Saturday, March 5, 2011

A day in the life of a drifter

Yesterday was quite a day for me as I had the opportunity to live a day in the life of a drifter, where I was constantly on foot with my few belongings strapped to my back, a train ticket in my pocket, and cars whizzing by on the side without giving me a second thought. I was sweaty, and dirty, and honestly felt unwanted by society.

How did this all happen? I'll tell you.

It all started out when I scheduled a job interview for the position of a Graphic Artist. The interview was scheduled at 2:30pm, and it was in a city called Mission Viejo, a place quite a ways (about an hour) from Fullerton. I could've driven down there, but:

  1. I wanted to save on the gas and the mileage

  2. I didn't want to put my car through such a long trip (after all, I want it to last me a good 20 yrs.)

  3. I really didn't feel like driving

So how was I going to get there? The train! I've never ridden the train. Interesting.

I looked up the schedule for the Metrolink--the train was to depart from Fullerton at 8:30am and arrive at Mission Viejo at 9:15am; return trip was scheduled at 4:10pm. Wow, I was going to be there ALL DAY. But, the truth was, it was still better (and cheaper) than driving. So I booked it.

The day started off bright and early at 5:45 am. The goal: to leave promptly at 7:30 am so as to have enough time to hop on the train at 8:30am (since I've never been on the train, I wanted to make sure I found parking, bought a ticket, etc., etc.) I got out of bed, then I quickly ate, brushed my teeth, washed my face, and got dressed. By the time I grabbed my purse, it was already 7:25am--5 minutes ahead of schedule, alright.

At 7:40am: I stopped by Kinkos to make a few extra copies of my resume, because they had told me that I would be meeting with three people. I raced through the underground parking lot, bolted through the doors, and headed straight for the copiers. Oh, rats, you need a card to use these things. Now where do I get that card? Oh, look, there was a machine. I quickly scan the screen for a way to get that darn card. Where was the button to shoots out a new card?

"You can just grab a card from over there," said a girl from behind.

"Oh, great, thanks," I said. So I grabbed a card from the corner that the girl pointed to and made my copies, then, pretty soon, I was running back to my car. 7:50 am.

I drove to the station, which was just down the block from the Kinkos. I parked, and then went on a wild odyssey to get a ticket. After all, I only had 30 minutes 'til the train's arrival. But where was that damn machine? Up and down, all around, I couldn't find it. Finally, I just started asking a bunch off people, until, ta da, I found it!

So I had my ticket in my hand......then my mind wandered over to my car. Will it be okay if I left it in the 3 hr. parking lot? I was going to be gone all day. Will I get a ticket? Oh, god, it's all need to come back and find a ticket tucked between the clenches of my wipers. Oh, why chance it?

I went back to the car and drove around until I found a parking structure with a 72 hr. limit. Hallelujah! I had to go all the way to the top level because all the spots at the bottom were taken, but, at least, I wouldn't have to worry about getting a ticket.

8:20 am: By now, I am relaxed and standing by the railroad tracks, waiting for a train. At 8:34am, the train arrived and I hopped on board. The trip lasted about 40 minutes while I reclined and watched the scenery zoom by.

9:18am: I arrived at the Mission Viejo station. Now I had hours to kill. But, since I had never been here before, I figured it would be best to find the interview site to save on time. Logical, right? So I walked around to figure out where the hell I was. What, this city never heard of street signs? I had to walk a whole block to see one. Once I finally did, I traipsed across the freeway traffic (apparently, this city never heard of crosswalks either,) and walked and walked and walked. I passed by a Cocoa's restaurant--a sign that I was nearing civilization and, therefore, some form of human existence. Apparently, Mission Viejo was Spanish for boondocks!

I kept on walking, passing a shopping center, until I finally found La Alameda Street. 10:31am.

Swimming in time now, I figured I better stop for lunch. I saw online that there was a Subway. I could go for a foot long to deflect my hunger and last me all day. But then I looked at the map and found that the street it was on was all the way across town--back where I just came from. Ah, hell no! My feet were already throbbing from before, and I didn't want to stray too far away from the job site. Oh, I'll just eat something here at this shopping center. Lucky for me, it also had a bathroom. I could pee.

I ended up eating a ten dollar burger from Islands. What a rip off! The turkey burger with steamed carrots and broccoli was good, but it wasn't that great.

12:00pm: I was going to leave for the interview no later than 1:30pm; I decided to read my book until then. Reading turned out to be very peaceful right there in the courtyard underneath the cool shade of the umbrella.....until all these screaming kids came in and started running all over the place. Oy, vey! So I tried looking for a quiet spot--more walking. By that time, my feet felt like they were about to fall off.

When I found a spot, I only had about 15-20 minutes to read. That was okay, I read pretty fast anyways.

1:40 pm: I arrived at the building housing my job interview. Before entering the door, I figured I had better take a look in a mirror in case I needed to fix up my hair, blot my face, or clean out a booger. I bent down and reached into my bag to find my tiny compact mirror; and that was when a guy nearly beams me with the door (he was coming out while I was burrowing through my bag.)

"You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine," I said.

"When can you have it done?"

Huh? I looked up and realized that the guy was talking on a headset the whole time and not to me. In fact, he didn't even notice I was there. Oh, excuse me, Mr. Corporate Dick, I thought you were talking to me. Forgive me if nearly clobbering me with the door was too much of an inconvenience for you. Why not just step on my hand instead?

2: 00 pm: I was sitting at a table surrounded by my three interviewers. They all asked me some questions, and I answered them to the best of my ability considering I was dead tired and all I wanted to do was take a nap right then and there. And maybe it was just me, but I got the feeling they weren't really interested in what I had to say. One girl practically waved her hand to me as if saying, "I don't want to hear that, I don't want to hear that. My time is way too precious to waste on what you're saying." Another girl wanted to start a war with me over why the Mac computers were better than the PC. Oh, too tired.

2:20pm: The interview is officially over, thank god! I walked away with the distinct impression that they were not going to offer me the job. Yet, I still wasn't bothered by it because I was walking back to the train station, and the trail was not as gruesome as it was before....probably because I was going home! YES!

3:00pm: Waiting for the train; read for an hour.

4:10pm: Boarded the train and practically dozed off during the ride.

5:20pm: Finally got home and could go to the bathroom now.

So that was my day--a day in the life of a drifter.

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