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11/22/2002: Opening

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I was so incredibly bored today that I dumped all the paper clips out of the box and strung them together, in color sequence. I'm not sure how many paper clips were in the box, but it was a very, very long chain when I was done. Of course when I finished I eyed the chain, and then the clock, and sighed. That managed to kill about half an hour. Now what?

Just in case any of you were pondering doing the same thing in order to pass the time, I will pass on this word of wisdom. When you chain all the paper clips in a container together, they will no longer fit into the container. You actually have to break the chain into smaller bits. We managed to somehow get all the shorter chains back into the box, but it required some extreme squishing effort, and the lid had to be taped down. Whoever gets this box next time around may be in for a paper clip explosion when they open it. But hey, at least it'll give them something to do! They'll thank me for it. Really they will.


Doing the mollusk training, while boring, has at least been an educational experience. I think most of us have a stereotype view of people on public assistance – what they're like and why they do it. And yes, I did see a lot of people coming in who fit that description –drunk and reeking of alcohol; ones who hadn't bathed since perhaps the last presidential election; ones who came in with the attitude that they were owed this and why should they get off their lazy butts and do something for themselves. But then there were the others. The single moms who were left in the lurch by the guy who left them with nothing. The ones who were participating in the job programs and trying their hardest to better themselves, who came in dressed nicely with a quiet dignity in their eyes. The woman who told me that she hadn't wanted to do this, but she had to leave her husband because he was abusive, and this was just until she could get back on her feet. The ones who've been caught in the economic slump and lost everything. I cannot ever imagine a time when I would ever be in so dire a situation that I'd have to become a mollusk. But talking with some of these people over the past two weeks, I got the impression that a lot of them never imagined they'd be there either.
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