Then, they finally open the corral, and allow the cattle to exit (no, this is not an instalment at Pioneer Woman).We all run for it, knowing we have to be back in 10 minutes, or else the doors will again be shut and we won't have the chance to write the second portion of the test, and we will also forever be forbidden from writing said test because we took too long in the bathroom.
Have I told you I hate the government mentality? Well, I do. I am not an animal. I am a human bean.
I run for the concessions because I am hypoglycemic, and if I don't eat something when I start feeling woozy, I get all wonky and fall to the floor convulsing and vomit and stuff, so I try to prevent that from happening at all costs. I'm thoughtful like that.
I make it to the floor where the one little tiny counter had been open initially upon my arrival to the building, and discover that it is indeed closed. Closed. As in, not open.
Panic rapidly sets in.
The last thing I need or want is a francophone person breathing stale breath on me as I lie on the cold government floor, promising me a menthol cigarette, diet Pepsi and a Joe Louis if I'll just get up.
So, I run. I run with a look of fear on my face, from one end of the damn building to the other, in the very minute chance there was something -- anything!! -- open for me to have. I'm not picky. A half-drunken bottle of orange juice with a cigarette butt soaking in it would have done at this point.
There was nothing. Nothing except for a few lonely vending machines offering aged cherry nibs, stale pistachio nuts, chocolate-covered almonds, and some chocolate-covered raisins. I go for the almonds and raisins. Twenty-five cents a shot. Out come four almonds. Another quarter goes in, and six puny little raisins come out.
They will have to do. I start going back the The Elephant Room to sign back in, all the while slowly sucking the chocolate off the little nuggets, hoping to make them last.
They actually helped me feel better, believe it or not, but they made my migraine worse. I can't win, I tell you.
This test, a test of written expression, is actually a little easier than the first, which pleases me because by this point, I just really need to go home. My head is throbbing, my stomach is rumbling, my nose is running, and I miss my family.
Most of the questions, I answer without too much of a problem. Toward the end, however, the questions get difficult, tricky even. I begin to snarl inwardly. No one talks like this, I say to myself as I try to guess which answer best fits the phrase. If only I could figure out what the hell it says in the first place. God help me.
Not only that, but much of this test is based on actual government slang and vocabulary, none of which I actually know, since I haven't ever working for the federal government. Now, tell me, how fair is that? Test me on anything else, and I can ace it. Cancer terms, childhood illnesses, rash types, anything. But not that.
I finally get through all the questions, and I have plenty of time to go over them one more time, so I do. And then, slowly but surely, I notice that I've been erasing quite a few of the answers I initially thought were entirely correct, and re-answering. Not good. Not good at all. Because we all know that, more often than not, our first answers are the correct ones. It's just the law of the world. An absolute, in fact.
By this time, however, I really don't care anymore. I just need to get the hell out of that place and get home, because I can feel the vomit slowly rising every so slightly in my throat, and the throbbing in my head is gradually getting to the point where I can feel my right eyeball pulsate with every heartbeat.
So, I hand in my test, and I leave the room, and I get lost in the building. Again. And this time I'm all alone. No smiling bald man to accompany me this time.
I finally find this lonely little security guard, sitting there all alone in this big building (you could not pay me enough money to do that job. I'd be scared shitless), and he directs me toward what he thinks is the right way, although really, he doesn't know because I don't know where I parked.
I get on an elevator with two other women, who also have no idea where they're going. I have never met so many lost people in one day in my entire life. Only in the federal government, I think to myself.
We all get off at the same floor, all entirely confused and beyond lost. We exit and finally see what little is left of daylight. I cannot for the life of me find a focal point, a recognizable something that will guide me to my car. So I just walk, and decide that sooner or later, I'll just find it.
No sooner do I make this decision than I see my car just a ways up in the parking lot. Sitting there all alone, waiting for me.
I make a run for it, believing that if I take too long, it will disappear, and I will be left wandering the streets of Gatineau searching for my car, my home, my bed. I get in, open the window, and breathe.
If you didn't read the first instalment in this saga, you can find it here.