My Series of Unfortunate Events

You ever have those days where absolutely nothing goes right? An unbearable shit storm of unfortunate events occurring and you are helpless to stop them? And it’s like a giant snowball rolling, rolling, rolling…getting bigger and bigger, and for some reason you didn’t see it coming until it was too late, and your feet are frozen in place in the snow and you just know this has to be the end.

Then it all comes crashing down on top of you in what seems like a mere moment.

The heavy weight suffocating you and blinding you…and you’re paralyzed from the sheer unbearable force of it all. No matter how much you try and move your arms to dig out, there is no possible way anything will work and everything seems so hopeless.

Yeah. Imagine that…but an even BIGGER snowball because some new bad thing keeps occurring every day over the last month.

I will attempt to not make this sound like a whiney-bitch fest.

Sure. You may be thinking, “Oh waah, waah…life isn’t that bad. Suck it up and deal with it.” “Stop complaining! Things could be a lot worse!”

Yeah I mean, you know, you’re right I suppose. But if I hear, “Don’t worry, everything will work out, don’t let it get to you…” ONE MORE TIME, I just might have to go on a rampage and possibly rob a few banks so things would work out for me.

Hey, that could turn out to be a great thing. I would have three, free meals a day, a free roof over my head, and I wouldn’t have to pay for water or electricity!

I would much rather deal with my cellmates in prison than deal with these asshole yuppies calling me a piece of shit every day at my current job. At least my new roommates would have a little more leverage when insulting me and calling me names. They probably killed a guy, and that’s a hell of a lot cooler and scarier than me.

Maybe that would solve all my problems.

Everyone hates their job. I know this. Well, almost everyone. But I have to tell you…I really, really, REALLY hate my job. This job at the hoity toity Athletic Club where they gave me hope from the very beginning that I could have 35-40 hours a week so I can qualify for health insurance, and you know, pay my bills and eat and stuff.

I have been working there for four months, still no health insurance, still making 8 dollars an hour and getting between 25 and 30 hours a week…all the while having these members who make more in one day than I have in my entire life tell me…and I quote, “I pay enough money to work out here that you have to do whatever it is I say. I say jump, you ask me how high. I say kiss my ass, you politely ask me to bend over…and you do it with a smile.”

Yeah.

I realized this was a problem, so I applied for a job at the government, took a few tests to see if I was intelligent enough to push paper around, and actually had two interviews for the Pardons and Paroles offices downtown.

Maybe instead of being in the jail and feeling more comfortable with my financial status and living arrangements, I could put other people in there instead and still live comfortably without having to worry if I’m going to get murdered in my sleep.

Theoretically.

So yes, I took the plunge and applied for a government job. At least it was a step toward a steady paycheck and health care. Heck, maybe it would put my mind at ease enough to where I could get more writing done and actually do something I want to do with my life and get paid for it.

So. The interview.

I totally thought I nailed it. I made them laugh, I even made them cry, and they even told me I nailed it.

I get a phone call from my aunt who works there three days later, saying someone else was hired but I was in the “top three.” Someone else who had been working there for five years got the job. I would get a rejection letter in the mail shortly.

Not even an “I’m sorry you suck and didn’t get the job” phone call.

I was livid.

This SOMEONE already had a good paying job, health insurance, and probably a pretty fucking good government pension.

I mean yeah, they have more experience than me, sure. I just wish someone would give me a chance so I can actually get experience in something, anything other than customer service jobs and being treated like a lowlife.

I am really good at that—being treated like a lowlife—a pro really.

That same day at the fitness club, someone told me to “Just shut up” when they sneezed and I said bless you.

And now starts day one of wanting to hang myself from the rafters.

The next week, I was thrown another bone…a shining light through the clouds, if you will.

I get a phone call for another interview for another position in the same department.

“Oh you’ll HAVE to get this one”, everyone said. “You made TOP THREE the last time. They also put in a good word for you. You’ll be great.”

The very day of my interview for the second job, I received my “f-you but keep trying!” letter from the other job I interviewed for.

I should have seen this as a sign… should have noticed the snowball beginning to roll down the hill.

Of course I didn’t.

I went in there all confident-like and gave it everything I had. I made them chuckle slightly but no crying. I definitely didn’t feel as good about this one as the other one. But the job itself is easier and it was an entry-level position.

I mean I have a college degree. I’m intelligent; I told them I loved people and working together as a team. I told them how hard work is the way to go and how I loved constructive criticism.

Hell, I even told them I’ve always wanted to work for the government.

I waited a week and called my aunt, hoping the reason they hadn’t called yet was because they were still deciding.

“I’m so sorry, they gave it to someone else. But you made TOP THREE!”

Top three, huh.

Top three.

AGAIN!?

Of course my self-esteem bubble deflated a bit when I heard I didn’t get the job, but it exploded and fluorescent fireworks shot out of it upon hearing I made top three again and realizing they must say that every time to everyone.

I’m not even that special.

Once again at work, on the same day I got rejected, while saying my usual “Hello how are you today? Welcome to the club!” the member literally threw their payment envelope at me and it hit me in the face. All he said to me after I grabbed at my cheek in bewilderment was, “I want a fucking receipt.”

You know what buddy? Me too. A receipt telling me why I didn’t get these jobs and a list of things about me with little prices next to them so I can determine my worth, because right then I felt like it would be zero.

This was day two of wanting to end my life. However, now I felt more like putting my head in an oven—Sylvia Plath-style.

That next week, a friend of mine who is also my manager took me to the side and said he needed to talk with me privately. He asks for a cigarette and he is shaking so I know this must not be good news. He mutters, “I don’t know how to word this, but I feel like I have to warn you…” and then it all comes pouring out:

“Kathy and Josh (our two supervisors) have been watching you and feel as though your attitude sucks and you have no confidence in anything you do here. They feel like you are negative and don’t really want to be here and they want to fire you. I talked them out of it but you are now on probation for the rest of the month. If they don’t think you have improved 150%, they will fire you and they said you are expendable.”

Um. Excuse me?

My first thought was, “well you know, I really don’t want to be here and all these places I am applying for don’t want me there either. I am losing confidence in myself because I keep being rejected over and over again, and I keep having these people who work out here degrade and belittle me every day and make me feel like I’m worthless.”

But…

I HIDE IT WELL! I know I do! I smile, I nod at their stupid comments to me, I agree with them. I am always pleasant. I am always courteous and respectful to them. Hell, I even have some members tell me I am their favorite hospitality associate and I am the warmest person at the entire place. My other fellow associates complain more than I do, talk on their cell phones and ignore the members when they are asking questions. Yet…apparently, my attitude sucks and I am the only one getting singled out here.

WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE WANT FROM ME?

I swallow my pride and ask him what I can possibly do to keep this job.

I honestly don’t know how much more I can give these people. I am already painstakingly cheerful and nice to the members; I always show up to work on time. I always perform my duties; I always just smile and nod when I am being yelled at. I feel like I can’t give any more.

It’s like that snowball not only landing on you, but reversing somehow and going back over you again and again until it knows for sure you are flattened. (I realize I am personifying a snowball, but I believe I am at my sanity’s limit, so bear with me.)

“You need to show how much you love your job and how much you want to be there. You need to step up and give 150%,” he says.

“Right,” is all I can muster up the nerve to say, because what I really want to say is, you know, I really don’t want to be here, but I have no choice.

“I will be happy to give even more than I already am because I really do love it here and I want to keep my job.”

I then proceeded to swallow down the vomit that was close to coming out of my mouth, following the bull that emerged.

And finally, that was day three of wanting to kill myself, but this time perhaps an oven or a noose wouldn’t be enough. Perhaps a nice shotgun to the face? 

Also, again, there was another shining light through the clouds. Vlad sent me a link to a job opening for a newspaper. They needed a full-time entertainment writer/reporter who likes feature writing and has a love of the arts and music.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is this finally it? This would be my dream job! This is perfect! I wouldn’t have to push papers for criminals, and I wouldn’t have to smile and nod and care whether the members’ tennis clinic got rained out.

As I was plotting the way I would politely tell my current employers to sit and rotate, I read the fine print in the position…it’s in the city of Savannah. Three and a half hours away from Atlanta, three and a half hours away from my friends, three and a half hours away from Vlad.

It’s the epitome of my life, “no good deed goes unpunished.” I may get the chance of having my dream job and not having to worry about finances and being able to relax for a change. Yet along with that, losing the one person who helped me through my series of unfortunate events and the one that made me re-think my “fictional” various attempts of suicide. The one who kind of gave me a reason to keep trying and to get up in the morning.

(For the record though, it has to be said, I am too much of a chicken to actually kill myself, and I’m not suicidal…yet.) 

What should I choose? I’m picking my poison here. Be miserable financially and hate my job, or be emotionally miserable and lonely, missing my other half.

I still applied and ironically enough, it was on the one-year anniversary of graduating from college. That just HAS to stand for something, right? A sign? An omen? I will take anything at this point.

“Please, please please apply,” Vlad said, “It couldn’t hurt right?”

Ohhh it could hurt, a lot, if I got this job. It would hurt my heart, and my brain would explode with mixed emotions of being ecstatic that something finally worked out for me…and the impending doom of knowing I won’t be able to sleep with Vlad, my rock…my strong foundation…curled up in our bed every night.

What would I do without him there in front of me, protecting me from that giant snowball about to bury me forever? Sure, he’s not the largest guy in the world, but I know his kindness and loving nature would certainly blast that snowball into tiny little snowflakes.

At least he has held it off for a while.

Yet, maybe everyone is right and everything really will work out in the end. Maybe I do need to do this for myself and try and be strong on my own.

So when is this “end”?

Apparently not now.

After three months and many unread emails and unreturned phone calls, I check the job posting website and see: “This position has been filled.”


2 thoughts on “My Series of Unfortunate Events

  1. Hey Abi,
    It’s really sad to hear how sucky you’ve been treated recently by so many people. That makes me very depressed in regard to the world, especially since you’re definitely a person who doesn’t deserve it.

    Good luck with the job in Savannah though! I visited there last weekend and am going again this weekend. It’s a nice city. It would suck if you had to be briefly apart from your bf, but in the end getting a job like that sounds like it’d be great for your future prospects.

    Please let me know how things are going and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you out.

    -AJ

  2. Abi,

    I was thinking about you last night after reading this yesterday and I just wanted to encourage you. Sometimes things seem so bad, and maybe they are, but those bad things can be used for good. When things are so painful it forces us to grow. Just like working out – the next day can be painful, but it means that the old muscle is being broken down so that newer, stronger muscles can rebuild. What you are going through now, and what you may go through in the future if you do get the job in Savannah, will be things that have made you who you are. Difficult times are really defining moments, and in the end you may look bad and be able to see that what transpired was actually good, as painful as it may be. Maybe it caused you to step out and do something you wouldn’t normally do… and when you made it through you gained confidence and self-worth, you saw your abilities, and so you stepped out a little further… does this make sense?

    I’m going to say this and hope that I don’t offend you, because it’s honestly not my intention. Whether you believe in Him or not, God loves you. You are on this earth because He purposefully created you and formed you, and he wants to know you. I love you too, and I think you are a wonderfully talented and special person.

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