Me In A Backpack And A Suit

My therapist took this picture, actually a couple hours before a job interview.

When I told her this, she seemed impressed.

“The suit looks good on you.” She said. “One could even say, the suit suited you.”

“”Congratulations.” I told her. “You’ve officially become my dad.”

But the point was moot from there.

“It doesn’t matter whether I look good or not in it. The person who interviews me is going to expect the kind of person who would wear a suit. And that’s not me.”

“Maybe, or maybe they’re bored of that kind of person.”

“But probably not.” I said, glumly.

It had been a tough week.

My job had been stressing me out with my bosses constantly yelling at/abusing me, asking odd-jobs and favors that lay outside the purview of my very modestly paid hours.

A debate as to whether I’d do personal work for one of them (not related to my job as written) began as a moral conundrum so wrenching that I got several stomachaches writing emails and walking over to meet the guy (I don’t think they were lunch-related).

But it ended by me just doing the work for him and going home after, no biggie.

In the process though there had been drudged up some dormant feelings about my life, the direction it’s taking and my parents’ wishes/desires for me.

My dad thinks I need to make a plan instead of “banging my head on the wall”. My mom thinks, as she always had through desires or through proxies like my teachers, that I should go for a higher education, a prospect that only seems to promise only further rejection, humiliation and pointlessness.

Both  of my parents think I should quit my job, a fact that I counter by pointing out that this is the first long-term paid job I’d ever had in the entertainment industry and that for all my complaining, 75-90% of my friends were worse off, not even working in the field, or just not even working.

Jesus, my friend Alex Hilhorst seems only to sit around all day thinking about “LOST”. Poor fuck.

“Well, look.” I told my therapist. “It’s not like I have all these other offers coming in.”

“And I mean, look at me. You saw me when I was jobless and depressed. I hated myself! I got addicted to online card games that weren’t even poker! I think you even told me that I lost weight!”

“I told you you seemed folded in to yourself.” She replied.

“I’ll take it.” I said. “Anyway, I guess we’ll see how it goes today.”

“We will see.” She repeated. “And I will see you next week.”

“Oh,” I got up. “Before I go, do people do this?”

I gesture at myself.

“A backpack and a suit?”

“Because I feel like I am just… fucking up my suit and looking ridiculous.”

“No, sure.” She reassured me. “All the time. On the street.”

“OK. Because I just didn’t know how I was supposed to take my stuff otherwise.”

“Look up.” She told me. Or maybe that’s just what I wanted to hear.

***

The interview went something like this:

-I went into a Qdoba in midtown where the woman was supposed to meet me.

-She was interviewing another young fellow in a suit and giving him career advice. She told me to come back in 15 minutes.

-I went down the block and ate a pretty superlative treat that I didn’t photograph and which I had to look up on Google Maps because I forgot the place’s name (Royal Pizza) which had two-for-one mini-chicken rolls for 1 dollar that were extremely delicious and which I was extremely worried I would get on the suit (which I had borrowed from my dad) and thus violate his rule he had given me about only “imbibing clear substances” before the interview, but which I managed to keep off my jacket, but goddam they were good and fresh too, that place was great.

-Went back to the Qdoba after 8 minutes, having successfully discarded the plate and wiping my face, trying to keep the evidence off, and even popping a lemon-menthol cough drop to clear out odors.

-Saw a missed call on my cell-phone from a number I didn’t know. Returned the call and saw the woman who was supposed to interview me on her phone, motioning me in the door.

-Was informed by my interviewer that I had left against orders (I hadn’t) and that she had to leave now but she would take a minute to look at my resume.

-She looked at my resume, asked me what I wanted to do, came up with a great off-the-cuff answer about seeing the “behind-closed-doors method of moviemaking” (it was an agency position advertised)

-Was informed that my interviewer didn’t have “anything in the entertainment business”, but that I was “wonderful” and she “will call” me.

-Was left sitting at a Qdoba by myself.

My dad’s commentary on all of this:

“Well, I hope you go home now and change out of the suit.”

***

It was also a tough week because this was graduation week for the class below us at New York University.

I hear their speaker at least was a little lamer than ours. We had Hilary Clinton, they had Alec Baldwin. But I guess even that’s debatable.

As I walked around the Washington Square Park area, heading towards my writing group, it felt not to think about how much I had disappointed myself in the time between last year and now.

My plans for myself: to get my film into festivals, to finish two features, to try to be working on getting my first feature script made at Sundance or Cannes. To do well at NYU, at least making it to the finals and getting a screenwriting award, I mean, come on, right? To have a good paying job in the biz, or at least, to not want one.

But here I was trudging down West 4th near where it turns in to East 4th, with 5.2 pages I had written that afternoon that I’d hated, stuffed in my U.S. Census Bureau bag, a job I got depressed about not having before I got depressed about having.

It was spring, allergy season in New York and the wildly fluctuating temperatures and pollen counts had my body reeling and resorting to Zyrtec-D in order to be able breathe with any ease, a drug which left me barely able to move when I arrived at the bar for the meeting.

The meeting up well. It was small, only five people. A bunch of people didn’t show, or canceled, or never even replied to the meeting-notice email. But, the people didn’t hate my pages. Andy Roehm was there with his self-proclaimed “shitty ending” to his horror script. Nandan was there, answering question time about Mormons. Ant Jones was there with his braces. And Eva was there, with her self.

I remember when I was unemployed, I’d take solace in these meetings. I’d make them my strength when I wrote here on this blog, my “up-ending”. I don’t know. I don’t know how I feel, other than it was a good night.

But in the end, I am where I am.

And I guess I haven’t given up.

I still have my dad’s suit in my closet.

***

ROYAL PIZZA

2-4-1 Mini-Chicken-Rolls- $1.00 (lunchtime only)

3rd Avenue between 38th and 39th Sts

4567S to 42nd St- Grand Central

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2 Responses to Me In A Backpack And A Suit

  1. TheHIl says:

    Yeah… I do kinda sit around and think about LOST all the time. It is a pretty sad existence. I also watch a lot of X-Files.

    I totally empathize with everything in here. I said the exact same thing about “behind the scenes” when I applied to a talent agency. Oh, and is the Census still hiring? I was going to take a test to become a Census taker but it coincided with this gig I had driving French people around, which is also why I never got around to going to your writer’s group. Is that next Wednesday?

  2. clome says:

    Think Baldwin trumps Clinton. You look good in the suit. (pineapple express alert. Hahaha.) Hey Alex, X-files on instant watch is the bane of my existence. Shame I missed Roehm’s ending.

    Got a call from the census today. They offered great hours. (12:00 A.M. to 8:30 A.M.) but I couldn’t make the interview. I’m in Maryland.

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