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Saturday, July 04, 2009

Flyer Girl

After sifting through craiglist "etc" and "part time" jobs sections for days on end, I finally applied to a job that caught my eye.

NOW HIRING

"Work in New York City's newest event space and museum, located in a historic lower Manhattan building. Part time workers needed to hand out flyer's, conduct tours, sell tickets and provide an upbeat atmosphere for guests. Must be available weekends and evenings. $7.50 per hour."

I sent an email, and had a job interview scheduled within a week.

When I arrived I climbed the stairs of a huge, endless, white painted room covered in mirrors from end to end.
The space was unfinished, but had a creepy feeling about it.
Suddenly from a side door behind a mirror a short nerdy man appeared.
His name was Derek. He was the museum's publicist, and he informed me that he also designed websites for semi-famous Broadway actors on the side.

After chatting with Derek for a bit, he told me that the job was mine if I wanted it.
I could start the following week.


When I arrived for my first shift, I noticed that this museum was to become a tribute to 9/11.
One of the major attractions by the museums owner and director (who was a well known creator of HDTV) was a small high tech theatre.
The film was a 9/11 HD film for guests which ran every hour.


On my first day I went inside to watch the "Reminder" movie.
It was complete with shaking and vibrating seats during the scene when the planes hit the towers.
I left the room completely disturbed.
These poor tourists had NO IDEA what they were in for.
I thought maybe there should have been a seat belt, or warning sign on the door of the theatre.


During the months ahead it would be my job to introduce the film to audiences once they were seated.
It was also my job to hand out flyer's at the Wall Street Bull, and Battery Park when it was slow.
This worked once and awhile to bring in tourists, but most the time we would walk through the park, throw our flyer's in the trash, and eat a hot dog.


All staff members of the museum had to wear headsets complete withwalkie talkies clipped on our waist.
We were a small staff but had become friendly as we dealt with the antics of the owner, who we all agreed looked like Mr Burns from the Simpsons.

On the second anniversary of 9/11 he asked us to go to Ground Zero and hand out flyer's with discounts to the museum.
I refused thinking it was totally wrong, and distastefull.
The staff who did go that day practically got beat up by victims family members.

Soon we found out that many of the mirrors which lined the museum, were two way and that our headsets could be listened in on at any time.
As if that weren't creepy enough, some life sized ground zero photos had just been put all over the walls. While sifting through a photo book sold in the gift shop one day, I saw photos of exploded body parts, and wasnauseous for the rest of my shift.
Between the movie, photos, and walking by the WTC site to get to work every day, I started having 9/11 nightmares.
For months during this job, I dreamt I was trapped in an elevator, or under the buildings as they were falling.

Soon the space started booking events, and I got to work as evening event staff.
I witnessed some very interesting auctions, parties,celebrities, and premier parties.
One of the themed art openings was "trailer trash".
I wore a black wig and jeans that night, because the artist wanted us to fit in with the theme.
Later, another large firms reunion had an open bar.
The staff was standing around and I was offered a drink.
Everyone else was drinking, so I figured why not. I was 20 years old and had never had alcohol before.
The bartender poured me a Long Island Iced Tea, which I was told was a light drink.
I thought "how harmful could an iced tea be?".
Well I got buzzed pretty quickly, and had tons of fun while some big time execs at the event hit on me all night.
One of the girls I worked with was a bit to obvious with her drinking that night and got fired.
We all made sure to hide our evidence quickly after that.

In a few months ticket sales and event bookings had really slowed down.
Handing out flyer's at the bull was getting tiring.

I took a 12 hour bus ride home for Thanksgiving that year.
When I got back to NYC and called to get my schedule, I was told that they weren't going to need me anymore. Once again, I would have to find a new support job.
Bank account balance: $325.00

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