As she watched the reddening of their faces increase with every incorrect/off the mark response she gave to their questions, the more she thought to herself, “Bollocks! I’m not getting the job now anyway, so really I should tell a couple of jokes and lighten this shit up,” but, no, against her instinct to entertain her way out of awkwardness, she persisted. She was talking to a pair of beetroots by the end of it, for all the nonsense that had come out of her mouth, but, damn it, she persisted.
It’s not like she hadn’t prepared for the interview, she just prepared mostly the wrong things. She had her outfit and accessories down. She looked fine (as in acceptable, but in her own mind, she looked shit hot). She had even bought a fresh chain for her glasses in order to nail the look of a busy-career-woman-on-the-go-with-important-shit-to-read. She had answers ready for all the competencies, or so she thought – might as well call them incompetencies at this point – and she was feeling pretty confident about her knowledge. That is until she sat down in the interviewee chair and lost all knowledge of all things seen, known, or experienced in her 31 years of life. “World Cup, you say? And that’s headline news, is it?” And so began her agonising tumble down the interview slope of despair. Forty minutes of verbal terrorism passed and they all walked out of that tiny room looking like they’d just watched two girls and a cup thinking it was going to be a cute video of a kitten standing on its hind legs wearing tiny boots. A memory better forgotten, but seared into her mind, she predicted, for an eternity. (Or at least the next few months – it was highly likely that she’d do something soon of equal or exceeding shame.)
On any other occasion, she would have run her ass home to drink, drink, drink and forget the hideous horror show, but as it was an internal position, she had to hang around for an hour then head back into the building to embark upon another new venture, assisting on a television show. It’s difficult to express how much she did not want to go back into that unfamiliar building that her mind could now only associate with horrible things. She would have rather shaved all the hair from her body than go back in there. She considered punching a tourist in the penis just to get arrested and not have to go back in there (whilst also appeasing her slow-walking tourist rage). She would have literally danced a highland jig from London to Birmingham until passing out from exhaustion not to have to go the hell back in there. So she did the one thing that every busy-career-woman-on-the-go-with-important-shit-to-read would do in this situation, she called her mum to complain about it. Bah. No sympathy. “I told you, it’s better for everyone if you just don’t speak in the majority of situations,” Mum said. “Thanks, bitch,” she replied. SHE DIDN’T! She recognised good advice when it was being given and took heed. Although, she didn’t quite think that sitting there like she’d got locked-in syndrome would have helped much in an interview situation, (picture it!) but, for the most part, it was sound advice.
She stood outside, for a moment, looking up at the grand building with an increasing sense of dread. “What would Oprah do in this situation?” she asked herself. “Who the fuck cares what the damn hell Oprah would do in this situation? Stop thinking dumb shit and get your ass inside,” her mind replied, so in she went. She crept uneasily past the afternoon’s interview crime scene and made her way to the third floor. Greeted with more unfamiliarity in the faces of the team, she took a deep breath, found an empty desk and sat down. “I could still leg it outta here,” she thought to herself, but crippled with anxiety and remembering her mother’s words, she sat perfectly still and silent, looking like she truly was “locked-in”. The blind dread made her hands quiver as she logged on to the computer, but she did well to mask her feelings with a smile, as others approached or addressed her. “You’ll be shadowing Steve tonight, have you guys met before?” she was asked. Again, she smiled in reply. At this point, she began to realise that a creepy smile as a blanket response to everything was making her look even more “challenged” than usual and she needed to snap out of it. “No, sorry, I’ve not met him. What’s he like? Is he quite friendly? Is he young? Younger is often less friendly these days, do you find that too? Or maybe just over exposed. Less accustomed to actual human interaction, a lot of them. You know, cuz of computers and apps…” She was back on that slope and, damn it, she was sliding. “Oh, here he comes now. Perfect timing. Steve, this is your newbie for the night.” Perfect timing, indeed. She looked up at Steve’s florescent floral shirt and beaming smile and, almost instantaneously, every bit of her anxiety melted away. Northern and rotund, camp and cheery – think Peter Kay, but just a little bit more AmDram and you’re there – she knew immediately that they were going to get along. And get along they did. “Here y’are, love, this is our newest member of the team, come and say hello. I feel like I’ve known her me whole liiiiife!” he bellowed across the studio, to no one in particular, as she cringed out of her skin while at the same time felt welcomed into this stranger’s friendly bosom. Up and down the building and studios they went, greeting pretty much everyone that got caught in their sights with the same enthusiasm. It didn’t matter that they weren’t doing a damn thing they were supposed to be doing, or that a raging production coordinator had been ringing off his phone for the past half hour to inform of massive schedule changes, they were having themselves a bloomin’ blast.
Little did they know, that “blast” they were having was soon to become a literal nightmare. After scoffing down a canteen dinner, they arrived back in the office to infuriated and frantic colleagues. She felt just awful. Steve, on the other hand, could not have given less of a shit if he tried, but together they attempted to clear up the mess their neglect had caused. They ran around putting out fires, collecting guests, guiding people to incorrect destinations at largely the wrong times with a constant waft of something stale in the air. “Now, it’s true that the studio is on the same level as the city sewers,” Steve explained, “but I tell you what, that fuckin’ dinner’s troubled my gut right up, has it yours?” She blushed, laughed and nodded. Steve gave her such a look of relief and a millisecond later, PARP, out from his bottom blasted a rippling roar. “Fuckin’ dying to do that, I was!” Oh, how they laughed. The ranker the stink, the harder they giggled, the harder they giggled, the more they guffed. Like two naughty school children barely able to contain themselves at the sound of every toot. Up and down they went, trumping at every turn. The restraint on their faces as they squeezed their buttocks tight while inside the small studio space was a sight to behold. They’d truly bonded…over a dodgy carbonara and a badly timed case of the shits.
Later that night, as she sat in her taxi home trying to explain her way around why she needed the window open despite the car having air con, she marvelled over the day she’d had. Utterly ridiculous. Nothing new there, then.