INTERVIEW BLUES (SHORT STORY)

Hair freshly cut, clean shaven face, bright white smile, with the fresh scent of cologne. My dress shirt buttoned to the top and tucked into my dress pants; my tie hanging low to my waist. One by one, I place my arms into my suit coat. Looking into the mirror fully dressed, I think to myself, here goes nothing. Walking from the bathroom, making my way to the kitchen, the refrigerator in my sights. Opening the door, I pull out a bottled water and an apple. A manila folder is lying on the countertop with my résumé inside. Grabbing the manila, with my bottled water and apple clutched in hand, I made my way toward my apartment door. Stopping at the door, I realized I forgot something. Looking to the countertop, I saw my aluminum loop with house and car keys connected. Shaking my head, I went back for my keys, “Wow, I’m already off to a bad start.”

Leaving the apartment building was just nerving as when I was back inside. A dog walking nearly ran me over with his pack of howling canines. One of them even attempted to urinate on my brand new Oxfords. The walker seemed more irritated than concerned with one of his dogs trying to pee on my shoes. “Sheesh, haven’t he ever heard of the term, curb your dog.” Anyways, approaching my car, I noticed something on the driver’s side door. The paint was scraped, can you freaking believe it? My nice clean paint job had a blemish on the door. “Great, just what I needed, yet another problem taking me off course to add to an already uncomfortable start. Getting into the car, I started the ignition, but the car wouldn’t kick over. Observing the dashboard, I saw there that the tank was on,“E.” “Really, first a scratch on my vehicle, now this.”

Exiting the car, cut my loses and walked until I reached the bus stop not far from where i lived. Luckily, I had enough change in my pocket to take the city bus. Waiting at the bus stop, I couldn’t help but stare at my watch the whole time. Eventually the bus came and of course it was nearly packed to capacity. Entering the bus, I paid my fare as the doors closed and the bus drives away. Standing up, holding onto the handle connected to a pole on the bus, I noticed a baby. The cutest little baby attached to the chest of its mother. The infant was chewing on a teething ring and waving it about in his hands. The ring flew from his hands on the floor. I crouched down, picking up the ring, yet I didn’t see what was to come. It was like a scene in an action movie, you know, the slow motion scene. The scene where the guy is running as explosions are taking place around him.

Well for me, the explosion was the feel of vomit barrelling down on my forehead and onto my suit. And of course, the mother quickly apologizes for what her child had done. Now her apology meant nothing to me, but what was I to do. I could have screamed at her, but people would have thought I was some sort of psychopath for yelling at a mother and her infant child. I couldn’t press the buzzer for the next stop because I was so far from work. So here I stand, looking out the window with my shoulder dripping in vomit. My face and suit reeking from the smell of milk and baby food.

Eventually, the bus approached my stop as I made my way toward the door. Getting off, I took a deep breathe in then out. Leaving the city bus was cramped and congested; a feeling that I could only compare to as standing in a packed closet with the lights off. That was still the least of my concern, as I dabbed my shoulder with my pocket handkerchief. Standing outside the highrise with the manila folder in hand, I entered the building. Before I could even get close to the counter security was on top of me. Asking, “Where are you going?” “Who are you here to see?” Telling him who I was and why I was here, he didn’t even make eye contact. “Sign in.” After signing my name I walked toward the elevators thinking, “Wow, that was rude.” I know your job is to secure the premises, but come on, have a little personality. Then again, who cares, I should be more worried about landing this job, than the guy at the security desk.

Getting off the elevator I saw the receptionist staring as I walked over. Her smile was so welcoming, you would have thought she had been waiting for me the entire morning. After telling her who I was, she directed me toward a seating area. Something struck me as odd about the scene. Panning the layout, there were young men and women like myself. They were all seated in black suits; the men in oxfords and the women with their heeled bottoms. Something interested stood out about these potential candidates. None of them were looking over their resumes and all of them were on their cell phones. Well, what did I do; I grabbed a business journal lying atop a coffee table. I know, I know, it seems pretty pathetic, but it gives the impression I’m interested in the job. So there I sat, diligently reading over this journal and at the same time hoping I would catch the attention of upper management.

I can see it now, the CEO or President of the company would walk by and say, “Who is that young man reading the paper.” “Now that’s someone who wants to be here.” “Everyone else is on their phones, but not that guy, he’s engaged.” “Let’s bring him on board.” But, that only happens in the movies. As a matter of fact, one by one each of us in the room went in for our interview. When it was my turn, the woman entered and called on me. Standing up, I followed her, the whole time straightening my tie and suit jacket. Once at the office where my interview would take place I paused momentarily. “Shit, I forgot my resume,” thinking it, but not saying it. Can you imagine if I said that out loud on the day of my interview. Before I could turn to go back for it, I was escorted into the office.

The woman closed the door and here I was, in a room with the interviewer. Of course, we did the usual, shook hands, introduced ourselves and sat down. Soon after sitting, the door opened and two more people entered. They introduced themselves, then sat down next to the interviewer. “Hmmm, this is new, I thought to myself.” Then, one at a time, they started asking me questions. At that moment, it sunk in as to what was going on. I was going to be interviewed by three people. God only knows who these people are in the company. My mouth went dry and hands grew moist. Placing them between my legs I can only describe what happened next as a movie montage. My lips were moving, but I don’t remember anything coming out. I only can recall each person asking questions and me responding with something, what, hell I can’t remember.

Once the interview was complete, sound to my ears reemerged. “Have a nice day.” I wanted to say, “Excuse me,” but why make myself seem unattentive. I just smiled and said thank you. We shook hands, and I left the office. Walking past the receptionist, she smiled and continued tying on the computer. Huh, and to think her smile was something special for me. What was I thinking, she’s a receptionist, that’s what their job is to do. Entering the elevator I waved to her. Once the doors closed, I thrusted my back against the wall, yanking at my tie until it loosened. “Whew, what the hell was that?”

That was something new I had never experienced. One person is tough enough, let alone three people. It was like being back in school. Having a kid challenge me to a fist fight after school, then showing up with a couple of his friends. As I left the elevator and exited the building premises thoughts started to swirl through my mind. “I wonder why they never asked about my resume?” “How come they didn’t bring up the fact that my suit had baby vomit on it?” “Why didn’t they comment me on my clean outfit I was wearing?” Right, all irrelevant questions. Who gives a shit; and yes who gives a shit is the right answer. My only concern now was getting home from such a drawn out morning.

As the city bus arrived, luckily there were fewer people. entering , I sat down in the first open seat available and looked once again out the window. Only this time I was reflecting. Reflecting on my life up to this point. All the things you say you’re going to do in your adulthood never quite pan out that way. You plan then set out to accomplish what you plan, then roadblocks derail you along the way. I thought by now, I would be living in a suburban home, married with children; you know, living the good life. I guess not, I mean, what does life have to offer me?

I’m not lazy, I work hard and yet nothing has been working. Maybe this is something that I need to go through in life to bring me closer to what I should doing for the rest of my life. I only wish I knew what that special thing was; then I could stop going on these interviews. Rejection is starting to wear on me and my confidence is descending.

Eventually the city bus came to my original starting point and I was just a short walk away from home. With my hands in my pockets, I approached my apartment complex. Opening the door I walked the hall toward my apartment. There was a letter attached to the door. In red block lettering it read, “3 DAY NOTICE.” “Really, a three day notice.” “Just what I needed.” Going into my apartment, I closed the door thinking, “Damn I need a new job.”

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