The Adventures of Ryan Takahashi: Chapter Twenty – Tales from the Unemployment Line

Fired? Holy shit.

Really? Me? Fired from my job???

This doesn’t happen to people like me. This happens to OTHER people. You know, people who are lazy, incompetent, under-qualified or rude.

Not smart, studious, polite Asian guys like ME!

Motherfucker…

It’s been nearly two hours since I was fired from my annoying but stable job at Wellford Fitness Center. Here I am, lying in bed, eyes glazed over and a million thoughts running through my mind. Did I really just get fired for doing what I just did?

I mean, I got fired because I was caught having sex with one of my fellow employees. And not just any employee, for the record. I got caught by my boss having sex with Michelle, a hot perfect blonde. Michelle is the type of girl I could NEVER get in a billion years. She’s the type of girl every guy fantasizes about. She’s the type who gets muscle jerks like Big Danny, not awkward Asian guys like Ryan Takahashi.

I wonder what Michelle is thinking right now. Is she thinking “Gee, I’m such an idiot! I got fired for screwing Ryan! WTF????”

Or is she getting drunk right now? Or did she decide to go back to Big Danny out of desperation? Gosh, I hope not…

Oh well. She’s a wonderful personal trainer and one of the most gorgeous human beings on planet Earth. I’m sure she won’t have any problem finding another job.

Me, on the other hand, will have a much tougher time. I’m not as cute as her or as skilled in the fitness industry.

If only there were jobs for history majors just flying off the shelves. That would be convenient.

So, the next day I immediately start applying for jobs. I wake up at 8 a.m. sharp (which, believe it or not, is sleeping in for me!) and search the usual online job databases for attractive openings. Twelve cover letters later, I look up at my clock and see it is 11:27 a.m.

Time for lunch!

Because I’m strapped for cash, I’m going to have to resort to a boring peanut butter and jelly sandwich, baked potato chips and whatever cheap beer I have in the refrigerator. Ah, yes. The life of being unemployed. Oh joy. I can hardly contain my excitement.

Blah.

It’s a very surreal experience. I’m still – even 24 hours later – completely in shock over how I lost my job. I lost my job at the peak of orgasm. I was fired the moment my boss saw me and Michelle nearly consummate our impromptu coupling session. Even thinking about it gives me the chills. I still wonder what Michelle is doing right now. Is she agonizing over her poor decision to let her vagina (and my penis) get in the way of maintaining a paid job? Or has she been hired right off the bat by some other gym?

God only knows.

After lunch, I decide to take a stroll down the street and inspect the local businesses. I might strike gold and discover one of them is hiring. Stranger things have happened. There are plenty of cute little boutiques, shops and restaurants around here that might be hiring this very instant. This could be my lucky day.

Enjoying a sunny but chilly early afternoon, I see no one has a “NOW HIRING” sign hung up on their door. Well, shoot. Seattle is a large city after all, so there’s no use being down in the dumps quite yet.

Of course, I always have Sam’s proposition on the table. You know…being a high class drug dealer.

Holy shit. The fact that this crossed my mind is making me shudder. I need to stop thinking about this! Because the more I think about it, the more likely I’ll end up rationalizing a reason to take him up on his offer. And thoughts have a funny way of becoming reality if you’re not careful.

Hm. Nothing is around here. Just endless businesses with all their employment needs met. No signs of desperate storeowners needing a helping hand. No damsels in distress willing to pay me a million bucks to save her from danger. Nothing of the sorts.

Damn.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a business called “Cascade Temporary Staffing.” Uh huh. Temporary staffing. Well, I guess a few temp jobs here and there wouldn’t hurt. I’m not hurting for money, but a little extra green in the bank certainly could help me get through the holiday season. This could also be a great way to get my foot in the door with a great company. Gee, maybe I should inquire within and see what opportunities they have available!

And that’s exactly what I do.

I walk inside the building and see a long line. A verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long line. Holy cow! There must be at least 40 or 50 people here! All they’re doing is waiting, carrying their résumés and hoping for a shot at a decent job.

Wow, it’s really sad in here.

This economy definitely is not improving at the rate we’d all hope. This explains the long line. Although I didn’t bring a CV or anything, but I’m here and I have some time to kill, so I guess there’s no harm in waiting in line with the rest of these folks. Who knows? I might walk out of here with a job interview in my pocket. You never know…

(Time passes)

25 minutes later, I think I’ve moved maybe nine feet. There’s about four or five dozen people here and only two Cascade Temporary Staffing employees helping us all. Gee, how ironic is it when a staffing agency is understaffed?

Meanwhile, I have nothing to do but overhear the colorful conversations of the people both in front and behind me. I must say, random people talking about random nonsense can be the most entertaining thing you’ll ever witness. For example, here’s a sample of a conversation between two teenage girls, one dressed like a biker chick and the other looking like she bought all her clothes at a Value Village blow-out sale.

Girl 1: You’re not going to believe this. Holy fucking shit.

Girl 2: What is it?

Girl 1: You know that guy I was with for a while? Craig?

Girl 2: Yeah. What about him?

Girl 1: He got arrested yesterday. And he just texted me. Do you know who his cellmate is?

Girl 2: Who?

Girl 1: My baby’s daddy. Holy fuck! That shit is fucking messed up.

Girl 2: Fuck.

Girl 1: My ex is cellmates with my baby’s daddy. Holy shit.

Girl 2: Yeah, girl.

Seriously. This is the crap I have to listen to in this God-forsaken unemployment line. I don’t want to sound too condescending, but I’m going to guess that neither of these ladies (both of whom couldn’t be older than 16 or 17) have a college degree or any employable skills beyond gossiping, getting pregnant and texting.

SMH.

Oh my God! Am I using Internet-speak? Am I degrading two people I don’t even know for having no “employable skills” when I just got fired for doing it doggy-style with a female co-worker? I am in no position to judge.

This is what unemployment does to you. It kicks your sense of self-worth out the door.

Finally, after what seems like a whole hour (but it was only about 40 minutes), I get to the front of the line and have the chance to speak to a staffing agent. The guy is named Stephen and he looks bored to death. Hey, I don’t blame him one bit. This place is a depressing cesspool full of desperate, jobless folks who would rather be somewhere else. If I worked here, I’d jump off a bridge in no time!

“Did you bring your résumé with you, Mr. Takahashi?”

“No, I did not. I came here on a whim.”

“In that case, fill out these forms and turn them in to window #5, please. Then we’ll process it and schedule a real face-to-face interview sometime next week.”

Stephen points to window #5, which is being manned by a guy who looks even more depressed than him. Boy! This place is giving me bad vibes.

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah. No problem. Next!”

I walk away and find a chair in the waiting area. I thumb through the application papers, looking for what type of information they need from me. Holy cow. There must be at least thirty pages here! They’re asking for all my employment history, school records, criminal history, opinions about workplace ethics, professional AND personal references and writing samples. It even includes a math quiz (Really? Just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I can do math!) and a personality test.

Oh. My. God. I REALLY don’t want to fill out all this crap. Seriously. Can’t someone just give me a job already? It’s only been one day and I’m already sounding as emo as a middle school kid playing with a razor blade in my mom’s minivan. Do they really expect me to fill out all this today?

You know what? Screw this. Screw this!

I get up from my chair, dump the application on the floor, give Stephen the “evil eye” and storm out the door. I don’t need this. Seriously, I don’t. I’m not going to fill out my entire life’s history just so I can get a temp job being an accountant at some disease-ridden hellhole. I need to be doing something where I feel useful, not where I’m disposable.

Yes, I just burned a bridge, but it’s nothing major and I’m sure this will not come back to haunt me anytime soon. I’ll just keep strolling down this street and see what else comes up.

Hm….

Nothing much yet. Now I’m outside the business area and moving into a residential neighborhood. I don’t think anyone around here is hiring. God…I’m depressed right now.

Like, really depressed. I don’t know why, but this entire week has been one big blur. One moment I have a stable job, the next moment I’m having sex with a gorgeous female bodybuilder, then all of a sudden I’m unemployed and on the verge of being broke.

Whew. I need a drink. I need some whiskey.

As I sulk around this particular neighborhood, I’m instantly reminded of a time when I was a child and I was the last kid picked to play kickball during recess. As I stood in the field, waiting for the ball to ever get to me, I didn’t feel happy that I was playing with my “friends.” I was sad because they thought so low of me that they chose me last, even after all the girls! I forced a smile and did my best, which wasn’t much.

I feel a lot like that now. I feel like Life has chosen me last to play kickball. I feel like Life would rather take any of those people waiting in line in front of me back there than little old Ryan. I get the sense that Life is looking down upon me and laughing at my expense.

Life would rather help out those two girls and the incarcerated baby’s daddy than me.

My melancholy daydream breaks when I hear a dog barking at me. Furious that I’ve trespassed onto “his” sidewalk, I turn around and decide to go back home. There’s nothing for me here. My best chance of landing a decent job is finding one online, not wandering around aimlessly hoping to win the employment lottery.

And to think I wasted 40 minutes of my life waiting in that bloody unemployment line. I could have been doing something more productive like watching TV, jogging, eating, sleeping, masturbating or taking a long crap.

Speaking of taking a long crap (which is such a pleasant thought, by the way), I REALLY need to pee. It truly is time to go home.

But this time, I’m not going to wait around for anyone to pick me for kickball. I’m starting MY OWN team!

Onward! And onto bigger and better things!!!

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