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Temporary

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Jul. 29th, 2012 | 05:21 pm

This may also be heard as a voice post.
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I like being a temp. Being temporary. I like working when I want and quitting when I want. I like dressing up. I like meeting people with important jobs. I like money.

I told the agency I never wanted to be anywhere longer than a week. If you’re not there longer than a week, they can’t give you anything real to do. So I do a little light filing, some typing, some phones, and the rest of the time I read the newspaper, play computer games, write letters, write in my notebook, whatever I want, twelve-fifty an hour. Long as I don’t make any Personal Phone Calls.

Nobody knows you when you’re a temp.

Bring a book for lunch, don’t have to make conversation, don’t have to meet people because I have the magic words, “Oh, I’m not really new, I’m a temp” and the word gets around, don’t waste your time she’ll be gone in a week. I go down two floors, use the copier, someone comes up—cause there’s always Policewoman Sally Secretary, thinks it’s her job make sure nobody makes one personal copy—says,

“What department is that for?”

I say, Ummmm…Marketing? Sorry, I’m a temp.

Sally calms right down, I’m obviously dumb, got no idea what I’m doing, no-one to sit with on smoke break, got no health plan, probably be rooting in garbage cans in my old age while she enjoys the fruition of her matching plan, says,

“Oh! Well, welcome, and let me know if I can help you find anything.”

And I say, “oh, thank you” but what I mean is, 'no, Sally, you let me know if you need to find anything because I’m filing all the company paperwork under Q and by the time you need it my little temp ass will be gone.'

In my notebook, I write down all the things people tell me. There’s a different way to answer the phone everywhere.

Ascom Timeplex!
Dataphone Computers, may I help you?
Design Concepts and Images, where your office décor dreams come true!
Emergency Medicine, Doctor Andersen’s Office!

I write down how to use the copier. I write down where the lunch room is. I write down all the things they tell me, because they like it when you write it down—it makes them think that they said something important.

“The files here go in alphabetical order. That means A at the front and Z at the back. Do you understand?”

“Now, let me explain the phones. You pick up this part to talk and you press this button marked ‘hold’ to put them on hold.”

I write down lots of things.

From Accounting: “Kelly in Marketing is going to be let go—we’ve already stopped paying on her health insurance.”

From Systems and Technology: “Let’s see if we can get Staci transferred to our department—now that is one fine piece of ass.”

They say things, in the lunchroom, in the ladies’ room, in the hall, because I’m not really there.

I only stayed one place longer than a week. Six months at a children’s hospital. They booked me in as catch-up secretary to the head of Emergency Medicine, to sort the mail and type things. I worked up in the office, and my boss, Dr. Andersen, was mostly down in the Emergency Room so I wasn’t even supervised. Free Copy City! I used to go down to the Emergency Room two, three times a day, deliver mail, pick up mail, pick up stuff to be typed, drop off typed stuff. I didn’t have to look in my notebook anymore, cause I knew the way, knew who worked where. Dr. Andersen gave me Godiva chocolates for Secretaries’ Day. The cafeteria lady asked what I was reading. Maintenance and Supplies brought me a better chair.

One day I’m down in the Emergency Room, dropping the mail into slots, med student, doctor, resident, doctor, things are pretty bustle-bustle so I’m staying out of the way, doing my mail. Suddenly Dr. Andersen’s in front of me and she shoves this thing into my arms and says

“Take this to the office right now please.”

And I say “but the mail—” and she says

“Go now. Take this to the office now.”

And I leave the Emergency Room really fast but kind of awkward with this thing in my arms and head back through the hallways and the bundle has a shape and a weight and a size and I know what I am carrying.

And I take it to my office and I put it in Dr. Andersen’s In tray.

And because I can’t resist

I unwrap it.

And it is the most perfect eight-month-old baby I have ever seen except that she is blue, blue like the coldest baby in the world except that she is lukewarm.

When a child, especially a baby, dies in the emergency room there’s almost always an investigation unless it’s really obvious—kid hit by car, kid fell from tree and cracked skull, kid drowned in pool. Because dead children are the source of lawsuits. And if they suspect abuse then they call Social Services and Social Services sometimes says, “we need an autopsy, hold the mother.”

And the mother did not wish to be held, she wished to leave the Emergency Room with the body of her baby and when they wouldn’t let her take it she ran screaming through the ER, “give me my baby, I want my baby” and trying to grab it, until they had to hide it from her.

And the phone rings
Emergency Medicine, Dr. Andersen’s office.
And Dr. Andersen says,
“You can bring what I gave you back down here, please.”
And I say
Yes, ma’am.
And she says
“Did you open it?”
And I say
No, ma’am.

And I wrap her back up in the blanket which has pink alphabet blocks on it and I bring her back to the Emergency Room and Dr. Andersen takes one look at my face and says Oh and I say Yes and we sit and hold the baby until Social Services comes.

I like being a temp. Being temporary. I like working when I want and quitting when I want. I like dressing up. I like meeting people with important jobs. I like money.

It’s better to know right from the start that it’s temporary.



_________________________________________________
whipchick no longer temps.





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Comments {17}

Myrna

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from: myrna_bird
date: Jul. 31st, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
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I really liked how you used the short blunt statements. They just seemed to fit with the whole temporary feel. It's really clear to me that you are able to find a story wherever you go! :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 5th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Thank you :) I've been lucky to have a lot of different experiences.

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blahblahblah, whatever

(no subject)

from: kathrynrose
date: Aug. 4th, 2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
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Wow.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 5th, 2012 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Thanks :) This one's a compilation - I didn't personally hide a dead baby, but there was one...

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With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

(no subject)

from: lilycobalt
date: Aug. 8th, 2012 05:53 am (UTC)
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I started off laughing at the writeups, and...then the dead baby came along. *shudders* Well done!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! That's exactly the reaction I'm hoping for!

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alycewilson

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from: alycewilson
date: Aug. 8th, 2012 08:31 pm (UTC)
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Beautiful. You do spoken word very well.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Thank you :)

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notodette

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from: notodette
date: Aug. 9th, 2012 02:43 am (UTC)
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Amazing work here. The lightness of the style contrasts perfectly with the hidden heavy story.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Thank you - exactly what I'm going for!

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similiesslip

(no subject)

from: similiesslip
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 12:14 am (UTC)
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I enjoyed hearing your voice.

The baby part surprised me.

And, in a way, I can almost imagine being the mom. The hardest thing in the world is to walk out without your baby, even if it is "only" a miscarriage.

That poor, poor mom.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
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Thank you - and yeah, I think the mother is the most forgotten person in the story...

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

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from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 11th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
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This was very light until it suddenly wasn't. Deftly handled.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! That's exactly what I was trying for :)

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Wow, thank you - I really respect your work, so that's a super compliment.

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Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.

(no subject)

from: n3m3sis42
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
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Okay, wow. If I make it to the finals and have to write why you deserve to win Idol, I hope I remember to mention this piece because it punched me right in the gut.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
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Wow, thank you. I'm very honored and I hope we both make it!

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