Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Work Week In The Life

"I live off you

And you live off me
And the whole world
Lives off of everyone,
See we gotta be exploited..."
I Live Off You
X-Ray Spex

After a slow first hour, it's been a veritable beehive of activity here at LT this morning, with A. bringing all sorts of company stationery, letterheads, business cards and even some print ads over to my desk for me to look over and sign off on. I caught a wrong zip code on one set; the Chicago zip was on something for the Birmingham, Michigan office. Also caught a name misspelled on a business card. Nobody slips stuff like that past me. Nobody.

It's been a fairly busy week, except for yesterday when I had off. But I used my time wisely and ran a ton of what you earthlings commonly call errands -- coming into Manhattan to pick up my paycheck from A., getting a haircut back in Astoria, doing a much-needed laundry, checking a few movies out of the library, etc. But I would prefer to work every single day for obvious reasons. I did get to fill in a blank, so to speak, on Monday at CB on the Upper West for a one-day project going over the galleys for a new edition of their bestselling Study Guides––quite a hit with the college-bound crowd. And of course I was able to catch some errors that no doubt pleased C.D., my supervisor/contact there. That was about the 5th or 6th time I've been there in my less than one full year of freelancing, for a total of about 10 or 15 days working on the different projects. So it's good to be called back for repeat business.

One client––S. Comm down on Varick Street––had not called in a few months, but K. at A., my freelance agency on West 20th, called me yesterday to tell me they asked if I would be available today, Thursday, but obviously I'm here at LT. My timing is such that I'm either needed in two places at once or nowhere at all! So I asked K. to see if S. can use me Friday, tomorrow. If not, at least they're still asking for me, which means I'm still in the loop. S. happens to be my favorite place among the 4 or 5 places where I've worked, full of hip/young/good-looking people -- three sought-after metrics to which I no longer belong or indeed even qualify. So it goes.

It's funny, or ironic, or something, but when I was back at Le Transcript, I would hate/dread when ex-employees would come back to visit the office like some kind of conquering heroes. It always made me feel ... unadventurous somehow; whatever else could be said, at least these people had left the nest, whether pushed out or otherwise. Sometimes I felt like an Office Lifer, stuck in neutral or limbo, even after the promotion to Managing Editor. The life of a freelancer is essentially the polar opposite of that stasis, with its good and bad points depending on what day you catch me on.

Still waiting to hear good things back from a company I took a proofreading test for last week. I can't imagine anyone doing better on the test than I did, all modesty aside, because I have a metric tonne of confidence in all matters proofing and my perspicuity therein. If not me, who? And I have a few other things in the hopper that should start kicking in at the beginning of next month. But I digest.

A week ago Thursday I had my last catering gig. I worked a full shift at LT here on West 49th, then shot over to the Upper East for the Old Boys Dinner at St. Bernard's School, where among my duties that night included manning the coat check room. That event marked my one-year mark as a caterer. Once I got my own room set up, I unselfishly set up the classroom next door for the other coat checker, Bernice. A few hours later, with everyone's coat on a hanger and their tickets in hand, I went upstairs to the gym and helped bus some tables, served food at the buffet table, etc., demonstrating my versatility. Then I returned to my coat check franchise, waiting for the 100 or so guests to finish their dinner and hightail it out of there.

Following the lead of Bernice, the old black woman who used to work at the school and now evidently returns only for this very event and the lucrative gratuities she receives for working the coat check, I put out a small wicker basket and placed a single dollar bill inside. That was enough to set the mood and lo & behold, I watched the bills pile up––a lot of singles, a few fives, and even one generous dude who hit me with a twenty-spot. Sweet! It was funny: he put a Jackson in the basket and asked if I had change; whatever's in there, I answered, and then he decided to just let me keep it. I couldn't believe it, and overheard him telling his fellow Old Boys that he just gave the coat check guy a 20. I would have done the same thing: why give to charity unless you get to blow your own horn a little.

It was a little past 11 when the last of my hangers was empty. A long day, and I had to be back at LT early the next morning, but when I counted up my tips I was surprised to find I had made 86 bucks, not even counting my salary for the night. I had like 50 or 60 bucks in singles alone, which made me feel like I was either heading to a strip club or had just worked at one, and you know, I could get used to that feeling. By the time I reached Ditmars Blvd. with a fellow caterer from Astoria, it was well past midnight, and once home I had a lot of trouble just falling asleep––repeatedly imploring Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep, to descend upon me (in as non-gay a manner as possible; not that there's anything wrong with that), but to no immediate avail; at least until around 3, when I dozed off fitfully until the clock radio rudely roused me at 7. A couple hits of the snooze bar later, I was up and ready, if not all that bright-eyed.

"In art, Hypnos was portrayed as a naked youthful man, sometimes with a beard, and wings attached to his head. He is sometimes shown as a man asleep on a bed of feathers with black curtains about him."

Looks like old Hypnos was indeed quite the deviant, even by Greek god standards.

1 comment:

jimithegreek said...