Friday, January 13, 2012

My brain must be jingling

I knew I had to be up early.  The interview was in Seattle at 10 in the am.  I have no alarm clock, but could comfortably rely on Shelli to perform the function.  Last night was a hammered night, so in retrospect it's not surprising that I woke up at 3.30 am in a daze, panicked, and started to get ready.  Only to find out within minutes that I'd jumped the gun by a few hours.  At 6.30 am I was woken by an uninspired single knock.  If it were possible to convey complex thoughts in a single knock, they were well conveyed.  Through the door and my hazy disposition I gathered it was Shelli and not Rich who served as alarm clock and that she wanted to be awake about as much as she wanted to be in the 25 degree cold.  Still, this knock served it's purpose.  I was up.  Kinda like Methy John, but with an absence of the meth.  Time to dominate an interview.

My brain must be jingling because every new bit of information about this gig in the Bering sea is like a piece of a puzzle falling into place.  The picture is of a dreadful existence.  When I got to the campus of this company this morning, I saw a small sea of perpetually defeated humanity.  There was not even a modicum of optimism in this group.  And I had to try to fit in.  Being the masochist that I am, I actually look forward to this abuse that lies ahead.  Having learned my lesson in Fresno, the best way to get along is to go along.  Slow shuffling steps, a stooped posture and pained facial expression was the order of the day.  I am a chameleon.
So I walked in, trying to obscure my bright personality and was promptly told by the west coast's most disinterested receptionist that we would begin at ten.  Go get coffee or something if you want.  It was only 9.30 and this being Seattle, coffee wasn't hard to find.  I went next door and lo and behold...BEHOLD!

That was there.  In the coffee shop.  Like the charmed cobra, I slithered to this beauty without thinking.  It just happened.  And I missed the interview.  Psyche.  But I did ask the time after a little playing from a patron who was listening to me play.  She said a quarter till.  I went back to sea.

This is where it gets fun.  The orientation/interview process was starting and we were herded to the conference room.  After a brief introduction, Emily began with a power point presentation.  I'm not kidding here.  Some of the descriptors of the job were, and I quote, "boring, monotonous, harsh, smelly, loud, mentally draining, physically demanding, torturous, murderous, the last thing on Earth anyone would ever want to do, something that only a person with deep, deep psychological issues would pursue...etc."  At least half of those were real.

I was told no fewer than ten times that working 18 hours straight was not uncommon.  Yet I was also told that there may be down time and hours were not guaranteed.  But, on the bright side, they would cover airfare and any other thing needed to travel to and from Dutch harbor.  As long as you neither quit nor were fired.  In which case you would be responsible for your own airfare back to Seattle and would never work in the industry again and would possibly be assassinated.  She drove the point home again, "So make sure this is what you want to do before you go."  It's starting to seem like being dumb enough to go is perhaps the main criteria (slowly raises hand to indicate dumbness).

Party time.  And so the point that I've been making for years, that reverse psychology is the most persuasive sales pitch in existence, has been proven true once again.  At every turn, I was thinking, 'hey!  Don't try to talk me out of this.  I am going and there is nothing you can do to stop me.'  And, oddly, the people who have done this seem to keep coming back.  Even after promising themselves they would never subject themselves to this torture again.

After the interview I left.  You know exactly where I went.  The piano.  I was playing a mostly in tune grand piano at a tiled coffee shop in Seattle.  It was exquisite.  A couple of the Nigerians who were at the interview came in and decided I was now friendly.  But they didn't have a lick of English among them to express this.  Just smiles and shoulder pats.  After playing for an hour or so, I left.  And it was only upon leaving that I got the attention I craved and all the ladies were smiling and gesticulating wildly and inappropriately.  "Don't worry.  I'll be here all week."  Not.  I told the coffee people I didn't know any Nirvana.  I wonder if they were offended.

One of the guys at the interview told me he made 15K in 45 days on the trip he just got back from.

Before leaving the city entirely, I stopped at Blue Moon.  It's a burger joint.  Their burgers are the best in the entirety of western civilization.  The girl who's bangs looked like they were cut by Muhammed Ali remembered me somehow.  She ordered for me and verified that I didn't want peanut butter on the burger.  I told her that I don't mess with success.  She smiled in an agreeable fashion.  After I got done with this burger, I called her close, as if there were something important and personal to share.  She got close.  I said, "Let me tell you something.  The English language does not contain words to overstate how fantastic that burger was."  She seemed pleased with the endorsement.  I left.  I was certain that eating that burger was a bad decision.

Seattle part two was fun.  I played a piano.  I ate a burger.  Pending a background check, I have a job that will certainly be an ordeal.  It's supposed to snow in the next couple days.  There are almost a thousand people trying to get into Dutch Harbor, but can't because of the weather.  What on Earth am I going to subject myself to?  My brain must be jingling.

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