I’m in between jobs is another way of saying I’m making attempts to infiltrate the gainfully employed.
The older I get the harder it is to explain myself. My work history is creative. My taxes are non-existent. My travels: unique and frequent. My searchables are becoming an issue.
Making shit up never use to be a problem. But prospective employers, significant others and government agencies appear to be upping their game. Times have changed. Somewhat disappointed to still be alive, I know that it’s best if I merge with the Norms.
For fifteen years I’ve been operating under the cover of a presumably-functioning entrepreneur/indie musician. This last year has been tumultous. Even more so than the rest. I’m sitting unscathed in the eye of a storm while sensing the chill cast by foreshadow. Assuming civic responsibilities like an ordinary citizen is my best chance to skate away from the railcars piling up behind me.
I’ve never been just one dude. I answer calls as whichever dude is needed to complete the task at hand. My government name is Patrick Sean Irving, but I was dubbed Shipwreck by militants who identified reflections of themselves through the mirror they found in my youth. My friends affectionately call me Shippy.
I make a living off my network by providing assistance, and maybe I moonlight my ability to remove the wheels off of well-oiled machines that enjoy their travel at high rates of speed. This is called the Shippy Special. The Dirty Mick takes the order.
Chip Van Wreck is a name adaptation forced by unflattering news coverage and a shift in clientele. I won’t deny having others out there, but let’s keep it simple for now.
At 34 years-old, I’m 5’8″ and 185lbs with blue-eyes and blonde hair. I prefer responding to shapes, colors and movement over fogging my correctional lenses with unnecessary details. It’s a matter of response time. I compare the effect glasses have on my hand-eye coordination to watching a movie with telephonoculars. I’m not an elite physical specimen, but I’m skilled enough in opposition to have never required immediate medical attention.
Stranger than the chaos I birth is my playlist during deconstruction. I’m not above letting Elvis call shots. With lyrical plays and the emphasis pain, the layers are deep, it’s poetic or bust.
Sociopath? Not likely: I cried one time during Walker Texas Ranger because a young girl got her cancer treatment AND a chance to perform on a musical stage. I’m also quite fond of puppies, sympathetic to vulnerable populations, and can double-over under the impact of a well-delivered falsetto.
It’s not often I wear ties anymore. When I do it’s because they accent my licentious intentions. Acting a psychopath by itself is unoriginal. But appropriately layered attire suggests utility, helping the people I deal with to process certain themes cinematically. The assist, my friend, can make all the difference when it comes to lobbying for one to exercise good judgement. I’m now on my way to an interview and my tie looks funny without the contrast my tactical vest provides.
The interrogation takes place in a conference room, where I wreck in front of three very hospitable nerds appraising my person from across the table. For the first time in my life I’m choking on air, embarrassed, it’s sad, I can’t push a word. Performing hip hop in foreign lands while under the influence of mushrooms has therapeutical benefits for stage fright, but those don’t carry over when campaigning for low-paying positions outside the world of entertainment.
What an uncomfortable moment.
The pressure isn’t from the job description. Assume identities to trick bloggers and search engines into boosting client’s websites? No problem. But the thought of crossing the Bridge to Normality? That provokes this response. My only hope is that the anxiety attack has eliminated any suspicions stemming from my diversified hospitality service that caters to jubilant crowds of unruly gangsters.
My staggered breathing and handwritten notes are able to communicate that I hold their employment opportunity in the highest regard. The month I spent studying for the drug test backs this up: one of the worst months of my life. “We can see this opportunity means a lot you. We’re happy to have someone so excited to be here. Welcome aboard.”
I thank my friend, the higher up who provided my reference, while dusting off a suitcase armoire in my storage unit before loading the trunk of his car with my business clothes. We’re both still grieving a recent loss, and on behalf of the departed: “He really wanted you to have a chance.” He’s missing his best friend with whom he shared a business, and me, a brother that was keeping me sane. The way he says it means I’m showing outward signs danger. He knows me well enough to know I’m close to losing my shit.
It takes the weekend to correct my insomnia and make sure my people will respect my schedule. All that’s left is showing up to work.
I arrive as Patrick and take deep breaths. From my cubby I can view the treats they give as incentive. I have my eye on a candy or two. I’m to take it easy and fiddle around a bit: I’ll get the hang of things soon enough. My team trickles over to introduce themselves one at a time. They don’t approach me with their personal problems. They have no interest in who I know, how I got here or what gains can be made from my acquaintance. I’m taking a peek in Normal’s window.
We have a meeting midweek and there is talk of expansion. They brief us on a new department that will work separately and require additional training. I participate in the discussion and am already familiar with some of the tools they’re introducing. The speaker says my feedback may qualify me for a new position, and because of that, I feel appreciated. I’m working. At a job. With potential.
Life is crazy.