FUNemployment: Gig 2 "Line Mule"
On Wednesday, the 1st of March, 2017, I was gleefully fired from my job as a Personal Banker. It was a godsend, because I was this close to resigning the prior week. If it weren't for a walk and talk (with the GF) around a block, I would have quit. Which would have been a shame, because I would have missed out on all these lovely government unemployment checks.
Leave it to another jobless (kind of) soul to give me another few hours of gigployment. The man in question, Yaan, posted an ad on craigslist requesting someone wait in line with him on a Saturday morning in order to buy more beer than the individual limit allowed. I jumped at the opportunity, worried (as usual) that I got to the post too late. Thankfully, though, I either wasn't too late or I just came off as one of the most rational-minded of the people who responded to him. He texted me later the same day with as much optimism as I've ever seen in text form.
In addition to a payment of $35, he promised 14% bourbon-aged beers before 9am, it sounded like an absolute scream of a deal. I was thrilled to be on-board, and if there was anything to be bummed about, I was concerned that it would be so much fun that I might be a position to turn down the payment. Especially if he gets me a job offer between bourbon-aged brews.
He texted me the night before the big wait, and even though he seemed like one of the most chill dudes I've never properly met, he made it clear in his original post that people shouldn't bother showing up if they were late. I diligently planned out the trip that night, using reverse calculations to determine the time I should leave in the morning. Google, in its infinite (very finite) genius, explained the trip would take 14-saturday-morning-minutes. Throw in some time to get dressed (5 minutes), a little bit of preparing (5 minutes), and more than a little bit of fucking around (10 minutes), and the final equation said to get up at 7:45am and leave by 8:10am. Done and done.
We left the house Saturday morning at 8:15am. A responsible individual would be freaking out, but not me, I'm a logical-minded person and I knew I still had a minute to spare. Then I saw that the Ballard Bridge, crucial to my route, had been raised to accommodate some piece of shit boat captain who probably hadn't stuck to his meticulous morning schedule and was therefore running late, THEREFORE causing me to be late to my gig. Some people.
I immediately sent Yaan a text with the same picture that is currently to your left. Hoping he was a man of reason and would allow my tardiness. However, I wasn't and am still not a man who resigns himself to fate. As soon as the bridge lowered, I drove well above the speed limit in an attempt to correct past wrongs. Thanks to a little bit of luck that no police spawned in my vicinity, I made to the brewery exactly at 8:30. Yaan hadn't even responded to my text apologizing for being late, so I made my way towards finding the line.
The front on the brewery was completely deserted. Worse yet, the sign on the door said the brewery didn't open until noon. To Yaan's credit, he did say I'd be waiting from 8:30-12:30, but I was hoping that he was mistaken by at least an hour or so. Nope, it looked like my fate was sealed.
I found a decent-sized line out back behind the big ol' warehouse that was the brewery. There were a few dozen people already settled in line. A few were grilling up breakfast and there were open bottles and clear glasses filled with ambrosia. I checked my phone, but still nothing from Yaan. The only thing to do was to get in line and wait. An eternity went by, a whole 5 minutes of waiting alone. Incapable of waiting much longer, I texted my girlfriend, Nicole, asking her how much longer I should wait with no sign or communication from Yaan. She agreed if I hadn't heard anything by 8:50 am, I would be able to depart with an empty conscience.
So far the only human interaction I had in the 15 minutes of line-standing was a few head nods to people who looked at me as they walked past. To those keeping score, I nodded my head up at them--a big difference and a real show of attitude compared to the ridiculous head-nod down. My big break as a career line-muler was when a couple people showed up and cut in line ahead of me. Now, I don't want you thinking I cared about them cutting in line. I didn't give a shit. The whole county could have cut me. What did I care? I was only there as a paid mercenary. However, the significance of that cut came into play as I casually noticed the man ahead of me pull out his phone. I'm not a weirdo or anything, or pry into others' privacy anymore than normal, but I noticed a very familiar picture featuring the Ballard Bridge that I had sent to Yaan just a half-hour earlier. Huzzah! I called the dude out on being Yaan, he (Yaan) immediately pegged me as Joe and before you could shake two sticks to make a fire, he had poured me an IPA. The day was afoot.
Now I'm going to continue telling you all about the next 3 hours and the highs and the lows and this and that, but let's get one thing clear: I discovered the breast pocket of my jacket could be used a cup holder almost immediately. This was a game-changer. Do you know all the possibilities one can accomplish when they can drink and use both hands? All right, that statement was a little misleading, not a lot was accomplished, the only notable victory that came from the discovery was that I could keep my hands in my pockets between sips--which was great because it was a really wet and cold morning. However, like any morally ambiguous young buck, I didn't keep my hands in my pockets. The beer kept finding my mouth, requiring hands to do so.
All this "beer to mouth" action was bound to have a familiar conclusion: extrovertedness. It was only a matter of time before I'd be happily engaging with my fellow man over a variety of subjects that matter not to me. Thankfully, though, I remained sober long enough to hate a couple of girls chatting it up about absolute nonsense a few yards away. Sometimes I can hate a couple people so much that it's satisfying. These girls fit well into that category. I noticed them because the older one recognized that the younger one went to my alma mater. Big whoop. That's nothing but trivial, it was what came next that made me hate them. The older woman asked the younger woman what she called a popular bar in the town. See, a few years ago he bar rebranded itself. So if you call it "Mike's" you're from one generation and if you call it "Stubblefield's" then you're clearly from the retarded generation that came after. Twist ending: whether you frequented "Mike's" or "Stubblefield's," you're a Grade-A retard for setting foot in that STD-ridden shithole. I'll give those ladies credit where credit is due, they managed to squeeze 5 minutes of mind-numbing conversation out of that one shallow question. It's amazing what people can accomplish when they're functionally useless.
The weather day, as I pointed out, was brutal. It was only getting colder and wetter as the alcohol was starting to catch on full force and this made me very empathetic to my surroundings. What I saw was a bunch of under-dressed souls in need of help.
It would be up to me to save their sorry asses. As a line-merc, I wasn't at liberty to go on a supply run. I was however, at liberty to ask my girlfriend to come down with the goods. What really triggered this humanitarian desire was that the younger alma mater girl, a "stubblefield's" disciple, wore open toed shoes and a zip up to wait and was getting drenched. It matters not what I think of her conversational abilities, the woman was in need and I rose to the occasion. Well, my girlfriend rose to the occasion. She also brought me a caramel latte, which was delicious.
The shitty part was that by the time the ol' gf arrived at the location, the weather had cleared up and that idiot girl was sitting in a car warming up. All I did was add responsibility to the rest of my mission by adding a bag of unused stuff to watch over.
As all stories should, this has a happy ending. One of the dudes I was standing with, not a fellow line-merc, but an actual adult with a job, saw my gregarious nature and offered me a job. Well, not totally, more like offered me to be a candidate for a job that potentially might open in 6-8 weeks. Still, huzzah. What a nice guy. Granted, he was also lubed up pretty well on beer and good vibes, but it was a meaningful ending. I think the job was something in sales for a recruiting or contract company. Something with temporary employment for people? I remember it paid well and I agreed to sell my soul to collect the proposed paychecks. It also bodes well for the dude that he played disc golf, but he admittedly warned me that he didn't play well. We haven't played a round together yet.
Yaan, the nice guy that he is, handed me $100 to buy him his beer and told me to keep the change, which turned out to $4.50. He bought 2 Mango Sours and 3 Barley Ales. I hope he enjoyed them. I hope he enjoyed my company. I hope to do this again someday. I hope.