Refuge in Montreal
February was a month of desperation. I was terribly sick from exploring crackhouses, disabled by chronic stomach pain (misdiagnosed as hernia), unemployed and the feds were holding up my paperwork, delaying my trip around South America.
My plans were in shambles.
Not knowing what else to do, I went out to look for a job. I got two responses: one was for a “comment moderator” position at a mystery news web site and the other was a data entry position for a furniture store near Union Square.
I put on my white shirt and shaved my neck. It was a big day. I hadn’t worked for a respectable company since I left the papers and I was ready to do a job that required thinking.
I met Aly at a café on 38th street. She was the recruiter for the mystery news site and her eyes were red from looking at her laptop screen. She seemed about my age and explained the job. It was simple. I would delete unrelated comments and racist rants on the site. But what site was it?
Glenn Beck’s very own TheBlaze.com.
The pay was $8 an hour. Eight hours a day.
I considered the position for three seconds. Maybe reading comments from Glenn Beck’s fans would let me into the psyche of the contemporary, pissed off, severely uneducated middle-American. Maybe the experience would help me understand how to reach this misguided audience. How to connect with them …
Nah, I thought, these people are just belligerent with false information. They were never politically aware before a scary black man was elected president and it’s too late to teach them basic history.
It’s a shame because I Googled Aly’s name before the interview and found she worked at The Huffington Post (which is equally full of nonsense, but looks better on a resume). In fact, most of TheBlaze.com staff is composed of former HuffPost employees – just look at the similarities between their layouts.
I told her I would think about it, but the decision was made. After all, dishwashers can make more money without having to compromise their values.
I went to the furniture store for my second interview. The guy asked me questions as he ate a falafel, white sauce gathering at the corners of his mouth. He was nice, but I could tell he already picked his man. There was nothing left to do but go home.
The next day I wrote to several friends in various locations. I needed to get away. The first to respond was Claudia, a French intellectual-anarchist-baker I met while traveling in Chiapas. She lived in Montreal and invited me to stay for a while so I packed my bag and got the first bus out of town.
Nine hours later, I stepped foot in subarctic Quebec. I had three pairs of underwear and no plans. Anything was better than working for Glenn Beck.
© Diego Cupolo 2011