Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Look at all that green grass over there!

Last Saturday I was subjected to taking yet another civil service exam for the Librarian positions in Suffolk County. In order to get a full time job as a librarian in a Suffolk County public library, one must take these standardized tests every year. They are mandatory in order to even be considered for a full time position and even that isn't guaranteed. It costs money to take these tests each time and because the offices of civil service in this county are apparently unable to keep applications on file for more than five minutes, you have to fill out a new application each time you take a test. And that shit is not online either. It may as well be on that dark blue carbon copy paper we had in the 80s. The system, the testing, the questions on the tests, all are such complete and utter bullshit that I never forget to pack an enormous chip in my bag for placement squarely on my shoulder during the test. This time was no exception.

The tests are always given in the local community college. I think of this as the one bonus because I am bereft of formal education at the moment and have been since completing my masters' degree back in 2003 and I miss shoving my shapely form into the hard laminate of school desks, reading the grafitti scratched into the desktops telling me who "wuz there", smelling the industrial cleaner on the floors, etc. Yes, I am one of those dorkuses that enjoys class, school, degrees, regretful hookups, Pearl Jam, Vivarin tablets, insecurity, cheap beer, inappropriate touching, Goth skirts, badly written poetry and gross living quarters. Ok maybe not ALL of that but I sure did like it in the 90s. I digress.

The test took almost three hours to complete and I can say, definitvely, that out of all the time I've wasted in my life up until this point, I have never wanted three hours back so badly. I literally paused during the test to contemplate the myriad things I could be doing otherwise and cleaning my bathroom was one of them. You are in dire straits, my friend, when you daydream about cleaning your bathroom. But the test was finally over and because I was hoping to catch a train to NYC to meet a dear friend for brunch, and the fact that I could not find it in my heart to care less about a test, I hightailed it out of there. I am confident that I will never take another one of those again, as I am planning to move back to the city in the next two years. And though the public libraries out there don't pay very well, at the very least they do not make you prove yourself beyond your expensive graduate degree and years and years of experience. And you can stick a #2 pencil up that, civil service.

I had a lovely brunch with my friend Lauren (aka Wactwu) here:

Kitchenette Tribeca

which was kind of like throwing a party and inviting 20 people to fit in your apartment and then having 45 people show up and sit on top of each other. But we do these things in restaurants because the food is worth it. And so was the company!

I say this now because I am once again ensconced inside a prison from which I may never escape work, but I will take any and every opportunity to go to NYC. In recent weeks I have come to a conclusion that I'm accepting as fact: it was a mistake to leave. And presently I have my eyes focused on getting back. Don't get me wrong. A lot of very significant things have happened in my life in the past four years since I moved underneath the long, long skies of long, long island. And I can't say that any of it was bad. Seriously. The ending of a relationship, the clearing of (and subsequent rebuilding of) significant credit card debt, quality time spent with my family and the two close friends who live here as well and the sheer proximity to vineyards are nothing if not life changing. But try as I might, I can never seem to squelch the unease of not belonging. Sure, I'm a restless sort of person in general, as the people who know me best would tell you. In the past it was generally accepted (by me) that the grass was always greener where I was not. But I know I belong in NYC. I sort of always have.
Adding to this feeling is an insight I gained from a complete stranger I was chatting up in a bar in the city a few months ago. We talked a bit about our lives and he asked where I live. When I told him he said, without knowing me mind you, "Well you need to find your way back here." See? A drunk stranger told me that. I bet I can find a Magic 8 ball that will back that up as well. Fate!

In summation:
  • Civil service can suck it.
  • I like classrooms.
  • Brunch is good with dear friends, even in an elevator sized restaurant.
  • NYC has a thin, steel wire wrapped snugly around the center of my heart.
  • You can gain insight about yourself from total, drunk strangers. (wow, I dig the placement of those adjectives.)
That's it for now.

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