This is a short and grumpy story. One written by me as I sit waiting to be seen at the job centre, in fact I’m sat there right now (hence the grumpiness). Some may ask, “why would I want to read this?” or even, “why the fuck would you write about that?” and I would answer,
“It was a better distraction than murdering everyone in the building with a biro due to frustration” to which you would say, “I don’t think I want you to babysit anymore”… Or something to that effect. Either way, if you were sat here, with the same disdain for the world and everything in it, you’d probably feel the same way.
For those of you that have never been to the job centre, it’s the most irritating building in any city anywhere (and that’s including every happy, clappy, new age , rock singing Baptist church that may occupy the suburbs). It’s full of judging faces and the never ending sound of complaints. The general idea is to get you a job, but they go about in such a way that you’d think it was being run by an autistic farm animal. They shove voluntary work at you for weeks and then wag their finger at you when you still don’t have a job. After that they try and get you on one of their “work programmes” that consist of a miserable man telling you that your ambition is disgusting and you dress badly. Sorry if I didn’t realise that a weekly trip to the job centre was a black tie occasion.
The best way to describe it is the least inspiring place on earth where dreams go to die… Oh, and it smells like body odour and excrement. You get the point.
As I sit here, waiting to be summoned to the desk of depression, I realise that I’ve become one of the grim faced lowlifes in this building. As I cough my guts out I catch a glimpse of a newcomer. I was there once. Sat in that seat, watching that guy with the same hopeless excuses as the rest. That guy. I am that guy.
They call his name and he fumbles through his belongings for his “identity”. He pulls out his green sign on card and a pathetic sheet of paper with a list of supposed job applications he’s made scrawled onto it. He’s probably tried really hard to apply for everything so he didn’t have to lie. He will lie. Soon he’s going to be the same as the rest of us. Looked in the papers, went online, asked a guy about a job in his, equally pathetic shop. I wouldn’t be surprised if “didn’t kill myself” qualified as a viable job search. Note to self: keep that one for when you’re out of ideas.
The new guy, let’s call him Gary*, is now sat in his seat in front of Astrid. Astrid was one of the interviewers, a black woman with salt and pepper hair and enough floral shirts to make curtains for the entire elderly population of Florida. She looks at Gary with a “my husband can’t satisfy me” look and opens her disappointed mouth, “Hello Gary, how can I fill you with false hope and fuck you between your tender buttocks this week?”. (I can’t remember what she said but it was something along those lines)
Gary picks up and hands over his little piece of paper. Astrid takes it as if he’s handing her his special sock that he doesn’t think anyone knows about. She puts on her hilariously, stereotypical reading glasses and peers down at it with a look of sheer lack of excitement and signs it.
She gets up and walks past where I’m sitting. She says to me “sorry Jamie I won’t be long”. As I sit here sulking because she’s gotten my name wrong she walks back past and corrects herself, I confirm her correction with a nod…. and fake a smile.
*Gary is the least inspiring name I could think of at the time, if you don’t like it fuck off**
**Of course I don’t want you to fuck off. I just want to seem hard and cold so you don’t know that I really crave your attention like David Cameron craves a good spanking after his morning granola. Follow me on twitter and I’ll totes follow back #Iloathemyself…..
Words by James Anderson Walsh