Waiting

by Bill - 2010-03-22 - in life/money/employment


I went to a pre-employment drug screening this morning. Last week, I had interviewed for an IT instructor position. Had to give a mock class, and everything. I chose the subject of "securing your home wireless network." It was fun. Anyway, no, I haven't been hired ... yet. They require this test before even thinking about hiring me. I walked into the testing facility and approached the reception window, not sure what the process was. I don't do this very often. There was no one to receive me, so I signed the sheet on the clipboard and sat down. The closest available seat was by an interior door into the testing area.

I soon realized why it was available. I had to move my legs every time someone went through the door. With nothing else to do while waiting, I read my drug screen "chain of custody" form, front to back. One of the guys across from me kept looking at me. I think he was, anyway. I didn't verify it. You know how you can just tell when someone is looking at you. Sometimes it turns out they're only looking in your direction, not at you specifically. I'm not sure which was the case here. I've always wondered how that works. Your eyes are obviously not physically touching, yet they feel you looking at them.

Is it some sort of electromagnetic force? Like, there's literally a "disturbance in the force?" How can we tell? We just do. It must be an instinctive protection against predators. I can't seem to look at anyone without them instantly turning and looking back at me. I don't know if it's me or just the people around here being extra-sensitive to being looked at. Anyway, I finally did look up to meet this guy's gaze, only to have him look away. He was probably just as bored as I was. Or maybe he thought he recognized me as someone who owes him money. I don't know.

Then a turkey walked by outside. Of course. I announced to the room, "There's a turkey outside." Several people turned to look. One guy in a cowboy hat laughed and smiled. The guy that'd been looking at me didn't budge. He probably thought it was just a trick to make him look. He'd fallen for that before and was not going to fall for it again, not here, not now. The glass exterior walls of the office allowed a view of everything from ground to ceiling outside without much obstruction other than the window frames every six feet.

In the corner of my eye I had caught movement from the right, so I looked over. At first I thought it was a vulture. Not a health insurance executive or Wall Street banker, but an actual vulture. Once in full view, I could see it was a turkey, not that I've seen a lot of them alive and up close. It was just strolling along, probably looking for the drug testing center after applying for a job, like the rest of us. We'll never know. He just kept on walking. The guy next to me was called back into the testing area, so I moved over to his seat so I didn't have to contend with that doorway.

A few minutes later, a loud overweight 30-something bleach-blonde white woman — you know, white trash — came through the door with her three kids. The kids were cute. She was not. She stood at the reception window reading and laughing at the sign that said something like "Parents with kids may not leave their children alone in the waiting area or expect our staff to look after them while the parent is being tested." It probably happens all the time, and I figured this woman was just the type to try and do that. While the woman stood at the reception window, her youngest, a cute little three year old girl, came over and started talking to me. She was pointing out the princess characters on her shirt and telling me that the color of her shirt is called "pink." I smiled and said, "Yes, that's right."

That's when her mother snapped her head around and barked at the little girl, glaring at me, "I taught you not to talk to strangers!" The mother was right, of course. You never know these days. She was just so crude about it, though. I rolled my eyes and looked away before the woman accused me of coveting her daughter. The woman asked the receptionist/technician if she could take her children back into the testing area because one of her kids needed to go potty. The receptionist agreed, and the mother very loudly herded her brood through the door, saying, "Come on, let's go peeps!" I'm nearby cringing, wishing she would just shut up. I didn't need silence. This wasn't the library. She was just so obnoxious, I wanted her to shut up and go away as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, my "chair neighbor" had returned. Getting a better look at him now, I could see was in his late teens / early twenties. The technician told him, "Here, drink this glass of water and come back when you're ready to give me a sample." The poor guy was obviously having trouble peeing. I was embarrassed for him. Then the white trash woman came out, looked at my neighbor and said, loud enough for the entire room to hear, "So, you're having trouble peeing?" I could not believe it. I looked right at her, thinking, "You are the most obnoxious woman I have ever met," though I didn't actually say anything.

The guy replied to her, "You have a problem with that?" I almost said, "Yeah, lady, mind your own business!" He was obviously embarrassed. The woman then growled something about having spent the past two and half hours with him and not wanting to spend all day. It was only then that I realized they were together. The guy, trying desperately to keep his cool, said, "I'm aware of that, Doreen." It was then my turn to go back, so I missed the rest of that little soap opera.

The technician apologized for the wait — forty minutes — and brought me into an office where she was entering things into a computer. For a second there I thought, "Am I going to have to pee in a cup right here somewhere?" No wonder that kid couldn't perform. That wasn't the case, though. They had an actual bathroom across the hall. You probably know the routine from here, so I'll leave out the details.

And that was how I spent my Monday morning.

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