Saturday, May 3, 2008


I did my best to be accepting of the decidedly slower pace that everyone takes here on Saipan. As it has been presented to me, "island time" probably moves at about the same breath-taking shuffle on islands all around the world.
"Relax man, you're on island time now!"
Which is fine by me. I was born on an island. People have always thought I looked like I belonged on an island. I prefer the dressed-down appearance found on islands: board shorts and flip-flops, with shirt optional. I always thought that I would end up on an island. Well looky here! I'm on one. And everything is chill and relaxed, it's great! Except for one thing. I need a job. So go get one you say...yes, that's a good idea. Why didn't I think of that? You're a genius! Now, get ready for my excuses. (Just to warn you, I'm about to sound like a recently released drug addict explaining all the reasons why life is not fair and no one will hire them!)
The minimum wage here is currently $3.55 an hour, and that's an improvement, because they just raised it by fifty cents a few months back. It will go up again at the end of May to $4.05 an hour, which, if your math is a little shabby, translates to a whooping $162 per forty-hour work week, before taxes. Which is another subject, taxes ARE less here, but I don't have figures on that yet so I'm not going to rant on that currently. The issue is further complicated by the fact that the economy is doing so badly, that many businesses are shortening their work weeks, working only 32 hours. But let's say I land a job that wants me there for 40 full hours each week, and let's assume they take somewhere around 15% for taxes (???). This means that my minimum wage job will pay me a grand monthly total of approximately $550. Not an extravagant amount, but not a problem you say, since you're on an island and everything must be cheaper to go along with the lazy service that is always running on island time...RIGHT?
Wrong again sir! It's an ISLAND. Which means, get ready for this, it is surrounded by water. On all sides. Not just a little bit o' water either. So the only things that are cheaper on THIS island, are the coconuts, the betel nuts, the nuts and bolts, and boonie dogs. Especially boonie dogs with nuts. So basically, it's cheaper to rent a home. It's cheaper to get insurance (automobile)--i'm not sure exactly why that is, I think the insurance agents may actually be a native form of fungus that grows in caves, so its plentiful--and it's that's about it. Everything else is AS expensive, or MORE expensive, than everywhere I've ever been. What does any of this have to do with a job you ask?
Obviously not a damn thing. But I am trying to paint a picture here. And like Bob Ross, sometimes I work on the little trees in the distance before I get to the bigger trees in the foreground. So have a little patience!
I have been applying at many places around the island. Let me list them. McDonald's. What the hell is right! That should be the end of the list! I'd like to think that McDonald's was pretty much a guaranteed one to fall back on if ever there was a dire need. Apparently, they've tightened up their hiring policy...and since I don't carry a handgun, I can't work there. No I didn't apply at Mickey D's. I've applied at (almost) all of the resorts on the island. I've been to the Port of Saipan and the docks where the commercial tourist boats go out. I've applied at the airport to be one of those people who searches your bag, for no other purpose than to make it impossible to zip up again. I talked with some people at the public school system and also the biggest water park in the Pacific! They said it, not me. Seems like the Pacific IS the biggest water park, but whatever. I've received calls. I've even had interviews. Starting two weeks ago in fact. I've interviewed with one place twice already, and have a third interview coming up...some day. If that one goes well there will be a fourth interview. Around the time I am unable to afford anything but car insurance, I may actually get hired. I am really looking forward to it. These nuts are getting a little repetitive. So the lesson-it was suggested to me by an objective, well kinda objective, person-is that I need to learn this slow it down island time mentality. It has been a long time since I didn't just go and go. I am, admittedly, in constant motion, rarely taking more than a few moments each day to slow it all down. So I'm going to make island time, rio time. And see what happens.


ryran said...

Obviously, not a damn thing.

I read this on my phone as soon as I woke up this morning (I get all my news and blog updates via my feed-reader app now). Thanks, 'cause you had me laughing pretty quickly. :D

Had to look Bob Ross up. Hahahaha . You rock.

Wtf is up with "Apparently, they've tightened up their hiring policy...and since I don't carry a handgun, I can't work there." -- Maybe it's silly or pointless, but care to explain that one?

"I think the insurance agents may actually be a native form of fungus that grows in caves, so its plentiful" hehehe..brill.

So I'm going to make island time, rio time. And see what happens.
Wow. I wonder how I would respond to that. Hmmm... Good luck bro.

PS Suggestion to help us reading: throw in a paragraph break (two returns) every once in a while. Methinks it would make it easier to read your [wonderful!!! (no joke!)] ranting style. :-)

ksawhill said...

Ah, Island Time. I do know a bit about that. It may be exactly what the doctor ordered. If the depression doesn't slow you down, then the island will. Change the things you have power over--the rest is not up to you. Trust. Have faith in you, and God, and life. Make friends with the depression when it (he? she?) shows its face; give it a name. Use what you have, do what you can, and don't let fear rule you. Breathe. Try an aura clearing.
I can't believe how much advice I just gave you! Sorry. I could clear all this, and write something sweet and sympathetic. I am. I love you. I trust that you are absolutely where you are meant to be. And that the gifts will become clear. Be present to --oops! There I go again. I love you so much, Rio.