Elaine, you are a bitch

Monday morning came and went in a drizzle of disappointment. The preceding few days had been a delight, and my mood was excellent. After dipping my toe in the art world, I ventured timidly and skint to Chorlton to watch a band called PINS. If you’ve not already heard of them, I would recommend checking them out, particularly live. They were fucking ace. All female, all snarly and hypnotic allure, loads of bass and droning riffs, really sexy stuff! Being alone in pubs normally leads to fast drinking as I feel pupils widen at the loner, pity heavy sighs of pretty girls attached to prettier men. For those of you that don’t know Chorlton, it isn’t the cheapest place to drink. Despite having twelve shiny pounds, I had enough for two pints. Two. That’s not even enough to get out of bed for really. Hoping to change my drinking patterns though, I sweated out the nerves to watch a great band, and I felt pretty happy with myself for going, and not sacking it off to get drunk and high with The Farmer.

That weekend was spent watching more music, and helping out with the Oxjam Take Over in Manchester. It was top fun, met some top people, and I did it all sober and off my own bat. As you can probably tell, I was pretty happy with the way the last few days had gone, and pleased with myself for sticking to the plans I had made. So when I got up last Monday to go and sign on, I was looking forward to telling the dear folk at the Job Centre that I had been doing some volunteering and generally increasing my prospects of employment.

Enter Elaine. Elaine is typical of one type of person who works at Job Centres. The other type, people like Garfield, Karl or Debbie, actually want to help you find a job you actually want to do. They recognise that work needs to be in some way a fulfilling enterprise, one that generates self-worth and a sense of contribution to a wider good. Elaine is the other sort. She is not a happy camper, with a demeanour like a golem pissing lava and a face less pretty. Why, so supposes Elaine, should anyone else be happy when I plainly am not? And so begins the interrogation into my job seeking habits, what I have applied for and so on. This is the part that pricks like George Osborne don’t understand. Having some jumped up pencil pusher imply that you’re actively cheating the system by not applying for dead-end jobs that you know will break your spirit is a bitter pill. I explained my reticence to return to SEN schools given my recovery from anxiety/depression. Her response – ‘Do you not like kids then?’. Fucking inspired Elaine. Top of the fucking class. With mouth breathers like Elaine directing the nation’s unemployed, we are sure to witness a Golden Age of innovation and creative arts.

I am still pissed off with Elaine, because it has taken me a week to calm down and convince myself that I’m not the benefit scrounging lumpenproletariat she seems to think I am. Attacks like those hurt. They hurt your pride and your belief. I applied for a job as a travel consultant for a firm organising travel details for executives. I applied because I felt that if I didn’t, I really was just hoovering up the crumbs and subsisting on the lives of others. I was rejected, within ten minutes, by email. It was life affirming. It is moments like that which feed my perverse little mind and strengthen my resolve to be weird, and to find my own path. You took a week off me Elaine, one week of brooding and self loathing that I thought I was beyond. For causing me that lapse, I shall never forgive you. For being such a desperate sad bitch, you have my eternal pity.

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