Welcome to the wilds! New Jersey for me was like crossing the border into Tijuana. Sure, the new lifestyle was crazy, but no one would ever admit to living there. When my husband’s job was relocated here in August 2010, we both were frightened. Now we’re learning about life, love, and marriage in this strange new culture. Feel free to tag along for the adventure.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Interviewee Turned Outlaw
I’ve always hated interviews, because let’s be honest they are completely judging you from behind their desk by what you’ve written and that heavy piece of paper known as your resume. I expected that of course, I have been in that seat. I once had someone submit a resume that still had [insert address here] in the top right corner…for a job with one requirement: Attention to Detail.
Alas, I was now the lowly interviewee going into the state of New Jersey for a grown-up job. As they had requested, I budgeted extra time, because I had to park in student parking and walk the length of the campus to reach their offices. Then, I added another thirty minutes to my travel time in case I hit traffic forgetting that in the Wilds there is none. Like a complete newbie, I arrived a whole hour early for my interview...
As I sat reading, I heard another potential leave the office, but refused the nagging need to glance up from my book to truly evaluate her. When the door closed, I folded my book shut and met the first of two potential bosses. Both were really nice. One of them liked me for the position, the other gave me the sneaking suspicion that she thought I was too qualified. When I say suspicion, though, I mean she gave me the name and number of another department head and told me to say she referred me with the soft caveat, “But I have an opening, and you’re definitely qualified…we’ll let you know in a week.”
Ah…job interviews you’re either over or under qualified and feel undervalued regardless... But that is not how I became an outlaw. No, oh, no. As I left the interview walking under the terraces back to the parking lot, I heard that annoying beeping that can only be produced from a fire alarm. Out of the dorms, students filed in belly shirts, shorts, sweats and t-shirts. I thought nothing of it. Anyone who has gone to college knows that feeling when some idiot could not ignore the overtly red lever any longer. He could not defy nature. He had to pull it. “Silly Monkey,” I thought. However, I should have evaluated this situation closer.
Avoiding the commotion at the east end of the lot, I headed west expecting to find a road. Instead, it took me into a tangled, unpaved maze of traffic rows. I pictured my recent interviewers watching out their windows at my turmoil. If I could solve the insane enigma, and escape; maybe they would give me the job. Round and round, I drove; until at last I found a campus maintenance man.
I rolled down my window and called with my sweetest, pathetic look, “Excuse me Sir, I’m not from around here. How do you get out of this darn parking lot?”
To which he replied that I had to return to where I had come from and to the right of the one-way entrance there was an exit.
“The one that the fire truck is blocking?” I answered.
“That’s the one!” He returned.
I rolled up my window after yelling a quick thank you. Then, I cursed my poor fortune for getting me trapped in this lot. Thus, I drove; until I made it back to the main cement pavement from whence I came. There was no way to avoid the fire trucks. I drove forward, hoping they had made space on the road for me to pass. To my left, the long winding entrance.To my right, the clogged exit with exactly one fire truck, one yellow truck, and one man in red overhauls blocking my escape.
I stared at him and he stared back. It was a grueling duel with our eyes. He squinted and I squinted back. He put his thumbs in his overhauls and leaned back pushing out his stomach and I revved my engine. Then, another car was behind me. I panicked and lost the battle pulling into a nearby parking spot to watch the events unfold. Meanwhile, I called my mother, who cackled fiendishly at the turn of events.
“Thanks Mom,” I said after a few minutes as the man in red overhauls was getting back into his truck, “I got to go. They’re moving and I’m outta here.”
I carefully backed out of my space and came to a full stop at the stop sign to watch him go. Only he never went anywhere. Suddenly, up the one way entrance three ambulances with flashing lights blared by and went along the dorm off-roading to some location unseen.
“Blasted!” I said aloud. I was not waiting any longer.
After checking to ensure no more vehicles had been called to the scene, I pulled my car up so the nose of it was almost to the man in the red overhauls.
I rolled down my window and said, “Excuse me Sir,” innocently batting my eyelashes, “Did you know this is the only exit?”
He huffed expressively and then pointed to the one way entrance. I bit my lower lip. Surely, a friendly fireman wouldn’t tell me to break the law…but he had, and I had no choice but to obey.
I revved the little four cylinder engine, pushed in the clutch and stepped on the gas. All the while, the song, “Breaking the law…breaking the law” played in my head. I swerved in and out through the winding corners testing the sports suspension of my vehicle and feeling truly like an Indian Outlaw as Tim McGraw put it. Then, I spun my little car onto to Grand Avenue, and away I went, hoping the police couldn’t track me down.
And that was how I became an outlaw…just call me Cell Mate number 57.