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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Treacherous Angels

Job interview today, which usually has me frazzled but I'm OK now because I carry a reading copy of Wells sahib's horrifying litany of bumps 'n' grinds and nothing can faze me.

Wish you could meet the man; wish I still could as a work pard'ner. One of the good ones.

Bizarre, really. He's a walking pedia on Bob Dylan but after reading his catalog of graunches, I'm wondering if the Zimmerman shouldn't be an expert on *Richard*.

Any road, rolled up for the interview and, as is the ferry sched's wont, you either arrive with seconds to spare or catch the boat that leaves you mooching. Latter.

As Ed Tufte once advised me, "Get there early. Good things happen."

In my experience, paperwork usually happens, and there was a ton.

I was a half hour early and a 'Martin' was a half hour late, so the brisk brunette at the desk chided me as she handed me Martin's form.

"I'm Chris. I'm here in advance to do the paperwork." Softening of button-bright eyes.

Three other 'candidates', all of whom left the 15-min form filling to the last minute.

Brisk Brunette takes my paperwork and Resident Alien card and murmurs about how nice it is to deal with people who "plan."

Usual combative joshing among the others, in with which I do not join. I have read the Gospel according to St Wells and am chillingly above small chat.

Martin arrives and is handed his mound of forms with much muttering about punctuality. He has not brought the right ID and queries why he should. La BB says nothing but murmurs into the phone that "Christopher is here. And all his paperwork is in order."

Martin doesn't care. He removes his Vaio and proceeds to power type. He doesn't need us.

Jerry, my interviewer, emerges and Phyllis (for it is she) points me out. Martin makes to rise but is reminded that he has yet to fill in all the forms. I am ushered in and we power chat.

After only 20 mins (but a good 20), Phyllis knocks and enters. Martin can only wait another 15 minutes. Jerry bunches my self-serving paperwork and starts to tell me we can finish over the phone, but P starts apologizing to me "on behalf of X Enterprises .... not fair when someone can get it together to arrive in time ...."

Yes yes, agrees Jerry-

"Poor impression ... what if he does this to the Client ..."

Honey-eyed look at me before a "Well, I need to get back to my desk."

The door safely closed, Jerry (sotto voce): "Duude. You got Phyllis on ya side. Man - If 'n' I don't place you inna 30K before Christmas, I'll never hear the enda it."

We shake hands and I make to leave. En route out, Phyllis calls me over and, in a stage whisper, checks:

"This is your daytime phone, and this is the reference contact for the CEO/President of your last employers? [Confident smile] We'll get right onto it."

I imagine Phyllis's feline interrogation of Dave for his laudatory reference and wonder about alerting him in advance. I could have buggered the office hamster and still have the felicitous Phyllis translating me into a blue-eyed wonder boy.

"Correct," I mutter.

Stage stage-whisper from P: "This is my direct line that bypasses the switchboard - if you need an update on your placement." Meaningful glare at Martin.

I thank her and walk out to the bank of elevators.

A whizzing rear wheel spins inches from my soul.

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