The Prize

I tripped over some garbage this morning. IVAGO has been on strike for a week now and the city is bombarded right back to the medieval ages, reeking of beer cans and Spaniards. Although it is technically consider littering, no one bothers to take their trash bags back in, so they just pile up on the side of the street. Queue some bastards dumping old bed frames and broken TVs on top just because they can.

From there, I took a train. I had a hard time determining which train I needed exactly, because the website -of the NMBS, our train company thing- insisted I should piss off and take a bus halfway through the trip. No joke, I had to look it up on the bus company’s website, which is considerably better built. Still not good, mind, as they got all departure times wrong.
The train was shorter than usual, so that in rush hour, there were more people standing than sitting down at their crotch level, for up to an hour. It also had to take a detour to fill in for another train that mysteriously vanished from the face of the planet (I’m assuming) to pick up disgruntled passengers from towns in Honolulu or some shit.
Needless to say, they, like the rest of us, arrived way late.


I had to get some paperwork in order: Back in March, I applied for a change of address with the administration here in the city. As per standard protocol, a police officer drops by soon after to confirm, but he never showed, let alone did any confirming. There had been an error, so that my official address was listed as this new place, but I was still living together with my old roommates.
The office just responded with the officer’s phone number. He didn’t know what the fuck was going on and I had to convince him to just do his job.
He then wanted to know what I do for a living, looking for a valid reason why I am only available from 8pm.

And me,
I’m looking for work.

In a world of incompetence so thick you can wave your arms and swim away in it, I am trying to find some way to do the job that I do well and make a living from it.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of work in stage business. If I wanted, I could pick up the phone right now and be working 24/7 for 6 years to come. Interesting job openings as part of a camera crew, as a club techie, driver, sound or light engineer, you name it.
Problem is, I wouldn’t be getting paid for it. If I’m lucky, they will cover my expenses but usually I actually have to pay money to work for them. It’s such an endless repetition of itself, I do a search on every listing for the word ‘budget’ before I even start reading. 9 out of 10 times, it is found and preceded by the word ‘no’.

Last in line to get on the train, I watched how people pushed and shoved to get a seat. Some jumped on the train in 1st class and then ran for 2nd, an old trick. I could have joined them easily, but in my morning mood, I swore it would be a cold day in hell before I’d fuck others out of their privileged position to take their place.

On my way to a test for a sweet tech job, I met my old class mate, who was applying for the same position. He’s a great guy, with a heart bigger than the train we were on. He is also Spanish, which means that he has a much harder time finding work then me. On top of that, he has some health problems that keep him from doing stage building, so in the end he’s just as screwed as he would have been if he had stayed in his country. If anyone deserved a break and a decent job, it was him.

And so it came to be, that hell froze over on that day, and I played every card that I have to get that job instead of him. I felt like a motherfucker and it didn’t even bother me all that much. He’s experienced but with my nationality, language skills and friends in the business, I have an edge over him. An edge I’m willing to pull myself up on.

It’s a dog eat dog world and today, I went for it. Regardless of any humanity, I tried my best to prove that I would make them more money, and therefore I should be hired. And that son of a bitch broke my heart when, on the ride back, he told me he wished I’d get the job. He wasn’t even mad.

The world fucks us in ways that forces us to fuck each other. Actually, it doesn’t force us- we just get used to it and do it spontaneously. There were 35 people on that test and they’re just as eager as I am- it really is the perfect job for many. 1 will get selected. Inwardly I cheered as 1 or 2 people looked at the exam and walked out of the room, realizing that no matter how badly they needed work, they wouldn’t make the selection.

Applying for work is one of the most despicable things I’ve ever done. Not just because you bear your heart and soul for others to judge, but with every step forward, others take a step back. It makes me sick. Like dogs, we fight, on the weaker’s shoulders to reach higher.

Since every job, no matter how small, is preceded by a miniature competition, I’ve done this more often than I can count. It’s more obvious now but it has always been there, that same process. I’ve become quite good at it.
So yeah.
I hope your kids get by with a little less next month. Too bad it’s not a job in a bakery or I’d donate some bread. You know, if it doesn’t get me fired.

Seriously, fuck this world sometimes.


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