Googling in the morning, picking through job listings like a trash scavenger or an estate saler, seeing potential in what other people discard, that’s my job. I am calculating potential returns on application time invested, the likelihood of value. I hold handfuls of job listings in my palm like fistfulls of sand, shell, and plastic detritus. I am looking for work at the beach, probably the wrong place, but oh, well. I like it here.
I am here, jobless again, switching careers again. I got tired of my last gig at the three ring circus, holding off big cats with a stub leg stool while wearing clown shoes. I remember my first year doing that and how every noise the audience made sounded like a sob or a call for my immediate termination. Everyone said, “Stick it out for three years. Spend one in each circus ring. You need time to see if you like it.” But ultimately I couldn’t get past the chewed up gum, the harshly scribbled hate mail, and the smell of must.
I must be crazy. I can’t find out what my job is, but I still need work. Money to pay the bills. Something more solid than a sand foundation of temporary gigs and literary nonsense. Today my work was researching cosmetic surgery and puddle jumping around sandcastles filled with Instagram photos. A woman with breasts the size of beach balls could make a perfect interview subject, so I sent a direct message. I messaged a bus driver I found on Facebook, gathering commentary on the topic of erosion but applied to transit. I write this all down in an email using tidy, professional font. I print the email, and I put it in a glass bottle, blue glass, and I send it out tied to the leg of a seagull. He might never come back.
Seagulls are scavengers. They flock to dumps, startling inland ornithologists. They’re looking at birds all day, and I am looking at people, looking for work forever, making work, trying to find my job. I can only blame myself for being out here, out of a job. So I am sitting here thinking, slouched over in the sand, which is really just pieces of broken carousel horses, waiting for something. I search for statistics and insert hyperlinks to convey preparedness to discuss and describe one of several half-cogitated storylines. This storytelling profession is hard to break into, so many barriers present themselves like jetties and seafaring storms. I cross wires and bits of nets with dollar bills folded in, forming a braid that is some kind of symbol of value. Today I will catch something to pay the rent with, I hope.