Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Amsterdam

A couple of years ago, for our anniversary, Jeff and I went to Amsterdam. I had been having a particularly lonely time, and was between jobs, so I did what I had to do: I applied for any shitty opportunity I could find, and I had started accepting Facebook friend requests from Nigerian scammers. Before I continue, I’d like to elaborate on the latter: Nigerian scammers make for very devoted friends. They fall in love with you the minute you start talking, and if you can get past them constantly interrupting your train of thought to ask you to send the fucking money already, they're actually pretty fun. They tell you you’re as beautiful as the sun/a rose/planet/sky etc. (which is sometimes all you need to hear) and, if you get them on a good day, they might even write you a poem. If you’re ever feeling down, I highly recommend a Nigerian scammer.  Here is some photographic support for my argument:


And


Anyway, around that same time, Jeff and I were also living for 90 Day Fiance and were both heavily mesmerized by Jesse Meester so of course, when we got to Amsterdam, the first thing I did was text Jesse in the event that this man who had never met me or heard of me before might actually want to jeopardize his safety and meet us - I attribute this delirious courage to being high off a job interview that had gone well the day before, a high that superseded any high I could feel from any Dutch pot shops, so my plan for the weekend was to stay sober and just enjoy the sight-seeing. 









I kept my phone handy in case I would hear back from the job placement agent or Jesse Meester, but it kept lighting up with “You there baby?” and “Please say you love me too” from neither of them but rather Buzz Scott, the DEFINITELY CAUCASIAN AND FINANCIALLY SECURE stock photo shipping off to the Navy and desperately seeking payments for child support to his daughter who happens to be in Lagos, Nigeria on a school trip. 






We had walked through several cozy canal neighbourhoods, taken a boat tour on which a freshly divorced geriatric madam and her decrepit cocker spaniel made a pass at Jeff, and were enjoying a little Danish bun when I received a reply from Jesse. I put my bun down and looked at Jeff, and we read the message: “I’ll be at the central station in 20 minutes. Let’s meet.” 



“I can’t believe this!” Jeff screamed as we ran. I couldn't either. Suddenly, everything I've heard from people who enjoy life was opening up to me, too! I would be meeting a real life celebrity, on Monday I would get that job I’ve always wanted, and Jeff and I would kick off our third year together on the best.note.ever.  This was all so incredible, I had to tell someone. At that moment, Buzz Scott had attempted his twentieth video call of the day, and you know what, I picked up because I just had to tell someone what we were about to do. 


Unsurprisingly, Buzz Scott didn’t care too much that we were in Amsterdam, but also didn’t seem too concerned that he looked slightly different in real time than in his photos. Lighting makes a lot of difference I guess. 



As we ran past the rows of bicycles, I laughed into the phone to him: “We are about to meet someone famous!” …only then did I realize I had blown my cover (OKAY FINE YOU HAVE TO ALSO PRETEND YOU ARE SINGLE. OKAY?) as Jeff waved into the video chat, and Buzz hung up, spelling the end of our friendship. 

Here, a few of our better moments, from when it all began..



To getting to know each other better...


To when things got a little heated...



We arrived at the central station, hearts racing, and waited, and waited some more, and then suddenly a message from Jesse: he couldn’t meet us. He was actually very busy. 

Few things make you feel as pathetic as realizing you’ve been waiting at a train station for a famous man who literally wants nothing to do with you, or perhaps took a look at the two excited sweaty perverts awaiting his arrival, did a u-turn and walked off.

We tried to reason with each other that of course a famous person would never want anything to do with us, as we walked out of the station and past rows of shockingly attractive prostitutes in brightly lit red windows. At least we still had this charming city, with its rich history, whimsical canals, and cute little - 

then an email notification popped up on my screen. 


It was from the placement agent. The job went to someone else. 

This was a job that boasted a salary ten thousand Euros below what I was making before it. 

A job that called for a horrible commute. 

And it too, was out of my reach.  


No job, no Jesse, no Buzz. 




We went into a coffee shop where, to put it in the words of a dork I met at a party when I was sixteen: 
The lady did toketh”. 

I smoked away my unemployment, my rejection, and yes, to an extent, my memories of Buzz Scott, who was, in all likelihood, beginning a new mission with a new caucasian woman.  


First stop: get yourself some slime


 a few hours in, go look at aliens at Ripley's Believe it or Not




We played chess and, as I attempted to mouth the words “I’ll never find a job” through scattered fits of laughter and tears, outside our window men lined up (some with groceries, some with canes) for their turn with the gorgeous ladies of the red light district.  

Later that evening, as I had become a new woman (unrestrained, having accepted her fate of forever being an unemployed, rejected loser), sitting on the street curb, we ate smoked hot dogs. It was the kind of eating where you can’t remember if you swallowed the last bite and there’s mustard up your nose and you hope the police don’t come and arrest you for eating the hot dog because you are so stoned and paranoid. 




(also get yourself some big meringues)





Once I had made sure I had in fact eaten my entire hot dog and that it hadn’t rolled off and down the street as I had suspected for the last twelve minutes (or maybe 11 but better say 12 just in case the police ask), I remembered the box of donuts we had bought. 




Banana cream - the way a donut should taste. We ate them too, forgetting they existed the minute they were gone (again, disappearance trail to be confirmed), and as I wiped the mustard/banana situation off my face, my phone lit up again:

“I can meet you guys after all, if you're still around. Central station.”



Jeff and I looked at each other and I don’t remember why, but this was so, so funny to us, and once again, we ran and ran and got to the station, and there he wasn’t, again. Except this time, even that in itself was so ridiculously funny, that we just turned back and started walking out, with me planning the way I would surprise Jeff with the idea of getting more donuts.

“I’m in the burrito shop”  - Another text from Jesse.

Jeff looked at me with eyes like little red currants, and we both keeled over screaming at the thought of, well, everything. 

If you’ve never been to Amsterdam, you should know the central station is huge and probably has loads of burrito shops, but the one we walked by happened to be the one where, in that moment, Jesse Meester sat, eating a burrito, as promised.



He told us about Darcey, about his PhD in “All of Psychology”, and about his coffee business where he, for God knows what reason, is coming out with a line of espresso. I tried my best to remember what he was saying, and not stand too close, and not talk too much but also talk enough so as not to rouse suspicion (you know, all the things you think about in a normal conversation), and I couldn’t wait for it to end so I could ask Jeff if he could EvEn BeLiEvE ThIs WaS hApPeNInG To US?

And then it was over, because we said we had to catch a train because we wanted to seem cool, and Jesse said Aw really? We can keep chatting, and we said something I can’t remember and then we were back out walking on a chilly Amsterdam night, me, jobless, Jeff screaming “Can you BELIEVE it??”  and somewhere out there, my hot dog rolling down the pebbled walkways of Central Amsterdam. 

















Sunday, November 4, 2018

Breaking up

They say a lot of things when your heart breaks. It's better to have loved and lost, you only know what you had when it's gone, it takes time, you have to move on, you don't have to move on, it was for the best, you'll learn from it.



My heart broke unbeknownst to me, one fraction of an hour at a time, for years, until I found myself refreshing my email inbox, waiting for something new to appear from him, and slowly realizing that it won't. They say a lot of things when you are mourning the loss of a person you loved, but when you find yourself standing outside the building where you used to work, half hiding, half hoping for a familiar face, where are the words to move on from the people that had become your second family?





I worked in the same place for eight years.  There, we laughed over Star Trek, and cried over boys, and in December, our boss would put on a Santa hat and sing Christmas carols in the lobby even though he was the word's busiest man. There, a donut, from him, sat on my chair if I had a bad day, and a poppyseed bagel with cheddar and tomato was the start to a Monday. There, Eric ran a half-marathon by my side when I was dehydrated. There, Sam and I drank the world's largest peppermint mochas and discussed why Mark's Work Warehouse is actually a respectable store to shop in. There, I fell on the ground in the haunted house we made with Amy, because the garbage bag I wore got in the way. There, we saved a baby bat, and a barbershop trio came in to serenade me, and Shawn took apart a drain pipe because I dropped my ring in the sink, and Scott brought me three hundred empty cardboard boxes when I asked for five, and Julie called me, though she had moved to the south end of the city, to say good-bye. There, love was, in little rays of seven and half hour stretches a day. I never expected this life to mean so much to me still.

With each interview, there is no one like my boss. With each job offer, I find myself succumbing to the brokenness of a five year old with a lost doll. They say you need to put yourself out there, to give other people a chance, but nothing feels like family anymore, even three years later. I think this is where they would say I'm not yet ready to move on, the way they would had I begun to date again after a heartbreak. I never thought losing a work family could mean as much as it has here, but I am nobody to them now, and I am nobody to the face interviewing me this week. This too, shall pass - they say that, and they are right. One day the memory of everyone will be farther away, I will stop walking by my building, I will not look up at my window, I will not hope to hear from them, I will not wonder if they think of me. Though, as it is when someone breaks your heart, the question never leaving my heart is: when?



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Mistress Alisa

A few weeks ago, while looking through photographs of fried chicken, I came across an article about how easy it is to make money on Twitter just by being a Financial Dominatrix.  Determined to get back to looking at photographs of fried chicken, I didn't give the article much thought, instead skimming through it only to focus on the parts about how you basically just start a Twitter account and apparently some people genuinely just love sending you money. I decided to give it a try because I would be an idiot not to.

real housewives GIF by Slice

The first step was to open a new Twitter account, but the Twitter account would have to be linked to a new email account, and that's when I first considered giving up entirely, because there is nothing more boring than trying to come up with a catchy email address. However, I persevered, and came up with a Twitter handle and email address that was a combination of a name I always considered slutty, and, because I'm a sixteen year old boy, the number 69. My profile picture was a stock image of a mannequin with a wig on, which in retrospect would be a bit alarming even to the average sexual deviant.

hair do spinning GIF by Martin Onassis

I linked my Paypal details to my bio description and perused the profiles of other Financial Dominatrices to figure out the kind of Tweets I would need to put out. I noticed that the trend was to continuously Tweet things like "Pay me, f*ck face" and "Shut up and let me drain your wallet, you pathetic loser", both of which seemed very aggressive, and yet, seemingly worked, as these dominatrices frequently posted screenshots of money appearing in their Paypal accounts.  I wrote and rewrote several Tweets, but nothing seemed mean enough, and I finally settled on "Who wants to give me money?" focusing instead on promoting free-will. I got a couple of likes but my Paypal balance remained nil.


just for laughs oops GIF


In a bid to not look like a spambot or complete psychopath, I followed a few of the more seasoned dominatrices, and throughout the day, it became clear to me that the money wasn't earned entirely without effort. It appears one must tease one's 'paypigs' (the men who pay) with pics of one's genitals, and that material was widely available for all public viewing. I wasn't expecting to see quite so much of it, but I stayed strong, despite clearly being buried in a sea of women who were willing to do a million percent more than I was. Another thing that should've been more obvious to me but wasn't, was the actual 'dominating' aspect of the whole thing. As it turns out, the men waiting to pay you are also expecting to be humiliated in various..let's call it ...vivid...ways. Some were even asking, in their Twitter profiles, to be blackmailed. 

mcdonalds GIF



Then, I received a message. Someone was asking me if I would do a Skype session where, in exchange for €400 I would be watching them touch their own feet. Well, no harm in that, I thought. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Life is a highway. Grab the bull by the horns. Other things I'm sure Wayne Gretzky said. Was it Wayne Gretzky or Bryan Adams? They do look alike, in fairness. 

I agreed, and then immediately remembered that my Skype was out of date, and that I shouldn't be using my own account for that either. HOW MANY ACCOUNTS AM I GONNA NEED TO CREATE HERE?? Fine. I did it. A new whorish Skype account too.  As it started loading, "Would you like to download the new version of Skype?" popped up. Well, yes. I suppose, I thought, Dad's face has been a bit choppy in our last few calls and I've barely made out the details on mom's spring geraniums. I allowed the program to make changes to my computer, and waited as, miles away, a man was smothering his feet in olive oil. 

tom hanks computer GIF 


As the update finished, so did my streak of confidence and the belief that I may have an alter ego capable of seeing what I was about to be seeing. I wasn't a Twitter Dominatrix. I was Alisa, and I wasn't okay with watching someone wedge carrots between their toes. Honestly, that's all I hoped it would be, but who knows. (Conversely, maybe it would've never been that at all, and I truly am a sexual deviant and just don't know it.) Anyway, the point is I panicked, blocked him, and logged into my own 'genuine' Twitter account. Oh look, Dave Lackie is doing another Guerlain giveaway and my friend is still working on her PhD. There I am. That's my life. No feet here! 



black denzel washington GIF

I then decided I was a wuss, and thought of all the things I had started and never finished. Endless to-do lists, goals, sewing projects, photo albums...Just once in your life, would you carry something through to the end?  I took out a note pad and attacked this from an anthropological perspective, researching websites, chat rooms, Tumblr accounts, fetish newsgroups, and by asking dominatrices on Twitter how they began their work. I received a total of zero replies. I briefly considered becoming a submissive and paying them for their time, but snapped out of it soon enough.  I found a few Youtube instructionals, including one with a middle-aged woman, a cigarette, and a diaper. "The more I dominated, the more I began hating men," another woman confessed. Well, damn. I had a moment's out of body experience where I realized I was alone on a Friday night watching this. Still, I persisted. 

gabrielle giffords strong women get things done GIF by Election 2016


I fluffed up my Tweets with more engaging statements the likes of "Give me money or you will be sorry" which admittedly had much more of a Guy in a Hockey Mask with Chainsaw vibe than Sexy Kitten In Charge, but even those Tweets received more likes than the ones I felt were kind and respectful.  I also posted more photos, all of which were dominatrix supplies readily available on AliExpress. Did I remove the AliExpress logo? No. Did they receive tons of likes? Sure did and, consequently, I began receiving more messages.  Some were requests for things like having milk poured on them, making them wearing their wives' bras (!!!) and "would you give me the finger while I finish?" (personal fav - would actually love to try sometime), all of which I blocked, realizing that the task of a dominatrix was far greater than what I was prepared to do.  Others were conversations that would turn into truly lovely, inspirational experiences (If you're reading this, Big_Gusher_Papi, don't let your Aunt Teresita discourage you from joining the Navy!). One man asked me to only answer "Yes" or "No", as he wanted to reverse our roles. He then said he would take control of my phone and asked me to give him my personal number. I answered "No" (EXCUSE ME FOR FOLLOWING ORDERS SMDH) and was consequently called a horrible (bad word) which, frankly, was unfair. 

confused britney spears GIF


Right around that time, on the bus home from work, wearing one of my favourite power suits, I  accidentally opened my 'alternate' Twitter account, immediately projecting someone's spread ass out and into the world of my fellow commuters. Throwing my phone into my purse, I had decided that I had had enough. The real question behind my exploratory journey was: how do you become a dominant woman? By the time I could answer it, I didn't want to be one - not in this sense, anyway. No matter how hard I try to overcome my own nature for the sake of what I consider being brave, I just don't have the stomach to degrade another person, regardless of how much they might love it. Since then, I've closed down all of my accounts, and folded away the distant hope and dream of getting money for nothing.  Can't say I didn't get anything out of this though - mom's geraniums have truly come in nicely, after all.  



Sunday, January 7, 2018

Barcelona

Some kids are cool kids, and others are not. Some, through a combination of expensive Gap dresses and older siblings teaching them premature maturity, are popular. Other kids bring Russian sardines for lunch and write "I Love Mother" on Valentine's day cards, and those kids are called dorks. I belonged to the second category, and while it wasn't my fault that I only learned how to speak English at ten years old, I take full responsibility for wearing a homemade beret and men's sunglasses with my Barbie's bracelet as a nose ring to school. I was a naive dork who trusted wholeheartedly, believed in Santa far longer than most kids, thought she had super powers at fucking fourteen years old, and got beat up and bullied for it repeatedly. I practiced my jazz routine in the field at lunch to the laughter and pointing of other kids, played Lion King with the Nicaraguan kids while my classmates learned how to French Kiss, and spent most of my free time staring off in the distance, wondering why snow is so cold, and why I couldn't fly. I spent a long time blaming my freakish ways on  my immigrant status, but as the years wore on, I've slowly come to accept the fact that really, it was just me.



Now, as I find myself still acting like an alien in many situations, I am realizing I never quite shed who I am. Instead, an adult costume now covers that inner dork. Being an adult means getting better at concealing my nerdiness, loving with my guard up, trusting from a distance, with a few slip-ups along the way ("Sorry miss, I think you dropped some loser..").  I haven't changed. I've just become a better actor.



Last summer, we went to Barcelona for ten days. We stayed at a beautiful modern hotel close to the city centre, which had a state-of-the art gym that I visited strictly one time, and a rooftop pool, which was perfect because the heat in Barcelona makes your brain froth out of your ears. Enjoy that visual and happy new year. 

We did a lot of sight-seeing: the Gothic Quarter, some galleries, some markets, the beach, a labyrinth in a park (nerve-wracking if you can't find your way out) and some restaurants, including one so tiny that it only fit about fifteen people standing, and made tapas on demand, using really unique combinations like caviar, artichoke, chestnuts, and brie. The result looked like this:


Quimet & Quimet is definitely a must-try in Barcelona but be prepared to queue for a while to get in!
We also saw a Flamenco show which left me speechless and empowered, so if you happen to love loud abrasive sounds and the thought of revenge, I would highly recommend you go to one - yes, even in the tourist areas. We saw a few Gaudi-designed buildings, some surreal architecture, and The Sagrada Familia, proudly featured in a 3D virtual experience 'ride' we later 'experienced', which was actually a history lesson about Spain, which really pissed me off. 
Here it is, in real life:





Our hotel had a beautiful lobby with lots of books about murder and animals doing weird things.

On our last day, I found myself alone by the pool, tanning, when a family arrived and quietly unfolded their towels on loungers nearby. A boy of about eight years old sheepishly pulled off his t-shirt and immediately looked around at the empty loungers surrounding us. I was wearing my sunglasses and it seemed to reassure him that I wasn't there. He got up and looked around again, then put on his diving goggles and very delicately slipped into the water. He was little, but much bigger than most boys his age would be, and his frequent nervous glances around the pool, though it was empty, seemed to indicate that he was aware of this. 

"I may sit on the lounger for five minutes but I also want to keep swimming," he said to his parents with a Scottish accent. Neither of them looked up but his father grunted something with annoyance.
I watched the boy and wondered if his face, too, had once met a schoolyard fence. Had he, too, written valentine's day cards To Mother? He wore a mask to dive for treasure in an empty pool - had he, also, been happily trapped in a fantasy world dooming him to a childhood of freakishness but one ultimately so much more brilliant than the bleakness of public school pain?



He swam from one end to the other, then stood up and cupped his little boy breasts, ones most little boys his age wouldn't have. He swam again, then stood up, his belly bobbing with the water, and began singing to himself. It was a slow song, one most little boys his age wouldn't sing. He waddled over to the glass at the edge of the wall, softly patting and caressing the waves he left behind, and looked out at the sky. "I was wondering where the planes go," he said, turning to look at me through foggy rubber goggles, "But now I see them, lowering, by the horizon".  

His eyes cut through my costume, until he was speaking to me. Not me, bleached hair, bronzed legs, but little me, the one I suffocate each day under the layers of my years.  He watched me, instead seeing his own reflection. I wondered what our eyes, fixed on each other, were to others: a boy standing alone in shallow water, an adult woman crying through sunglasses, under a Barcelona sun. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today I am Thirty One

Preface: I am going to illustrate the ideas in this post with stills from my all-time favourite 90 Day Fiancé's Beth and Danielle, because I can.



Have you ever climbed on one of those foam mats at the pool, trying to stand on top of the water? If you're lucky, you'll balance for a few seconds, and in that moment, the rush of defying the seemingly impossible is unlike anything your seven-year-old self has ever experienced. MOM MOM MOM MOM ARE YOU WATCHING? MOM OH MY GOD MOM 

Today I'm 31, and I feel like I'm back on that foam mat, with my immediate life beneath me as I balance, balance, balance. I've spent this past year - the first of my thirties - solving a Rubik's Cube comprised of the challenges of living abroad and trying to understand oneself in the process. Funny how the effects of leaving a career, familiar environment, and even part of yourself behind can back you into a corner like high school bullies. Who are you now? What are you doing? What do you care about? Redefine, redevelop, and balance - there is no escape and there are no distractions.



My goals for this 31st year of my life (or I suppose 32nd year actually..yikes) are to create familiarity in the unfamiliar, comfort in the foreign, and positivity in the chaos. (side note: Blogger doesn't recognize the word positivity. Who invited Negative Nancy to the potluck?) More specifically, I'm gonna try not to burst into flames/tears every time I come home from yet another interview where they showed up twenty minutes late and rolled their eyes as I described my Canadian work experience and the bus driver drove past me laughing and my bank account is down to a two-digit number.....because there are things you don't have control over, and they are not worth sweating.



Every year on my birthday, I try to encapsulate my most prominent ideas for the off-chance that they may be important to remember down the line as the years flash by. Some years it's about cake and other years end up being a bit more reflective.  The past few months have been incredibly challenging but in the process, I had a thought that helped calm the death-metal festival into which my stress has manifested in my brain: Find something you love about today, then find something you love about tomorrow. Learn to be grateful for those things- I'm pretty sure that's all life is about.

Well, that and flying to Vegas in a private jet... ayyyyyyyy








Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Climbed a Fence, I Lost a Job

“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

Rocky win boxing training victory GIF  

This is the story of how I went from being the Planters Peanut of the interview world (or whatever you might associate with success) to literally running away from an interviewer. Or rather, this is another instalment of how things are going at the moment. 



As most people my age, I've had about seven hundred interviews in my life, and I have nailed them every single time. From jobs I didn't feel like doing, to jobs I wasn't qualified for, to jobs where I was sure the interviewer could see a French baguette edging out of my Marc Jacobs 'briefcase', I've gotten the job in every single situation. Typically, what I lack in experience I make up for in very comfortable, sharp, and of course, absolutely hilarious banter.  "Microsoft Access? Never heard of it but I'll access it tonight, and be a pro on it by Monday, Linda. Ehhhh!") Plus, I always wear shoulder pads, so no one ever doubts me anyway.  Here's how I usually look, and how I looked on the day my interviewee life unravelled:



A few weeks ago (and yes, it has taken that long for me to recover long enough to talk about it), I was invited to an interview for a charitable organization which shall remain nameless. The interview happened to fall on the exact same day I was getting an ultrasound done to determine whether I have a raging stomach ulcer. I was really excited to find out, and totally bummed out that the interview was just an hour after my appointment, and could not be moved. Anyway, fine. I had my appointment, and as I was leaving for my interview, I realized it had gone on far longer than expected and my power walk would need to be a run for me to make it. Fine, again. I started running, coat in hand, stomach sweating awkwardly (OR WAS IT SWEAT?!?). I got to the location at the address mentioned to me, and here is what I saw:



Oh my God. I was going to work inside a dumpster. Or, I needed to keep running, which I did, and finally found the interview place, just a few minutes prior to my start time. Phew, I thought, dusting off my Peanut monocle and cane, It's showtime. 

I walked up to the front doors of the building and realized they were locked. The receptionist stared at me as if I were a flasher, then casually walked over, and pressed a code on the door to let me in. I smiled him an "I'll be your boss soon" smile and walked super fucking confidently towards the office. This is precisely when everything went downhill.

You know when someone hates you the minute they see you? When the combination of every last detail of your being amounts to the word Idiot illuminating like a buzzing neon sign above your stupid head and no matter what comes out of your stupid mouth it just sounds, to them, like a fart sound? No? You don't know that? Then I invite you to read on, because that's what happened. My interviewer could not hold back from looking me up and down continuously with an expression of horrified judgment. She shook my hand while looking at the room we were going to walk into. We sat at a table so small that our knees were nearly rubbing, and the white sky coming through the window facing me was blinding. I went through my typical repertoire of light office humour a la "There I was, carrying six laptops while wearing six inch heels! What was I thinking? OFFICELOL" and she wouldn't flinch. My answers were met with nothingness. No feedback, no nodding, and no subsequent progression. And by that, I mean dead silence followed each of my replies as if it was never enough for her. Finally, I added "...and that's how I'd like to answer that!" At one point, I told her I don't like the sound of humans. At another point, I said we are all pieces of the puzzle of life. My spirit had floated out of my body and watched on in horror as I attempted to claw my way out of the pile of pure stupid I had melted into by the simple virtue of her assumptions about me. I was dying inside, and could feel what I now realized was ultrasound gel running down my shirt.


As the interview ended, she said, with great disappointment, "The bathrooms are down the hall" and I wasn't sure why she felt compelled to point that out, but I thanked her and walked off. I took my time in the stall, texting everyone I knew that my life was officially over and I would never live this embarrassment down. I spent about 12 minutes in the bathroom just trying to calm down. When I walked out, she happened to be standing by the door. She definitely saw me.  I walked into the elevator and mouthed the word fuck repeatedly at myself in the mirror all the way down to the ground floor. She saw me stay in the bathroom for 12 minutes. My face was a deep red and I was no longer human but a syrupy reduction of shame and the pieces of the puzzle of life. I pushed the front doors but they of course wouldn't budge until the receptionist came over and pressed more buttons and I walked out robotically and walked ahead to what I thought was a shortcut through the community garden proudly growing in front of the building. I thought it weird that I had to squeeze in between two metal bars to get into the garden, but my thoughts were clouded by the pounding in my face.


A few steps in, I looked around and realized there was no exit, and I was surrounded by a tall fence. The 'bars' I had squeezed between were actually some sort of evil one-way locking contraption. I had locked myself in. I looked around and looked up to see my interviewer looking down at me through her office window. The next few minutes were a blur, as I walked over to the fence, threw my purse over, and began hiking my leg over it in an attempt to climb it. Were my life normal, I would've climbed over it in one go, but my life is my life, and I didn't quite make it with the second leg, so I fell back. I looked up again, and a few more people had gathered to watch. I climbed again, this time falling over to the other side of the fence, and then, I started running. I ran until I was out of breath, trying very hard not to think of the impression I left - bombed the interview, sweat chunks of gel, took massive dump in toilet, locked herself in the garden, climbed a fence, and ran away.


The next day, my placement agent delicately told me that they went with "a stronger candidate" and while I was amazingly un-surprised, my mom made a really great point: how many other candidates would've gotten out of that garden on their own? Probably zero because nobody else would've walked into it to begin with. Regardless, despite my now tarnished interviewee record, I'm taking the most important stuff out of this one: when life hands you a fence, climb over.