Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 88 - Beer and Barbecue: Nightmares of the Deep South

         Today I couldn’t get hold of either of the recruiters who submitted or claim to have submitted me to the juice packing company. This has turned into a mess of sorts, and I have to say it’s a crying, bleeping shame because one, based on what they each told me about the job, I think I’m a good fit, and two, whatever negative impression they have managed to leave with the employer is just not my fault.
Honestly, I don’t know how anyone gets a job in this current environment. The recruiters I used to work with just don’t seem to have anything. At least that’s what they claim when I call them. I don’t have any reason to doubt them. I know them, and I’ve had success with them, and they with me. When they don’t call me back I assume it’s because the market is skinny.
These other recruiters though, the ones who say they have listings, the ones who talk and act as if they are hustling on my behalf, are just so incompetent it’s become laughable. I honestly think that they are doing me more harm than good. If I weren’t growing desperate I would just quit responding to them at all. Almost every time I interview one of these birds or even let them submit me, it turns out to be a monumental waste of my time.

          In my first several weeks at Albatross I got invited to a party of sorts. It was to be all or at least most of the men in the finance department. The women were not invited. It sounded pretty innocuous except for the no women thing, but given my past experience with philandering associates I was somewhat relieved to know I wasn’t going to witness any sexual improprieties at this particular event.
The controller I was replacing told me about it. He took me out to the site of the party during our lunch break on the day of the party so that I would be able to find it in the evening. It was in the woods. I mean deep in the woods.
We drove out of town a couple of miles, turned off the main highway for another mile, and then turned off that road onto a dirt track that skirted a pasture. Behind the pasture was the front edge of a substantial pine forest, and we bounced along next to it for another half mile or so. The track consisted of two ruts separated by a ridge of tall grass. It ran in a straight line except for several places where it made a sharp jut to the right in order to go around rusted hulks of ancient farm machinery. I know I saw a harrow and a hay rake. It was hard to tell in the tall grass but they looked to me as if they had been horse-drawn.
At some point the track made a sharp left turn between two pines and continued into the woods. Light filtered between the leaves and the pine needles, streaming down in shafts of green tinged light that reminded me of the inside of a cathedral. It was eerie quiet and stifling hot in the middle of the day.
A little way into the woods we came upon a clearing with a tall metal shelter and a fire pit. There were a few picnic tables. The shelter consisted of a corrugated tin roof suspended high up on four round steel posts. I grew up in a farming community. My dad was a country veterinarian. I have been on hundreds of farms. I had never seen anything like this deep woods compound.
I knew farmers to be a practical lot. They do not build stuff for which there is no immediate and logical purpose. They do not build anything very far removed from the center of the farm. I had no idea what this thing was for.
I was a lonesome Yankee boy in the middle of rural Alabama. My nearest friend was over 300 miles away. My nearest relative was over 700 miles away. I was being lured into the woods by a bunch of Alabama crackers with the promise of beer and barbecue.
I have seen the movie Deliverance…twice. I was pretty sure that at some point that evening I was going to be bent over a tree stump and ordered to squeal like a pig. I actually missed Alicia and Fische a little bit just then.


  1. About Jonah's thoughts...I too was out of work for a couple years. I recently took a job at a local gas station as the morning cook. Surprising to say I like it. I don't have to deal with inner office politics, angry people or mean bosses...I'm not saying you should get a job at a gas station, I'm saying that you never know what will happen when you go outside your comfort zone. Have you thought of teaching? I only as because I have learned so much from you and the way you write, makes it easy to understand for those of us who are


  2. I have thought of teaching. In fact I am working on getting certified here in Florida to teach in the public school system. I have taught before in various capacities and really enjoy it. Trying to keep a lot of irons in the fire just now. Working on visual arts--drawing, photography, cartooning--as well as writing.


Comments are always welcome. Tell me what you like and what you don't. Information, encouragement, criticism--I don't care. A day where I don't learn something new is a day lost to me.