Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Passel of Plantains

Last Thursday I watched a video on interviewing for jobs and read some related info on the website of Dwightly’s company.  In the late afternoon, C. and I went to Forest Books so he could give Bob there a copy of his book of poems (My Heart in the Matter), and then we had burritos at El Toro.

On Friday I had the aforementioned phone interview, for 30 minutes, with the hiring manager for the business applications analyst position, along with two project managers. In the evening, C. and I had dinner at Café Ethiopia.

On Saturday, Tom and I drove again to Sacramento to see Mac, now back at the assisted living place and officially under hospice care. He looked about the same as last week, or maybe even better, but seemed a bit less present mentally. As with last week, Ann took the opportunity to do an errand, Tom fell soundly asleep, and I sat by Mac’s bed. The rails of the bed prevented me from holding his hand, but we made eye contact

When I first got there, he said “Hi” and looked me in the eye and gave me a warm smile, and several other moments of eye contact and recognition occurred as I sat there. When Ann returned, she told Mac we were going to lunch, and he indistinctly but clearly enough indicated that he wanted to come with us. Ann told him he couldn’t, and he said again, “I want to come.” If I’d realized he could interact that much, I would have tried to engage him a bit more, though Ann said she was very surprised that he’d communicated so directly.

Ann and Tom and I had lunch in the dining room—Steve and Julie, already full of lunch, joined us—and then Tom and I saw Mac again briefly and drove home. In the evening, C. and I had dinner at La Santaneca, near Mission and 24th streets, which has a warm, convivial feel, and purveys El Salvadorean and Mexican comfort food at very low prices. You can eat way more than you really should for under ten dollars. C. goes there often. He pointed out that they don’t serve alcohol, and how the servers were all dressed up in white shirts. For a very low price, you can get a “side dish” of fried plantains which would be plenty for four people to share. C. and I split one. He hardly had any. The plate was empty when we departed.

Sunday I spent cooking. C. came over in the evening and dined on some of the crackers and marmalade he keeps at my place.

On Monday I found out I had gotten the four-month position as a business applications analyst, and also was invited to interview for a fancier full-time job at the same company. Whereas I got a telephone call from the hiring manager of the temporary position to invite me to interview for it, the communication about the potential full-time job was extremely impersonal: I got an email saying I was eligible to interview, with a link to click on if I was interested. I had to select my time zone and then select an interview slot, and then I got a notice saying a recruiter would call me at home at that time.

The four-month job will pay the same as my former job and will interrupt my severance pay, which will start again after the job ends and continue until I get the full original amount. I was extremely psyched after both pieces of job-related news, though later I felt kind of queasy, after I remembered I don’t want to work for my ex-employer or in that industry at all: Instead of putting effort into finding something more suitable, I did what was easiest, out of fear and laziness.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to be said for steady income. I have friends who are struggling terribly, full of fear, unable to sleep. So I guess complaining about being offered a third of a year of paychecks would not at all be good form.

On Tuesday morning I got a call from Ann with the news that Mac had died the evening before, on Monday, August 6, about dinnertime. How wonderful that we saw him just two days prior, and that he knew we were there.

Now that I have this temporary job, I feel I’m excused from looking for work for the time being, and it was a strange day, knowing Mac was gone, or the opposite—perhaps he’s everywhere now—so C. came over and was kind and comforting, and walked me over to Deborah’s office. He was funny as we walked up a hilly block of Dolores St., swinging his arms exaggeratedly.

Lisa C. was visiting from Seattle, and in the evening, she and I had dinner at La Santaneca, which she liked, too.

I’d thought I would miss going to Howie’s, but Lisa headed to BART just before 7:30, so I took a cab down there (Mark Coleman was filling in for Howie) and walked home with C. afterward.

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