Monday, January 26, 2004

Just Good At It

The Filipino woman was grilling me, turning up the heat. She studied my resume intently, trying to fathom the truth beneath the fries. A stain is supersizing under my pits. She opens her purse and hands me balut—a delicacy she says—a boiled duck embryo, still in its shell. I crack open the egg and Mork pops out. "Nanu, nanu," he says, "Sorry, try again." I wake up with a start.

A nightmare.

So, I lied. I like being unemployed. The unemployment checks are like my morphine drip; it keeps reality from creeping in. It’s not much. Only $336 a week--enough to pay the mortgage and keep me in Vienna sausages. It deflects the self-examination, the guilt, the doubt. Do I really want to go back to Corporate America? To take home a day’s wage, an empty lunch bag, “borrowed” office supplies?

I like money. It makes me more interesting.

Inexplicably, I had two interviews last week. I have not changed my cover letter or resume since I started looking. I used the same format, same qualifications, same Glamour Shot. Yet for some reason these companies deigned to bring me in for an audience with the HR queen. I practice my curtsy.

I was nervous, after being unemployed for over 3 months, things are starting to go downhill: I have perfected my Regis impression. My last nibble was two months ago and Simon Cowell didn’t wave me in to the next level. “Relax,” Brian advised, “You’ll get the job, just be yourself—that’s how you got me.” I followed his advice. I went as Carrot Top.

An interview is like a date from an online personal ad. If you can fake being interesting and funny for just long enough, you get to sleep with the guy. I did all the tricks: I lean forward to convey my enthusiasm. I act interested in the interviewer, smiling at all the right places. I am a whore, doing anything to please a john. It left a sour taste in my mouth. Funky spunk.

This oasis, this time away from work has taught me a few things: I work to make a living. I don’t particularly enjoy what I do; I am just good at it. It affords me the lifestyle I enjoy: dinners out, movies, crystal meth. What I really enjoy doing—playing guitar, writing, annoying people—these I do for free. Everybody wishes they can get paid for what they like to do. I am not different in that respect.

One of the interviews went well, it is promising. Maybe in a couple of weeks, life will be just as it was before. Back to Normal.

That has to be enough, right?