Tuesday, April 24, 2012

22 in 2010

So my last post got me on a fiction kick. I'm not really sure what I'm working on here but it's a start of...something, anyway. Right now it's just a playful exploration of what it's like for people who are just out of college (especially liberal arts students) for my particular age group. Those who know me will realize that this is barely fiction but this character isn't actually SUPPOSED to be me.

 (untitled) by Emma Sklar

Chapter 1: 22 in 2010

 The first thing I did today was read an email regretting to inform me that I had not been selected for the job for which I interviewed last week. The job was the full time receptionist for a medium sized law firm and even though it did not require the  Bachelor of Arts degree that I spent the last four years earning  the idea of it made me feel fancy and important. I had my outfit picked out for my first day of work, a dictionary of legal terms, and money set aside for a short angular haircut that would make me look stern and professional.

But I didn’t get it.

It must have gone to that middle-aged woman who interviewed after me. She probably had direct experience and a laundry list of professional references. How am I supposed to get a job when there are legitimate adults with kids at home and real world experience running around? The woman who got my job probably has a toothless third grader grinning up from her phone that she probably leaves out on the table during interviews. Should I have a baby so I can do that?
I should really wait until after I’ve had my coffee to check my email.

Obviously I should not have a baby just so I can get a job, or for any reason. I’m 22, after all. Besides which I’m fairly certain that wouldn’t work. And I’d have to get a nanny or something. Even if the baby helps me get a job I’d still need experience so I could get a good enough job to pay the nanny. So it’s decided. I will not be having a baby even if it would get me a job at a fancy law firm where I can wear pencil skirts and pumps like Elaine on Ally McBeal.

Back to the Classifieds. What am I qualified to do? I can write pretty great papers about Phallic symbolism in Renaissance Literature. Maybe I can work at a shop that sells sex toys. I could have very educational chats with the customers about Shakespeare and Marlowe. I guess people might find that to be a bit of a turn-off, though, and I would probably be fired for failing to properly cite my textual references. I did always have a problem with that.

There’s an ad here for a job editing obituaries for a local newspaper. What does one write in a cover letter for a job editing death announcements? “I believe that obituaries are among the most important forms of journalism because they are the last official record of each of our time on Earth…”. That’s awfully depressing. There are no other jobs even remotely related to journalism or publishing though and  I bet every recent graduate from my English Department is applying for this job. I might as well send in my resume, but I think I’ll keep my cover letter brief. My writing can get away from me sometimes and I don’t want them to think I’m obsessed with dead people or anything.

I should dye my hair red; a really fiery red with golden highlights. I think maybe the problem is that there are just too many girls who look like me and the interviewers can’t remember who’s who. Blond hair, hazel eyes, average height and build. I’m surprised I don’t get called in for criminal lineups more often as there are so many girls who fit my description. I should also stop wearing high heels to interviews. Then I would be legitimately short instead of average. They’ll have to remember the really tiny girl with the red hair and golden highlights. And maybe I should start going by my middle name, which is Knox after my grandmother’s maiden name. Knox Popper is quite a bit more memorable than Hannah Popper, I think. They might think I’m a man at first but the surprise when they find out I’m not one should jolt their memory diodes or whatever controls that kind of thing. I should have studied Psychology.

I’ve been called in to interview for the position of Obituaries Editor. I suspect it might have had something to do with a small exageration on my resume. I didn’t exactly work for my college newspaper “The Analyst” (or the "Anal List" as it was more commonly known on campus). My friend Lori was one of the editors and she once asked me to write an opinion piece about the local art scene because I was an art history minor. She didn’t end up using it because it was “too aggressive” but I still give myself credit for writing it. So “freelance journalist” might not be the most honest description of my writing career. Anyhow Lori said that she would vouch for me should it come to that.  

 (My previous blog post "The Day Trip" would go here)

My hair dye kit includes both the base color and highlights. The base color was no problem and it looks pretty close to the red I was picturing but the highights are a little trickier.  I’m fairly confident that I can manage it on my own. I’m just not sure how I’m going to deal with the back of my head. I would call someone to come help except I’ve already started and it's a time sensative process. I suppose I could go ask one of the boys who just moved into the apartment next door. I rehearse the conversation in my head to see if it’s not too strange of a thing to ask. I’ve started doing this lately because according to my friends I have a tendency to overstep social boundaries. Excuse me,  I rehearse in my head, I’m your new neighbor and I was just wondering if you could look at the back of my head and tell me if the highlights look OK. Maybe that’s not specific enough. I don’t think most boys really understand how highlights work. I try again. I was wondering if you could tell me if  these lighter bits in my hair are stripey and uneven or if they look OK to you.  It still doesn’t sound right.

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