Wednesday, January 31, 2007


This morning I did the right thing. Jobs For Youth, where I work, has monthly breakfasts where someone from the community is asked to speak. They are not supposed to focus on our organization, but rather to supplement our work and get the word out that we exist. We also ask people for money. These breakfasts have been going on for well over a year. I had never attended one because they start at 8 and I hate to wake up. However, I decided that it was time for me to bite the bullet and go this morning. Being an employee, I was asked to come at 7:30 to help with set-up and all that other good stuff that employees do. Since it takes about 45 minutes to get downtown from my house, and I like to reset my alarm two to three times before I actually get out of bed, my alarm went of the first time at 5:20, insane. Typically my alarm goes off at 7:20, which is much more reasonable.

When I finally trotted out of bed (I was surprisingly awake) at about 6:00 I learned something. The radiators in my apartment don’t go on until about 6:15. Since I am never up before then and they come on full blast everything is typically nice and warm when I finally crawl out of bed. This morning, not so much. The bathroom was frigid. I generally like to put my towel on the radiator while I shower so it is nice and toasty when I need it. No such luck this morning. In fact, the second I threw back the shower curtain I was hit with an arctic blast that no mere slippers and bathrobe could handle. By the time I was ready to leave the house things were getting nice and warm but, as I was about to head outside, it really didn’t matter too much.

I decided to take the bus to the breakfast because it would let me off right in front of the building. Since I was leaving so early Lake Shore Drive wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I missed the first bus by about 30 seconds. Damn. It was only about 7 minutes before another one came but it still sucked. As I was on the bus reading my lame fake newspaper and doing the sudoku and crossword I realized that I shouldn’t have had that much time. I’m good at those things and all but still. Then I noticed the bus was not really making any headway and the sky was getting lighter and lighter. I looked at the clock on the bus, it was 7:24. According to the CTA schedule (which isn’t the most reliable but is a decent approximation) I should have been arriving at the club in two minutes. Instead we hadn’t even gotten on Lake Shore Drive. I accepted that I was not going to be on time and hoped that I would make it by 8.

It turns out that there was an accident on The Drive and things were quite backed up. I did make it to the breakfast about 7:56 and was relatively pleased with myself. I was looking forward to some delicious food. I was disappointed. What kind of breakfast buffet doesn’t have a potato? I had really been looking forward to some sort of potato dish. It is my favorite thing about breakfast. They could have been hash browns, roasted, cottage fries, latkes, or any other potato variety and I would have been happy. But no. Being a vegetarian, all there was for me to eat was fruit (which I piled happily onto my plate) and various breads. Once I was disappointed by the lack of the potato I was holding out for a delicious muffin or croissant. They had toast (and not even delicious bread toast) and some danish/turnover/ fruity bread type of things. I was crestfallen. I woke up early for some fruit and toast. The orange juice wasn’t even freshly squeezed. It tasted like the kind from a box that isn’t good. I think it was Minute Maid. I much prefer Tropicana.

I then hoped that the speaker would have something really positive to say. She was about as moving as my toast. She mostly talked about how the pace of life has changed and that we have to embrace our young people and be good role models to them. Duh lady. After the speech people asked questions. One of them was about what avenues young people have to entry-level employment and what companies do that type of hiring. First of all, I thought that was a silly question. Were we not at a breakfast run by an organization called Jobs For Youth? Then the speakers answer was about Workforce Investment Act funding, which is great, we use a lot of it here at Jobs For Youth, where we place young people in entry-level jobs. Did our speaker also forget what we do or whose breakfast she was at? She also talked about how her company was a huge supporter of diversity in the workplace. She mentioned they “even have a Muslim woman working there who comes to work in full garb”. This woman works for People’s Energy (they supply 99% of gas to Chicago) and she was proud enough of her one Muslim employee to mention it? I am guessing that People’s Energy has far more than one Muslim employee, or at least I hope they do. If they don’t I would suggest not focusing on the one that they do have like a fantastic achievement. I hope I don’t get fired for this post. That wouldn’t happen though.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I shouldn’t bother to get up early. It never works out well for me. Plus I am really sleepy, and kind of hungry. Can somebody get me a potato?

In The End, Green Day- I think this is a pretty good song given the morning that I just had. I bet if I tried to explain why to our speaker she would just dismiss it as a “crazy young thing”. However, she isn’t all that old herself and should know better.

911 Is A Joke, Public Enemy- I would be so pissed if I dialed 911 and no one showed up, or they came really late. Particularly because there is a police station a stones throw away. Well, not a stones throw for me but for someone who could throw pretty far it wouldn’t be that hard.

Airbag, Radiohead- Can I just say that after all is said and done it is nice to hear something wonderfully comforting like this song. Unfortunately, it kind of makes me want to curl up with some tea and a good book and then drift off into a peaceful slumber and I can’t because I am awake and at work and that would be frowned upon.


thethinker said...

I agree with the waking up early thing. I hate it. Monday through Friday, wake up at 6. It gets tiring after awhile.

Johnny Yen said...

Ugh! That sounds suspiciously like the dreaded "Continental Breakfast." I'm a big breakfast guy, and toast, yogurt and juice doesn't cut it for me. I like a hearty breakfast.

I get up at 6 every day. On the weekends, I get a break, but my kids like the breakfasts I make, and drag me out of bed by 7:30 if I'm not already up, to make them breakfast.

1 Muslim employee? For god's sake, the school I teach at has a staff of ten and we have a Muslim employee.

I don't miss having to take the CTA to work, except that I read more when I had to take the el and/or bus to work.

Mom said...

I love not having to use an alarm clock to get up in the morning. I wake sometime between about 7 and 10, depending on when I went to sleep and other random factors.

Sorry they don't put out a gourmet breakfast. Too bad they don't have some corporate sponsor who likes to feed people well... (Is it a ploy to say "look how badly we need your money" to the folks who come?) But you were a real good citizen to get up so early and go.

RastaManErn said...

I hated getting up early, too, especially in the winter. I do NOT miss that 45-60 minute commute time between home and office. I did love those heart-stopping breakfast sandwiches that you can get from McDo's or Dunkin Donuts, though. Mmm, mmm, myocardial infarction

Natalie said...

Thinker- Yeah I remember high school being the time I had to wake up the earliest ever. Glad it's you now

Johnny- It was very continental. I would have been good with some yogurt though. I do like reading on public transport. It’s the one thing it's good for. Oh yeah and getting to work with no car.

Mom- Yeah rub it in a little more why don't you. They do have a corporate sponsor for the breakfast but I think a lot of that goes to venue and stuff. They do ask people for money at the breakfast but I don't think the food is a ploy.

Ern- The commute in winter sucks balls. I could really go for a bagel with chive cream cheese though. Too bad I won't be getting one.