Archive | September, 2010

Bot for hire

27 Sep

A couple of weeks ago, after I found out I’m soon to be laid off, I asked Jesus to take the wheel on my behalf and find me a job. I waited all weekend… nothing. Monday came around and I dusted myself off, vowing to never count on him again. So far I’ve applied to 24 different positions and am working with three different recruiters – they don’t know about each other and I feel deliciously adulterous. One of them has known me for five years; he placed me at two of the three jobs I’ve had. Last week he scored me an interview for a job at a Boston non-profit, for which I felt well-qualified and confident. I was to meet first with a partner organization’s office manager, and if that went well, with the CEO soon after. I was excited; I liked the location, I admired the work the organization does, and I suspected the position would challenge me positively.

Knowing I’d be meeting with women only, I chose to wear a pantsuit. I leave the skirt and heels, with a hint of French perfume for male interviewers, so as to suggest, “see what you’d get to look at all day every day, prancing around the office?” Of course once I’m hired, I go right back to flats and pants, and they can’t do a thing about it.

I was on time, I looked capable and motivated and proactive, like a Jane of All Trades wearing about 17 invisible hats… I also smelled like reduced operating costs. The pretty girl interviewing me seemed cold and disengaged at first, but I charmed her with my big, interested eyes, and anecdotes of super-human multi-tasking abilities. We shared stories of volunteer experiences, and by the time she walked me out, her pretty blue eyes were lit up with love for me.

And then silence. For 48 hours the recruiter heard nothing, not a speck of feedback. On the third day, he emailed me:

She thought you were a really nice person and qualified candidate.  She is however going to move forward and bring back two other candidates.  She said she felt they would click better with the CEO.  Nothing against you… just felt these other two would be a better match. Ugh… I’m sorry!

It felt like high school all over again; the many face piercings and short hair scared away the boys who had no idea of my superior kissing and video-gaming skills. Except in this case, I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. I looked good, I spoke eloquently, and as I mentioned, I smelled like success. I wore pants. My resume was printed on luxurious, textured paper. I made her laugh and smile. I OFFERED HER A PEN because she’d forgotten to bring one into the interview. I remembered the receptionist’s name on my way out.

I’ll never know why I wasn’t chosen, but I’ve come up with a couple of plausible culpable factors for this colossal conundrum:

1. The CEO is a raging, miserable bitch;

2. I came across as a real person.

Truly, I believe this. I smiled quite a bit, and most of it was genuine because I was excited about the interview. But I see now what a huge mistake that was. The recruiter had told me to “just be myself,” when he should’ve really said, “go in there and show them what a well-oiled, recently tuned up, multi-tasking, multi-lingual robot you are!”

I was weak and naive: I showed emotion and a personality. I believe I even suggested I might have interests that I pursue outside of work hours. I feel ashamed, as once did after waking up naked on my dormitory bed, and noticing the vomit inside the unlined trash receptacle – especially as I was hit with the memory of also having thrown up in front of my crush’s bedroom door, having failed to wait till I reached the bathroom. But I learned my lesson: I haven’t touched tequila since. Wednesday morning will have me face-to-face with a male CEO of an internet start-up. My mouth will give him nothing but Gizmodo, while my pencil skirt shall recount other tales…

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I dedicate this to you

26 Sep

You know… if it weren’t for this lady*, I don’t know that I would’ve ever done this. She gave me courage.

So I like karaoke-ing… and I’ve been singing around the apartment as I clean… so I thought I should dedicate a song to you guys. This one sort of fills me with love.

* and a couple of beers

On dealing with mice…

23 Sep

You guys don’t understand: I can’t just get a cat. I don’t do cats, Tori doesn’t do cats, and my building only allows one pet per unit. I thought about getting a parrot and a week later they put up a sign saying that no “exotic” pets are allowed. Would a parrot be considered “exotic?”  When I was little, we had a pet parrot in Brasil. He just flew to our mango tree one day and we fed him… He decided to stick around. The little bastard would curl his head down as we petted his neck, then all of a sudden raise it back up, pecking our fingers  really hard. Fucking bipolar parrot just flew away forever one day.

Parrots live absurdly long lives and I think that’s awesome. I’d love to be 50 years old, living with the parrot I got when I was 20-something. I’d teach it useful words such as “porra,” “foda-se,” “alô?” and “tchau!” I might even have it record my voicemail message.

But I can’t have a parrot. That’s OK, though, because I really love where I live. I lived in the area five years ago but had to move out because I became temporarily unemployed and nearly hopeless. And five years later, I’m back. I fucking love Ringer Park. It’s so very close to me that I walk my dog there every morning and evening. I let her off leash and she rolls around in dirt, squeaking like a broken toy, big smile on her face. We walk around the dirty panties, the queen-sized mattress, the half-eaten $5 Market Basket lobster, torn T-shirts, used tampons, empty fireworks cartons, and broken glass, and head to the open grassy area atop a hill, where I can stare at little children in the playground. The boys are fun to watch; they are restless; throwing shit at each other, running, climbing on shit, jumping from shit. The girls, on the hill ahead of Tori and me, stand around, playing with their hair, raising their hands to ask the game coordinator questions. While Tori eats grass, or rolls around on it, or poops.

As I walk back home through the park, I get whistled at by guys playing basketball, say ‘hi’ to an elderly lady keeping company to an even older lady who doesn’t seem able to move, or speak, or maybe even see. They sit there in silence, enjoying the early Fall breeze. Back on the wide sidewalk, Russian grandmas stand around, gossiping about other Russian grandmas’ children, some locals congregate in front of the package store, and the T attempts to deafen me once again with its screechiness. I really like my neighborhood. I really like hopping on the T and coming to this bookstore/coffee shop, sitting at the bar, having cup after cup of coffee, and abundant amounts of melted Havarti and avocado on a deliciously baked, perfectly toasted, thick slice of rye bread. And some chips. And more coffee. And I sit here and look at people around me. I am, of course, quite content in my current state; a result of learning how to roll my own cigarettes. Well, I didn’t so much learn how to do it, as I bought an easy roller and it does the work for me. But, you know, the end result is the same.

So that’s it. I love where I live, I don’t want to move, and I’d sooner chop off my left middle finger than get rid of Tori, so no cats for me. But I am determined to conquer the motherfucking mice. Every day I’ve forced myself to google images for “dead rat” and have written a letter to distribute to building residents, urging them to have their individual units exterminated, or face the consequences of a mice infestation this winter, as the creatures use our cabinets and walls as conjugal rooms. I will win. The mice will die.

Jesus fucking hates me this month

19 Sep

When I was little – 5 or 6 – I got small rubber snakes to throw on my mom while she was asleep. I’d seen her wince a couple of times, and look away from the television when the image of a snake came on. My dad said she had a ‘phobia’ of snakes; that they really frightened her. So I got rubber ones, put them on her chest while she napped, and then called out her name, to wake her up.

When she saw them, she screeched, waving her arms 3 or 4 times, then jumped up and away from the bed. I laughed for a while, until my father came into the room and realized what had happened. I think they spanked me a little, and then explained how frightened my mother was of them, and how cruel what I’d done was. I got the picture and never pulled a similar prank – though I did always love catching her reaction when she caught sight of snakes.

A year or two later, I stood in the living room, chatting on the phone with an aunt who lived in the United States (little Ju here was still living in the motherland). While mid-sentence, I saw a mouse run from a corner of the living room, over my right foot,  to the other end of the room, underneath a piece of furniture. I freaked the fuck out. I screamed, and jumped up and down, waving my little arms, dropping the receiver and hanging up on my aunt. My mother ran to the living room, and I told her a mouse had run over my foot and was now hiding in the room. She told me to calm down and assured me my father would get rid of it. I went to bed imagining mice would take over my bedroom while I slept, running over my legs and hair. A few months later, my dog would chase, catch, and mutilate a massive motherfucking rat she found in our backyard. I watched her do it, and saw the vile fucking creature being shaken as she bit into its hind legs. I screamed, half in support of her bravery, half in horror. I was disgusted and extremely proud.

I can’t remember when it started exactly, but I developed a real phobia of mice. Walking through Boston’s Back Bay alleys is a no-no for me; there are mice running from one dumpster to another, crossing the street ahead of and behind you. I did it once, and saw seven of the revolting motherfuckers; I ran to the end of the street and then started crying. I was with friends, and extremely embarrassed as we were all just walking to a club, but my knees started shaking and I was sobbing.

Dressed in PJs, I was watching TV in the living room of the first apartment I had, by myself,  when I saw a mouse come into the living room, slowly, along the wall. I screamed, put on my flipflops, grabbed my keys, cell phone, and dog, and ran to my car. I called my father, crying, who told me to grow up and go back home. I then called my best friend, crying, and begged him to let me sleep over. The next day I went back home, cleaned the place, set up mousetraps, and mostly hung out only in the bedroom with the door closed. My landlord initially suggested I use some poison pellets, but they didn’t solve the problem. The traps kept trapping more fuckers, and I found droppings in the kitchen every day. Eventually I threatened to file a report against him with the Dept. of Public Health, and also refused to pay rent until he had a proper job done by exterminators, which he did. It took a month and many nightmares of mice with severed spines, but I did it. I never saw another fucker for as long as I lived there.

I had mice again in my second apartment. I had just returned home with my best friend, and was about to heat up a sandwich in the toaster, when the little fucker ran from underneath the toaster oven, inches from my hand, jumped to the floor and hid under the fridge. Once again, I freaked the FUCK OUT. I started crying and ran to the bedroom. My friend told me to calm down, but I started getting hysteric. Then he got pissed at me and told me to grow up and stop crying. I cried more. Then I was hyperventilating and had trouble speaking. That made me cry harder because I realized I wasn’t in control of myself. My neck felt tight. My friend got worried and drove me to the hospital. I was still crying, hyperventilating and now my tongue and jaw stiffened. It was hard to breathe. At the emergency room, I’d get my breathing in check for a few seconds, then the crying would resume, which made it difficult to breathe, and the whole fucking thing started over. Eventually my friend got in my face, and coached me through each breath. I followed his lead for a few minutes and then began breathing normally on my own. I stopped crying. I felt normal again – exhausted – but normal. We drove home. All because of my pathetic, senseless, irrational fear and disgust of fucking mice.

This afternoon I was greeted by Tori as I came into the apartment with grocery bags. I put them down to the right of the door, and took a step left, toward the bathroom. There was a dead mouse on the floor. Tori went to it, sniffed it, then came back to me, wagging her tail.

My knees almost gave and I’m pretty sure I started whimpering. I grabbed a plastic bag to serve as a glove and another for disposal, walked toward the thing, bent my knees and closed my eyes, letting my hand find the body. I shoved it in the plastic bag, wrapped it, and threw it out my door. Then I cried a little. Before bringing the bag to the dumpster in the parking lot, I decided to ask a neighbor if she’d ever seen mice at her place.

“Oh yeah. My roommate actually owns our unit and when we first saw it we thought it was because of dog food, so we got it off the floor, but that wasn’t it, cause they came back. She had the place exterminated but all they did was bring some stupid traps and some poison. But then the other day, I was going through a drawer in her room – just a drawer, there wasn’t even any food – and I saw one in there.”

Hello, I am drunk

18 Sep

I woke up at 12:21pm today. It was the first time I slept past 8am in the last 4 weeks, because recently, I’ve either woken up to an early-ass alarm clock or to bad dreams – stressful dreams – relating to all the shit in my life that I need to do or figure out. Or the shit I can’t do anything about, but that still stress and upset the fuck out of me. These last four weeks have royally sucked; job, family, car, money, friends-wise… I think Jesus wants to punish me for all the great sex I’ve had my whole life.

I haven’t had proper weekends, since they’ve been occupied by errands, arguments, and a lot of waiting around for other people to do shit, so I could get shit done. The bulk of it’s been resolved, thankfully, now I’m left only with… finding a new job before I’m laid off (I have three weeks left. Light a candle for me, will ya?)

Throughout all this, I’ve felt a little alone, wishing I had someone with whom I could have mind-blowing, sadness-squashing sex. But I don’t. What I do have are friends in stable, long-term relationships.  Yeay.

So I figured it was time to put aside my rules and regulations on dating, acknowledge the fact I’ll soon be physically undesirable, and start going on some fucking dates. Because it’s fun to talk about what I do for work, the kind of music I like, and why my last relationship didn’t work. With a stranger. While simultaneously trying to listen to my vagina, and what it thinks about him.

I went on a date with a tall, attractive, intelligent, funny, well-spoken, well-employed, looking-for-a-serious-relationship guy. He likes dogs and strange sci-fi. He lives nearby and has a great smile. He loves his grandma and ice cream and coffee. He made me laugh. I had a really nice time. He texted and emailed me a few times after our date, and invited me to watch a soccer game with him. After a week, I stopped answering his emails. He added me as a contact on g-chat and I blocked him.

Today, while at H&M on Newbury Street, wearing an oversized flannel and my beat up Chuck Taylors, a really cute guy stared at me as I made a yucky face to the strange, tight and uncomfortable-looking shirt-thing I saw on display. My eyes met his, and he didn’t look away, so I smiled. I walked around the store, found the suit that will single-handedly secure the job I want, tried it on, waited a good 20 minutes in the check out line, then walked out the store. Before I reached Berkeley Street, I heard someone running behind me, who said, “excuse me!” I turned around and it was the cute guy with whom I’d made eye contact.

“Hi, I saw you in there, and I don’t know, I just had to take a chance and come out and talk to you.”

“Oh. OK. Hi.”  [see how nice and receptive I am?]

“I’m Jonathan. So, what are you doing out here.. in Boston?”

“I live in Boston. And I’m shopping,” I said, as I raised my shopping bag.

“Oh, I live in Brookline,” Jonathan said.

Brookline’s really nice, I thought. Except there’s no overnight street parking, so it’d be a bitch to sleep over there, which means he’d have to come sleep at my place, which would suck ’cause Tori would give him a hard time for a few weeks at least, not to mention the fact that I don’t really want anyone hanging around my apartment for no specific reason.  I’d never get to read, or play video games, or watch my movies, or go to bed early. And really, Jonathan, that turtleneck is not OK.

“Nice. I live in Brighton,” I said.

“Oh, Brighton’s interesting.”

“I really like it,” I said. “I know people tend to not like it because of all the college students in the area, but I’m centrally located and my building is very quiet.”

“Oh, that’s key,” he said. “Quiet is very important, especially for someone like you… I mean, I don’t know, but I imagine you really like to read.”

Was Jonathan calling me a loser with no friends and Saturday night plans, or was he trying to compliment me intellectually? I didn’t know. But I did know that I desperately wanted to go home soon, so I could walk the dog, read the new issue of The Week magazine I’d just gotten, and have enough time to catch a movie by myself…

“Right. Yea, I do like to read,” I said, as I looked around, desperately trying to find something I could hold on to and use as an excuse to leave. “Hey, Jonathan, this is really nice, but… I’m committed.”

“To what, an institution?” Good one, Jonathan.

“Haha.. no, to a person. But thank you. Have a really nice day, OK?”

“All right, blablabla.” (I stopped listening)

After that exchange, I walked as fast as I could to the subway station, got on the T, and buried my face in my book until I reached home. Walked the dog, read my magazine, and then sat between two heavy-breathing, overweight, middle-aged men at the 7pm showing of a documentary on illegal immigration (9500 Liberty – go see it). Later on my girl friend picked me up and we went to a bar in Cambridge. She and I chatted, I promptly looked away when cute boys looked my way, then she dropped me off at home. Here I am, drunk, alone, but feeling halfway back on track to recovering my fun, positive outlook on life. At least I’m writing again.