A word of caution and advice!:
Do not publicize you getting a new job via social media before you have signed all the proper paper work, passed every background check and have actually completed a full shift. Trust me here.
I wont bore you with the "I've been without a day job since February" bit again so I'll just jump into it.
A local beverage company was looking for someone to make the rounds across Tucson and clean the beer lines for various bars, restaurants and so forth on their roster. I applied. Sounds easy enough. Sort of up my alley as far as being a food writer goes and that I have bartended before. I have a great car and flexible schedule. Lets do it!
A few weeks after my application I get a call from them to come in and interview. On that day I put on a nice shirt, actual long adult pants and clean shoes. I arrived a few minutes before my call time, as you should always do, read one of the magazines about the company and the newest lines of beers and wines and so forth before the guy interviewing me came and got me from the front lobby.
It seemed pretty casual. The guys were just hard working, beer toting dudes and it was the first time I heard 'shit' and 'fuck' during an interview. Everything went well. So much in fact that they wanted me to come back for a second interview to meet with the department head, who was out of town for a meeting.
So when I went back for the second interview, again dressed nicely and all adult like, I was pleased to find that I was "hired" and that they just wanted to be sure the department head liked me and that I actually wanted the job. He did and I did.
The only steps I had to take was a background check and drug test. No problem.
I've never been arrested. Heck I haven't had a violation since that one speeding ticket I got almost ten years ago when I was running late for my closing shift at this restaurant I was managing. And drugs? Yeah, no. Long gone are those days. The intense edible the wife and I ate, then gave back because of its insane potency, had passed through my system years ago. So I was confident because I knew I was good to go.
That's when I went home and announced via Facebook that I had a new day job and it was a pretty cool one at that. I got a bunch of 'likes' and congrats in the comment section. Finally my non-day job reign of terror was over. Yipee!
Having done and undergone background checks before I knew that it only took a few hours or maybe a day. So when the company didn't call me back I got worried. Did some red flag pop up on my background? Was I secretly in some type of trouble. Did that time I got popped by police in Salinas, CA when I was 16 for skateboarding on protected property show up? Oh no! So I called and left a message regarding the status of my check.
The next day one of the guys calls back saying I'm good to go. The next step was to stop by the office, fill out some paper work and get my drug test done. So I drove down to the office, met with the head of human resources, filled out all the paperwork before her telling me locations as to where I can get my drug test done. One was actually close, like maybe a mile down the road, so I opted for that one.
When I arrived I was kind of put off by the location and look of the place. It resembled some type of converted methadone clinic and the people in the lobby looked like they needed methadone. Before I even filled out any paperwork there my anxiety was kicking in. I have what some refer to as 'white coat fever', or innate discomfort around doctors and hospitals. Now, when my wife was admitted to hospital in January I squashed that fear because she is far more important to me than my own well being. So I showed up everyday ready to see her and make her as comfortable as possible. But when the subject switches to me for examination, I get dizzy and nervous.
As I sat in the lobby of eternal sadness, I could feel, and hear, my heart racing. I just wanted to get this done. Pee in a cup and get out!
A nurse called my name, so I stood up and followed her into the annals of the clinic. Just like clockwork, boom, she asked me to step into a lavatory and pee up to a line in a clear plastic cup. Luckily I had been drinking a lot of water, knowing I had to do this. I hit the line then released the rest into the toilet. And kept going. And going. Whew...I do drink a lot of water but this felt like some kind of anxiety pee. Anxie-pee. We'll stop there.
Thinking that I was done, the nurse then lead me further down the hall. She had me stand against a wall and do an eye chart read. Oh...kay. So I did, read what I could and that should be that. Right?
Then I was lead further into the clinic and placed inside a room. Wait. What? What's going on here? All I wanna do is clean beer lines for a few bucks an hour. I should be done by now, on my way home where I was going to pick up a sandwich from this deli I spotted. This is weird.
Eventually another nurse entered the room. This one was older, a bit weathered and obviously gay. Her no nonsense flattop gave that away. Sorry...but, yeah. She then told me I was going to do a full physical.
A full physical? To clean beer lines? This is...c'mon. This is nuts.
It was here that my anxiety hit full throttle. I was panicking. Erratic, blurred vision, all of that. In fact I almost walked out. If they want a full physical they can have me go to my doctor and have it done correct...and with me being somewhat more calm.
The nurse had me do squats, leg lifts, all of that. Then, and here is where I should have walked out, she asked me to drop my pants.
Oh, uh huh. Why? Why do I have to drop my pants? Are you looking for drugs? Or do you just want a gander of the goods that you, obviously, have no interest in whatsoever. But I was numb. Speechless. So I did what she asked and then, boink, before I knew it she was digging around down there.
That's when I backed away and said, "I'm sorry...what is this? I..."
Before I could finish, the nurse got up, slipped off her gloves and said she would be right back. Thinking that was it I hoisted my shorts back up and was preparing to get out as fast as I could. Before I could make my move, the nurse returned. With another nurse. But this was no ordinary nurse. He was a big fella and stood by the door with his arms crossed, looking at me with reserve.
It then dawned on me: this is the kind of drug creff clinic where they have to deal with all sorts of problematic clientele. Maybe my erratic behavior could indicate that I was capable of lashing out in some way. Holy crap! How bad do I want this job? At that point it was either just get it over with or cause a scene. And if I caused a scene that would just make matters far worse for me. So I stood there and waited for my next instruction.
"Please. Pull your shorts just above your knees."
Jeeze! So with a heavy huff I did so. She poked around, asked me to cough and then was done. She looked at the big male nurse with a nod and he took off. I pulled my shorts back up and was in near tears. The nurse looked totally put off by me. But I didn't care. I just wanted a fun day job to break me away from the laptop and smallness of our home a few hours a week. This was an embarrassment. This had gone too far.
The nurse then asked me to lay down on a "bed" with that butcher paper on it and "relax". She then told me she'd be back in 20 MINUTES!
20 minutes? How am I supposed to relax in 20 minutes? I'm just going to lay there and continue to freak out. Once again, when she turned off the lights and left, the urge to flee washed over me. Hard.
As I lay there in that musty clinic room, hearing the voices pass in the hall, all I could think about is how my life got to this point. Here I am, a 48 year old struggling writer that just needs to make a couple of bucks extra and take some of the financial burden of off his wife, who does nothing but work. As I tried to 'relax' all I could do was hear my heart thump-thump in my chest. I knew what was coming next and I knew it would not be good.
After a bit a different nurse returned with, just as I guessed, a blood pressure gauge. That's when I began to sweat. My whole life I have had to deal with high blood pressure. I eat as healthy and as low sodium as I can. I take supplements to keep it down. I get good sleep. I am not that stressed out. I listen to calming symphony music when I write or read. It's still higher than normal but, again, something that my doctor is well aware of and could address with the company.
The nurse wrapped that velcro arm band around me and began to pump the squeezy thing. I could feel the tourniquet tighten around my upper right arm. To such a level that I actually said "Ow" at one point. When it was at its most painful is when she laid the stethoscope on me and took my pulse, which was racing. Eventually she released the pressure, ripped off the band, took down some notes and took off.
So I sat up and waited to hear about the bad news.
Lesbian nurse returned with blood pressure nurse and both of them looked distraught.
"Uh," said lesbian nurse. "You're blood pressure is high. Like very high."
"No surprise," I said. "I do have high blood pressure but I am also having a bit of a panic attack."
The nurses looked confused.
"Did you have anything to drink last night?"
"Yeah. Couple of cocktails. Maybe three or four."
Nurses looked distraught again.
"Well drinking in excess can make you spike."
Excess? But what about me panicking right now? Can...can you bring that up?
After all was said and done, I was free to go. As I drove home I was still lightheaded and really had to concentrate on getting me there safe. Once inside the house, I immediately went and laid on the bed and texted my wife what had happened. She texted back with a "Serious? All that to clean beer lines?" That's what I said!
About an hour later one of the guys that interviewed me called.
"Yeah. Says here your blood pressure is a bit high."
"I told her that. I really wish I knew I was getting a full physical. And I wish that I could have done it through my doctor."
"It also says here that the nurse could smell alcohol on your breath."
"WHAT? That's insane! I had a couple last night but ate food, slept and brushed my teeth in the interim. There's no way that's true. C'mon."
He then said that they'll get back to me and let me know. For the rest of the day I just laid on the bed trying to block out what had happened. I felt kind of violated. And cheated. And kind of lied to. They said I had to pass a background check and drug test. There was no mention of a full physical.
Come Monday I got the news that I did not get the job. So I went back, deleted my original post about getting the gig and then having to explain to friends that I did not have the job. Which sucks.
A buddy that did the same job for a while said that the money and bullcrap you have to deal with and put up with wasn't worth it. And after what they put me through, I think he was right.
So that's it kids. Why I didn't get the job cleaning beer lines. As I type this I am still out of a proper day job but a hint or two have been coming my way. In the meantime, I write, I take care of my hard working wife, make sure the cat is happy, clean up and make the house a home and continue the fight for gainful employment.
Although all I that am really good at is writing. And all I wanna do is write. So I guess I'll work on that a little harder.