Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where Once I Might Weep, Now I Might Laugh: Two Vignettes

I: Hell

I'm at the library on Saturday morning, checking the catalog from one of many computers on a long table. At the computer next to me is a more than usually bland man of about thirty with a somewhat meaty build. He is dressed and groomed in an unremarkable fashion and, indeed, makes no impression other than that of a slight thickness. He is intent on his computer screen and is wearing a set of headphones. I barely notice him as I sit down.

I spend a few moments searching through the library catalog.

After a time, I notice as my neighbor fidgets, sighs heavily, and removes his headphones. He doesn't take his eyes from his computer screen. For no apparent reason, he speaks a single sentence in a low, mild, matter-of-fact, almost weary tone.

"The homosexuals are going to burn in hell," he says.

Then, he puts his headphones back on.

I glance over at his screen. He is watching some sort of Japanese animation that is not, but is very much like, "Hello Kitty."

I get the giggles.

2: Refugee Work

I am helping a man who comes from a distant country, a place where life is often very hard, prepare his resume. He tells me about jobs he has had as a teacher and as a clerk, and then mentions that he also worked for a few years as a security guard. This is useful work experience, so I am very interested. I ask him about the details of this job. Since his comprehension of English is stronger than his speaking ability, I ask a lot of yes-or-no questions.

michael5000: Did you walk around the buildings to make sure that no one was there who was not supposed to be?

man: Yes, I did that.

m5k: Were you an armed guard?

[clarifying] That means, did you have a gun?

man: No, no, we did not have guns.

m5k [thinking]: Did you... did you...

man: I was by... the doors. When people came...

m5k: I see. So people would come into the factory, and you would check to make sure they were allowed to be there?

man: Yes, I did that.

m5k: Was there a metal detector?

man: [puzzled]

m5k: [mimes using a metal dectector wand]

man: Yes! We had this, and I used it.

m5k: [writing notes] Good! Did you watch, um, TV screens that showed different parts of the...

man: Yes! "Security Cameras."

m5k: Excellent!

man: Also, sometimes if a thief came and stole something, the supervisor would make us beat him.

[long pause]

m5k: OK, we are NOT going to put that part on your resume.


m5k and the man both crack up.


Rebel said...

1 - at least he wasn't looking at porn

2 - there are jobs where that really could be a plus.

Laura said...

1. I'm with Rebel: I was expecting porn. What happened after that?

2. Hahahaha. That's a great story.

Karin said...

Oh, this makes me miss working there. (But only this.) Well, you and this.

Chance said...

The vignettes continue to be awesome.

boo said...

I have been in that hell.

Yep. You have some interesting resumes to build.

Jenners said...

1. I would have immediately left the vicinity.

2. I guess punishment is a little more strict where he came from. Perhaps he used his metal detector wand to beat the thief?