Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Everything and Nothing

There is too much happening, and too much not happening, for me to write about.

I still have no job, but I did have an interview for this shop. The woman interviewing me asked me a series of complicated questions including which brands of flour were gluten-free and the names of the animal products in some toiletries. Shockingly, I could not answer her. It was a five page application form, and a twenty minute interview. In my head I asked her to confirm that this was, in fact, a shop assistant job and not the new head of brain surgery, but I wasn't cool enough to say out loud. I just smiled and stumbled through my answers, hoping I didn't actually have to work somewhere that clearly had such lofty opinions of itself. I'm sure my disdain must have shown through, though, when she started the interview by saying "your experience doesn't really match what we're looking for, but your CV was interesting so I thought I would see you anyway". What an excellent waste of my time, I thought, as I walked away from it. "We're having second interviews" she said at the end, without looking at me. "So you'll find out tomorrow. There have been some very strong candidates." Second interviews? I thought, incredulously. For shelf-stacking? It was no surprise when I received the haughtily-penned email the following day, informing me that I had not been successful. I was quite relieved.

On Sunday night I tagged along with Ben to an Oxfam shop in Chorlton, South Manchester. It was a night called Do It For The Love, and involved poets and musicians performing to raise money for Oxfam. The organisers had brought along wine and food, and soon people began to cram into the shop, sitting on tiny spaces on the floor to listen. Ben and Martin (another member of the collective) were doing some pieces, and asked me whether I wanted to sing one of my songs. At the end of their set they called me up from where I was sitting, cross-legged on the floor, and I sang Writing In Pencil while Ben beatboxed to provide a beat. It was weird, singing into a silent shop packed with people. No microphone to hold or hide behind, just Ben slightly behind me, keeping time. After I sung that one Ben carried on beatboxing and Martin freestyled some lyrics. I improvised little melodies, and then did a freestyle verse of my own, which ended up being about the fact that I couldn't really freestyle. People seemed to find my ineptitude funny, which was lucky. If only more people thought the same way, I would probably have a job by now.

The week before I had done a similar thing at The Dukes theatre, in Lancaster. I sung a few more songs, and thankfully there was a microphone. Afterwards the producer of the theatre came and spoke to me, telling me she was booking the autumn season, and would really like to book me. She took me into the large theatre space to show me. I nodded, mutely, grinning. I had already told her that I didn't really have a band yet, but I blinked at the stage and pictured my band, certain that things would happen soon.

Oh, yes! Valentine's Day was brilliant. I sat on a fancy cushion on the back of Ben's bike (something that happens quite regularly) and we went to the park. We found a picnic table, looking out to where the sunset was mingling with the warmth of the streetlamps, Ben reached into his bag and brought out a half bottle of wine and two glasses. We sat, sipping, listening to the sounds of the kids playing football nearby and watching the sky change colour behind the black spindly trees.

That evening we babysat so that our friends could have a rare night out, while we wrestled with their one- and two-year old. As I finished reading the stories, Ben slipped downstairs and started on dinner. A dressed crab for starters, with salad. Lightly cooked tuna steaks for main course, and crepes for dessert. It was delicious. We stayed up, listening to music, until Nathan and Thea rolled in from their night of dinner and dancing, and we all hung around until they went to bed. Ben and I watched a DVD, and listened out for the babies. The one year old, also called Ben, woke up, so we got him and played with him until the early hours, giggling as he crawled over us and played deliriously with the curtains.

The following day, after a hangover-quashing breakfast, Ben and I left. We went back to his house via the park, and then rested until the gig that evening.

It was a delicious weekend.

Now I have to go and rush around, making sure that the house is span and spick for when my grandmother arrives back this evening. I am quite scared that I will have mucked something up horribly, but I am sure a spot of hoovering will do the trick.

Happy post-Valentine.


Blogger justme said...

That shop does not deserve you! Hang on in there, you will get a job eventually, and meanwhile, it sounds like you are having some lovely days. Good!

12:31 pm

Blogger Huw said...

Out of Uni, and desperate for a job, I remember attending a few interviews during which I would experience the odd sensation of slowly realising I really really didn't want the job, and yet still trying to get it... Mercifully, it must have shone through, and I didn't land them; 4 months in poxy jobs are soul destroying. I know it's a something job seekers have to hear a lot, but it's usually worth waiting...

4:53 pm

Blogger Curly said...

What did you dress the crab as?

5:15 pm

Blogger Ys said...

Sounds like a wonderful Valentines Day :) That's great news about the theatre work - I really hope that happens for you :)

Ahh keeping someone else's house clean and tidy how they like it is such a hassle, isn't it? I'm glad those days are over.

6:48 pm

Blogger Léonie said...

Justme - I am having lovely days, yes! I know I will get a job eventually, although I wish I didn't have to... I know we all wish that, really.

Huw - Yes, perhaps we are not the masters of disguising our feelings that we think we are. (Yikes that was a complicated sentence.) I suspect we sit there with expressions of disdain as we proclaim ourselves to be really excited about the prospect of employment.

Curly - A pony. Obviously.

Ys - Yes it was a delicious Valentine. I am a lucky girl. And mercifully I managed to tidy and clean to a good standard. Phew!

11:57 am

Blogger Huw said...

My friend recounted one such job interview. He didn't get it, and asked for feedback. He was told that as the job's duties were outlined to him, a look of sheer despair crossed his face.

6:14 pm

Anonymous Paul said...

I spent Valentine's Day curled up in bed with a hangover watching the last series of Six Feet Under. Yours sounds better, but mine was nice.

7:35 pm

Blogger Jonathan said...

Job interviews suck. In my current job (which I interviewed for several millenia ago) there was a written test with no clear answers to anything - to test how you think.

Your life sounds so much more fun than mine at the moment - it makes your blog kind of essential reading in my sad existence :)

9:56 pm


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