“The Unemployed Days of Summer” #60

Posted on July 11, 2011

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There’s something about living at home with your parents that adds an inordinate amount of weight to a pending job interview.  It becomes your everything.  Your key to the garden of hope – to the other side – where normal people live – where you can breathe easy and walk around in your underwear – where you can again be an adult and not a powerless kid.

So, as I rode the Long Island Rail Road into the city wearing a tan skirt suit of my mother’s that looked like something Captain Kangaroo would have worn if it were red, shoulder pads reminiscent of 1984, I went over my doctored resume in my mind.  I specifically tailored it for this job of random general office assistant at an “accessories” company.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling low in the self-esteem department.  When any artist forces themselves to be something they’re not to survive in a society that doesn’t reward and respect anything other than obscene profit-making, that artist submerges their essential nature – their passion for living.  Add to that a life of closed doors, personal and professional rejection, and the cruel fate of living with Ivan and Linda, who’s relationship could sell tickets at Barnum and Bailey, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for rock bottom self-confidence.

Nonetheless, I walked into the garment district office on West 38th Street like a bushy-tailed hopeful who was going to “act as if” I had it going on and couldn’t be denied.  I wanted a job, any job that would get me back into the city and on my feet again.  I wanted to be able to get on a random subway and find myself at dark and cozy Café Reggio’s in the village, or go dancing in Harlem where no one would make fun of my outdated moves, or on 72nd Street for a hot dog.

When I sat down with Jeremy and Renee, two overweight upper management employees of D&J Accessories, I felt like they had looked me up and down and decided they didn’t like me in a matter of seconds.  Jeremy was one of the owners and Renee was a human resources type.  One of those women with an ass like a Smart Car who was probably made fun of as a child, never went to therapy, and just judges others to deflect any potential self-hatred.

They pored over my resume and looked at me.  I kept smiling.  And thinking, Hot dogs whenever I want.  “So, tell me about the restaurant,” Big Renee said.  I went on to describe my love of  wines, particularly reds from Burgundy.  I thought that would display my flair for style and good taste.  I then immediately segued into what I thought was an excellent account of why I would be a great general office assistant:  My passion for office supplies, how Ianticipate problems, my attention to detail, etc.  For good measure, I threw in that I was a “team player.”

I can’t remember which of the two hippos said it, but it went something like, “This is a fashion company.  You know, stylish.  Do you like fashion? (said as they looked me up and down).  Why were they staring at me like that?  So what if this was my mother’s cheap tan suit probably bought at Target.  My make-up looked good.  “I LOVE fashion!” I replied.

They forced a bullshit smile, Jeremy excused himself for his lunch meeting, and Renee thanked me for coming in, said she would be going through the interview process this week and would ‘let me know.’

When I got in the mirrored elevator going down, I looked at my reflection to see the left shoulder-pad halfway down my arm, practically sticking out my wrist.

I was supposed to meet up with my friend, Denise, for an early and prolonged happy hour, the result of which, no doubt, would be eight Appletinis and maybe some random flirtation with whoever was lucky enough to be in our immediate sphere.   But, first, I wanted to relish my freedom and reward myself with a trip to one of the city’s gazillion Dunkin’ Donuts.  I love that place.  I purchased my favorite donut, the chocolate-cream-filled one and sat down at my own little table.  I started to take a bite into this heaven-filled goodness, when I caught a glimpse of the New York Times someone had left on the table.  It was open to the section of “recently married.”  There, staring me in the face, the messy chocolate-cream and white powder face, was Amit, my ex-boyfriend.  There he was, the love of my life, standing next to his wetback Indian wife.  Amit, who said I wasn’t “Mommy Material,” now married to a parent-approved Indian woman at a ceremony in Queens.  With lots of flowers.  I put the donut down.  All sweetness left my palate.

I texted Denise and told her I couldn’t meet her.  I went right to Penn Station and got on the Eastbound Port Jefferson train.  I sat there by the window, looking into my own reflection, noticed I hadn’t even moved the renegade shoulder pad, and thought deeply….about rejection.  About all the professional rejections I had received, the countless form letters.  For writing, for bullshit jobs I didn’t even want.  The personal rejections, the guys who thought nothing of discarding me for no particular reason other than their whims directed them to do so.  How is someone supposed to stay positive amongst this sea of rejection called life?  By holding on to the little moments of hope that come along – like the hot guy who’s looking at me on the train right now.  Blonde, tall, business-suit, he just seems so young, fresh, smart.  He probably sees my unique personality, my sense of humor, my alertness.  Things aren’t so bad after all.  I duck down beneath the seat and fix my shoulder pad.

The whole ride home, there is the occasional look, and then the look away.  My heart is beating. I feel so alive.  I’m not sure what’s going on, but he definitely notices me.  And did I mention my make-up looks good?  I start thinking about him getting off at the same stop as me.  Him, perhaps coyly, offering me a ride home.  Me, just kissing him on the cheek and telling him we should get ice cream sometime.  Our fifth date at dinner where he asks me to move in with him.  The possibilities are endless, and I start to feel good again.  Just a little hope, that’s all we need.

Every time the train stopps, I look up to see if he’s getting off.  No!  I can’t believe it when the train arrives at the end of the line, and he’s getting off at my same stop!  I walk firmly, but slowly, like a nice girl in a movie who’s just about to get asked out by the guy who’s madly in love with her.  But, he gets off the train ahead of me – maybe he’s shy?  I bet he’s waiting on the platform to ask me something, like “Do you happen to know where I can find a taxi?”  I get off the train, already blushing and casually look up to see his wife greeting him with a kiss.  And then him walking over to her car.  I find the nearest taxi and slink into the backseat as we drove off.

The trees blur by as I zone out and don’t even listen to the driver who is clearly in a recovery program and reeks of cigarettes.

I walk into the house where my mother is mesmerized by the telenovela, “Verano en Venecia.”  I say, “Where’s Vito?”  She obviously doesn’t want to be interrupted.  “Your father took him to work.”  “Work?” I ask.  “How was your interview?” she enquires without moving her eyes from the mascara-faced Colombian actress.

“It was terrible,” I mutter.

“That’s great, honey.  Just give me a few minutes, I want to watch this.”

I go into my room and just sit there.  Alone.  The rejection has taken its toll.  And I’m sick of it.  I can curl up and die.  Or I can maybe do something else.  Get my power back.  I think about it for a minute.  Then I dig up the endless pile of form rejection letters, and start to copy one verbatim onto my computer, just changing a few things.  I decide to be proactive and construct the perfect form letter to the fatsos I just interviewed with.

Dear Thomas Jeremy and Renee (handwritten in),

While I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with you today and review your resume company’s profile, I have decided to decline employment with you at this time. 

It is exciting to have had such an overwhelming amount of applicants/companies interested in my services, and rest assured, it has been a difficult decision to say the least.   Although your company is certainly going places, and I can tell there’s a generous lunch allowance, I have decided to pursue other options.

Good luck on your search.  And Godspeed.

Best,

Myra

Deciding not to stop there, I think about all the guys on Match.com who never wrote me back.   So I begin typing up a generic letter to each and every one of the sixty-five guys I ‘winked’ at who never responded.

Dear Cute Guy,

After much consideration, I have come to the pained decision that I am no longer interested in you at this time.  Although I feel you have much to offer as far as looks, and maybe personality, I must discontinue our relationship.  I would not be true to my heart if I kept you on the line and hopeful for something that I will not deliver.  I am sure you will find what you are looking for with enough persistence and determination, but unfortunately it won’t be with me.  Rest assured I have carefully considered this, and it was not an easy decision. 

I wish only the best for you going forward, and hope that our paths cross again.

Kind regards,

HotPoetessNYC2009

I send it to all sixty-five guys, with slight modifications to fit their different arrogant personalities.  And I feel slightly better.  Still alone.  But better.

Reject the rejecter.  My new modus operandi.  Perhaps I will write a book about this.

Suddenly Vito bursts into my room and jumps right up onto my lap like the Chihuahua he thinks he is.  My 75-pound lap dog licks me like crazy.  I guess he’ll always be there to remind me that I’m never really alone.

Posted in: Humor, Life