Thursday, November 15, 2007

The news is still spreadin'...

The next day, Tuesday, started out with another trip into the city to fill out paperwork at my new place of employment. It was more or less pouring, so my sister-in-law loaned me her umbrella. I had planned to go shopping after the paperwork-filling-out was done, and thus I was still clad in my open-toed slides and my one nice pair of pants. To spur me on in this endeavor was the new-found knowledge, conferred upon me by one of the bookstore managers, that open-toed shoes are a safety hazard on the job, as heavy stacks of books are known to fall directly and purposefully on bare toes.
I had been under the impression that if a clothing store was located on 5th Avenue, it was necessarily pricey, and thus I was mildly shocked to be referred to H&M on that same avenue for good finds in nice pants.
I was still, keep in mind, wearing my open-toed slides as I entered the store, and I felt on the silly side anyway, being surrounded by so much trendiness. Head as high as it could go without actually staring up at the ceiling, I glided as trendily as possible from clothing rack to clothing rack, looking for the perfect pair of inexpensive pants. Balancing purse, newly attained Bookseller’s Handbook, and several articles of leg-wear complete with hangers, I made my way to the busy changing rooms.
A certain word or comment, said in the right way, can either give you a happy lift or plant a little seed of grumpiness in your mind, and I found that the fellow to whom I handed the three rejected pairs of pants accomplished the former, to his credit. I honestly have no recollection of what exactly he said, but I remember that it was something rather nice and cheerful, and I left changing room number one and headed to the second floor with, if not an actual smile on my face, at least the attitude of a smile on my face.
My shopping goal was to purchase two pairs of pants and, of course, a new pair of non-sneaker-but-equally-comfortable shoes. By this time I had found a pair of “probably” pants, and searching around on the second floor gave me nothing more certain, except the thought that the employee at changing room number two was not so happy-lift-giving-inclined as the employee at the previous changing room, so I bought the first pair of pants, left, and wandered off in the vague direction of the Manhattan Mall.
Suddenly, I was struck by the feeling that I had forgotten something. I studied my burdens with scrutiny:
-Bookseller’s handbook;
-H&M bag with newly purchased pants….
No umbrella. Of course I had left the umbrella somewhere – those rainy day accessories are not known to stick with me for long. I’ve left them in classrooms, on public transportation, probably just about anywhere that you might rest an umbrella for a moment or two. But where had I left it this time? Considering that the umbrella was not mine, I was most anxious to retrieve it, so I mentally traced back my steps and zeroed in on the little office in the basement of the bookstore where I had been filling out paperwork. Thankfully, I got it back with little hassle, and I continued my walk towards the Mall.
On the way, after buying some drug store trail mix to stave off whatever hunger headache might rise up to blight my shopping extravaganza, I stopped into a couple of small shoe stores and found, while not appropriate shoes, at least some jovial sales people, thank goodness, as were most of the sales people I encountered through the course of the day.
I never made it to the Mall, but I certainly walked far enough, having mistakenly remembered that it was about 5 avenues in the opposite direction from where it really is located. But I did eventually find another pair of pants at Old Navy, and a pair of shoes at K-Mart, of all places. I go into the middle of New York CityFifth Avenue, Broadway, Times Square – and I wind up buying shoes at K-Mart and eating trail mix from a drug store.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Start spreadin' the news....

Do you ever feel a bit silly when you’re improperly dressed? I don’t mean when you’re wearing a Hawaiian shirt at a business meeting or a ball gown at the beach; I mean when you’re, for example, wearing open-toed shoes on a chilly day in a highly fashion conscious city. Well, I was wearing open-toed shoes on a chilly day in a highly fashion conscious city, and I felt a little bit silly. There was not much to be done at that moment to prevent this minor fashion faux-pas, as I had suddenly been called into the city for an interview, and my only shoes were:
-tall, black winter boots; and
-open-toed black slides.
I might have worn the boots, but, due to their height and furriness, they looked awful with the particular pants I had on. The pants were another issue. When you’ve spent most of your life as a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and when you’ve spent the past 3 years in the kind of work that would tame even the strictest of formal dressers into a casual denim loving fiend, you don’t have a whole lot of pairs of nice pants. Perhaps you have only one pair. And perhaps that one pair looks ridiculous with your tall, black winter boots. And thus I came to the conclusion that the open-toed black slides were the lesser of the two fashion evils.
Dressed and shod and bundled in my heavy winter coat (The coat, at least, I could be confident in. Probably the most fashion-conscious of all the girls with whom I had worked in Romania had told me on several occasions that “it makes me with the eye,” which, when translated a little less literally into English, means “I wouldn’t mind if I had one of those myself,” and so, if she had liked my coat, I could rest assured that it would do.), I made my way from the house in the Bronx to the subway, and then from the subway to 5th Avenue.
I was nervous. I’m usually nervous when I do new things, and job interviews fall under that category, but my nervousness was directed more towards the prospect of actually getting this job, rather than making a good impression at the interview. If I didn’t make a good impression, so be it. I may never see these people again, and I’d get another job somewhere. But if I did make a good impression, and if I did get this job, who only knows what sort of stupid things I may do while training? Might they regret hiring me?
All too quickly I forget the lesson that worrying will not add a single moment to my life.
As I sat with my potential supervisor while she went over my application, we considered how remarkable it was that:
-I had spent three years in Romania, and her best friend is Romanian;
-my former employer’s address is in Ramona, CA, and she, having lived in California, knows exactly where that is;
-we both live quite near each other in the Bronx; and
-she’s been to, and loves, Maine, my former residence.
By the end of my interview, I was hired as a bookseller in the middle of Manhattan.
Time to go shopping.