Take the Girl out of Humboldt: Part III
Job interviews terrify me. But this was dream employment so I girded my loins and knocked on the front door. It opened inwards. A big haired blonde wearing a grimy gray sweatshirt and too tight jeans stood there. She stared blankly at me for a moment before mumbling, “Yeah, that’s right. You’re the redhead. C’mon in the next room. We got a coupla chairs there.”
She led me through a cavernous shell. The house seemed to squat around itself like a hen over an egg. Basically it was empty. In the next room was a young guy at a card table. He nodded over the top of his paper at us then went back to reading.
The woman plodded to the one ratty armchair and sat down thickly as if the air coagulated around her. I sat, legs crossed, in a folding chair across from her.
“So what you lookin’ for?”
In a fit of nerves, I told her. I believe I started when I was born, worked my way minutely through various childhood traumas, described all the jobs I had had and ended with how I had let my money slip through my fingers. “I just can’t ask Mom and Dad for help. I’ve got to get a job and this one sounds great. I love people.”
The woman gaped at me, blinked, and asked, “Got a problem with having chicks and guys both as clients? ‘Cause we can see as how you can have just guys. If you don’t like workin’ same on same.”
“Oh, no,” I reassured her. “I love working with women. In fact, I prefer it. I’ve done most of my massage work with them.”
The woman looked taken back. “Well, there isn’t all that much call for just workin’ with women but, if you don’t mind workin’ with another one of our girls…there’s a lot a call for two on one you know.”
Wow, I wasn’t even going to have to massage all by myself. I had been a teeny bit worried that if I was alone in a room massaging a man he might get frisky with me but now I grinned and nodded happily picturing this great working relationship where my co-worker and I would chat happily as we worked oil into our client’s shoulders.
The woman looked over at the young guy and he nodded and smiled. “Well, now, I think you’re gonna be alright. I been workin’ this buizness for long time and I can tell a good girl from a bad one and you’ll do alrigh’ with us. ‘For we can get down to hours and days, we got to get John’s okay but he’ll like you. ” She turned, “Pass me the phone, Don.”
She popped a Coke that had been sitting on the card table beside her. “So honey, who taught you the buizness?” She took a swallow and began dialing.
I beamed at her, “My grandma.”
Maybe it was the dead silence, maybe it was the way the guy put down his paper, maybe it was just my superior awareness of the subtle nuances of human behavior but suddenly I knew that this apparently innocuous answer had just changed the course of the interview.
The other two looked at each other quickly and then the woman said, a little breathlessly, “Um, so uh.. what’d Gramma teach?”
Hoping to recover whatever I had ground I had inadvertently lost, I quickly asserted, “My grandma is an expert in Foot Reflexology. She knows how to grind the big toe and under the ball of the foot. She can bring tears to your eyes.”
“Shit…I mean shucks,” the young guy actually laid his head on the table as if he were unable to hold himself upright. “Holy schmoly, Sheila, I think maybe we are in a bit of a mess.”
Tomorrow Part IV The end