via Keep This Bag Away From Children
The man shakes your hand and motions towards an empty chair for you to sit in. The man’s name is Anthony. He is going to be interviewing you for the library job.
Your mom says that when a person acts nervous during a job interview it shows that the nervous person cares about the job. She says If the person doesn’t care they probably will not be nervous. If the person really doesn’t care they will not be interviewed at all.
You think about what your mom said, but then also wonder what the cut off is. You think “when does this stop being endearing?”
Anthony tells you that the purpose of the interview is to determine your eligibility for the job. He says “we both need to decide if this will be a good fit”.
There are moments in your life when you become very aware of how wrong things have become. Sometimes, at night, you look around your bedroom and it seems to be filled with the belongings of another person. Or you speak and the words sound like they are coming from someone else’s voice. You do not recognize the bedroom. You cannot understand the voice. You think “how did I end up here?” and also “when is this going to stop?”.
This is not one of those moments, but you think it is almost one of those moments.
The counselor at your college called it a ‘nervous breakdown’. He said it was induced by stress. He asked a lot of questions. You think that was kind of like an interview too, only the job was being taken out of school and moving back in with your mom.
It is not an actual job even though it feels like it sometimes.
Anthony looks down at a sheet of paper which has the interview questions on it. He asks you what you think the library job consists of.
You say the job probably consists of shelving books. You say the job also probably consists of helping people find books. You say things like that.
Anthony nods his head a lot. Anthony asks what motivates you to work.
You are uncertain how to define ‘work’. You think “isn’t everything work?” and also “what motivates anyone to do anything?”
Your hands are sweating. You remind yourself to concentrate. Of course he is talking about work in the sense of this job – the job you applied for. What motivates you?
You wait a few seconds and then say “generally, money motivates me to work” hoping that Anthony will laugh and then apologize for asking such a terrible question.
Instead, Anthony calmly writes down ‘money’ on his sheet of paper with the questions on it. Anthony seems disappointed at your answer. He asks if you can think of anything else. You say “I can’t think of anything else” and he writes that down too.
Your boyfriend calls while you are waiting at the bus stop. He asks how the interview went and you say it was fine.
He says he is going to help get you back into school.
You tell him there is literally nothing he can do about it.
He says he loves you and he will take care of you.
You say “how?” in a confused tone because you really don’t understand what he means.
He says he means that when two people love each other things have a way of working out.
You tell him that you wish he wouldn’t use the word love so much.
He asks if there is another word he should use instead.
At home your mom is cooking spaghetti. Your mom acts nice to you because she is worried. She asks how the interview went and you say you don’t want to talk about it.
You lay down on the couch. The couch is where you sleep because your mom’s apartment is a one bedroom. This is your bedroom.
Next to the couch is a stack of books, your laptop, and a small pile of clothes. This is everything you own. Think about minimalism and then think “how glamorous”.
Open your laptop and go to columbus.craigslist.org. Click on food/bev/hosp. Apply for a job as a dishwasher. Apply at a pizza shop, coffee shop, cafe. Think “more interviews”.
Think about Anthony asking what motivates you. You want to ask your mom what motivates her but you are afraid the answer is sad. You are afraid that she does not know.
Imagine yourself as a 45 year old woman living in a one bedroom apartment. Think about your 19 year old daughter’s most recent suicide attempt, your ex husband’s alcoholism. Things like that.
Your mom sits on the couch next to you and turns on the television. You put your head on her shoulder and fall asleep to the muffled sounds coming from the speakers, and to your mother’s hand placed affectionately on the back of your neck.
You are sitting at a desk facing an old man.
You are not nervous but he is. His hands are shaking. His forehead is dripping with sweat.
He says “you are going to have to do this for a very long time”.
He tells you that it will be hard work. He mentions self doubt, uncertainty.
He says “you are going to have a difficult time finding enjoyment in things but most people are going to find enjoyment in those things”.
The man is talking about your life.
It is not a job, even though it feels like it sometimes.
You think “this is not a good fit”.
You think “when is this going to stop?”
And you think that this is one of those times when you should have prepared something. You should have written down questions, or at least put on a different shirt. But before you get the chance to say anything, the man smiles a square shaped smile and says “well, this is it” while motioning around the room with his hands. “What else are you going to do?”