breast feed in public, or breastfeed all you want, just tip me atleast 15 percent…just another jagged thought by jason