Weird day--it felt like I had acute PMS, though that is not possible, and I went on a bizarre goose chase that eventually wound up on level ground. The roots of this twisted outing today, on a Saturday, go back to Thursday when the goose chase actually started, and when I again felt nervous about a housemate and did not sleep well on Friday night.
I obeyed a directive by telephone interview on Wednesday to go to the Coquitlam Electoral District Office in seek of employment as provincial elections staff. As recruiters were working with an outdated application bearing a Coquitlam address, I had been called to go to Coquitlam, but the Coquitlam people had worried that I would find the commute difficult (although I told them I was used to commuting to Coquitlam and that I knew I could make it there easily and on time) and instructed me apply in Vancouver. (If I hadn't spoken up to mention that I now had a Vancouver address, I guess things would have gone smoothly and I'd have a great elections job in Coquitlam by now.) The Coquitlam people didn't know where to send me, and had trouble using a computer to find out, so I made a guess and planned to go to the Fraserview Office on Saturday after the Good Friday holiday.
I've long had an idea of working for Elections BC, and had submitted an application for an officer position back in January, and that submission triggered a call in response in February informing me that the hiring would be done in April. This was puzzling and no explanation of the process was given me back then, although I have since learned they term these early applications, "intentions to apply." Oh, boy. Ever since the call in February, I'd been waiting for a call to invite me to go to an interview and it came last Wednesday. That person should not have sent me to Coquitlam as she learned when she talked to me that I had a new residential address, though.
While at the Coquitlam office, I phoned the Fraserview office to check as to whether I should and could go there on a Saturday and see about making an appointment for an interview. Someone told me drop by any time. I set out today, decked out for an interview and intending to get there well before noon.
I had a terrible sleep on Friday night. That was due to the disturbing presence of that strange housemate who sometimes bursts into a rage and directs anger towards me. I have felt seriously afraid at times. I sensed something on Friday , even though things appeared calm and had been peaceful the day before. I was getting drowsy enough to retire for the night when, sure enough, the guy began clanging pots and pans and burning pork on the stove as a load of washing sent vibrations up through my room. I tensed up. I barely slept. I consequently felt yucky this morning.
I was ignorant that it was Vaisahki Day in the Sikh community, who would be out in large numbers celebrating in the streets of South Vancouver. I walked a few blocks to the Main Street bus, thinking that the trip would be straight forward. I waited and waited. One full bus went by without stopping. I waited some more. What was up? Finally, a bus stopped but would only go part way. A fellow passenger enlightened me on the festival, though everybody else around me was talking about a "farmers' market" and the bus driver offered no explanation. I decided to take the bus as far as possible on this route and walk the rest of the way, checking out the festivities along the way.
The way was nearly 30 blocks long. I cut over to a side street, but could not resist going back to Main Street to see what was going on. (I had to double back to retrieve gloves I kept dropping en route, however.) Many men were proffering slices of pizza at street corners, and I eventually took a couple. Others were campaigning on issues. An anti-racist group was giving out helpful leaflets about the racial and religious divisions and state offences in India. Another was campaigning against fortune tellers and practitioners of witchcraft. I talked with them for awhile. Interesting. I took a photo of an awning bearing the name of the festival in nice gold print on bright red cloth, under which stern old men observed me. I moved quickly on. A parade was starting up the street's steep grade. There were paramilitary forces: Punjabi officers of the city police with their non-Sikh co-workers all sporting head-scarves. Cool. Then a Sikh biker group followed with their mighty machines painted bright yellow. I took a few photos.
I kept walking and finally came across the sought-after electoral office way down near the Fraser River estuary in a warehouse area. How inviting! How convenient!
There was a very competent manager there. After reception staff told me no interviews were being held, finally this manager came forward but only to tell me to go away. She thought I was at the wrong office. I explained my situation, and that elections BC staff had been sending me hither and yon, and that I had just walked about 25 city blocks to get there. The manager told me that such a phone call could not possibly have taken place, yet I assured her it had. "Who did you talk to?" she wondered. "Did you check the phone number? You must have called the wrong place." I assured her I had asked for confirmation that I had called the right place and received confirmation. The nice lady conceded and interviewed me. However, she said almost all the positions for which she was responsible were filled. She was the one who also informed me that I had evidently given "an expression of interest" in applying and not actually applied when I had replied to the JOB AD back in January. Anyway...she looked up the address of the appropriate electoral office and told me to go apply there too.
Off I went, feeling even more agitated. I had to loop around the expansive festival area by transit. I went westward to the metro train station (Skytrain which goes underground a fair ways) and connect to an eastbound bus. As I was approaching the bus stop outside the metro station, a representative of Jesus Christ greeted me and asked me how my day was going. I told him I was flustered because of appointment mix-ups and transit issues. He offered to pray for me, and I accepted, though I resisted making an appointment to discuss the Mormon Bible with him at a later date. This bus was late and I was scolded for cutting the queue by entering the bus through the back door. "It is not safe to enter by the rear door of a 40-foot bus," the driver told us.
Upon entering the Kensington Electoral District Office on Fraser Street--residents don't use that name, so how was I to know it?--I noticed a very distinctly mysterious and cool atmosphere of a doctor's office. A serene receptionist was busy calling people to invite them to interviews. I quickly filled out another application, adding notes about my situation, and passed it to her. "Fine, " she said. When I asked about the stage of their interview process and how soon they might call me, a got a subtly haughty response that "the recruiter would decide." "Do you think she might make calls on Monday," I queried. The receptionist wryly shrugged a shoulder and replied, "Maybe."
The task of the day finally completed, I wandered up the street in the direction of my place, contemplating taking refuge somewhere in the vicinity. I suddenly remembered that I needed to return DVDs to the Vancouver Library before I got fined for overdue materials. I asked someone who confirmed there was a library in the area. An attentive staff person duly noted my warning that a DVD I had tried had nearly destroyed my new laptop because it was damaged.
After taking care of the DVD returns and taking out more movies and books, I realized I was quite hungry. It was 1:30, and I had finished breakfast at 10:00 and left the house at 10:30. The pizza had not been sufficient. Of course, most Indian restaurants were closed, except for a Halal restaurant. The latter broadcast a decent lunch special by means of a sandwich board. I went in and enjoyed a full tray, feeling too full to eat the naan, which I had packed up to take home.
Feeling somewhat relieved, I figured I had better shop for more groceries. I accomplished that secondary task at a local discount mart, then headed for a bus stop. The normal transit route still blocked off, I headed for one some 6 more blocks away. En route, who should I encounter but some former associates of a Filipino activist center where I used to work on human rights issues. Hand-shaking and hugs amid the little huddle in front of an NDP candidate's office, whom I also know. More hand shaking and exchanging of regards. I promised to pay a visit another day.
At the bus stop was another long queue. I passed the time by chatting to a friendly passenger, giving him an account of my weird day so far. After I told him where it had ended up prior to my arriving at the bus stop, he said, "So it wasn't so weird after all." Yeah, that's right. He was very positive, talking about the free food he had enjoyed at the festival. The bus came after another substantial wait. This driver let some of us enter by the back door.
I got home and unloaded my bags to make a good cup of tea. I sat in the living room munching on a little chocolate and sipping tea. I was tired. Still some tasks nagged me, so I went to the computer. I allowed myself to check messages and issue a few responses. It so happens that more friends are touching base and sending out invitations: this time, they are the dragon boating lot. The job hunt may not be going so well (nothing out of the ordinary about that, in Vancouver life!) but my social life is regaining its former luster. I sent out a quick application nevertheless,