The Interview

Today starts early. I have a job interview.

Waking, showering, leaving the apartment, these are all automatic things, pre-conscious activities.

I order a croissanwich and a coffee. I’m walking to the bus stop, eating my breakfast sandwich. I’m Sandwich Guy. I’m enjoying the sandwich. I’m enjoying being Sandwich Guy.

I wait at the bus stop with the usual sampling of the poor, the elderly, and the mentally unwell. Bus people are not usually happy people.

A man joins us at the stop. He’s muttering loudly. “What the mutherfuckers don’t understand is, what the mutherfuckers don’t understand is I am the black Hitler. I am the black Hitler. I AM the black Hitler. I am. I will unite my brothers. I’ll gladly eat a dog. I will. I always wanted to be a cannibal. Rip into a leg or a throat. I don’t care. I kill ‘em all. I am the black Hitler.”

Crazy people can be scary. Eye contact is avoided.

The bus gets me to my destination well before my interview. I kill time at Borders.

I love books. I love books in quantity. It’s been suggested, fancifully, that books can distort and redefine traditional three dimensional space. I’m perfectly willing to accept that theory.

I look for Terry Pratchett’s The Last Hero and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I can’t find them. I find the Graphic Novel/ Trade Paperback section. It has been expanded. What was once half a shelf is now three full shelves. I am elated, but nonetheless do not find anything new or exciting.

I ask the pretty girl at the help desk for the time. I know I recognize her, but I cannot place her. I think she’s changed her hair. I know I should know her, yet she doesn’t give any indication that she recognizes me.

I’m not in the market to buy books, but I’ve still time to kill. I buy a drink from the café. The sign says “No Tipping, Please.” How strange. This runs contrary to my worldview.

I take my drink to a small couch and read a book. Mine, one I brought with me, not one off of the shelf.

Time passes, It is time for the interview. I’ve barely touched my drink. I hide it in the bathroom, behind a potted plant.

The job is Tops Supermarket. The interview takes place upstairs. It’s a tall set of stairs, and as I travel them, I feel a sense of being “behind the scenes.” I am interviewed by Sharon, whom I like instantly. I am hired on the spot and called overqualified. It’s a union job.

I am elated. Two months to the day after being laid off, I am once again drawing an income. The source of damn near all of my stress is silenced.

The weather is fantastic. It is 55 Degrees out. Cool, not cold. Breezy, not windy. The threat of rain not realized. Ideal weather. I’d be willing to call it Platonic weather.

I’m in a huge parking lot, bereft of snow, save for two eight foot mounds of snow and salt. Impulsively, I dash up to the peak of one of these dwarven mountains. Getting down proves a little trickier.

I return to Borders, retrieve my still warm coffee, and once again search for The Last Hero.

I still can’t find it. I inquire at the help desk. Different girl. I don’t recognize this one. Also pretty, however, and much nicer. I’ll take friendliness over familiarity. She assures me that the store has three copies of the book I seek. But ten minutes of patient search on both of our parts fails to back up her claims. So we move on to American Gods, which she also claims the store has, which, again, is less than evident. This time a back room search procures the desired impulsive, celebratory purchase.

As I leave the bookstore, I am happy to own a new book, happy about the weather, and fucking euphoric to be employed.

I perch on a trash can as I wait for the bus. I end up chatting with fellow bus person, Judy. We exchange stories of happiness. She’s happy to be getting off of work. I’m happy to be beginning work. We feed off of each other’s happiness.

Judy and I board the bus. Despite the usual poor spirits of bus people, I love the bus. The seats are comfortable. They’re warm in the winter. The sensation of movement is nice. Best of all is the view of the cityscape out of the big bus windows, while moving at leisurely bus speed.

While on the bus I realize that I don’t have to hurry home to call back various jobs with applications pending.

So I don’t.

Originally published at The Triangle. You can comment here or there.