Overheard

July 28, 2011

A conversation, as I boarded the elevator down to the lobby in search of lunch today.

I got on in front of a hiring manager (whom I don’t know) from my company who was holding a clipboard of information, and an interviewee in a fancy suit who was (he thought smoothly but I thought nervously) attempting to make a final lasting impression of being–hey–a swell guy. The hiring manager was seemingly less than impressed. It went something like this:

Interviewee [as the elevator doors open on the 18th floor and we all get in]: “Man, something smells goooood downstairs.” [laughs for no reason]

Hiring manager: “………..yep. Not bad.” [we begin our descent]

Interviewee: “That’s, uh, another reason; I’d love to just work in the Loop. It’s just got to be so much better than Schaumberg. Nothing to do out there, you know? [clearly searching for common ground] It’s just terrible.”

Hiring manager: “……yeah, it’s probably….the best place to work in the city. The Loop.”

Interviewee: “Yeah, tell me about it. Tell me about it… Where do you live again, in the city?”

Hiring manager: “I don’t. I live in Barrington. …Right next to Schaumberg.”

Interviewee [suddenly more optimistically]: “Oh. …Yeah, alright, alright, well–” [door opens]

Hiring manager: “Well, thanks, and have a nice day. Your way out is to the right.”

Lovely. I think there’s nothing that amuses me more than other people’s awkwardness sometimes. I was just glad I got to be there for it. It was like my 30-second theatre break.

Really bet he gets that job…

Miss Near-Miss

March 8, 2010

Here’s one little arcane morsel of wisdom about the universe I seem to have acquired during my short stay here in this life: pretty much anything attempted before 10 AM is going to have a few practice runs before it is accomplished. And this is all the way from the important things, like work tasks, down to the minutia of the morning. It is compulsive. I am unable to skip the practice runs. I will perform any given action a healthy few times before I do it correctly.

I mean, I was in theatre. I know the importance of dress rehearsal. I assume this is what this is cosmically all about, why I am destined—why many of us are destined—to do this. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve overheard you talking. It’s not just me.

For instance, in order to fully prepare to grasp what time it is at any point in the morning, I need to go through a few reps first (I assume to get the motions down perfectly). Okay, the train is coming into the station. Is it on time? I glance down at the time on my phone. Okay… I could really go for a bagel. I walk halfway to the office. Wait, was it on time? Am I going to be on time? What time did the phone say? I look again, nod but store no information to my memory, put the phone away, and ooo—shiny thing! Shiny thiiiing!!! Now I’m about to cross the street to my building. Wait, so was I on time? What time of day is it? Did I fall asleep and it’s afternoon now? No way of possibly knowing. I glance again, satisfied, but not storing the information. …So why do beagles look nothing like Snoopy? Does Woodstock migrate? I get to the elevator. Um, seriously though. What time is it? I peer at my phone again and put it in my pocket, then feel my scalp for evidence of head injuries. I now have gotten five steps away from my desk. Have I arrived here at the same time I always do? I check my phone in the final stretch just before I sit down to my cubicle where I will be surrounded by no less than three things that will all tell me the time, but now the time on my phone finally sticks. 8:52 AM, right there on the front of my cell phone. Yup, normal time.

See, and I have to assume I would never have been able to have gotten the time if I hadn’t done all that rehearsing of the precise hand movements it takes to read my phone clock. Thanks, universe.

The same applies to things like the first step out of bed, which often bears repeating for good measure. Alright, Hofer—stand. *stands up, teeters* Noooope, sit right back down again. Possibly curl back up into former sleep pretzel position in order to have a totally fresh restart. Okay. Now, stand. *stands up, dismount* Nailed it! Thank god I practiced.

Even retrieving my key pass (which electronically grants me access to the doors at work) from my pocket so’s I can buzz myself into my job seems to require daily honing, oddly enough. Like, I get inside the building and reach into my pocket to grab my key pass. I instead pull out my left glove and hold it in my hand all the way to the elevator. Okay, good, Hofer. That is a similar motion to grabbing your key pass. I notice I’m holding a glove and put it back in my pocket. Shaking my head, I now reach into my pocket and pull out my bus pass, holding it firmly in my hand. I press the button for my floor and begin my ascent. Okay, closer now. We have part of the word correct—“pass”. Good! Dry run #2 accomplished. Now, put it away. I realize I’m holding my bus pass, sigh heavily, and put it back in my pocket, thinking about the things I have to do when I get to my desk. Meanwhile, I now pull out my car keys and prepare them to open the door to my office on the 18th floor. Hmm. Nope. No. Alright, the other part of the word is now present—“key”. Excellent job, Hofer! You are now prepared to correctly pull out your key pass. It dawns on me as I get to the clear glass doors which guard my office that I’m standing there holding a set of car keys, like an idiot. I plunge them back into my pocket, this time able to pull out my key pass with nary a problem.

See? Practice.

Oy.