********

What?! Did you think that I was done complaining? Oh no, no, no. Please. Those two posts were only my warm-up.

****

So I look down at the book C had slipped on Mansie’s desk for me, “Slavery by Lisa Kristine“. It’s a lovely book–gorgeous photographs. But it’s pretty sad, and by now, my chest is thumping faster, faster than little thumper in Bambi, like a sub-woofer speaker in a low-rider. I mean it is THUMPING! It’s shaking my ribs all up! I had thought I’d maxed out my anxiety at C’s office, but apparently being there in that dark office by myself is only making my smallness more apparent, the darkness just amplifies and the glowing halo behind me seems out of reach.

I look at the window behind me; it’s such a sunny day. I get a text from Mansie, she asks if I can call her after 1:30 instead. At this point, I’m growing increasingly light headed, my breathing gets heavy so I’m sitting there doing my mindfulness and distress tolerance breathing exercise, the only one I’ve manage to master and I go down a little. I figure I better go pee, but the restrooms upstairs aren’t fit for a wheelchair. Sure, I can walk to the stall from my wheelchair like I have before, but I don’t want anything to make me anymore irate. Besides, I need an excuse to get out of sight.

So I’m downstairs in the lobby pacing in my chair after I find a restroom which unfortunately was locked. I’m pacing. I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly. 

I’m flushed. I’m heaving. I’m having hot flashes like a woman in menopause; I’m having cold flashes like a bikini model in an ice cold beach; I’m having flashes and shakes in a  hallelujah-I’ve-been-touched-by-Jesus-but-I’m-really-just-having-a-stroke-in-a-pentacostal-church fashion. It’s a good thing the downstairs lobby is a ghost town because if anybody takes one look, they’ll see a disheveled mouse twitching and heaving and mumbling and rolling to and fro in an electric wheelchair.

I call my dad and tell him what just happened. I ask him for advise but he merely says, “I don’t know what to tell you. You know I don’t have an opinion in these things.” That’s his default phrase these days. I know why he says that. It’s basically a defense he’s built in after all of my “explosions” in he past. He doesn’t want to risk saying something that will trigger me, so he says nothing. I tell him I love him and head back upstairs, but not after trying the New Male Therapist and leave a message thanking her for getting me that DBT group. “I still haven’t gotten the letter though… and…” Of course, I sound quivery and like I’m getting ready to cry. So I head back upstairs before I do.

I’m breathing in deeply, I’m breathing out slowly. Breathing in deeply, breathing out slowly. Iiiiiin two-three-four. Ooooout two-three-four. I’m rolling across shiny tile floor, I am pushing the elevator button. Elevator lights up, door opens. I am feeling anxious; I am going in. I am mindful of my surrounding. I am mindful of my actions. I am mindful of my feelings… My feelings are just feelings passing through me like leaves floating across a river… I am…

****

This is where I decide to get on WordPress and Sailor becomes my night in shinning armor, helps me see things a little more balanced, more clearly. Thank you Sailor! See, I tell myself much of what you said Sailor, but it just makes more sense seeing the way you wrote it, having it come from someone else. I guess I need too much reassurance sometimes. But it’s a good thing you said what you said.  And I’ll say it again, you guys, my mental, very mental and only-averagely-mental bloggies are like a first response team.

****

What else? Well, I take D’s picture because by the time I head back up she’s there waiting. I have a good, though rushed and anxious conversation with her and eventually head back downstairs to wait on the MetroLift.

While I’m down there, I call Mansie and we both devise a plan! It’s excellent, or the best we can think of.

Wanna know what it is?

Well… I can’t say!

mehehehe

****

I’m out in the hot sun thirty minutes and damn MetroLift is nowhere to be seen. For a split second I think I see it, but it flashes in front of me like a ghost. Only I’m the one that feels like a ghost, all the people coming in and out of the building and I’m melting into the white light.

****

Fourty minutes later I’m calling the MetroLift dispatch service for the third time and again they’re telling me the cab should be there within ten minutes.

****

I’m on the side of the road, trying to see if the cab has missed it’s turn. Nope, that’s not it. It’s just another damn SUV. By now, I’m hoping a car hits me.

****

I’m on hold with the dispatch. I saw the cab pass me by, but on the OTHER street, not on the street I’m on. “Can you tell them I’m on the Over-Fuckin-Here-Entrance not in the Over-Fuckin-There-Entrance please?” I try not to be angry. It’s not the dispatcher’s fault, but by now I’m in tears.

****

I get home and take my straps off, you know all those straps they put you in. And driver lady says, “hey, please don’t take your straps off”. I’m looking like I’m about to turn into She-Hulk but I maintain. I’m cool.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to…”

********

And today? Well, today I saw the immigration lawyer! Just one; the other was in a conference. I forgot to bring originals and all this other stuff. But, but, here it goes… I went swimming! I did eight laps in thirty minutes. I’m still having withdrawals from my third day of not watching Battlestar Galactica.

****

Oh no, this blog is becoming what I promised myself it wouldn’t become– a damn journal!

*le mouse sigh*

Read “P Gets Fired On Her Second Day of Work Part 1”

********

“So what’s your offer?” C clasps his hands.

I’m fuckin’ stumped! I mean stumped. This man really wants to hire me and doesn’t even know he can’t!

****

When I called the lawyer on Friday to ask him for advise on the internship, he reminded me that I’m not hirable. I know this dear lawyer. I just wanted to know if taking the internship would affect my process later and he went on with the sh-peel:  “You’re not authorized to work P, but *coughs* I can’t say you shouldn’t *coughs* or that I wouldn’t *coughs* in your shoes. And no, it I haven’t seen that affect negatively on the humanitarian parole or your I-130 but it may in case of deferred action. And I’ve seen work places get raided by immigration officials plenty of times. And you’re not authorized to work.”

I’d called the lawyer to ask him if filling out a W-9 (contract/independent worker) for tax purposes would affect my “humanitarian parole” proceedings, proceedings we haven’t even begun. He said they shouldn’t. He said it shouldn’t affect anything except maybe the “deferred action”. That’s when you get called in court before a judge and the judge has “discretionary decision,” so basically if he has his panties up too tight and is cranky that his wife left him or some other personal shit, he can swing his gavel and have me DEPORTED!

********

Here’s a quick rundown.

I need a Social Security number to work. I do not have one nor can I obtain one. There is no magic line I can just get on. I only have an IRS number which in my case is really an “ITIN” number and it is what I was going to take a risk using for the internship because as an intern I wasn’t going to be on the “payroll” so the risk of getting raided was very low. I am as the lawyer bluntly put it, “not authorized to work”.

My parents became permanent legal residents last year. It’s a long fuckin’ story, so stay tuned! I’m currently filling the I-130 which is the “petition for family relative”. It costs $420 which isn’t too bad compared to the price of the other forms I’ll have to send in later. I’m having my mom petition me because the lawyer said moms are better in the eyes of the law or some shit like that. ha! Ay, I do love my crazy mami though. The crazy little nutcase didn’t fall far from the crazy-nut tree in this case.

Anyway, my mom is petitioning for me, but because I am an “single adult child” I am not an “immediate relative” nor priority. I am what they call B2 or B3 relative or something similar. So, my wait time is longer–7 to 9 years to be exact. Let me say that again, my wait time is SEVEN to NINE years. NINE FUCKIN YEARS!

I arrived in the U.S. in August of 1990. I’m twenty-six now. You do the math. Yeah, I sure as hell don’t want to be in my mid-to-late thirties before I can even BEGIN my career life. People with Osteogenesis Imperfecta have a shorter life expectancy, let alone all the damage I’ve already done to myself! Ok. Just blowing steam. Phew.

Chill P. Chill. Remember Sailor’s sweet words. Remember to breath. You’re getting yourself worked up.

End of quick rundown.

********

“Fourteen? Fourteen what? An hour?” he asks. I had zoned out and must have looked a bit terrified or terrifying. I was staring behind him out of the window.

I wonder if I jump from

“Uh, yes, an hour. Fourteen an hour. But that’s my minimum and since I don’t know what yall’s budget is, I’m putting it very low. Normally, I’d say seventeen dollars an hour would be my minimum. I uhhh… I think I’d be best to do this by the project. I normally charge by the project.”  I reply indefinitely. I feel like an idiot. I’m scratching my thigh under the table. I really want him to hire me, but I have no idea if what I just said was too low or too high. I suspect it was too low, way low for my level of skill, but I roll with it and pretend I knew what I was offering all along.

I’ve never been hired on salary. And I have no way of knowing if what I offered was a safe bet. Actually, I do. I’ll do a google search. Fuck, I’ve never even held a real job! I used to complain about this to my Ex-Young Therapist and she would remind me to remind myself of how much I had already accomplished despite my limitations. “Sure, you don’t have a job like so-and-so and you’re not married and have a kid like your other friend what-chu-ma-call-her. But didn’t you finish college? Aren’t you trying to work despite being held back legally? What else can we list?” And MENTALLY! I want to add. She had a point, but in the long run, I always ended up feeling like shit.

It’s moments like these where I feel very small, like baby, like a little adult baby. Hell, I’m the size of one, I can just crawl in a crib and cry. The adult baby that I am. I don’t even know what to tell a potential employer who can’t hire me anyway what I want for in a salary.

“Good. Well, like I said, I just have to figure out if we can move some funds over so you can start with the C-4 team–”

“I mean even if it’s just part time really…” I interrupt. At this point I think my nerves are noticeable. There’s that other awkward silence I created.

“So tell me more about yourself?” he asks, taking me by surprise.

“Ummm. As in what I do? What I’d like to do for your guys?” I stumble. By now I’m really mashing in those nails in my thigh.

“Yes, that too.”

I decide not to tell him that I’m a “filthy little illegal immigrant he can’t hire” anyway so why bother. I tell him about my passion for film and documentary filmmaking.  We end the discussion with our idea about the video blogs or b-logs I’d talked about with Mansie and using them as monthly educational segments. Then I tell him the reason why I’d brought in my camera today was because I’d already scheduled to take a photo of D for the brochure.

“Is D here?”

“No, I’m waiting for her. She said she’d be here in half an hour and I don’t get picked up by MetroLift until two,” I say.

He leads me into Mansie’s office and asks if I’d be alright working there while I waited for D. Then he hands me this book to look over while I wait.

“I think you’ll like her. She’s a great photojournalist. This one is about labor slavery and she’s opened a fund from the proceeds of the book. Alright, I have to go to a meeting.” He leaves me alone in the room.

I look at the book he’d handed me: “Slavery by Lisa Kristine”. I want to cry. These are the kind of jobs I prefer. Working with people who make an effort at changing social ills, making a fuckin’ difference in the community. Ugh.

I pick up my cell phone and text Mansie: “I got the news from C. Can I call you in ten minutes?”