Thursday, December 11, 2008


I was brainstorming on the phone with Beth. There has to be some kind of job connected to the inauguration that I could snag. Anything. Of course, I've already volunteered via the Inauguration Committe website. Couldn't hurt.... Besides, there doesn't seem to be any other way to make contact with the committee. They haven't posted a link to available jobs. Or a phone number. Or a street address. Word is, they have thousands of volunteers to deal with.

The temp agencies that have kept me going since May are saying the same thing each time I call: Things are really slow right now. The Democratic Party and the Obama transition team are lost causes. I'm way too far down the food chain; way too far back in the line. Yes, I contributed a little money. And yes, I made phone calls and knocked on doors. Me and several million like me. With better resumes. Mine's interesting, I'll give me that. But it's also a little all over the place. A typically peripatetic Sagittarius, I've let my passion for adventure and love of change run my life. Now the piper is standing in the doorway with an invoice in his hand.

At another time in history, it wouldn't matter. But this is now. And things are different. We're in a depression, although the politically correct term is "recession." And we're only starting to admit we're in a recession, after about ten years of denial. President-elect Obama says it will get worse before it gets better, and just to prove his point, the auto industry bail-out just collapsed. Given that we all voted for Change and Hope, let's hope that the change includes having been in a recession for so long, we're already on our way out of it. The alternative is a severe depression. And there's no way out of that. Not in my lifetime.

It's raining hard on our nation's capitol. A fairly rare occurence. With the lights off and a single candle burning in the room, the rain on the tin roof outside my dormer window is better than music. The sky glows pink behind stark naked trees. Garlands of Christmas lights are festooned on houses across the way, toward Wisconsin Avenue. It's really very peaceful. Almost enough to make me forget the problems we face as a nation, and the problems I face as a person. At least for a moment.

Soon enough I'll be back to the job boards. Refining my searches on Monster dot com and Career Builders and The Washington Post dot com. Checking out Craig's List and USA Jobs dot gov and DC Jobs dot gov. Going though the many lists of job postings that are delivered daily to my desktop. Thinking I really need to finish my LinkedIn profile and try to get some "references" on there. Remembering that I have to give Sally a reference on FaceBook. Meanwhile my MySpace page is lying fallow. So is my Blog. What a time to run out of gas. As much as I want to come here every day and spill some clever beans, I just don't seem to be able to get from there to here. I've been blogging since before blogging was a word. I had so much to say when nobody was looking and now that the world is wide open to self-publishers, I got nothin.

Arianna Huffington was on TV the other night, talking about blogging. How it's based on the principle of "First Thought, Best Thought." That is also the premise of Gonzo Journalism, as defined by the late master of Gonzo, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. First draft journalism. Somewhere along the way I started putting too much pressure on myself. This stuff stays up here forever. It's going to be "evergreen." It's got to be perfect. It's got to say something important.

But that's not what it's about at all.

So I'm just letting it out. Whatever comes to mind. Like in the old days. When your online journal wasn't tantamount to a resume.

So there we were. Brainstorming about jobs. Everybody is either folding their tent or laying people off. NPR. Time Warner. Chicago Tribune. Even Trader Joe's is cutting back hours over the holidays. But that's more because Washington is a transitory town. Everybody is going home for the holidays. There won't be as many shoppers at TJ's, which is usually jam-packed because it's just so darn fabulous. No new hires until mid-January, even though I've had two very pleasant interviews. The Census Bureau isn't hiring until January, even though I've taken and passed the test. So back to the question at hand: Who is going to need extra help leading up to and during the inauguration? Airports. Train Station. Hotels. Restaurants. Bars. Shops along the parade route. The Newseum? Not sure if they will be open. We've heard differing reports. Besides, they just laid off a bunch of people. Pretty much everybody just laid off a bunch of people. Of course, that doesn't stop companies from hiring temps on the cheap. So who else will be hiring extra workers? Hospitals, Cabs. Caterers.

Porta-potties! It's even been on the news. How many portable toilets are going to be trucked in for 5 million people? I saw an estimate of one for every 6,500 people. One of the companies, Don's Johns, is going to supply VIP restrooms in trailers. They'll even be heated! (But they'll still stink, says she.)

"Maybe I can get a job handing out towels in a VIP porta-potty," says me.

And that's what it's come to.

Now that I think about it, the pressure to put up a decent blog post is nothing, compared to the pressure on President Obama to fix this mess we're in. There's a lot riding on his shoulders. I have faith in him and in the people he's bringing aboard. I just hope the rest of us can hang on 'til they start making things happen.

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