August 17, 2007

A Testing We Will Go

Today was a red-letter day. Yep, it's August 17th. I have been invited by the great state of Tennessee to take a civil service exam at 8:30 a.m., in Jackson, 60 plus miles away. Why red-letter? An opportunity to join the pool of qualified candidates for the state and an opportunity to travel to Jackson, a city of 50,000.

Was it my nerves? I had an awful night. The air conditioner was blowing hard, working overtime, and producing little effect. I had closed all of the doors to the bedroom to contain the air but to no avail. Woke repeatedly--2:30, 3:30, 4:00--finally the alarm went off at 5:00. The amount of heat backed up in this house was unbelievable. No wonder the air conditioner was null and void. But just think, Missy, what if you didn't have it?

I don't need to tell you that the nerves went into overdrive at the thought of taking a test (on what subjects I have no idea) with little sleep. Add to that, I KNOW that I cannot leave the house 1 minute later than 7:00 a.m., or I am definitely late. That will never do. I just can't get into this having to leave the house 1 to 2 hours ahead of time to get somewhere. I am so used to leaving 20 minutes beforehand or 45 minutes at the most. But, I'm out of the house on time with Maggie in tow. She's been charged and programmed.

Taking me out of Ripley to Rte. 19, Brownsville. That's right. Going back through Nutbush, Tina Turner's birthplace. No wonder they got the hell out of dodge. Fields as far as your eye can see. An unincorporated township, it lies just over the Lauderdale County line, in Haywood County. Huge hawk sitting on the overhead line, similar to the one that invaded the DAR garden a few years ago. Misshapen thing. Body too big; tail too short. How does something that big fly?

Rte. 19 goes on forever. Beautiful horses; smelly enclosures. Into historic Brownsville. I've obtained an application to sub in their schools but it is a ride. Brownsville seems to have more employment opportunities so I'll have to start searching over that way, too. Onto Rte. 40, my favorite highway, headed toward Nashville. Come onto it around exit 58. The turnoff I need is 80A.

Oh, Maggie, now you've done it again. Lower Brownsville Road is unexplored territory and a road only the locals would use. One lane coming and going and plenty of turns. It is now 8:00 a.m. and, as usual, I don't have an idea of how far I am from the testing center. Just trust Ms. Maggie, darlin'. Oh, when you come this way, 'ville is pronounced 'vull. Just thought you'd like to know. It is a distinction that sets you apart, immediately.

Looking for 605 Airways Blvd. Maggie tells me to make a left. It is the Agricultural Center. She tells me to make a legal u-turn, which I do, and then she makes me make another one. I'm going in circles! And time is slipping, slipping. Back to the agricultural center. Look at the sheet. Well, dang. This is where I'm supposed to be. Park in the back as directed and go inside.

The ladies-in-charge are giving instructions: no talking, no food, no bathroom, yada yada. Line up here. Show your id and letter. What! The position I'm supposed to test for is only available in Nashville!! ??? Nashville is 3 hours away! What idiot made that mistake? I'm told that I can test for other positions available around the state. Excuse me? I'm testing for something. I don't know what and really don't care but I AM being tested today. Does anybody know what a clerk 2 is? How much it pays?

Well, only 65 questions. Shouldn't take 2 hours to complete. A snap. Right. They don't file the way we used to. Let me tell you something. You had better be FULLY awake and concentrating solely on this test. What happened to A, aa, aaa, ab and so forth? This test was checking your proofing abilities, sorting and filing abilities, and then they had the nerve to throw in math. But not 1+1=2 questions. Nooo. They wanted you to look at the charts, tally figures from columns A and B and, using the criteria, make determinations. And, feel free to use the state-supplied calculator. A purple piece of scratch paper. Was I glad to get out of there. And I didn't waste any time finding my way back to Ripley, either. Exploring Jackson will have to wait for another day.

Did come home to find that one of my resumes stuck and I have an appointment for an interview Monday. Wish me luck. Better yet. Pray for me.

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