Fasten Your Brain Belts. Turbulence Ahead.

On my way home, I lost my way once again, this time ending up on a road to nowhere with signs along the way that said, “Matrax.” At one point, I passed a lone shack with two men in front having a conversation, or so I thought . . .


After I got lost on my way to the unemployment office (yes, I’m unemployed again), I got lost in the unemployment computer system, a.k.a. jobless purgatory, where unanchored soles float above a nine-to-five day staring down at worker ants (oh, those are people) while awaiting the status of their claims.

A game of paper, rock, and scissors at the state level.

Paper = Paperwork.
Rock = Stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Scissors = Shredding the papers once they are no longer needed. Kind of like how unemployment affects a person’s life.

Once I grilled questioned the gal at the front desk, who was very friendly despite my many pointed questions, I was directed to walk to the far end of the room where a red phone sat on a desk, facing another desk w/said red phone. At which point, I had to pick up the receiver and wait for a voice prompt. Hearing a voice prompt before picking up the phone would have rendered me certifiable, which I already maybe anyway.

The gentlemen sitting at the desk across from me, a former welder with a bum thumb, had been listening to the looping voice prompt on his red phone for thirty minutes. I thought I saw his left eye twitch several times. As I sat down onto my elementary school size chair, I nodded at the man, picked up the receiver, and waited to get my orders from headquarters or unemployment, whichever fantasy materialized first.

Since the unemployment scenario involved a red phone and an unknown flunky at the other end of the line, I decided to unofficially refer to myself as Agent 99. For those of you who are not baby boomers or TVLand aficionados, Agent 99 was secret agent Maxwell Smart’s female partner and love interest. My love interest was at work selling high-end cars. At the low end, I still wait on the phone, listening to static, and wondering if I’ve entered the Twilight zone or the Comcast wilderness.

Seconds later, I heard a voice, not in my head, but in my ear. It was Miss Voice Prompt telling me to press one to continue in English, two to continue in Spanish. So, I pressed one and got Spanish anyway.

“It’s Spanish,” I said in English or “Esta Inglés,” yo dijo en Español.

“That happened to me, too,” said Mr. Welder. “You’ve got to hang up and start all over again.”

So, I hung up the phone and jumped from my chair. “I think I’ll do this at home,” I declared, and then bid Mr. Welder Bum Thumb adieu.


On my way home, I lost my way once again, this time ending up on a road to nowhere with signs along the way that said, “Matrax.” At one point, I passed a lone shack with two men in front having a conversation, or so I thought. I watched an oncoming car make a left turn past a sign that said 84 W. The car accelerated up the ramp, then suddenly stopped short in front of a barrier of construction signs. Beyond the signs lay a jagged concrete slab that ended before the sky began.

I shook my head and then continued down the road to nowhere, which appeared to be safer than the highway to nowhere, as miles of asphalt stretched endlessly ahead of me.

A deep sigh whooshed from my lips. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.”

“Please, God,” I whispered. “Get me home before either Dorothy or Miss Voice Prompt speaks to me,” as I preferred to be addressed by the flunky on the phone and not the one in my head.

Later, I hooked up with the flunky on the phone who informed me that I would remain in jobless purgatory until told otherwise.

Now, as sunlight disappears behind a drawn window shade, I wonder when Otherwise will be told.

10 Comments Fasten Your Brain Belts. Turbulence Ahead.

  1. Will

    Hi Lauren.
    Yes i can imagine or actually i can not how it would be faced with bureaucracy in all his might.
    only then you realise how tiny we are in this clockwork we call society.
    Have a nice day!

  2. ReformingGeek

    I'm sorry to hear about the unemployment. What a a pain in the Otherwise.

    I hope your shred bag gets recycled soon.


  3. Mr. Stupid

    Oh. I am sorry you're unemployed again. Don't worry. Something might be waiting just for you…:)

    Have an awesome day!

  4. Lauren

    Thanks. I needed that, Mr. S: This post wasn't intended to be whiny. I hope it wasn't perceived as such. I just wanted to write about my weird experience at the unemployment office.


    Gawd I love your writing and how you can put into words how I feel. You had me literally laughing out LOUD gurl and thanks for that, it was needed. My unemployed friend.

    I believe Agent 99 was Barbara Feldman and how I wanted to have a shoe like Max had, so I could call my friends with old gum sticking to my cheek after using it. Jeesh if they ever knew how far technology as developed over these few decades.

  6. Lauren

    Thanks, Glenn. I'm glad I could help lighten the load. The unemployment office was an interesting experience. Maybe if I had a shoe phone, I could have made the call from my car. The area was also a dead cell zone. I think shoe phone service is better since it uses Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) soul satellites.


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