This woman sitting in front of me, holding a joint interview/orientation, looks like
an Indian a Native American. At least, she looks like what I’ve come to understand an Indian’s a Native American’s supposed to look like. The young woman next to me isn’t a return employee of the ballpark. Like me, she is new. Like me, she’s learning the rules first hand from the Indian-looking Native-American-looking woman. Unlike me, however, she won’t last at this job long.
I don’t even remember her name. Don’t even remember if I bothered to ask.
I’ve spent my whole life in waiting. My life is waiting. I am perpetually waiting. The docile boy/guy/man with hands clasp in the cold comfort room with other uncertain people. We look at our feet. We look at clocks, flip through magazines at an uneasy pace, glance at the televisions, look around the room. Our eyes meet, we look away. I’m shivering. Not cold, just uneasy. Beyond one of these doors to my left and in front of me – which of these doors is she behind? – a series of tests will begin, are happening, have happened. I’m supposed to be there. Stupid fuckhead.
I don’t feel natural. I’m outside my element. Anticipation is taking hold of me. I see a woman I know from the readings I’ve attended at the Dustin Sekula Memorial Library. Is that her daughter with her? Her granddaughter? She doesn’t see me. By the time I recognize her, she’s out the door. Swiftly.
I look at my phone. The Judas. You’re the reason I’m missing out on something important. Fuckhead. Fuckhead. Fuckhead! Suddenly, I feel like a character out of Denis Johnson. With nothing to show for. Nothing but unwritten novels, muddled short stories, half-assed poetry. And an ambition lacking in potential. My nerves are a jumbled mess.
I’ve been instructed not to let anyone in free. I’m standing on the wrong side of the parking lot. Do I want them to get a vest for me? No cars have ever run over someone before. You don’t have to worry. Don’t be letting people in free.
I’ve let several cars in already without charging. What the fuck am I doing here? Can any job be more pointless? A man with a good-looking, trustworthy face tells me that they’re here for something – what was it? A field of dreams? – and parking should be free for them as part of the agreement. I’m a terrible judge of character.
My nerves are still a mess.
We’re not to sit. My legs are tired. We’re not let people see how much money we have. My bag is a jumble mess. We’re not to eat. I sneak a bite of my granola bar. Fuck the system. Maybe I have an attitude problem. Maybe people are just stupid.
I hate waiting rooms. They’re a cesspool. People come here wait. Meanwhile, they attempt to make small talk with those who are also in waiting. I’m not good with small talk, never have been. I’m the sort of person who suddenly remembers he’s forgotten something, turns the corner and walks quickly back all in order to avoid that quasi-familiar face that has somehow spotted me in the crowd. Do I stick out that much?
My mother’s misanthropic. I must get it from her. She hates social situations because she hates people. She’ll talk. She learned early on how to get over her asocial behavior.
I wish I brought a book to read. Something that makes me look busy. Something that keeps my mind off of what could be going on behind one of those doors. I tweet. I text. I tweet. I tweet some more. If I had stayed home, what would I have been doing? Pacing my room. Eating to keep my mind of how I didn’t go? What sort of start is that? I check my phone again. I’m losing track of time. Why did I go back for my phone? When will I start realizing my priorities correctly?
Fumed. I’m exhausted. After an entire of summer of baseball, with little breaks in between games, I’m exhausted. I refuse to move those picnic tables from one side of the stadium to the other. It’s not because I’m an asshole, it’s because the weather is nearing 110 degrees, the pavement’s white and we’re surrounded by surfaces and metals that reflect the sun right back at you. And while I love this job, I’m sick and tired of them putting me in charge of rearranging the place for their projects. When did clean up become a part of the group whose responsible for picnics? Shouldn’t concessions play a hand in this? It is their stuff, isn’t it? Fuck it, I’m sorry. I have other things on my mind than some pity picnic tables for some pity Lutheran picnic, the same people who just happened to report the stadium to Channel 4 last year about our restrooms. Why are we bringing these assholes back? Eh. Fuck it.
Now he’s fumed. I didn’t do as I was told. I went around his authority and asked the GM if it was really necessary for me move those tables. I’m called a sly one, or sly dog. It doesn’t matter, apparently I fucked up. I’m sorry. Fuckhead strikes again. I don’t have time for this shit. I’m working two jobs. My social life is nonexistent. And while I make it a priority to be an excellent worker, my responsibility and thoughts are else where. With my track record, you’d’ve thought something this insignificant might slip through the cracks. No. Apparently not.
I’m barked at. I bark back. I’m told off. I put on my smug expression. I’m fumed. His fumed. Words are thrown like live grenades. We’re two exploding forces. I don’t think I’ve ever seen J. this mad before, or at all. J. doesn’t do mad. I must’ve really fucked up in his eyes, yet, I can’t help but to pull this out a little longer.
But that part of me peeks its head. The part of me that brings the tears when I realize the thoughts that run through my head aren’t good ones. The part of me that I hide so well when calm and collected. The part of me that I repress and pretend doesn’t exist and go into panic mode when it appears. That part of me that is slipping through my facade as J. is demanding I show some respect to him as he’s done nothing but show respect to me. He has. Up until today, anyway. The fuck’s his problem anyway? It’s not like I didn’t do what he ask every other time. Besides, didn’t I ask him to do me the simple favor of getting me gas for the pressure washer? A favor, by the way, he’s denied. No. Wait. This is J. we’re talking about here. Shush. He’s right. Snap to it. You’ve had training in conflict control. Take it in your hands. It’ll hurt, but apologize.
A New Adventure
The wait is up. I meet them and we head out. No words are spoken until the very end. And I know. I’ve ended my fourth year at the stadium, my third with the Edinburg Roadrunners. I love my job there. I just don’t see how it’ll fit with my new life. Things just fall into place that way.