Jun 29, 2010

My American Journey. Summer 2010. A Travel Diary - Misc. Developments, Impressions, Et Cetera

Today I was to meet a strangely easy-going guy, to whom I spoke the other day on the phone in regards to a job offer for "E-commerce Sales Associate". The address where I was supposed to go was in a south-western location in Brooklyn and he told me that it was "A warehouse, basically".
I looked up the address in Google maps and saw there garage-like doors on a red-brick building stretching along narrow street with a residential compartment building of the same style across the warehouse building. There was an uninviting steel bridge spanning on the background and some graffiti on the walls. "Suspicious" I thought, thinking about psychopaths who lure naive victims, lock them up and torture them to death. As there was no one to take with me and wait me outside, for security, I decided to leave a note in my room with the address and the mobile of the guy, saying that I will be back by 5PM or call if later. A girl from Russia was supposed to review my room on the same day, so my host would see it and keep it in mind. So I did and left.

Took the R train and then walked about half an hour, a distance that strangely didn't seemed that long on the map, as opposed to other times when I walk with ease distances that seem longer on the maps. Probably the difference was due to the mindset. I was in a hurry, late for the interview and concerned about its legitimacy, and the part of the neighborhood it was located at. There was this large, steel bridge following along the route I was going to. Low rise red-brick buildings, road intersections and car-service garages. The local mafia probably resided somewhere around, the setting was just right. So, I reached the place and entered a large, metal-roll garage door that was opened. It was a warehouse alright filled with small and large boxes with electronics, as far as I could observe. There was a latino dude whom I asked for confirmation of the location, he nodded and then asked him for the guy with whom I was supposed to meet. He went into a door at the warehouse wall and then called me in.

There was a corridor and offices inside, everything seemed normal, just right. I was surprised to see that the guy in question was a Jewish person dressed in white shirt and black trousers, just the black coat and the stovepipe hat were missing, he had his kippah on though, also plain black. He behaved weird, almost as if the whole interview was a joke. I presented my qualities and skills to him in a professional and confident manner of speech and he said he was impressed. Then another Jewish man came into the office, but he didn't shake hands with me due to religious reasons. They discussed my best possible assignment and decided they'll call me after the 4th of July holidays for a 30-day trial of my performance. We discussed vaguely the payment, I know Jewish people prefer to receive money, rather than give it out, so I decided to negotiate the salary more thoroughly when definite assignment is given next week. Good, I left and took on a right turn to wander a bit around the streets at this part of Brooklyn. Then another guy called me, also impressed by my Resume (good thing I didn't included the Unpredictable quality after all. It may be a plus if I apply for a job at CERN though for a position of "Experimental Particle" or something similar, hey they may find new elements in me colliding my protons with protons of the Universe, who knows, I may contain atoms from the Big Bang, lol) anyway, where was I. The other guy also needed a person to work with e-commerce websites, but initially he needed that person for customer service position, while things get going in the office, as the firm was a new starter and was yet to develop its business. Sounds interesting.
I can't take both jobs at once, but which one should I choose? Now here's again one of these choices in life. The Jewish people don't seem very reliable and they seem stingy too. Though I may be wrong. The new-starter firm has some potential prospects in it, since it is new, I could contribute to its growth and thus establish myself there and my pay too. I will see to try them both and just take one. Hey, I'm not going to be here too long any way, even though I pretend otherwise.

On the way back I walked again to the train, this time with a different mindset, the weather was pleasant, the people awkward, the urban setting just like from the movies. The stop was located on a high place and there was this nice urban view towards the Statue of Liberty, which was clearly visible in the distance. "Ah, my old colleagues are arranging keychains and folding t-shirts hard right now and I'm here looking at them from the height and I'm free!" LoL.

Then I went to a real estate agency to see for cheap rents for the week to follow. Wrong. You don't go to an agency when you need cheap. They charge a service tax, stupid. Right. So I'll have to look up in websites or on Craigslist for offers directly from renters. By the way, when I informed my host that I'll be leaving in about a week he said "Ok, but you don't get your security deposit back without a 30 day notice".. "What?!" I was shocked. "Listen now, you HAVE to give me back my money.. or I'll kick your butt!" Nah, I didn't said it like that, but was persuasive enough to make him rethink. So we made a deal that if he finds someone to fill up my place until the 30th of June, he would return my deposit, because "It's just not ethical" he said, right you are. Actually, I really don't have the money to pay him the rent for next month anyway, that is why I need my deposit back, so that I look up a cheaper place, pay it for a week until I receive some payment from somewhere and move in another place for a full month, or pay for another week if things go slower.
Risk it, head on, let's see how things will turn out in the end. You either win or loose, in both cases its a win-win situation, because I gain experience and even some wisdom and insight here and there, I value these more than money, though money is what I need right now.

When I went back "home" I spoke with him and in the end I was able to negotiate to stay until the 7th of July for 105$ and he will return me 345$ from my original deposit, so, instead of paying 125$ minimum for the week ahead worth of rent I only paid 50$, which was a pretty good bargain, excellent.

On the way back to Staten Island I diverged to Wall St. It was my first visit to the notorious place, though I have passed by it many times already. On the Parthenon-styled arch held by classic Greek-style columns with this predominant leafy design of the capitals in New York city there was a scene of stone-cut statues of people working on the field, lol. The peculiar element however was the central figure, which was a woman with Hermes' wings on her head. Strange. Women are incorporated in New York's architectural symbolism in a very peculiar way, not sure where this tendency derives from, is it because of the initial mythological symbolism incorporated in the Statue of Liberty by its designer? Very interesting, female-warrior and strong, leader-type females are seen at a lot of places in statues and stone reliefs around Manhattan, along with Mercury and his accessories. So mysterious, and yet there hasn't been a female president for instance. Strange messages or whatever the reason for this architectural tendency here. I just love the architecture of NYC, it's scale and grandeur are overwhelming, so cool. Provide great landscape for some awesome vertical photography too.

As for those prevailing black spots on the pavements I mentioned in previous posts, one person a while ago that we spoke casually on a bus stop suggested that they may be old chewing gums. "What, so many?!". Weird, I should scratch them some time to inspect them closer up, so to determine their possible origins first hand. I mean, chewing gums? This may be the urban effect of American chewing culture, lol, side effect that is.
Another peculiarity in the news, people here seem to still live in the Cold War era with one foot. In the recent days there has been reports in the local news channels about Russian spies that have been intercepted by the US government in New Jersey and detained in charges of spying and exporting government secrets to Russia. LoL, now that's funny. This is serious stuff man, it is Spy business! When are we going to grow up, this is just so sad and pitiful. Economy based on war, just so sad. Why can't peoples just cooperate with each other, cooperation can also be a form of competition, so that advancement be ensured, right!?


Michelle said...

Interesting post!
So, you had great ebbs and tides in your search of job. Well, experience makes you teach. Garage formation seems fabulous in your story. I am excited to know your continuing story. Do share!
Good luck!
Metal Garage

Ateviel Al Bulgari said...

Yeah, I'm enjoying and taking my chances.. something worth it could come out in the end, if not just call it a good adventure