Back Fill

11 May

David Duckworth, Soup Line.  Acrylic, 2012. Stencil executed by Philippe Barnoud on bridge near Paris University 8, Saint-Denis, for exhibition, Écritures en migration[s].

I made my second visit to City and County of San Francisco, Department of Human Services to apply for County Adult Assistance Programs / Personal Assisted Employment Services job placement.  The bookstore owner who employs me occasionally may be able to obtain a grant, in which case he can hire a part time employee who is registered with this City and County of San Francisco program.

Although my second appointment was not scheduled until Monday, the 14th of May, I appeared early this morning in the hope that I could be seen sooner.  I am scheduled to work one day only on Monday, the request to work coming only two days ago.  The doors open at 7:30 a.m.  For my purpose today, I am considered “back fill,” which resonates with sludge, sewage back-up, stagnant fluid, and a host of other terms.  If that suggests a condition in which bacteria or other organisms can lead to a festering predicament, the behavior of individuals at the lines inside the office fulfilled the imagination amply.  One gentleman ahead of me was greeted by an acquaintance who arrived behind all of us.  They switched places so that the first gentleman could retrieve a City and County form.  His return to the line was noticed by a security officer, who questioned his entering the line ahead of others.  Needless to say, an argument erupted.  In another instance, a woman who claimed to have been misdirected to one line, attempted to enter our line at the very front.  She was prevented from doing so by another security officer, but not without becoming loud and nasty.  She ended up behind me, where I listened to her tell someone, Wait until I catch that bitch outside and beat the shit out of her, with her geri curl head and Tammy Faye make-up.

These are not the meek supplicating for a bowl of soup.  I have been at this office enough times in the past to have formed the opinion that quite the opposite is true for a good number of program applicants, whether it is job-related or food-related (Food Stamps or EBT).  But we would all prefer anything else to this bureaucratic pavane.

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