Saturday, January 24, 2009

Local and Organic

Yesterday, my wife and I visited a local diner. In every sense of the word it fit the description of a diner - fake blue leather booths a bit too tight to squeeze into comfortably, service both prompt and friendly, more food choices than they could possibly execute effectively including four or five specials, and an unusual smell which I've yet to identify. I enjoyed the entire experience.

As I studied the computer printed signs hanging in several locations inviting patrons to bring their laptops and enjoy the free Wi-Fi, the server handed each of us a menu. The moist aftereffects from the quick wipe down on both the seats and the menu brought a small smile to my face. Expecting to see the usual diner fare, a small graphic caught my attention - Local and Organic. Immediately I thought "that's my favorite" not yet knowing what it was that was both Local and Organic.

Now I could go on and on about the significance of a local and organic economy and worldview…everything from helping the environment to stronger communities and healthier people, not to mention the evils of the alternative – good all around. And someday I’m sure I’ll do just that, but last night I had a dream or a scenario about an up-and-coming job interview that just must be told. In order to frame this properly I should mention that I’m in a job hunting process and state of mind. Having fallen short of convincing the collective bill-collecting populous that I am indeed a pre-NY Bestselling author whose lottery-like fortune sits just around the corner, I’ve resorted to pursuing (that may be too strong a word) a position in a fine organization who could benefit from my substantial expertise, experience, and wit…or something to that effect.

Along those lines, last week I interviewed at a company that was rather fond of itself. Don’t get me wrong, everyone I met seemed intelligent, articulate, and highly credentialed. They did have a right to be proud, it just seemed like their good self-impressions may have exceeded the reality they exposed me to. They set me up on a full day of interviews with various people in their organization. I started at 8:30 in the morning and went non-stop until dinner finished up a little after 7PM, meeting with no less than 15 people during the day! Is it just me or does that seem over the top? Putting someone through a process of 11 grueling hours with only 2 brief respites to the restroom, impressed little and exhausted much…although the bathrooms were very shiny.

My next foray into the job-hunting market begins next Tuesday at 3:00PM. A nearby City government needs a software guy/girl to do something or other. Instead of 11 hours of the gauntlet they require a mere hour and a half of my time to determine whether or not I meet their standards and fit best in their group. Which brings me to my dream/scenario thing. In the half-awake, half-asleep moments of my morning today I rehearsed my interview process with the City and it went something (embellished to make more interesting) like this:

A panel of 3 people sat around a table that looked like it was stolen from a middle school cafeteria and dragged top down over Highway 101 for a few hundred miles. Introductions all around and I tried to remember each of their names so I could address them personally during the interview, and especially when I would say goodbye at the end. I took my seat in the middle – an elderly grandmotherly type on my left, a young, energetic buck across from me, and a person on my right who might have been either male or female sporting a nice smile for someone missing most of their teeth.

Like a tennis match, the young buck served a complex technical question with both velocity and precision placement, hoping to catch me off balance and score a point. I returned a quick, strong answer and I was up 15-Love. The guy/girl smiled at me as I heard Van Morrison singing Someone Like You in the background. The crowd roared, which turned out to be the elderly lady snoring. So far, so good.

Almost three sets later, we had each won a set and the tie-breaker would decide the outcome…everything in the entire universe depended on the next question and answer. The elderly lady sat up straight in her chair like an ancient and yet powerful queen on her throne. She turned to the young buck and began asking her question. He interrupted her and pointed her in my direction. She nodded, turned to face me, and tossed the question ball high into the air delivering what looked like the perfect ace:

“Gerald, why do you WANT to work for the City?”

My palms sprung leaks; my mind spun in circles – why did she call me Gerald? do I WANT to work for the City? what were their names? i think my left leg is asleep. The male/female stopped smiling and Eric Clapton stopped singing Hello, Old Friend. Ready to concede game, set, and match to my most worthy opponents, I closed my folio. I stood up, shook their hands, and thanked them for their time, forgetting their names. Heading to the door, a barely perceptible hum caught my attention. All three City employees joined in and their humming became a song. I turned just in time to see them join hands and begin a macabre dance of the zombies. As I opened the door to leave, the deafening scream/song We are the Champions rung in my ears.

In my struggle to stay the tears, I desperately searched for something good to think on…anything that might ease the pain of defeat. Working backwards from my interview, I reviewed my day and came up with nothing pleasant…nothing to stem the tide of depression. At my wit’s end, ready to bow to loss as the rightful king of my life, a picture floated through my mind. A bit fuzzy at first. I strained to see it, to remember it. Finally, my mind’s eye focused and the small phrase beamed brightly in the darkness.

Like a soldier on a critical mission, I about-faced and re-entered the interrogation/interview room. With a yell I smashed my return into the corner of the court, silencing the terrible din of dancing and singing:


Him/Her smiled as Silly Love Songs played through the loud speakers. Elderly Lady nodded off, mumbling something that sounded like, “Good for you, Gerald.” Young Buck nodded his head respectfully, stretched forth his racquet-shaped hand, and announced, “Good match. Welcome aboard. You’ll fit in just fine.”

1 comment:

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