Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Interview

Last night my company had an interview with a non-profit organization, and we were so anxious to be awarded the work that we arrived a few minutes early to make a good impression.

We could hear an interview going on in the large office, but we couldn’t see it because of a partition.

We were greeted by a middle aged woman wearing a knobby tan ski cap with tassels hanging down the sides, ending just above her ample bosom, which gravity was pulling down like a boy ringing a giant church bell. The bright, multi-colored shirt she was wearing looked like it had come from the 70% off racks at a discount store. She had dark brown freckles on pale ale skin, and when we approached she kept her face level with the computer screen but raised her eyes to look at us and say, “Can I help you?”

“We’re here for the interview,” the company owner whispered. “We’re a few minutes early, do you have a bathroom?”

“Sure do,” she said, and hoomphed herself up from her chair, “I’ll show you where it is.”

“I’ll go too,” I said, thinking I could check my hair and see if I had any of that black stuff you get in the corner of your eyes if you wear mascara.

When the receptionist was finally on her feet, she was stooped over like little pine tree in a snowstorm. She put one foot deliberately in front of another, like a hospital patient inching down a long hallway with an IV pole.

She rounded the corner of her desk and started heading toward the aisle where the interview voices were coming from.

“Oh crap,” I hissed.

“I’m not going,” my boss whispered.

We stood there watching the receptionist progress along until she was beside where the interview was happening, muttering and not realizing we weren’t behind her.

“Oh my gosh, that poor woman,” I said. “I’ll go.”

I scurried toward her – this aisle was a good forty feet long and she had covered most of it. I kept my eyes straight ahead as I passed the interview table, noticing in my peripheral vision that there were at least five people – not counting the three from the other company with their backs to me – who saw me whisking by.

The receptionist stopped and turned to speak to me and saw that I was hustling to catch up. “Lord, honey,” she said in a voice oblivious that business was being conducted a few feet away, “I didn’t know you wasn’t behind me, I’ve been talking to myself the whole way.”.

She led me through a closed door, down a stretch of hallway, around a couple of corners and through another door or two. Finally she said, “Here it is!” - proud she’d accomplished this important mission.

I ducked into the door and started asking myself important questions in preparation for the interview, such as: “What were you thinking, you idiot? Why did you ask to go to the bathroom, you didn’t need to go to the bathroom? You looked like an idiot out there and now you have to walk past that table. There’s no escaping this blunder." Then I looked at myself in the mirror and found 9,000 flaws. “Oh my gosh, how are you going to go back out there looking like that and walk past table?”

I decided to skip the interview and stay in the bathroom. Seeing the impracticality of this, I figured I’d wait until I thought the other company would be gone.

When I thought it was safe, I crept out the door and turned to the right and encountered a network of cubicles and hallways - and freaking got lost. I’d been preoccupied with being an idiot so didn’t notice the hallways running in all different directions. I wandered around for an eternity until I finally discovered the main door that led to the other room.

When I got to the table, my company’s interview was already in progress. That threw me so off kilter that I could barely look anyone in the eye as the boss hurriedly introduced me. When it came my turn to speak, I started saying my rehearsed words, got a frog in my throat, cleared it two or three times, stuttered, stuttered some more, got a few things out before my brain fizzled on me.

No one asked me any questions.

I spent the whole evening and restless night worrying that I had blown our chances. I kept saying, “Why didn’t you make a joke like, ‘That’s really a journey to your bathroom - I felt like I was on some reality show and had been dropped in a maze.’ They would have chuckled and loved you forever. Why? Why? Why?

The next day, at 1:38 in the afternoon, we got a call saying we’d been awarded the contract. We must have been the very lowest bidder!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hot Lips Nachos

I had nachos for dinner tonight and got way too liberal with the hot sauce and jalapeno peppers. Law have mercy! My lips were burning like someone was lighting them with a match. And yet I could not stop eating, so the flame barely had half a second to calm down before I put some more fire in my mouth.

I suffered through a rather large plate of nachos, and it never got any easier. Each bite was as hot as the last, and just as painful, and yet it was not a deterrent to me stuffing myself.

The weird thing is that once it got past my lips and into my mouth, which was also burning like asphalt on the equator, and then headed to my throat, it didn’t burn anymore. All the way down the chute to my stomach, I didn’t feel a thing.

This makes sense, when you think about it. Your lips and mouth are like two Buckingham Palace guards – they’re not going to let anything in that would do you any harm. If those guys can take the red-hot fire of spicy food, then they must figure that your cast iron stomach should do just fine.

I’ve popped things in my mouth and discovered that they were too freaking hot – as in like they’ve come out of an oven in Hades. When that happens I don’t spit it out, I simply make a big “O” with my mouth and say, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” and fan it a few times with my hand. And then I swallow the blistering tidbit so it quits burning - once it gets past a point, I can’t feel it anymore.

This is a wonder of biological engineering - a miracle of the human body.

On the other hand, some things go in your mouth all nice and easy-like, for instance the beans I had for lunch today, and then later they raise a ruckus in your digestive system like two Tasmanian devils wrestling in the belly of a tornado.

But I am not going to let this deteriorate into a discussion about flaming bottoms and lighting matches to see if they can ignite a blow torches when a person passes gas, and so forth.

Why can I NOT seem to get past bathroom humor?

When I went with my writer’s group to a retreat a few weeks ago, I got the “Humor” award, and the one line summary of me was, “Wait, wait – I have to go to the bathroom.” That pretty much sums me up – I don’t want to miss anything, hence the “wait, wait,” but the bathroom is always close by – either in my writing, in my talking, or when I’m rushing for it because of some extremely spicy food I had no business eating.

Okay, speaking of the toilet I have to tell a story, but it will need to wait until tomorrow because it’s too long for tonight when the bed is calling and my eyelids are as heavy as a full bladder. See, I just can’t get away from bodily functions……