91: “I don’t think I’m well-suited to work”

Priscilla got Rosalyn a job interview at her company. Technically, she just passed along the posting and Rosalyn applied, which in turn led to an interview, but Priscilla was fully prepared to take all the credit. Rosalyn was nervous, but also delighted and incredibly hopeful that she would finally have a real job, one where she didn’t have to sell kayaks to people who knew more about kayaks than she did.

On the day of her interview, Rosalyn put on her most professional outfit. It included the only blazer she owned and a pair of black heels that she had bought for her cousin’s wedding. She’d been one of the junior bridesmaids and a fourteen year old with very conservative tastes. Fortunately, her feet hadn’t grown much since then. She’d had veritable skis as feet when she was a child.

The job interview itself was one of the weirdest experiences she’d ever had and she walked away from it certain that she did not get the job. She was interviewed by an introverted woman and an exhaustingly extroverted man, who, for all his outgoingness, was the softest spoken human being Rosalyn had ever met. He asked the same questions the woman asked, just with very slightly different phrasing so she was forced to answer each question twice, also with slightly different phrasing. He also asked random questions that seemed to have exactly no bearing on the job Rosalyn had applied to. For instance, he asked her what her favourite colour was. She said it was red on impulse, not actually sure that she’d had a favourite colour since graduating elementary school. Of course, when he asked her to explain why red was her favourite colour, she had an even harder time answering that. She didn’t think telling him that she looked nice in red would cut it.

“Because it’s fun, bold, and warm,” Rosalyn ended up answering. He grinned at her.

“And is that how you would describe yourself?” He asked softly. It wasn’t at all how she would describe herself. Maybe she would say she was bold, but she would certainly never describe herself as warm. She wasn’t even warm in body temperature.

“Sure,” she agreed amicably and he grinned even wider.

Amazingly, Rosalyn did end up getting the job. It made her wonder what the other applicants had been like. She assumed they were all cave-dwelling miscreants with social disorders. Either that or she was far better at interviews than she gave herself credit for. She was fairly certain it was the former, though. Her new managers asked her when she would be able to start and she explained that she would have to give two weeks’ notice to her current employer. But when she told her manager at the outdoor sporting goods store, he told her not to worry about it and that she could leave literally any time she wanted to. Rosalyn got the impression that she was not exactly a super highly valued employee. That made sense to her. Rosalyn said she would work until the end of her shift and then leave, which was fine with her manager. Or at least she assumed it was fine with with him. He pretty much stopped paying attention to her the moment after she told him she was quitting.

Rosalyn made sure to give her favourite co-worker Matt a proper good-bye.

“Well, it was great working with you, pal,” Rosalyn said to Matt, patting him heartily on the shoulder. “Really great to have known you.”

Matt raised an eyebrow at her.

“You’re not leaving for ‘Nam,” he returned. “You’re going to be working, like, three blocks away.”

“These are memories I will cherish always,” she continued, wiping away a nonexistent tear wistfully. She had walked all the way over to his corner of the store, where she had been sending confused customers for months.

“We’ll still be in the same city together,” Matt replied. “You don’t have diphtheria. We’ll see each other again.”

“I’ll think of you often,” Rosalyn assured him.

“You know what? Don’t bother,” Matt retorted.

“Maybe I’ll see you one day when I come in to buy a kayak of my own,” she told him.

“I bet you’d drown if you owned a kayak,” Matt told her bluntly.

“I’m a very good swimmer,” Rosalyn protested with a frown. “I used to be a lifeguard. I would never drown.”

“You’d find a way.”

“Dickhead,” Rosalyn pushed him slightly with the hand she had previously been using to wipe away her imaginary tears.

“Turdface,” Matt returned immediately. Rosalyn glared at him for a long moment before breaking out into an enormous grin and pulling him into a very enthusiastic hug, which he seemed most reluctant to return.

“Ah, I really will miss you,” she told him sincerely.

“Again, you’re going to be working three blocks away from here,” Matt said, voice muffled as she had shoved her shoulder into his face.

Rosalyn’s new job was in the processing department of the company that Priscilla worked for. She had one full day of training and then was left on her own to get to work. At first, Rosalyn assumed that there was more for her to learn and that they were only teaching her in small, manageable parts. And then she realized that this was it and that she was essentially just doing data entry all day long, five days a week for the foreseeable future.

“This is what my university degree gets me?” Rosalyn demanded over lunch with Priscilla and Bernie. Bernie looked slightly startled by Rosalyn’s emotional outburst. Priscilla continued to eat her couscous unbothered.

“Yes,” she told Rosalyn bluntly.

“Computer programs could do this,” Rosalyn returned.

“No, no,” Priscilla shook her head passively. “You’re doing all this data entry so that, one day, computer programs will be able to do all of our jobs.”

“Oh, that’s reassuring,” Rosalyn scoffed.

“Isn’t it?” Priscilla replied. “I suppose this is what people felt like during the Industrial Revolution, just about looms or whatever.”

Rosalyn saw Matt again at the end of the week. She went into the sporting goods store on her way home from her new job. She stopped by his corner of the floor and watched him help some extremely overzealous man pick out a “sports” windbreaker for a while.

“What’s the difference between a windbreaker and a sports windbreaker?” Rosalyn asked Matt after the customer had walked off with his choice. He’d looked positively delighted to be holding a very thin jacket made of polyester. Rosalyn assumed he was an idiot.

“Literally nothing except the tag that says there’s a difference,” Matt answered, leaning back on a display table holding a tower of tennis rackets. “How’s the new job?”

“Oh, it’s just the worst,” Rosalyn answered bluntly. Matt raised an eyebrow at her.

“Worse than this?” He asked. Rosalyn thought it over for a moment.

“You know, it’s difficult to say,” she began to reply. “Both are just so awful, but in different ways. I don’t think I’m well-suited to work.”

“Oh yeah, definitely not,” Matt agreed readily. Rosalyn glared at him.

“I don’t think I like you agreeing with that,” she told him and he shrugged.

“Maybe you could marry for money,” he offered.

“Yeah, that’s already my plan,” she explained.

“Is that why you’re dating your dentist?” He asked.

“Well, it isn’t because I can’t remember his name,” she scoffed in response. Matt stared at her for a minute.

“Fuck, man, you’re a disaster,” he told her, which wasn’t overly helpful, but ultimately true.

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