Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Door to Door

I'm sitting in the student center of The University To Be Named Later, waiting for The Husband to return from a presentation he was asked to attend by those Powers Who Make Decisions.

I'm liking the Capitalized Words today. Makes those common nouns stand up and act like proper nouns.

There is a small Barnes and Noble downstairs which we toured earlier and where I saw, oh, 7 or 8 books I'd like to get, but I restrained myself to a lit mag that I had never seen before. I read a couple of essays, some poems, and one story before I felt sufficiently stuffed with artistic literature. Then I popped open the computer and read comics.

There are two people sitting across from me. Both are students, or student age. The young man -- I want to call him a boy, he's that fragile looking -- is wearing a long sleeve button down shirt tucked into slacks, and flipflops. The young woman -- she's more woman than girl -- is neatly dressed with makeup and real shoes. He is conducting some manner of interview with her. She gave him a resume and he's asking questions. I have no idea of the specifics. They both laugh nervously from time to time. At first, when she walked up, I thought they might be meeting for some manner of date. She sits with her legs crossed and her hands folded, the picture of ladylike behavior. He's slumped in his chair, one foot across his knee, the flipflop bobbing up and down, much more relaxed. Their conversation is fairly businesslike, with occasional tanjents into topics that reveal their youth. I wish I'd had something to copy down bits of their earlier conversation -- his constant replies of "Cool, cool." and her nervous, short laugh. I find myself trying to memorize them. I sense a story there. I don't want to think about it too much for fear of killing the seedling with too much attention, but I didn't feel comfortable whipping out my notebook and scribbling things down. So I'm doing it here, in the computer. Somehow, that seems less intrusive on them.

As soon as the presentation is done, The Husband and I start driving that last leg of our trip home. I'm tired of hotel rooms and long hours sitting in the van. We both have colds and are well dosed on Nyquil and orange juice. I don't feel much like reading or even writing right now. I'm a little sleepy, but there's no place to sleep here. I'm not that young. There are things I could have done at 20 that 42 makes too difficult or complicated.

I'm sitting under a plaque for some sort of prize or recognition given each year to a student. The names attract my attention. Sadar Ramesh Shah, Angelo Constantine Mitsolpoulos, Leighanne MeMarzo, Laconla Hance.

They are standing up and he's giving her some manner of cryptic advice. They are rehearsing. Ah, I see what this is -- he is recruiting for door to door sales for children's books. She's looking for a job. Oh, now I feel pain for her and I see him as something of a shark. His face is sharp, even with the sprinkling of acne dark red dots along his cheekbones. He's leading her. He's not too bad at this, and she's eager. "Turn to the side -- show your profile. why do we do that? Giving them a chance to size you up." He's got his flipflopped foot on the little round table. It's a power position, that he can be so relaxed while she's standing straight with her hands crossed. Now they are going over the sales script. He's just walked off for some water. I so want to tell her not to do this, to walk away, that this will beat down her spirit and she will hate it. It will make her bitter and cynical. She'll have to learn to live with doors slammed in her face, with the faces of people who know she just wants their money, with outright indignation and cruel anger of those who feel affronted and invaded by her presence. She will learn that the company employing her has a dark inside, a shark pool center, and her recruiter will happily climb higher by standing on her back.

But I'm not saying a thing. I'm trying not to look at either of them. It's a quarter til 9 and I wonder how much longer The Husband's presentation is going to last. He suspected it to be around 11.

He's teaching her to expect a friendly greeting, a reception of civility. He is not yet practicing the "No", the "Hell No", the "Get out of my yard."

Maybe if I get out my headphones and listen to music, it won't bother me so much.

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