Sunday, October 24, 2010
The Mill has become a ghost town. In one of the few public buildings, where I wait to meet with a former millboss, there is no traffic at all, and nearly all of the "retail," which was always questionable to begin with, has gone dark. The coffee shop no one can seem to keep running looks more like the front to a street corner casino than ever, and next to that the dry cleaning desk where I have never seen clothes nor staff, but the door stands open and the lights are on. Am I supposed to leave my clothes there? How do I pick them up?
The gold buyer/vitamin seller is new, and they are having a staff meeting. They seem to have recently acquired, but not hung, some art.
The copy center that used to Buzz (as much as a copy center does) is evacuated. Good retail space for anyone who doesn't really want to do any business. The Senior Center seems happy. They are in the abandoned video game room which reeked of mold, and where no one ever was. Like Quadside.
The lack of foot traffic is entirely due to the cafeteria being closed for the day, but even when it is open, this is not the Statler Bldg, downtown Boston. I may be dating myself, but that used to be where the secretary on 30 min lunch got her bidness done. Those who work there now, please report in.
I am meeting here because meeting in the office requires sign-in privileges, and draws some attention. This time of day, in this spot, we are not likely to attract onlookers. I probably should have called.
This style of unemployment speed dating is awkward for anyone, but I am especially bad at it. I suppose I fake it well enough -- I am good at conversation and I can make people think they are all I am thinking about. Never speak about jobs in these contacts, experts say. This has a WASPish "it is never done" quality I can take on as a challenge. How can I help you... one asks.
The freight elevator has landed. It is painfully slow and dumps into a long basement hallways, so when the riders arrive, they are in full voice conversation and their voices echo off the cinder walls. It is like hearing the rabble approach.
I wonder if I could sit here all day and make it my office. That dry cleaning desk seems set up and ready to go.