It was early this morning, a fresh and muggy 8 o’clock, when I realized that I have no inspiration.

It was about noon, as I leaned upon an impossibly tall counter, staring at a deluge of rainwater, when I realized I had all the inspiration and material I could possibly desire.

I am now a member of a temp agency.

Although I was tempted to withhold that information in order to reveal it with more surprise and fulfillment later on, the sheer whopping-ness of the fact is taking such a long time to sink in, that it’s really all I can think about. Like when you’ve stuffed a cherry tomato into your mouth that securely fills up the entire orifice, and there’s a delicate moment when you’re not quite sure if you will manage to either crush the tomato… or even if you’ll be able to get it back out of your mouth.

I haven’t been able to find a job this summer. But I was going to be okay with that. I was selflessly preparing myself for a season of running through sprinklers, blowing on dandelion fuzzies, and fiddling around with random instruments. Somehow I would survive. But for some reason, Little Sister’s frustratingly cheerful hopes ruined all of this for me.

Excited about “becoming a true member of society”, she dragged me to A Special Place (I’m not telling you where, because I don’t want to). The building itself was about as excited as I was about me applying there. Drab and squat, it sat, filled with vomit-inducing fluorescent lights and rowdy children whose mothers didn’t have the energy to deal with them for the day. Sister turned in her already-completed-with-perfect-handwriting form. I almost cut a lady in line and asked for an application, filling it out in record time with practiced indifference.

I have an interview next week.

Not content to lay about, drink kombucha all day, and avoid the last scraps of unpacking, Little Sister once again rallied herself. I have obviously had little effect on her personal development. Or maybe more than I realize.

“Come on, let’s go to the temp agency!”

I glowered at her from the bowels of my sweaty pajamas.

“It will be good for you!” She tried again.

“No, it won’t.” I was beyond confident.

“Dad says.”

I slowly slid off the chair to the floor, knowing my  fate was already decided.

“Just go,” Mother said in that encouraging-but-yet-not-an-arguable tone of voice. “Then you can come back and finish sweeping the kitchen.” Boy does she know how to inspire wonder and excitement in my little heart.

[a tiff and rant about how suburbians have to drive everywhere]

I ran through the fattest rain drops to a beyond depressing building with a sign out front, enough letters missing to make the messages unintelligible to me. We paused in the doorway, confused as to why the door was open with no one inside.

A head peeked up from behind the counter. Resisting the urge to stare or laugh out loud at the ridiculous idea that the entire agency was run by small and nervous hobbits, we tentatively approached the desk. We walked into the large, empty room, dominated by that desk that came almost to my chin. The desk was falling apart, and later I realized that it was from the teeth of many frustrated dyslexics, confounded by the masses of quizzes and forms to complete.

I have never written my name, the date, or my SSN that many times, for all my life combined. I was amused to note that my signature degraded as I went on out of sheer fatigue, and then it rallied admirably towards the end, probably because I had built up any and all muscles and callouses possible. After answering seventy-three questions about how often I delve into the world of recreational drugs and how often I think that annoying people deserve to be punched, I handed in my stack of governmental papers.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for demolition sites, so you can come at 5:30 and wait with all the guys, if you want.”

There was a long pause.

“Wait. I’m sorry. I’m very tired so the words aren’t making as much sense as they should be. Um… what?”

(yes, I actually did say those words, folks.)

As I stood there, my head resting on my hands on the ridiculously high counter while the hobbit lady processed my sister’s papers, I took a moment to really absorb my surroundings. Everything was stripped white. Not a nice “oh-let’s-paint-this-a-classy” white, but a “GAH-TEAR-EVERYTHING-OFF-OF-EVERYTHING-MAKE-IT-ALL-HIDEOUS-AND-DESPAAAAIR” type of white. Awful 70s posters spattered the walls, attempting to motivate exhausted employees. A wire rack was filled with “Motivational Prizes” of pringles and deodorant. The room was so drab and so barely holding together, I felt my soul dying within me.

The rain outside commiserated with my inner designer as it slowly poked its eyeballs out and its mind melted. I had never spent so much time in such a dismal and lonely room. It was at that moment that I realized that I was most definitely turning over a new leaf; that I was moving out into very empty and very uncharted territories. Very.

Hattie now works at a temp agency.

The options seem endless.


a definite possible future for me


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