Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Excuses

AS ANYONE WHO MADE IT outside yesterday knows, getting anywhere was a messy adventure. But even with all the snow and rain and nasty sleet, I'm still an hour early to take the Census exam, and that's after spacing out on the 7 Train and going an extra stop into Manhattan -- past Vernon-Jackson station and into Grand Central, where I cross the platform and get the 7 coming back the other way to Queens. And even though I already had a bagel and tea before getting on the train, I felt I'd earned another set of breakfast, and so I was looking forward to the second almost as much as the first, and that's saying something for a teaholic like me. I spot the Irish Center right across Jackson Avenue from where I got off the train, so I take a little walk, past a dreaded Starbucks, when I stumble on a small coffee shop tucked into a sharp corner and duck in out of the wintry goop.

I ask for my trademark English Breakfast and the hipster type behind the counter in the black beret tells me all they have is organic, which is cool by me, but then I ask how much in case it's something like 4 bucks, in which case I'd have to shoot the whole thing down. But it's 2 bucks for what turns out to be a damn fine cup of hand-brewed tea, I think that's the term she used.

The little shop was like a smaller version of my friend Kathryn's place in Greenpoint, a little cafe called Ashbox when she owned it that is itself just off the ramp of the other, Brooklyn side of the Pulaski Bridge that I could just make out across the avenue through the driving snow, which seemed to be coming down in wet sheets. I helped myself to a few free samples of a chocolate croissant on the counter, right next to a plate of Spinach and feta croissants marked $3.75 that had my name on it -- but it was way too early for lunch at 9:15 or so. I made a note to come back here for lunch, because it looked like a cool place to hang out, what with first a Marvin Gaye record playing from a CD player and then Superfly by Curtis Mayfield -- the latter especially an album I've known and loved ever since my older brother bought it when it first came out in 1972. I told Black Beret how great a choice this was, and mentioned how even more than the great Freddie's Dead and the title track, the stirring Little Child Runnin' Wild was the song that made that soundtrack album an absolute masterpiece. Something to that effect. As luck would have it she agreed, and so I thought she might throw it on for me before I had to run and take the test and then I could take that as a sign. That's what music can do for you, get your hopes up. Well, she didn't, and in between her taking care of customers we talked some more about blaxploitation movies before I had to split.

On my way out I heard her tell the other guy behind the counter who was also wearing a black beret that she was working till 1:00 today, so I made a mental note to come back after the test and partake of that Spinach Pie and hold court on a wide range of pop culture arcana. But when we finally finished, it was like 12:30 already, and the weather was just so brutal I decided to head right for the trains. But it's a great destination point for my first bike ride this spring when this crapulous accumulation evaporates under the first rays of the new season.

The test itself took longer than I thought when you include filling out all the paperwork and waiting around for the room to fill up. The exam was more difficult than I expected. You've only got a half-hour for 28 questions, and when the woman giving the test announced 15 minutes to go, I was just filling in the answer for Question 10. So I had to find another gear, and then I had 5 minutes left to answer 5 questions, and so the last 2 answers I was not all comfortable with.

They graded the tests right after we finished, which I was surprised by. I heard the guy tell someone, You got a 97, Call for the Supervisor test. Another guy got a 90, some girl an 80, then he told some poor dude to call for another test, meaning he done failed. I was called last or close to it: You got a 90, Call for the Supervisor test. That shocked me, because I was really unsure on a few early ones, and as I said not at all sure about #27 and #28. But I must have got all the others right, and now at least I'm in the system and I'm waiting for a callback when they give another Supervisors test. That's right, I'm already executive material. We had 'em all the way.

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2 comments:

Nazz Nomad said...

can you giver an idea of what type of questions they were? i might wanna look into this. hanx!

The Warden said...

Well, there was one where you multiply like 106.2 times 39. This is my weak spot, fractions and divisions. Others involved reading maps, charts, forms, etc., some trick questions. You should do it soon because they start the training first week in April I believe.