Labor Day, part 3



Another odd job I had as a young man was handing out advertising fliers. There was nothing particularly odd about the job itself. But how it all played out.

I was living in Berkeley at the time, and the job was in San Francisco. So I had to commute to the city. The problem was, it was one of them “graveyard shift” jobs. It started at 2 in the morning and we worked until dawn. BART was shut down by that time. So the only way to get to San Francisco was to hitch hike at 2 in the morning. So that was a pain in the ass.

The job itself was pretty simple. I’d meet the guy who coordinated the job at his van on a street corner in one of the residential areas of San Francisco. And he’d give me my batch of fliers. And as I walked along, I’d roll them up and fasten them with a rubber band. And toss them on the front doors off all the houses and apartments. Not exactly highly skilled labor.

But after about 2 weeks on the job it got to be too much of a hassle to hitch hike to work at 2 in the morning. So I quit.

This friend of mine suggested that I apply for unemployment. It seemed like a long shot. Because I was under the impression you had to be fired or laid off to be eligible for unemployment. But I figured what the hell, and gave it a shot.

So I’m at the unemployment office talking to this woman behind a desk and telling her about handing out advertising fliers and how I had to hitch hike to work because BART was closed and etc.

And she said: “Due to circumstances beyond your control you were unable to commute to your place of employment. Therefore that makes you eligible for unemployment.”

And she signed me up.

So I ended up getting an unemployment check every month for an entire year. So that was weird how that one played out. Parlaying a two-week job into a one-year vacation.

But that’s often how it plays out in this life, isn’t it?. We get an unexpected break for no apparent reason. Or we’ll get crunched for no apparent reason.

Though I suspect there are cosmic reasons for all the things that happen to us in our lives. Even if we’re not always privy to those reasons.


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