Poem: Couch Potato

I haven’t posted any poetry on here in ages, so I decided to share one of my more recent efforts. In case you were wondering, this comes from the miserable experience of being an unemployed post-grad living with her parents. The job market sucks, you guys.

 

Couch Potato

I am organic
made of the earth
a tender young thing
still a little green on the vine

But like a budding bloom
plucked in spring
or a just ripening fruit
before true succulence

I have been cut off
pulled from the richness
of my nurturing soil
picked from strong, sheltering limbs

My growth suddenly arrested
on the verge of blossoming
clipped from my garden plot
and arranged in isolation

I am a brown root vegetable
dug from the ground
packaged with my fellows
and sent off with little ceremony

Now I sit at home
trying to recover from the shock
putting out tentative little shoots
but lacking the food for proper growth

Always stationary
a lump resting in the same spot
all wild eyes and dreams
but growing nowhere

I cannot shake the fear that
I am slowly decomposing into my couch

The License Plate Prophecy: A Farce

Well, Readers.
I am finally feeling recovered from my rather unfortunate first experience with subbing, so as promised I am bringing the story of my first and only interview–also a disaster.
As I have mentioned, I graduated from college in April of 2013. I applied for my first job in May, and to date I have had one single interview. To say that my job hunt is going poorly is something of an understatement.

Am I laughing or am I crying?

I have been very vocal about my struggles with the job hunt, both here and on Facebook, and so a lot of my friends are well aware of my problems. And since I have great friends, they look to help me out. About a month ago, my friend Amanda, whom I met at college, let me know about a job opening that she thought I should apply for at the place where she worked. It was a clerical position at the Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation department.
Wait, wait, a job at the Parks and Rec department? So what you’re saying is I might get this job and start making money again? Because you know what that would mean….

Another great thing about this job is that it was part-time, which meant I would be able to be off by 2 every day– which was perfect because I had accepted a position as a coach for an under six girls soccer team. We had practices early in the afternoon during the week, and so I would be able to get off work in plenty of time to make it to their practices. So I jumped online and applied, feeling like things were finally looking up for me.
I met with the contact parent for the team I was supposed to coach, things went great, and we had everything arranged. A week later, I checked with Amanda to see when they would begin reviewing applications, and she told me that their building had actually flooded and so they would have to deal with that before they started looking into hiring anybody.
I was somewhat disappointed, but not discouraged. Then, shortly after that I got a message from the contact parent on my team– one of the dads had decided he wanted to coach, and so they didn’t need me after all.

I’ll admit, I was pretty crushed.
And then, even more time passed and I never heard anything back on the Parks and Rec job, and I grew slowly more depressed. When my bank account went below $100 for the first time since I opened it, I knew I had to do something. My sister, who recently graduated with her second college degree in Early Childhood Education, suggested that I  attend sub training and start subbing. It seemed the only option at that point. And so I went to sub training, requested a replacement social security card , a paid for a sixty dollar background check so I could start subbing (you can read about that in my last post)

Two days later, I got a call from my friend Amanda’s boss asking me if I could do an interview.

Come ONNNN

But I didn’t want to turn down a job opportunity, so I scheduled an interview.
A little while later, Amanda gave me a heads up that I wouldn’t even be interviewing for the job I had originally applied for. Instead, I would be interviewing for a front desk job dealing with people’s calls and anyone who came into the office. Wait, wait, wait… people? You want me to deal with people?!
I felt my stomach sink. I can’t deal with people, guys. I am shy, and non-confrontational, and easily overwhelmed in unfamiliar social situations, as I am sure you all are well aware if you read my blog regularly. A front desk job was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to be doing.
I started talking it over with my family, and the more we discussed it, the more we realized that it would probably be better for me if I just went ahead with subbing. I was going to be making the same amount, the commute was nonexistent, I wouldn’t have to ask off right after getting the job for when we went on vacation during Spring Break, and I had already agreed to sub for my mom. I realized that I had agreed to an interview for a job I didn’t want to take.
I immediately got in touch with Amanda to talk it over with her. She had gone to a great deal of trouble to get me the interview and to recommend me to her boss, and I felt terrible her hard work was going to waste. But Amanda is very kind, and she was completely understanding. She suggested that I go ahead and come in just to talk things over with them and to get the experience of interviewing.
Ah, if only I had known what kind of experience it was going to be.

My interview was scheduled for nine in the morning in downtown Oklahoma City. According to my GPS, the drive should take 26 minutes, so I woke up at 7:20 to make sure I would have plenty of time to get ready and still make it down there in case traffic was bad. I left at 8:20, a little later than I wanted but still with plenty of time to make it–or I should’ve. But of course the drive was worse than I thought, with lots of traffic, and I didn’t make it to downtown until about 8:50. But ten minutes was surely going to be plenty of time to park and find my way to the Parks and Rec building.
Ah, the naivete of youth.
I was excited because whenever you came in for an interview, you could park in a specific parking garage downtown and the department would pay for it. Now, as you all may recall from when I missed my friend’s wedding because my GPS stopped working, I am very bad with directions and navigating. So when it finally occurred to me that the parking garage they had told me to park at was on the corner of two streets that were not the same as the street the Parks and Rec building was on, I got a little nervous. I just started turning down streets, and luckily for me, it only took me a couple extra minutes to find the parking garage. I breathed a sigh of relief and pulled in.
Not so luckily, however, this was one of the most confusing parking garages I had ever been in, and I could not seem to figure out what way to go. It was also packed, because it was a Monday morning in downtown, and there was no sign of a spot anywhere. I came around a corner, and was almost hit by another car. I shot her a dirty look, confused as to why she was driving right down the middle of the aisle, and kept going. I came around another corner, and was almost hit by another car.
It was at this point that I realized I was going the wrong way down the one way section of the parking garage.

Did I take stupid pills this morning??

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

You know what one of the worst things about doing something really stupid is? It’s when you know you’re doing something stupid, but you can’t fix it. Somehow, I had managed to get into an area that was only supposed to be an exit.
parking garage

 

I was driving as carefully as I could, ashamed and confused, trying to desperately to find a parking spot I could pull into and turn around in. But, as I mentioned, the parking garage was packed, and there was nothing. I was on the fourth level and had almost been hit by two or three cars when I realized that I was just going to have to try and pull into a corner, as close to a car as I could, and then pull an Austin Powers and try to slowly pull forward and back until I could turn around.

I have been reduced to Austin Powers.

I got as far over in the one way aisle as I could, and tried to wait until no cars were coming, fervently hoping that no one was going to come around the corner and hit me first. Finally, after three cars came around the corner, almost hit me, and honked vociferously, the coast was finally clear. I made my move, and pulled up as close to the car on one side of the aisle as I could.

If nothing else, I learned that a job I would not be suited for is construction or architecture.

If nothing else, I learned that I would not be suited for a job in construction, architecture, or design.

I got right up close to the car, and then I noticed that their license plate said “HITNRUN” on it. I laughed a little and thought to myself, Haha better not hit them! After I had pulled up as close as I could, I started backing slowly up, hoping no one would come around the corner. I had almost enough room to cut the wheel, when suddenly I felt a bump. I froze, and slowly turned around.
And that was when I realized I had backed into the van behind me.

I managed to turn around and get facing the right way, but I made sure to back up and pull really close to the van I had just hit. Luckily, it was very large, very sturdy, and I had hit it going very, very slowly. There was not even a mark on it that I could see.
Please don’t call the cops on me, but I was the perpetrator of a hit and run.
That’s right. Hit and run. Does that sound familiar? Remember how I told you that the car in front of me said “HITNRUN” on the license plate? Yeah. I pulled up to a car that said hit and run on in, and then I hit the car behind me and ran.

And yet, it was happening. I swear this to you…  you can’t make that kind of stuff up. You just can’t.

Finally I managed to get going the right way, expecting at any moment that a policeman was going to show up behind me and arrest me. Again, as I mentioned, the parking lot was full, and I simply kept driving and driving and driving to find a spot. Finally, on the 8th floor out of 9, I found a place and pulled in. It was nine o’ clock by this point, and I was late. I rushed to the elevators, got in, and then realized I had no idea where I was going.
Somehow, it had never occurred to me to ask how I got from the parking garage to the Parks and Rec office. Vaguely in the back of my mind I was apparently just thinking that the two would be connected. But again, they weren’t on the same streets. Confused, terrified, and anxious, I took the elevator to the ground floor and started wandering along the street. I walked a block up to Main Street, but then had no idea which way to go. I picked left and started walking, but after awhile I realized the numbers were going the wrong way. I tried to look as far as I could down the other way, but saw no signs relating to the Parks and Rec department.
At this point I was utterly bewildered. I was freezing cold because I hadn’t brought a heavy jacket or gloves, not having connected that I was going to have to walk. I was late, and had no idea where to go.
Finally I messaged Amanda, who THANKFULLY responded very quickly, asking me to call her. I did so, and followed her directions, crossing a street and walking down the other way until I finally stumbled upon the entrance. I made my way to the elevator, arrived at the second floor, and went into the first office I saw. I had thought my friend Amanda would be at the front desk, but there was no sign of her. I was ten minutes late by this point.
The lady at the desk was on the phone, and I had to wait almost five minutes before she was done. She was very apologetic, and I told her I was there for an interview. Then she asked me who I was there to see.
My mind went completely blank.

Ohhh… uhhhh…. ummmm…..

“Karen?” I asked hesitantly.
“Great, I will let her know!” the friendly receptionist said.
Oh thank God, I guessed right.
At that moment, however, Karen came walking by, and the receptionist told her I was there for an interview. She looked slightly panicked, and told me to just have a seat for a few minutes because she had to meet with her boss. I collapsed onto a nearby bench, drained.
After a few minutes, I was relieved when Amanda finally appeared. She told me that she was afraid Karen had forgotten she had the interview with me. At that point, I had no desire to go near the parking garage anytime soon, so I wasn’t too worried that I was going to have to wait. After ten or fifteen minutes, Karen finally came for me and called me back. I had thought that Amanda might have mentioned that I wasn’t going to take the job, so I went in thinking that they might just talk to me in case I ever did apply for a job with them again.
I was slightly startled when Karen brought another lady in to help with the interview process, and when we sat down and she started to ask me questions, I realized that she was really going to interview me.
“So what do you want to tell us about yourself?” she asked me.

Uhhhh…. weeeeeeell, actually….

I then haltingly began to explain how I hadn’t heard from them in such a long time after applying that I had gone through process of sub training and getting my background, and how I really felt that it would be a better fit since I wouldn’t have to drive thirty minutes every day, etc. etc. As I spoke, I could see their faces getting more and more confused. Finally I wrapped up my stumbling explanation, and told them that I felt terrible and I was so sorry and I just wanted to come and explain everything to them in person.They were incredibly kind and understanding, just like Amanda had been, but I felt like they were just wondering what on earth I was doing there. I felt like the biggest idiot alive. I thanked them, said goodbye to Amanda, and got out of there as fast as I could.  I had still been considering the idea of maybe, possibly taking the job when I left my house that morning, but after everything that I had experienced I don’t think anything could have induced me to do so.

NOOOOOO I AM NEVER SHOWING MY FACE IN OKC AGAIN YOU CAN’T MAKE ME

I made my way back into the infamous parking garage, and naturally got off the elevator on the wrong floor, wandering about for a few minutes before realizing my mistake. In a daze I got back on the elevator, went up to the right floor, and got in my car. I think I drove the carefullest I ever have in my life going out of that parking garage. The whole incident seemed so absurd at this point that I slowed to a crawl as I went by the spot of my ill-fated attempt to turn around. I looked over the van I had bumped into as carefully as possible, still seeing no evidence of my car’s assault upon it. Then, because I was doubting my own eyes, I looked on the other side of the aisle just to confirm that there really had been a car with the license plate “HITNRUN” that also just happened to be the one car out of the hundreds in the nine floor parking garage that I chose to turn around by before fulfilling its unknowing prophecy. I started to take a picture of it, because it seemed impossible anyone could credit the story I was telling without proof, but naturally at this point a car came up behind me, and I had to drive on.
It was a one way garage, after all.
I pulled up to the exit area, thinking there would be a person there to take the ticket I had been given to pay for my parking. But after pulling up, I realized there was no person, and that I had stopped too far away from the ticket machine to put my ticket in. I rolled down the window, hoping against hope that I would be able to reach it but knowing it was impossible. I was going to have to get out of the car and put in two different tickets with three cars waiting behind me.
Out of nowhere, a man appeared, offering to take my tickets and put them in the machine for me. “You’re lucky I was here to do that for you,” he told me scoldingly. I only nodded and thanked him, because of course some random man would happen by just at that moment to put my tickets in for me. Clearly my life was a bad play, and he was just playing his part.
I pulled into the street, and all I could see in my mind was that license plate, emblazoned in big letters “HITNRUN.”
I started laughing, and didn’t stop until I was almost home.

 

And then I died. The end.

A Spoiler Alert to Freshmen: You Know Nothing, and Children Abuse Slides

Dear Readers.
There are many things in my life that I question myself about. I go through the world, probably 68% of the time, pretty much just wingin’ it and hoping the way I think stuff will go in my head is actually how it’s going to translate into real life. As a normal human being who is completely and disappointingly lacking in superhero-esque or TV character-like powers of foresight, I don’t know that when I make a decision that it’s going to bear itself out as the correct one. My inclinations, sadly, can be incorrect and go decidedly awry.
And then there are things that I one hundred percent for sure know are true.
Two of these things came to my attention rather forcefully today. The first involves college. I can remember like it was yesterday my freshman year of college; arriving at school all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, on the verge of turning EIGHTEEN and pretty much being sure that I was a responsible, mature woman now who just had her life totally together.
It pains me now to think of that degree of intense, pathetic, sweet naivete. I thought I knew things when I started college; now I’m convinced college’s main lesson is to teach you that you don’t know anything. One of my classes where I feel the sting of this lesson keenly is in Dr. Crow’s Political Geography of the Modern World, every Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 1:25pm. Dr. Crow is completely insane, and naturally one of the most beloved teachers on campus, including by me. You just honestly never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. From a man I am paying to teach me things, this is a quality I can respect; I like the surprising relevance and/or usefulness of whatever he’s telling us. What  I do not like about that class is that I arrive to it early. I get out of my first class at 11ish on Tuesday and Thursday; I eat lunch, and since it does not take me an hour to do it, I usually just stroll on over to class around fifteen minutes early.
Now, my college is a liberal arts college. We attract, how should I put this, interesting people. But hey, to each their own and all that, I tend to enjoy that diversity. And then, there are the times when I am subjected to soliloquies 
by kids in trench coats and round polarized glasses over the major mistakes Hitler made that caused his defeat. He actually stood up from his seat at the front of the class and gave a little mini-lecture to the approximately four of us that were there early. This guy’s voice was admiring of Hitler, I kid you not, and he sounded almost disappointed in the man, like he couldn’t quite believe someone whose mental acumen he so admired could’ve  made such fatal mistakes. Another legacy I’ve taken from college is a much deeper and even more horrifying understanding of the Holocaust, so I can’t exactly say that I was feeling too receptive to his tone. But it wasn’t just a sense of disappointment in Hitler that I felt a touch annoyed by; the kid was clearly just trying to show off his extensive World War II knowledge and prove that he was smarter than Hitler and never would’ve made such silly mistakes. I was most appreciative when one of the other people being subjected to this interrupted to say bluntly, “It’s easy to say that in hindsight.” The kid seemed completely stymied by this brilliant logic, and thankfully Dr. Crow came in almost immediately after so I didn’t really have to hear what he would’ve countered with. That was last week.
Today, Dr. Crow was on an especially crazy roll (we touched on mass serial killers at parent teacher conferences all the way to  how the world was going to turn into the plot of Mad Max), but he was saying some important and viable stuff. Of course, there’s the kid who sits in the corner who generally has an obnoxious comment to chime in with once or twice during class (there’s ALWAYS one), but he too was on a roll today. There seemed to be almost the shimmer of a heat wave in the corner he sits in today from the heat of the hostile stares directed at him. At one point during the class, he somehow managed to mention how he was a freshman taking an upper level class, and I actually said out loud to the girl in front of me, “Oh, of course he’s a freshman.”
So this is the first thing I realized today. T
he way you know for certain it’s time for you to graduate college is when you start disdainfully and grumpily talking smack under your breath about the stupid people in your class and tossing the word “freshman” around like a slur, and you subsequently feel triumphant when your assessment of them is proved right. Hitler guy is also a freshman, you might be shocked to hear. It makes me feel like some crotchety old woman who just wants to crush all that determined but often misguided confidence that seems to linger, aura-like, around underclassmen. It’s not fair, really, because there are some upperclassmen that I should probably never be left alone with, and there are equally delightful underclassmen. But as a senior in college, I know  that I actually don’t know anything, and I just want to yell out my bitter disillusionment in the form of  sayings like “You’re an idiot” and “You don’t know anything.”
This actually makes college sound very pointless and disheartening, and I didn’t have that intent at all. College is lovely; it’s very freeing realizing I don’t really know much. I mean, it’s a huge responsibility to have all the answers; now, as I’m about to graduate college, I have the whole world to go into and figure things out. So, shameless endorsement of the day, go to college because education is the bulwark of civilization, and if Dr. Crow is to be believed we need to really work on keeping up the whole civilization thing so Mel Gibson doesn’t end up the leader(?) of the world (I’ve never actually seen Mad Max).
And education leads me into my second realization of the day. As many students must, I had to get a job while I was in high school and continue it into college. Aside from approximately two years overall working in restaurants (an experience that will convince you, if nothing else, that getting an education is worth it), I have spent the majority of my laboring years working at daycares. For many people this is a horrifying prospect, but I love kids and actually enjoy (usually) my job. I’ve been working in daycare going on four years now, and it’s one of the things I’m most grateful for. Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything else in my life that has matured me as quickly as being responsible for numerous, small, astonishingly foolish lives (it’s almost reminiscent of how I feel around some freshmen). You get it together pretty quick if you want to be a successful daycare worker. Now, one of my responsibilities at various instances through out my daycare career has been to monitor kids while they play on the playground. For instance, playgrounds tend to be accompanied by slides. One of my greatest fights as a teacher is to make sure children go down a slide properly. If you’ve never worked with kids, this seems rather silly, doesn’t it?  I mean, it’s pretty simple. You walk up the stairs, you go down the slide. Ah, but if you think this, you have clearly never worked with children.
Because kids seem to love nothing better than to climb up the slide and even, at times, to try and slide down stairs. I don’t understand it, but it is undeniable. It happens constantly. Unfortunately for me, this is, for some reason, one of my greatest pet peeves. Perhaps it’s because the function of a slide should be so incredibly simple: up stairs, down slide. And yet, no matter how many times you get onto them, they will do it WRONG over and over and over again. It makes me slightly crazy.
So, my great second realization of the day? I was taking a nap, as I do whenever humanly possible, and I actually had a nightmare (yes, a nightmare, as in I was horrified and upset during and felt very stressed out when I woke up) about a giant play structure, absolutely FILLED with slides, and all of the kids were going the wrong way on all of them. I was supposed to be monitoring this, but the kids just ignored me, and even said mean things, and I was powerless to stop them. When I woke up, I realized that I have been working in daycare for far, far too long.
These two realizations actually lead me to a third, almost overarching epiphany of the day: I may not have any idea what I’m going out into the world to do, I may be just blindly hoping that the plans I make for my future will somehow come out right, I may be shortly wingin’ it 100%.
But what I do know, for sure, is that it’s probably time for me to be done with college.

Kwaheri,
Sara

PS Okay, so I feel stupid now because I said last time that I was going to say goodbye in Kenyan, but that’s not even a language. As the Google taught my ignorant self, the national languages of Kenya are English and Swahili. My closing for today is the Swahili word for goodbye.