I left at 5:30 this morning to head to the unemployment office for my review so I can continue to receive checks. It's standard procedure, required every six weeks so you just get prepared. You know when you go to stand in line with a hundred or so other people, especially at 6:30 a.m. (takes me an hour drive to get there), not everyone is going to care how they look.
Aside from the sad plight many are in as they lose their jobs, there's just something about the unemployment office atmosphere that apparently brings out the worst in too many people. The basics they should have learned in kindergarten no longer apply: form a line, don't cut in line, be nice, follow the rules, read the directions, etc. This morning's adventure brought a few smiles and plenty of head shakes for me. I didn't get any pictures unfortunately, so let me see if I can describe it.
Picture it. It's roughly 23 degrees and potential for rain, so slightly windy this morning at 5:30 as I leave the house, and colder in line with wind picking up a little extra bite from the Ohio River's vicinity. As I pull in at 6:45a there are at least 70 people in line ready for the doors to open at 7:30. Add it up, that's 45 minutes to wait outside. In the dark. In the cold. I always bring a book, and this morning I added marking-time in spot to keep the blood moving. A few people in front of me huddled to discuss favorite bar hangouts and ball games. The guy that got in line behind me with his breakfast complained that it was too cold, he should have just left like he did yesterday (WHY would you do that?). The lady behind him railed the government for screwing up her paperwork and she wasn't leaving today until she got everything that was owed to her. Hmmm...good luck with that.
The really nice people inside the office decided to at least open the lobby 15 minutes early to let us poor popsicles inside to thaw out. I thanked him a bunch. Then Sam, the security guy, goes through his regular speeches of in-line ettiquette and what to have in your hand ready to go. This is where the people-watching becomes prime! I look about 10 people ahead of me and the lady in front of me notices at the same time and remarks, "Why in the world would someone wear FLIP-FLOPS on a day like today?" Yes, flip-flops. Then as I look around I notice it - all the stereotypes: someone in pajama bottoms, ahh - there's the hair curlers sticking out from under a bandana'd head, oh lovely - the "wife-beater" under the unzipped-hood-up hoodie, wow would you look at that - the guy who's two sizes too big for his dirty shirt eating something that just adds to the stains, and let's not forget the one too close to me who "forgot" to take a shower. Oh, and the flip-flop girl, she's with her boyfriend and they have no problem showing their affection at the unemployment office at 7:15 in the morning. Yep, it's all here.
And side-by-side with all that are the ones you don't think about being unemployed: office workers, nurses, teachers, managers, business professionals, etc. Not that those aforementioned lovelies aren't of the more white-collar bunch, but when you see someone carrying a briefcase standing next to the shirt-too-small guy...it's a clearer indication of previous profession.
So I get my paperwork, fill it out (has to be filled-out before I can sign-in), sign-in to get called back and wait my turn. The beautiful lady calls a bunch back at once and we file into a conference room to await further instructions. She starts her regular routine and I notice right away she's all set for the mass of people for the day. "Put this form on top, make sure you have printed your name on it, if I don't have your name I can't enter your information." Three people reach for pencils to write their name. She continues on, and a few more have to reach for pencils to fill something in that they didn't "understand" to begin with. I just giggled to myself. Obviously it was just too early in the morning. She repeats, "make sure," a few more times and then we get to leave, handing her our papers as we walk out. The too-small-shirt guy was in front of me. When he handed her his papers, the wrong paper was on top. She was very dramatic in placing the correct paper on top before she allowed him to walk away from her. I just smiled and said Happy New Year! handed her my papers (with the correct one on top) and ran for it!
After the excitement of the unemployment office I needed a break, Hobby Lobby here I come! After that, Hanock Fabrics and off to find a couple small traditional gifts for friends (always 50% off AFTER Christmas which is also our tradition). And I can't wait to post some of the stuff I've been making with my sewing machine! I have an apron calling for me right now!