Saturday, July 3, 2010

where's my zippo for guiding light?

In the last month, I finally accepted that it often looks like rain all day, but not a drop falls.  My "upside down leaves" trick doesn't work here, partially because Oaks don't shine like Silver Maples.  One small piece of real estate agent still lives in my car....4 umbrellas tucked neatly into the backseat pockets.  I've actively kept that habit alive, even if 4 is excessive.
This week I started interviewing again....reluctantly, but it's July and time for the House of Health to cleanse itself...which means RENT...ugh! 
I needed something immediate and really did not want give into waiting tables.  I picked up two applications at bars then, Whitney at TRC staffing set me up with an interview temporary work.  The interview came at just the right time, I was able to squeeze it into my day off.  Hurricane Alex has been dumping on Austin so i was sure to consider that when I left for the appointment.  Like a good little girl, I arrived 30 minutes early, giving plenty of time to park etc.  My instructions included an option to bypass street parking and use a parking garage by telling the little man in the box I had an interview.  Big H Alex was dumping massive rain droplets all morning and picked up the pace just as I was on my third circle looking for a street spot.  I opted for the parking garage as it would be drier.  I stopped just shy of a giant white gate with red flashing lights.  I looked at the guard in his shiny, comfy and very dry office as he showed me at least 22 of his 32 teeth.  Then he waved his lanyard and badge at me like "hey little one, USE your badge".  I tried my Tacodeli fancy ptouch card but no luck, regardless of the fancy lanyard.  I pushed the call button and spoke into a sea of static but he just watched and laughed as my mouth flapped and my car flooded through the open window.  He finally came out, waved his badge at the scanner and said "just GO"....sweet, I guess the rain is a good thing.

I still had 25 minutes until the interview started, so I brushed the rain off my dress but decided not to bring an umbrella.  At this point I was parked under the building so why bother.  I approached the automatic doors which led to the elevator lobby and nothing.  I considered that the rain was keeping me from giving off enough heat to be sensed as human, but quickly realized I was in some restricted access area.  I followed the big blue sign's suggestive arrow to a "call box" but it was just a phone on an abandoned desk with a phonebook.  I felt totally confident that I was in the right place, so I tried the door to the stairs....success!  I walked up three floors and into a huge, shiny, tiled building with Texas stars everywhere.  The massive building and open stairwells made me feel like I was in 'redneck's day out' and but the echo of my heels made me feel like an elephant trying to tiptoe.  I walked just a few steps and didn't immediately see a reception or information area.  I stopped two women and asked where the directory might be, even threw out the name of the person I was meeting.  They offered a directory a "mile" down the hall.  On my way to the directory I realized I was not in the right building.  I was wandering around the State Capitol Building on one of the floors not open to the public.  A small sense of urgency came on as I was now 15 minutes from the interview and in the wrong building.  I passed a state trooper and asked if he knew where the state bar offices were.  He did not and suggested I go to the tourist area, two floors up.....awesome, now I'm a tourist in my own life.....neat.  On my way up I stopped on the wrong floor and was directed to the south entrance.  Up one more floor, I stopped the first person I came to, another trooper.  Trooper Smothers had apparently signed up for the Unwanted-Buddy-for-the-Day Program that morning.  He gave me detailed instructions which included, going outside and walking three buildings away, only to ask for further instructions.  He paused twice to say "you know it's raining? umbrella huh?"  yeah, great.  So, I went outside with five minutes until my interview and the entire Atlantic Ocean falling from the sky...and of course, no umbrella.  I then realized I did not have a phone number or office number for my potential employer...good work genius.  I was able to get a message to the interviewer through the staffing agency, which was great, but one more person to witness my ridiculousness.  Fortunately, rain is rare enough in Texas that people still accept it as an excuse for tardiness.  I bit it and began walking, in the storm across a huge courtyard.  The girliness of my dress and heels got the best of my brain and I actually used a small notebook to shield my hair as I shuffled past an overflowing decorative fountain and a small impromptu pond and into the Regan building.  My wet dog presence instantly got the attention of the two guards on duty.  They were quick to tell me they did not know where the state bar offices were but they are probably in the building next door.  Oh and "no, I don't have an umbrella" thanks for pointing out the obvious.  In the next building I was directed to the fifth floor, only to face yet another locked door, call box and confused person on the other side.  She did at least know proper directions to my interview, which was in the building across the street!

This was seriously one of the best days I've had here.  I was laughing my face off the whole time.  My trooper escort gave me a proper answer to the difference in State Troopers, Highway Patrol and Rangers which I've been looking for since January.  The generous explanation included "you know, Texas was it's own country for eight years, so things are a little different here".....never heard a truer statement.  I expect that bit of trivia and a good story was all I was going to gain from this experience.  But.... I had a message from the staffing agency before I was even out of the parking garage.  I was pretty sure I was stuck slinging tacos for a little longer, luckily...Wednesday I will start a new job.  It's temporary but it has absolutely nothing to do with flour, corn or wheat.  

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