Tag Archives: entertainment

The Dysfunctional Diners

18 May

Sometimes at work, I like to wait on dysfunctional families. And when I say “I like to wait on dysfunctional families” what I mean is “I really hate waiting on dysfunctional families in most circumstances, but when it is literally SO SLOW that I’m lucky to make 35 dollars, I like waiting on dysfunctional families because it gives me a source of entertainment.” Yesterday was one such day.

Outside of the bar area of the steakhouse, there is this little antique phone hanging on the wall above two chairs and a small cocktail table. Most people walk by the phone and don’t even acknowledge its existence. Sometimes people will say “Oh what a cute little phone!” and that’s the end of it. And then sometimes, but ONLY sometimes, will a family of four walk into the bar, only to have the younger of the two sons break away and say, “LOOK AT THAT PHONE MOM! ITS ANCIENT!” and the mom will screech and get out her iPad to take a photo of the kid climbing onto the chairs and putting his shoes on the table just to reach the phone, yank it off of the wall, and take a picture.

Already I knew… this was it. This family was going to be my source of entertainment for the night.

Now in order to fully let you understand what I was dealing with, I need to describe these people.

Over-Worked Father: Dressed in an Ohio State T-shirt with a receding hairline and a forehead that looked like it was made of turtle skin. (Tight, yet very wrinkly and malleable.) He looked like he had been forced to listen to the My Little Pony theme song (the 80’s version, not today’s version) on repeat for six years prior to entering this upscale steakhouse. He looked angry. He looked aggressive. He looked defeated.
Enabling Mother: Wearing a t-shirt covered by what I could only imagine was a jacket made from llama shavings. She had puffy blonde hair, but her inch-and-a-half roots were black and growing out. She was not excited to be in the steakhouse. She reminded me of the mom on American Beauty…. smiling, trying desperately to keep everyone together when everyone would much rather be three states apart in each direction. Seeing her smile actually made me sad.
Satan: Satan is the older of the two brothers. Wearing swim trunks and a gray t shirt, Satan literally did not smile ONCE in the two hours he was seated at this steakhouse. Literally, Not. Once.
Sid: I have named the younger of the brothers Sid because he literally was Sid from Toy Story.

Sid-toy-story

Literally. This face. That voice.

So after Sid climbs onto the cocktail table to violently claim the antique phone, and after Enabling Mother takes the picture, the four of them sit down at a table. Already I can hear the muffled anger coming from their direction. Satan throwing his arms into the air and violently sighing, pushing so much air out of his lungs that Enabling Mother’s fluffy hair actually billows a bit from sitting across from him.

My coworker Lucas looks at the table, then looks at me.

Lucas: Have fun.
Me: Jesus take the wheel.

I grab four beverage napkins, and approach the table. I start to give myself a pep talk… I am smiling! I am happy! Maybe I can help this family stop fighting and make their meal really awesome, so they’ll leave happier than when they came in! I am an amazing employee and I can do this! There is a reason our company calls their employees “Stars!” AND I AM THAT REASON!!!

I inhale to greet them, and-
Enabling Mother: Will you two just SIT DOWN?
Satan: (Speak-yelling at Over-Worked Father in such a disrespectful tone I was surprised that no one physically assaulted him) YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T BRING MY HEADPHONES TO DINNER AND NOW HE HAS HIS! (motions to Sid)
Sid: (Headphones in, playing a game on his smartphone that is larger and more high tech than my own phone. He is 8. He is not only completely unaware of this conversation, but also of me standing there beside him, beaming.)
Over-Worked Father: What were you going to use them for, anyway? Hm?
Satan: I ALREADY TOLD YOU. I was gonna watch YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Over-Worked Father: And you? (looks at Sid) Hey!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: HEY!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: (gestures) SID!
Sid: (Looks up only because Over-Worked Father waved his arms)
Over-Worked Father: SID WHAT ARE YOU USING THE HEADPHONES FOR!?
Sid: (Takes out one, ONE, of the ear buds. He sighs.) I’m playing a game. DOY!
(Heightened silence while Over-Worked Father seems to be deciding which sound he hates more. Game VS YouTube. Finally he looks at Sid with eyebrows raised.)
Over-Worked Father: Sid? (As if to say… C’mon, Give your brother the headphones.)
Sid: (Already has the earbud back in and is playing his game. He is unaware of everything.)

Keep in mind I am STILL standing at the table, smiling, just watching all of this. Beaming. Smiling like this is the sweetest conversation I have ever heard in my entire life, as if this earbud saga is the most heartwarming tale of selfless love to ever touch my little cocktail waitress heart.

Enabling Mother: (Looks up at me with a huge smile.) Well… We aren’t spoiled, ARE WE? Ha ha ha HAHA! …Ha… um.

Silence. I am still standing there smiling, waiting to see if there will be ay other protests or interruptions before I speak. There are none.

Me: SO! How IS everyone today? Just wonderful? Fantastic! My name is Carolyn and I’ll be serving you today!
Family: Blank stares from everyone except for Sid, who is playing his game and not looking at anyone. Satan is giving me a look of pure evil and hatred.
Satan: FINE! Well I’M JUST GOING TO WATCH YOUTUBE AND YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!
Enabling mother puts her hands over her eyes. Over-Worked Father stares at a crumb on the floor.
Me: GREAT! May I start you all off with something to drink? Maybe some beer? (I shoot this at Over-Worked Father. He looks at me like I am his only key to salvation.)
Over-Worked Father: I’ll take a Sam Adams.
Enabling Mother: I need wine. A nice, dry red wine.
Me: But of course. And for you sir? (Talking to Satan)
Satan still has his arms crossed and is giving me the look of poison.
Me: MAYBE A KIDDIE COCKTAIL!!!
Satan: (Jaw drops to reveal uneven bottom teeth.)
Enabling Mother: Just a round of waters for them.
Me: Of course! I’ll be right back!

I can’t handle this. I can’t do it. I have never wanted to punch a child so much in my entire life. If I go back over to that table and Satan is still giving me that look, I will be FORCED to asked if there is ANYTHING I can do to make his dining experience more to his liking… I will ask him why he is so angry, and I WILL do it with a smile, and I WILL do everything in my power to make him stop looking like such a miserable little garbage can.

I deliver the waters, making sure to smile at Satan the entire time.
Me: So, does anyone have any questions about the menu?
Silence. Dead, still, silence. For a moment I wonder if I’m invisible. I wonder if I actually asked the question out loud, or if I just thought I did… Maybe I’M the awkward one here, just showing up to their table not saying anything at all…
Over-Worked Father: (To Satan) NO, actually I am POSITIVE that a potato is a vegetable.
Satan: NO IT ISN’T. A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
Over-Worked Father: Yes. It is.
Satan: NO. It ISN’T.
Enabling Mother: It’s a starch.
Satan: SEE DAD? SEE DAD I TOLD YOU A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
(Over-Worked Father looks at his wife as if she is literally the dumbest person in the world. In just one look, I can tell that he is so disgusted at how his life has played out- that he has actually CHOSEN this woman to be his life partner, that he CHOSE to procreate with her above literally EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world, that his next words erupt from his mouth with such resentment and hatred I’m afraid the next topic of conversation will be custody rights. Custody Rights where both parents fight about who HAS to keep them.)
Over-Worked Father: Just because it is a starch doesn’t mean it isn’t a vegetable.
Me: (Beaming!)
Enabling Mother: Whatever. Either way, you need to eat healthier.
Over-Worked Father: I am on vacation, I will eat however I please.
Enabling Mother: (Finishing a gulp of wine) Oh, you’re on vacation? You’re at a work function. Please.

I actually witness Over-Worked Father picking and choosing his battles. He looks at the menu. And I am still standing there, waiting for someone to answer my question.

Over-Worked Father: Satan? What do you want to eat?
Satan: I already TOLD YOU, I want WINGS.
Over-Worked Father: (Death stare. I suddenly realize where Satan has learned his facial expressions.) They don’t have those here. Get the kids fillet. It’ll be the best thing you ever eat.
Satan: I don’t WANT IT.
Enabling Mother: Okay, you know what? They don’t have wings! Okay, fine, nothing. He will have nothing. I am going to have the french onion soup and the wedge salad.
Me: Very good!
Enabling Mother: Sid?
Sid: (Playing his game)
Me: (Beaming at Sid)
Enabling Mother: (Punches him on the arm.) HEY! Mac n’ cheese?
Sid: (Barely responds. I think I may have heard him say “Mm.”)
Enabling Mother: Mac N’ Cheese for him.
Over-Worked Father: I am going to have the Salmon. GOD I’m at a steakhouse and I’m getting SALMON.
Me: Actually our salmon is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.
Enabling Mother: (Ignoring me) Make sure you ask for the lentils on the side. I won’t eat those.
Over-Worked Father: Whatever, they’re big. I’ll move them away, it’s not a big deal.
Me: (Thinking “Our lentils are actually tiny, but I’m not going to say that for fear of getting stabbed.”)
Enabling Mother: (suddenly sweeter than ever) Satan? Honey, are you’re sure you don’t want anything?
Satan: (Stares at her. Pouting. Mutters-) …Ids Illay.
Enabling Mother: What was that!?
Satan: (Yelling) KIDS FILLET.
Me: (Looking directly at Satan himself) And how would you like that prepared, young sir?!?!
Satan: (Pure evil. Poison is leaking from his eyes.)
Enabling Mother: Medium well.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll get that right in for you, and I’ll also bring some fresh bread and butter for the table.
SID: YUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!
Me: (Wanting desperately to say “Wait- you can hear me! You can SEE me!?” I walk away.)

When I bring the bread to the table, Sid hulks out. He RIPS the earbuds out of his head and lunges for the bread, as if he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. With every inhale it sounds like he’s slurping something- which is quite a miraculous feat because he is ingesting BREAD, and with every exhale there is an audible vocalization of “Mmmm.” It’s a rather disturbing cycle, but no one addresses it. Meanwhile, Satan is sitting in his chair like a frog. The bottoms of his shoes are actually on the seat of the chair, and any time he wants to drink his water, he literally springs up, puts his hands on the table, and bends over to put his mouth on the straw… instead of just picking up the glass and bringing it to his mouth like any other normal person on the planet. No one addresses this either.

When their food finally does come, I watch intently to see what happens. I watch to see if Satan does, indeed, like his KIDS FILLET. He does. Obviously, you’re gonna like the kids fillet, you ungrateful, unwanted, rat-faced collection of disappointments and broken dreams. You’re at one of the best steakhouses in Orlando and you’re eating a 5 oz fillet! And even if it IS prepared medium well, thanks to your insane to the membrane mother, it’s going to be the best thing you eat all week.

So, that’s basically the end of the story. Once the food came everyone kind of shut up and ate, and the only thing that was semi-amusing about them at this point was when Sid grabbed the black dish that held their side item, and screamed, in the EXACT voice of Sid from Toy Story, “IS THIS MADE OUT OF IRON????” Over-Worked Father tipped 20 percent and they all decided to GTFO. I think he was appreciative that I didn’t announce that we had dessert options… instead, I discreetly handed him the dessert menu out of view of his spawn and said, quietly, “In case you’re interested…”

It’s sad, but I’ve come to realize the importance of alcohol mixed with some good food when it comes to dysfunctional families. Usually by the end of the meal I can have people laughing and actually interacting with each other without arguing anymore. And yet, with this family, I was just happy that no one got slapped… by me. I hope the rest of their business trip/vacation(???) fared better than that atrocious meal, but I won’t hold my breath. I bet Sid is still sitting somewhere right now playing his game and slurp-breathing, and Satan is watching YouTube with that disgusted look on his face, Enabling Mother is looking through a magazine at the body and life she’ll never have, and Over-Worked Father is answering emails and wondering where his life went wrong. It’s really sad to think about these families like this once they’re gone, so I try not to. I just bring them their check, and hope for the best. I have to pay my bills, you know.

The Most Jellicle, The Most Live

25 May

When we were young, my sister and I took many lessons of varying activities. I, being the animal lover, went through a horseback riding phase that I admittedly have not completely grown out of. Caitlyn, being a fairy tale princess, took ballet from the moment she could stand in first position. I eventually started to take dance lessons, too, as well as gymnastics, cheerleading, and a sad, pathetic fifth grade attempt at playing basketball.  (I scored four glorious points the entire season- two foul shots, and one basket that I think went into the basket because the ball bounced off of my flailing arm, and my teammates were nice enough to allow me the credit of making said basket.)

When we were about 13 and 15, my sister and I were taking dance lessons at a local dance studio. Now, when I say “taking dance lessons at a local dance studio,” what I mean to say is that sometimes on random Saturdays we would show up to the dance studio and learn sporadic 8 counts of choreography, and not return for a few weeks due to our busy schedules. The problem was, if you wanted to take dance classes with this studio, you had to keep your entire Saturday open. We were enrolled in jazz, lyrical, ballet, pointe, and tap. Five hours of straight dance with hour breaks here and there. If anything else conflicted- family reunions, gymnastics meets, cheerleading competitions, community productions of The Music Man, having a social life- you’d miss all of your classes for that week. It wasn’t like “Oh I can’t make it to jazz on Satruday, but at least I’ll make it to ballet on Monday!” No. If you missed one class, you usually missed them all.

Here’s the thing: I’m not saying that missing class was the right thing to do. It was actually the complete wrong thing to do. Now that I’m older, I can only imagine my instructor’s frustration while trying to choreograph 50+ teenage girls into some sort of physical product that didn’t resemble a chaotic frenzy of developing breasts, hips, and acne. ESPECIALLY when those 50+ girls had other activities to attend, and couldn’t even show up to class. She had made it easy for us- ONE day of the week you get to attend ALL of your classes, and be done with it for the rest of the week. How hard can that be, huh? To just make sure your schedule is clear for ONE day of the week? I mean seriously. How can you choreograph and teach people dances if they’re not in the room? You can’t. AND! Now that I’m older, I realize that my instructor was not only in charge of our dance educations, but she was ALSO in charge of putting on the end of the year recital, in which all of her hard work would be showcased on a stage for all of the people PAYING her to do the impossible task of teaching their absent children how to dance.

So I assume my instructor finally got so fed up with the whole ordeal that she finally just said “Forget you little whores. This year we’re doing it my way.” And at the beginning of that year, the infamous year, she made an announcement:

“Listen. If you’re in class, you’ll be in the recital. If you’re not in class, you won’t be. Each week, whatever we learn- if you’re here to learn it, you’ll perform those 8 counts in the recital. If you’re not here, you won’t be in the 8 counts we learned. If you happen to miss a week where we learn a BIG section of the dance, or if we manage to learn ALL of the dance, you simply won’t be on stage for it. This is how we’re doing it this year.” She then took a big swig from her water bottle. Looking back now, her water bottles were never clear. She always had a plastic jug that she brought from home. I now wonder what she was drinking…Well played, Miss Dance Instructor. Well played.

Well, this sent a shock through us all. She couldn’t do that! Could she? Would this mean that we wouldn’t be able to miss a SINGLE DANCE CLASS if we wanted to be in the whole dance at the end of the year?!?!

Being a virgo, someone who is a naturally organized person, I found my 13 year old self wondering… “So, wait… say someone misses a class. But they were here the week before that class, and the week after… does that mean they’re just going to have to RUN off of the stage while the rest of the group does the part that they missed… and then run BACK on as soon as they know the choreography again? That doesn’t seem very organized…”

And yes. Yes, that is exactly what that meant, and no, it was not organized. At all.

It also didn’t help that this year was the year that my sister and I would be missing the most dance classes of our entire lives. I don’t really remember why we were missing so much class… it really doesn’t matter for the story’s sake… the point is, we missed a shit ton of class. When we would finally show up to early morning Saturday dance, our friends would greet us like we were their long-lost family members from ancient times.

Prepubescent Girl: OH MY GOSH CAITLYN AND CAROLYN ARE HERE!
Senior In High School: WOW! WE HAVEN’T SEEN YOU GUYS IN MONTHS!
Prepubescent Girl: Do you still take class here? Or are you just visiting?
Other Girls: Wow! Your hair got longer! It’s good to see you! Carolyn, you got taller since the last time I saw you! Etc…

I can only imagine my instructor’s frustration when we finally DID show up for class. Now she had two extra bodies to put into this mess, and those two bodies knew none of the dance at all.

Every year, in community dance studios around the nation, small recitals are put on. Each year, these recitals usually have “themes.” Such as, “God Bless America”; “Five, Six, Seven, GREAT!” ; “Over the Rainbow”; and “STARPOWER.” This year, the infamous year of the changing eights, our theme was THE STARS OF BROADWAY. Each dance was choreographed to old Broadway hits, or songs that talked a lot about New York City. I vaguely remember the “advanced adult tap class” kick ball changing their way through Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I also remember a beautiful lyrical solo done by a girl in a flowwy white costume to Billy Joel’s “New York State Of Mind.”

The one day that we came to class, we learned that our “advanced jazz class” was opening the entire recital with a tribute to one of Broadway’s longest running musicals, “CATS!” While we joined the group and started to learn the choreography, I started to realize something…

Caitlyn and I would be portraying cats. We would actually embody animals on stage, and people would be watching us, and no one would call us weird or “too old to be acting like an animal.”  I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to this moment. Years of making “nests” behind the couch and filling them with my beanie babies… crawling around on the floor like a psychotic lunatic while carrying aforementioned beanie babies in my mouth… watching The Animal Planet and perfecting my cougar call… all of these activities had led me to this SPECIFIC moment. I WAS a cat. I was a feline, and I was fabulous.

Needless to say, my freak show little self was extremely excited. Caitlyn, on the other hand, was more worried about her costume than the actual portrayal of a believable cat. You see, sometimes in these things, parents and their “talented” offspring are forced to order, buy, and sometimes even MAKE their own costumes. This time was no different. We were told we would need to order body suits and decorate them however we saw fit. During one Saturday, before anyone ordered their body suits, we were forced to write our names down under the colors that we wished to be. This was done in hopes of avoiding 27 black cats and only 3 yellow cats on stage.

I approached the list… I knew what color I wanted to be… I was hoping that there wouldn’t be too many names under that color already… but because I had missed so much class, I knew I wouldn’t be first to write my name down on the paper. My more punctual peers certainly wouldn’t let me have first cat color choice privileges. I had to wait my turn…. patiently…

With every girl that approached the list and wrote her name down, I knew I would have to settle for something STUPID like… brown. Or gray. I kept my fingers crossed, and prayed that there would be at least one space left for my name…

When I finally did get to see the list, these were the options I saw:
ORANGE:        BLACK:       GRAY:             YELLOW:       BROWN:

 

What. No, seriously… what!?

No where, not anywhere, was the “Siamese” option. Who were these people? What the hell were they thinking? You can’t have a production of CATS without proper cat colors!

I was so disappointed, I didn’t even care where my name went anymore. I saw that there weren’t many orange cats, so I scribbled my name down and went back to my place on the floor.

A month later, we received a package in the mail. At this point, I think all three of us- my mother, my sister, and I- had forgotten that we had ordered anything. When we finally opened the package and looked inside, my mom pulled out a brown body suit and an orange body suit.

Mom: Oh. Here are your cat costumes, girls.
Caitlyn: Oh yeah! We’re doing CATS. I almost forgot.
Me: (Holding up the limp carcass of my orange body suit) This is the literally the color of a construction cone.

My mom promised that she would help me make my costume not look as crazy-orange as it already did. We went to the craft store and bought a few boas for our tails, and, upon my instruction, grabbed a package of black feathers and some glue.

Mom: Carolyn, we should really just use paint to give you stripes.
Me: Paint is going to look two dimensional! I want the stripes to look like FUR. Okay!? That’s why we’re going to glue feathers onto me.
Mom: But honey, if you put glue on a costume that is supposed to stretch-
Me: I WANT IT TO LOOK LIKE FUR FROM OFF STAGE. If I can’t even be a Siamese cat, at least I can look like like I have fur!
Mom: Okay. Whatever.

That night I slaved over my costume, gluing feathers in all the right places to make me look like an orange tabby cat. It took hours of painstakingly accurate applications, but once it was completed, I was satisfied. Everyone else would be using markers for their costumes. Not me! Oh no. I was going to be different.

Finally the night of the recital arrived. Caitlyn and I rushed into the backstage area and started to get ready. The “costumers” (AKA a few selfless and good hearted parent volunteers) had printed out templates of cat makeup from the actual Broadway show that they were letting us go through and choose. Caitlyn and I chose our makeup maps, and proceeded to apply our feline faces.

I looked at my sister. Her eyebrows were drawn in along her nose and back out under her eyes- almost like she had purposely drawn raccoon eyes on herself, but then stopped and changed her mind midway through. She had painted stripes back along her cheeks with different colored lip pencils, and colored in her entire top lip with gray eyeliner. On the left side of her face was a patch of gray makeup, a patch that to us looked like distinctive feline markings, but to anyone else would appear to be physical proof of domestic violence.

I, on the other hand, had colored my eyebrows in the opposite direction- I had made them fan up and back, bleeding back into my hairline. I colored the bottom of my nose with a black eye pencil and drew a very prominent line down my upper lip, which then connected to another colored-in black triangle below my bottom lip. Every other inch of my face was painted white like a geisha.

I looked at Caitlyn. She looked at me. We stared at each other for a moment. There was silence. And then-

Me: You look FANTASTIC.
Caitlyn: Wow. We look great!
Me: Here, let me help you with your collar.

Finally, it was time to put on our body suits. Caitlyn slid into hers like butter melts into a pan. It stretched and clung to her like an athletic body suit should. Mine, on the other hand…

Me: Uh, Caitlyn?
Caitlyn: Yeah?
Me: Mine… mine isn’t stretching.
Caitlyn: What do you mean? It’s a body suit.
Me: Well, where I used the glue to glue on the feathers?
Caitlyn: Yeah?
Me: Well… it’s not stretching. In those places.

We then proceeded to RIP my costume apart and MAKE it fit onto my body. Feathers were flying everywhere. Caitlyn was laughing, I was hyperventilating, and all the while we were hearing the stage manager (Aka another selfless parent volunteer) yell down “TEN MINUTES TILL PLACES!”

Caitlyn: There! It’s on! Just leave it!
Me: But look at the feathers! They’re falling off! COMPLETELY! I look horrible!

Now, at this moment I suspect my sister knew exactly what she was doing… she then says to me…

Caitlyn: Well… we’re supposed to be ally cats, right?
Me: Yeah…
Caitlyn: Well you’ll just look a little more, forlorn.
Me: Huh?!
Caitlyn: Like… LIKE you’re one of those really aggressive cats that doesn’t take any crap from any other cats!
Me: But… that’s not the type of cat I rehearsed! I rehearsed being a very friendly cat, who actually gets along well with other cats, as long as the other cats aren’t trying to mate with me or steal my territory!
Caitlyn: Well… maybe you can just be a different type of cat. Come on, we have to get into places.

And while we climbed the steps to emerge onto the stage and start the preshow section, I was trying desperately to think about how I could possibly change my cat character to justify my haggard appearance. Could my docile original cat character have just gotten into a fight… and lost? NO! My cat character would NEVER lose a fight… Could I have mange? NO! My cat character cleans herself daily! No matter which way I looked at it, it was unavoidable. I was going to have to become… AN AGGRESSIVE CAT.

The lights came up. The music started. I did my usual lick the paw and pat my ear choreography that I had planned, but now I felt stupid- I was in my head, second-guessing everything I was doing…

Angry Me: Now come on. What kind of a cat tries to clean themselves NOW?
Nervous Me: I can’t help it! My costume fell apart!
Angry Me: A LITTLE LATE FOR THAT YOU MANGY BEAST!

I stretched my arms out in a child’s pose and arched my back.

Angry Me: OH so we just woke up from a nap now, huh!? IS THE KITTY CAT TIRED!?!?!
Nervous Me: I’m just doing the choreography… the way we rehearsed…
Angry Me: Your stretching is CRAP. This entire production is CRAP, so long as YOU’RE in it! Do you even KNOW the dance?!?!

And I think it was at that moment that I realized… I really didn’t know any of the dance. I mean I knew where I was supposed to be on the stage. I knew, vaguely, where I was supposed to enter and exit. But other than that? I was screwed. I realized, in that heightened moment of self loathing and hyperventilation, that I had been relying solely on the mirrors in our studio to watch and follow the other girls. And now that we were actually on the stage without any mirrors, I literally had no idea which 8 count came where, and where I was supposed to be.

It was every performer’s nightmare. Being onstage with a costume that is falling apart, only to realize you don’t know your part. I quickly looked over at Caitlyn. Surprisingly, she was already looking right back at me. And get this- she had the EXACT same, petrified, “Oh-My-Gosh-I-Literally-Have-No-Idea-What-Comes-Next” look on her face that I did.

And I believe it was at that moment where the term “Doing it live” comes from. Most people think it’s from the internet sensation of Bill O’Riley going nuts and screaming “WE’LL DO IT LIVE” at the news crew for having a faulty teleprompter. But no. No, friends, see… “Do it live” actually started with two teenage sisters attempting to dance in a small studio’s tribute to the award winning Broadway musical “CATS.”

So there we were. On a stage. Running around, trying not to bump into anyone else, mouthing the words, but we didn’t really know the words…

Yes we’re Jellicle cats
as Jellicle, do…?
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats!
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats!
I’m a cat, And I’m Jellicle too?…

Kicking! Running! Leaping! Pivoting! Pirouetting! All a half second behind everyone else on the stage. We looked like two genuine ass holes up there. At one point I even considered just jazz running off stage and staying there until the whole thing was over… Which, now that I think about it, I SHOULD have been doing during the parts that I didn’t know… I just didn’t know when to exit and when to come back on.

The only silver lining was that Caitlyn and I had been strategically placed in the back of every formation, so that even if we messed up, we’d be mostly hidden by the other girls on stage who had attended more dance classes than we.

Now this continued on for what felt like a century. But then! Lo and behold, at one point Caitlyn and I finally realized that the part of the dance happening was the ONE part that we had been in class to learn! Suddenly we weren’t following anyone because we actually knew the choreography! And let me tell you what… those four eight counts were the most on point, committed, and memorable eight counts of the entire CATS production. Why, you ask? Well, because for those four eight counts, every dancer on the stage was doing the same movements at the exact same time. I could just see our dance instructor in the audience, beaming with pride… sure, we were a little shaky to start. But we’ve got it now! WE’VE GOT THIS!

And then, just as soon as it had started, it ended- The beautiful part of the dance that we knew was now over, and we were back to square one.

Please, I heard myself pleading with God, please let this be over soon, and I swear I’ll never miss a dance class again…

Suddenly everyone in the entire company artistically collapsed down to the floor and rolled, and Caitlyn and I were left, for a split second, staring at the audience point blank. Just standing there. Two casual cats, staring blankly at the audience. We IMMEDIATELY dove down to be on the same level as the other girls… and then, something in my brain clicked, and for one more glorious second, I realized I KNEW THE CHOREOGRAPHY! I KNEW this eight count! I knew, deep in my bones, that on count EIGHT was a move where we shot our feet out in front of us, leaned back on one arm, and stretched our other arm up to display a jazz hand. It was kind of an awkward move, where you’re hitched between your hand and your heels, sort of showing your crotch to the audience… But it didn’t matter. The awkward body suit crotch move came on count eight! AND I KNEW IT!

And so, I did it. Five, six, seven…. EIGHT!

And as my crotch was displayed proudly for the entire audience to enjoy, and my arm shot up to display a perfect, triumphant jazz hand, I realized it wasn’t the only jazz hand! Caitlyn’s triumphant jazz hand shot up, too! The only problem was…

No body else’s hands shot up. Not one other crotch that wasn’t related to mine was being displayed for the audience’s enjoyment.

Later that night after the recital ended, my mother insisted that she grab a picture of Caitlyn and I in our cat costumes. And you know what? I’m glad she did. Because at the time, the LAST thing I wanted to do at the end of my recital was put my cat costume back on. But now that she has, I get to share this photograph with the rest of the world. Enjoy.

Sole Patch, the Aggressive Cat sits proudly next to Jellicle Slutter Baum.

Sole Patch, the Aggressive Cat sits proudly next to Jellicle Slutter Baum.

 

I think our little an-jellicle faces really just say it all.

 

Would You Rather… ?

1 Mar

Sometimes when I’m bored at work, I like to make up terrifying, disturbing, and/or thoughtful hypothetical scenarios in my mind and ponder which I would rather experience. These are some of the most recent:

Would you rather be life-affectingly afraid of electrical appliances, or be allergic to paper?

Would you rather have hair as long as your arms, or arms as long as your hair?

Would you rather live in today’s time with dinosaurs and no memory of your current life, or live in the dinosaur’s time with today’s memories? (Yeah… I know.)

Would you rather drench yourself in Manwhich meat sauce and battle a pack of ravenous police dogs naked in the middle of times square, or live three months with a baby arm?

Would you rather eat with your feet for the rest of your life, or walk on your hands for the rest of your life?

Would you rather be a muggle in a world where real wizards exist, or live in a magic-free world where Harry Potter was never written? (This literally keeps me up at night.)

Would you rather lose your sense of smell and work at a flower shop, or lose your sense of touch and work at a place with a lot of bubble wrap?

Would you rather be a pirate, or date a pirate?

Would you rather become rich and famous because of something you never actually did, or do something absolutely amazing and have no one ever know about it?

Would you rather have to wear socks forever, or cry tears of pepperoni?

Would you rather run a marathon in a gorilla suit, or be sexually attracted to scissors?

Would you rather be able to see in complete darkness, or breathe underwater?

Would you rather receive a text message every single time someone in this world thinks about you, or never receive text messages from the ones you love ever again?

Would you rather go on a three year tour with Dora the Explorer LIVE! and get your equity card, or be an interactive piece of scenery on Broadway for literally no pay?

Would you rather meet the love of your life and never be able to have children, or marry someone who isn’t completely perfect for you and have kids with them?

Would you rather have your favorite celebrity/mentor/ idol treat you terribly in real life, resulting in you realizing that every good thing you ever thought about them was a lie, or get a paper cut between your toes every day until next Tuesday?

Would you rather be blindfolded while race car driving, or fly an airplane without any prior experience?

Would you rather go on a date with Andrew Garfield, or be force-fed 37 pancakes by Tina Fey? (I KNOW…)

Would you rather have Taylor Swift stuck in your head for six hours, or not eat for twelve hours? (I. KNOOOWWW!!!!)

Feel free to answer any of these questions below.

 

 

 

A Conversation With My Sister.

16 Feb

Caitlyn: Why don’t you audition for Star Wars Weekends with me? You could stand next to me so they could see our similarities.
Me: Yeah… I mean why not? It’s not like I’d have anything to lose.
Caitlyn: Exactly.
Me: But I couldn’t be Slave Leia.
Caitlyn: Probs not. They’d be like “Well… here’s the bikini from last year. Why don’t you try this on.”
Me: And I’d be all, “And here’s my cellulite from THIS year!” (Big cheesy smile and thumbs-up sign while sticking butt out)
Caitlyn: (Laughter)
Me: No seriously, who else could I possibly play, besides Jabba?
Caitlyn: Um.. Maybe you could be Zam Wesell.
Me: Who in the world is “Zam Wesell?”
Caitlyn: The bounty hunter! She’s the one who wears the sexy purple body suit, remember? She’d also wears that cloth thing that basically covers her entire face…
Me:
Caitlyn:
Me:
Caitlyn:
BOTH: BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!!
Me: Can you imagine!?
Caitlyn: Hey! At least it would cover your nose!
Me: (Imitating the audition) “Mm, yes, Caitlyn looking good as always… and… Oh? We see you brought your… sister. Carolyn, is it? Okay, Carolyn if you could… just… Yeah, take your hand… that’s right. Take your hand and just… (Puts hand over bottom half of face.) Right, yes… and now, with the other one…? (Takes the other hand and covers forehead so now all that is showing are my eyes.) Yes… hm… Steph, could we work with that?”
Caitlyn: Oh stop! She’s really sexy, she wears purple!
Me: And her entire face is covered! It’ll cover the Crow Nose!
Caitlyn: HAHAHAHA!!!
Me: Caitlyn if I didn’t get considered for something that covers my entire face I think… I think I’d probably just jump off  our balcony.

Annnnnnd for those of you who don’t know Star Wars, here is a picture of Zam Wesell. The girl I’d want (?) to play:

misc_zam8

And, here is a picture of the character I would most likely play:

Jabba_SWSB

 

105_2294Maybe I’ll just use this picture as my headshot for the audition.

These Are The Days of Our Lives

18 Dec

First off and most importantly, let me start this blog post by saying “I’m sorry for not writing more often” to the four people who I know read this blog on a daily basis… Hi Mom.

I could try to bore you with the traditional excuses of “Oh life has been so busy I’m so important to everyone I’m in such high demand I can’t possibly find the time to write because I’m so important doing important things hum hum mc hummerson” speech… but I won’t. Life has been busy, sure, but I’m not super important. I’m just poor and trying to work enough hours to pay my bills so my sister can stop feeling like a single mom. I’d also like to be able to afford a loaf of bread, orange juice, and shampoo all in one trip.

Secondly, I’d like to take this moment to let everyone know, going into this post, that I have literally no idea where it is going to go. The “title” section is completely blank. I don’t know what I’m writing. I’m kind of just making myself write something so that I can dig my way out of this dry spell ditch. I miss writing.

I guess I’ll try to fill you in with what’s been going on in my life. I guess. I don’t know. I hate writing without a purpose. I feel so lost. Like, I have no idea where I’m going or what I’m doing. It makes me feel like a naked, drunk, recently divorced woman who just lost her job to a much younger, more attractive and financially and emotionally successful woman, stumbling down the street while taking shots of tequila and chasing them with Samoas while wearing a shirt that says “Hip Hop Master” with a picture of Thumper the rabbit or something. I don’t know what any of that meant.

Anyway. So I made this new friend, and she’s a witch. It’s pretty cool because she’s a real witch. She wears the robes, takes care of the owls, sells the wands, the works. She tells me stories about the muggles who she deals with, and it’s pretty funny. Take today, for example. She told me that all she wanted to do was have a nice, quiet lunch to herself and then return to work. Sadly, that did not happen. Upon her arrival back into Hogsmeade, she was attacked by muggles.

ENTER FOREIGN MUGGLE.

Foreign Muggle: Lady!
Witch: …Yes?
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry Potter?!?
Witch:
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry POTTER!?!?!
Witch: Um… Harry Potter?
Foreign Muggle: (Nods enthusiastically)
Witch: Well, you are currently in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Foreign Muggle: (Nods even more enthusiastically at the words “Harry Potter.”)
Witch: The only place you can see Harry himself is inside the castle.
Foreign Muggle: (Confused) Cast-le?
Witch: Hogwarts. …Yes. Just, go up this path, you literally. Cannot miss it.
Foreign Muggle: ‘Arry Potter!
EXIT FOREIGN MUGGLE.

ENTER INDIAN MUGGLES.

Father Muggle: Yes! Ma’am! YOU THERE!
Witch: Hello!
Father Muggle: I AM LOOKING FOR HAMBURGERS OR PIZZA.
Witch: You… are?
Father Muggle: WHERE CAN WE FIND PIZZA OR HAMBURGERS!?
Witch: Well, the only food available in the wizarding world is at the Three Broomsticks. I’m not sure of their exact menu, but you can find it outside of the restaurant or ask that wizard right there.
Indian Muggles:
Witch: … Oooor, you could… make your way to Jurassic Park? There is a pizza and hamburger place that way? Just, go up the path towards the castle, and-

ABRUPT EXIT OF ALL INDIAN MUGGLES TO THE THREE BROOMSTICKS.

Witch: Um, okay…
(Witch attempts to return to work, when suddenly-)

ENTER AFRICAN AMERICAN MUGGLE MAN.

African American Muggle Man: WASH ROOMS! WHERE ARE THE WASH ROOMS!!?!?!
Witch: (Slightly stunned at his use of the term “wash rooms.”) Right behind me.
African American Muggle Man: OH!! Oh, THANK YOU! THANK you so MUCH!!!!!

EXIT AFRICAN AMERICAN MUGGLE MAN TO THE “WASH ROOMS.”

(The Witch tries, at this point, to walk faster, but then-)

ENTER JADED MOTHER MUGGLE.

Jaded Mother Muggle: EXCUSE ME!
Witch: Hello there!
Jaded Mother Muggle: Yeah whatever. Where is the exit?
Witch: (Looking ten feet away.) The exit is right over there, between those two giant stone pillars and the archway.
Jaded Mother Muggle: Come ON, guys!

EXIT JADED MUGGLE FAMILY.

(Witch proceeds to try to get back to work by hiding her face with her hand, almost as if covering her face will deter some of the endless questions. Where is her invisibility cloak when she needs it!? She finally gets about two feet away from the door to her destination, when suddenly-)

Disintegrating Old Man: YOU THERE!!! EXCUSE ME!!!
Witch: (Painfully turning around with a smile.) Yes?
Disintegrating Old Man: WELL now, who are YOU supposed to be!? (Animatedly waving over his reluctant muggle family of much younger muggles) GUYS! Guys come over here! Look at this!!! There’s a girl here, and she’s… well, she’s… WHO are you supposed to be?
Witch: Well… I’m a witch.
Disintegrating Old Man: ARE you?
Witch: Yes.
Disintegrating Old Man: REEEally? You don’t seem like a witch. You’re too SWEET! PAAAAAAAA HAHAHAHAAH!!!!
Witch: …Do you want a picture with me?
Disintegrating Old Man: JACOB! JACOB GET OVER HERE AND LETS TAKE A PICTURE WITH THE NICE WITCH!

ENTER JACOB THE EMBARRASSED 8 YEAR OLD MUGGLE.

Disintegrating Old Man: (Grabbing the witch around her waist.) C’mere, sweetie! (JACOB THE EMBARRASSED 8 YEAR OLD MUGGLE can audibly be heard groaning in mortification.)

The witch told me it was like a movie, these crazy people just attacking her while she attempted to cross a 7 foot path. Literally, one right after the other EXCUSE ME, YOU THERE, MA’AM! before she even knew what hit her. But she says it’s all worth it, because she loves her job in Hogsmeade. She loves helping kids find the perfect wand. She loves helping little girls adopt their new owls.  Even if it only pays her 8 muggle dollars an hour. She can deal with that.

So, other than making friends with an actual witch, my life has been pretty boring. I went out with some friends the other night to some swanky wine bar in downtown Orlando. That was really fun, until a tipsy 46 year old motorcycle driver told attempted to buy me a drink after insulting me for 5 minutes about my drink choice. It went a little like this:

Motorcycle Creep: What are you girls drinking tonight?!?!?!
Me: Well, I’m trying to decide.
Motorcycle Creep: On what?
Me: Wine, or my drink of choice.
Motorcycle Creep: (Accusatory) Which is?
Me: … Um. Whiskey. Whiskey and sprite.
Motorcycle Creep: Whiskey… and SPRITE?
Me: Yeah. I really like it.
Motorcycle Creep: (Lets out an exhale that basically says, “Wow, what a dumb young b*tch”)
Me: What?
Motorcycle Creep: We gotta get you a nice big shot of some really GOOD whiskey.
Me: I don’t want a shot.
Motorcycle Creep: Sure you do.
Me: No. Actually, I don’t. I want to enjoy a drink.
Motorcycle Creep: (Exhales again.) Sure. Okay. HEY! Bartender! Get this girl a shot!
Me: No! No, don’t, I don’t want one. Thank you. Just a whiskey and sprite.
Motorcycle Creep: (Exhales) Whiskey and sprite…
(Bartender delivers the whiskey and sprite and holds out his hand to take my card. I hand it to him before Motorcycle Creep can protest. There is another exhale of frustration when Motorcycle Creep realizes he will not be paying for my drink, nor will he be escorting me home.)
Motorcycle Creep: (Under his breath) Whatever.
Me: Excuse me?
Motorcycle Creep: (acting like he’s yelling over the music) What did you say?
Me: Did you just say something?
Motorcycle Creep: Sorry, you’ll have to speak up. I lost my hearing in this ear after a motorcycle accident.
Me: Oh. Wow. I’m… I’m so sorry about that.
Motorcycle Creep: No you’re not.
Me: … What?
Motorcycle Creep: You’re not really sorry.
Me: Yeeeeah I’m gonna go. Nice meeting you.
Motorcycle Creep: Was it?
Me: What?
Motorcycle Creep: Was it REALLY nice to meet me?
Me: Well… do you want me to be honest?
Motorcycle Creep: What?
Me: DO YOU WANT ME TO BE HONEST?
Motorcycle Creep: Sure.
Me: You’re really abrasive. It’s like, I don’t know… you’re trying to get to know me while insulting me and challenging everything I say. You’re a very closed off person and it’s unnerving. You can’t expect people to let their guard down with you if your guard is constantly up.
Motorcycle Creep: (Scowl fades. Eyes soften.)
Me: Well… I, uh… I hope you find what you’re looking for after much self-growth and understanding.

And that was that.

So, back to what I should call this blog post… Here are a few options:
1. I am still poor, I met a real witch, and I once got hit on at a bar.
2. These are the days of our lives.

…Yeah I’m not even going to go on. That’s the title.

I Legitimately Sell A Product Called “Mr. Sticky” At a Store Called “B.J.’s.”

27 Nov

I recently just starting working a second job. This is because I am a 23 year old college graduate, and apparently that’s what we’re supposed to do… like, work multiple jobs until we can afford to, you know… be alive. Basically, I’m a live infomercial girl, but I think the official title is “sales representative.” I like saying that. Before when people asked me “So, what do you do?” I would say “I’m a singer/dancer!” Then, their faces would fade a bit, and to cover up their confusion, they’d all say some rendition of “Ooohh… that must be, fun?” or “How neat! Great! Cool! So, you like… get paid to… do that?” 

Now, when someone asks me “So, what do you do?” I get to say, “I’m a sales representative for a large outsourcing company.” Now people’s faces don’t fade. Absolutely not. Now they just nod in validation. I feel important. I feel like I’m finally a part of “normal” society. I have a “normal” job. I get to wear “business casual” attire and “sensible” shoes. 

But basically what I do is go into big, classy stores like Sears, K-Mart, and… BJ’s. (I am, unfortunately, not joking about this establishment’s name… It’s basically the southern equivalent to a Sam’s Club.) I put on little 20 minute shows selling different products.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that deep down, behind this writing, I’m actually feeling sort of resentful about my please-buy-this-product-so-I-can-afford-the-expensive-kind-of-cheese-at-the-deli job. But you couldn’t be more wrong! This job actually makes me very happy. While I may not be onstage in a theme park singing a blazing rendition of “I’m Walkin’ On Sunshine” to a giant golden toilet and a mob of attention-deficit teenagers (Please see former post: I’m Walking On Gibberish… WOAH) this job still fulfills my need to perform. After all, I’m in front of people. I’m talking to them, telling them how awesome something is, and at the end of my little pitch I get instant gratification. If I did a good job, they buy the product. If they don’t, it’s not like I “don’t get the part.” That’s the beauty of this job: I already have the part. I just have to make an adjustment or something in order for my performance to be more convincing and effective.

Right now, the company has me selling a product called… “Mr. Sticky.” (I am, unfortunately, not joking about this product’s name, either.) You may have seen this on TV, you may have not. Basically, it’s a life time guaranteed lint roller, which means “never ever as long as you own this will you EVER have to buy a refill!!!!” No, but seriously guys, this thing is pretty bad ass. It literally cleans anything- cars, glass, ceiling fans, counter tops, live dogs- and it never stops being sticky. You just rinse it off with water to clean it, dry it off, and BAM- it’s right back to being sticky again. The best part about the job is that I don’t feel like Matilda’s skeezy car salesman father or anything selling this thing. It actually is a great product.

So today was my first day of training. I’m paired up with one other representative, Jenny, who is an absolute angel. She’s one of the top sellers of our area, so I’m learning from the best. The whole day I was able to watch Jenny do her pitches, take notes, and learn by observation. I’m not completely memorized on my script yet (I’m close!) and in between her pitches we’d practice on my performance.

As always, watching human beings proved to be a very insightful experience. The first pitch, I was feeling pretty nervous and out-of-place. Obviously, I was in training, so… was I supposed to act like I wasn’t associated with Jenny at all? Was I supposed to “ooh” and “ahh!” when Mr. Sticky proved to be sticky again after just one rinse? I ended up just kind of standing off to the side, not saying much, and participating only when the entire group was expected to touch Mr. Sticky or something. (Yes, I do get joy from telling people to “go ahead and touch Mr. Sticky. You know you want to.”)

I learned a lot today from watching and listening, but the most valuable thing I learned today is as follows: People. Are. Nuts.

I think that’s the major lesson I’ve learned since graduating college. Going out into the real world where you’re exposed to… everyone… you start to realize that human beings are actually insane to the membrane. And there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

For example: Our first pitch today. I stood off to the side, quietly watching Jenny go through the live infomercial presentation. I was taking mental notes when I noticed that near the back of the group, a man who quite resembled Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino was standing, arms crossed, looking like he was about to shoot someone in the kneecap with a shotgun. I wondered what on earth could be the matter… didn’t he want the free gift that we offer everyone at the beginning of every sales pitch? Was he dissatisfied with his free gift? If he was so angry, why was he still standing here? He could leave at any time…

Clint continued to look at Jenny like she was his life-long enemy. I was actually pleasantly surprised when he didn’t punch the back of the woman’s head in front of him. Jenny was nearing the end of her pitch, and still, there Clint stood, arms crossed, brow furrowed, lips curved slightly downwards in a dissatisfied grimace. I mean if I’m being honest here, he looked like a rhinoceros concentrating on fighting off a rectal infection. I was expecting Clint to throw his hands up in the air, mutter something about the filthy Japs taking over our economy, and return to browsing the chainsaw section of Sears, when Clint threw his prune-like hand up into the air.

Clint: (sandpaper voice) I’ll take three.
Jenny & I:

Then, later, a large African American woman pushed her way to the front of the counter and took full advantage of Jenny asking her to “get a front-row seat.” Throughout the entire presentation, this woman looked like Jenny was selling the world’s first flying car for 12 bucks. I’m serious. Her eyes were as big as tea saucers. Her mouth could have been an acceptable storing place for a clementine. But the most amazing this about this woman is that she was completely silent. She literally did not make a SOUND. I mean usually, people will “ooh” and “ahh!” and answer the rhetorical questions during the presentation. Oh no. Not this woman. The only thing on her body that reacted to anything Jenny said was her face.

Jenny: And the best part about Mr. Sticky is that it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which means never ever as long as you have this will you ever have to buy a refill!
Woman: (Makes a face as if someone just told her she won a million dollars in a library.)
Jenny: Look! All you do to clean it is put it in a little hot water- see that?- and all of that hair and dust and debris just falls right off, literally falls off
Woman: (Makes a face as if someone just showed offered her a ride on a real-life unicorn during the most somber moment of New York Ballet’s  production of “Swan Lake.”)
Jenny: So! You get Mr. Sticky, the Jr. Sticky, AND the GIANT STICKY all for just 29.99 today!
Woman: (Head explodes.)

I was completely positive this woman was not only going to buy a Mr. Sticky for herself, I thought she was going to buy one for everyone who she had ever been introduced to in her entire life. By the way this woman was looking at the presentation, you would have thought her day, her year, her entire LIFE had changed, all because of Mr. Sticky.

Jenny: Okay! So, I need you guys to tell me right now who wants one- you want one? You want one over there?- okay? Who else? You want one?
Woman: (COMPLETELY DEADPAN)

I AM NOT JOKING. It’s like this woman FROZE up when Jenny asked her if she wanted a Mr. Sticky. You would have thought Jenny asked, “Would you like to tickle my thighs near the employee entrance when I get off work?” with the reaction that this woman gave her. Absolutely appalled, absolutely offended, almost disgusted in a way. But I think the most interesting thing about this woman is that she didn’t leave. She was LITERALLY the last one to walk away from the booth. I mean just… just so awkward. It wasn’t even like she was standing around, debating if she wanted to spend 30 dollars on a lint roller. It was like she was sticking around (ha ha… see what I did there? Sticking around??? …sorry.)  just to give us the stink eye, after being COMPLETELY CHANGED by this lint roller’s existence.

And so, I reiterate: People. Are. Nuts.

I have to wake up early tomorrow to drive to another location that’s an hour away for day 2 of my training. I should probably go to bed. I mean, when I really think about it, my parents paid 40,000 dollars a year for me to sell a product called “Mr. Sticky” at a store called “B.J’s.” I should probably be well-rested for it.

 

 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Unemployed: My First Real-Job Interview

2 Nov

I walked into the Human Resources building at Universal Studios, thanking God that I didn’t die in a car accident on the way there.  (If you didn’t know, Florida drivers are actual psychopaths. It’s almost like you have to do the complete opposite of what would be considered “safe” on the road, and then you’ll fit in. I think it’s because there are so many tourists who don’t know where the heck they’re going, paired with a cult of bitter and resentful native Florida drivers who just want to get to work ONE TIME without any stupid tourist cutting them off. JUST ONCE! In result of this resentment, the Natives have road rage before they even get into their cars. They cut people off, tourists or not, before the people can cut them off. Both of these, when added together, result in the Obstacle Course of Death, which can also be called “driving on the road.” This Obstacle Course of Death is full of swerving and swearing, jamming on the breaks, animated choice hand gestures, and general road rage for everyone involved.)

So! Needless to say, when I pulled into my “New Applicant” parking space, I was feeling pretty victorious. Not only had no one beeped at me, but I hadn’t cut anyone off, or missed an exit, or turned the wrong way, or done anything that a native Floridian wouldn’t have done. And I hadn’t lost my life. (I still consider myself a member of Team Tourist, but only because I don’t know my way around that well yet.) It’s the small things, people.

I was wearing a knee-length pencil skirt style dress with a suit jacket. I had on the heels I wore for my senior Musical Theatre Showcase for Ball State. I felt like I was going into an audition, but I knew I wasn’t going to be asked to sing anything. I wasn’t even carrying a headshot. So that was all very confusing for me.

You see, this was my first EVER real job interview of my life. (Wait, scratch that- that was a lie. I interviewed for Applebee’s once. But that was for being a waitress.) This was like, for an actual company. I was wearing an actual suit jacket.This was actually an interview, and I was actually nervous.

Maybe it’s just me, but fellow performers, you can probably relate to this: I would rather sing 32 bars of some song and do a monologue for a room full of 500 people, than sit down one-on-one with someone who looks me dead in the eye and essentially asks me, “Why should I pick to give money to you and not the other fifty people in the waiting room?” I’m not used to defending myself. The only “defending” I do is in a call back setting, and even then it’s all through singing, dancing, and acting. At the end of the day, if I don’t get the job, I can leave and tell myself “Maybe I just wasn’t tall enough.” “Maybe I wasn’t what they were looking for.” “Maybe I shouldn’t have mixed that high C.” But after an actual real-life interview? You can’t leave and tell yourself you just weren’t tall enough, or that the girl who got the lead is probably sleeping with the SM or something. You just have to accept the fact that you weren’t good enough, end of story.

Knowing all of this, I walked into the lobby. There were two desks: a small security desk to the right, and a large desk with a saturn-esque planet looming over it in the center of the lobby.  Along the rings of the Saturn planet a sign read: “It’s a BIG Universe! Where do YOU fit in?”

I heard myself think, “I just want to get paid minimum wage to work in a gift shop.”

Security Woman: Can I help you?
Me: Uh yes, please. I have a scheduled interview appointment for 3:00.
Security Woman: Please fill out one of those little slips right there, and then take it to the big desk. Let me see your bag.
(I hand her my purse, and reach for a slip.)
Slip: WHY ARE YOU HERE? Please circle: Orientation. Second interview. Third interview.
Me: Oh no, I’m going to have to come back and do this again a second and third time? But… I don’t have another pair of sensible heels!”
Slip: Scheduled appointment time ______.
(I put an X in that box, and write 3:00 in the space.)
Me: Thank you!
(I start to walk away.)
Security Guard: Uh, ma’am? Yoo hoo! MA’AM!
Me:
Security Guard: Uh. Your purse?
Me: OH! Oh, goodness. Thank you….
Me: Keep it TOGETHER, man…

I approach the planet desk, and see that on the other side is a seating area completely FULL of human beings who look either A. nervous, B. terrified, or C. jaded. Almost like the room could be separated into two groups: Those who have never done this before in their lives, and those who have done this for 17 years straight without success. I hoped they couldn’t smell the newbie fear that was surely permeating through my pores.

Desk Lady: (incredibly calm and collected, with a voice that sounds like a cheesy Yoga instructor on one of those 90’s straight-to-VHS fitness tapes) Hhhhhello. Whhhat can I do for you today?
Me: Hello! I have an interview appointment scheduled for 3:00.
(I hand her the slip to prove this.)
Desk Lady: (calm, sweet smile, paired with a slowly extended tranquil hand.) Whhhy yes, just let me take a look here…
(She types my name into the computer system and starts to click around. For a brief moment I fear that I won’t be in the system. What if I got the wrong day? What if I’m late? What if I’m too early? What if-)
Desk Lady: (Closed lip grin with relaxed, drooping eye lids.) Ppppplease take, one of these ffffffforms. Behind me, you will ssseee…. a basket of clip boards, and… Ppppens. Fill out the form, and then…. Returrrn the clip board and ppppeeehhn. To mmmme.
Me: … Thank you.

I grab a clip board and pppppeeeeehn, and manage to weave my way through the knees of others to find an empty chair. I haven’t seen this many seated, waiting, nervous people since the DMV. And then- I hear it. The familiar dialogue. The familiar music. The shouts of “Expelliarmus!” Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix is playing in a small TV mounted in the corner of the room.

And that is the exact moment when I knew everything was going to be okay.

I wait for an hour. I see others come and go, people’s names being called, people who leave in large groups for “Day One Orientation.” (All of the unemployed hopefuls collectively shot those groups a steamy death stare.) At one point, a man in a suit came out and called for “Dominique.” At this point, two women stood up. One was a tiny twig of a shy white girl, and the other was a large, robust sassy black girl. They stared at each other for a moment, thoroughly confused. The entire room went silent. Finally, the black girl said, “Wait. Which Dominique?” After some clarification, the meek white girl disappeared to be interviewed, and the sassy black girl sat back down muttering, “This shit is whack.”

When I sat down, Harry was being seen off at platform 9 and 3/4. When I got called back to be interviewed, Harry was saying goodbye to Sirius at number 12 Grimmald Place after saving Mr. Weasly from Nagini. I was actually getting pretty emotional, watching Sirius assure Harry that he wasn’t a “bad person,” and that “The world isn’t separated into good people and Death Eaters. We all have light and dark inside of us, it’s what we choose to act on that makes us who we are…”

Voice: May I please speak with CAROLYN?
(I quickly get my emotions back in check and grab my forms and purse.)
Dominique: (muttering as I slide past her) What, she’s gets called before me? I was here first. This place, I can’t even, I mean- shoot. I’m done. I am DONE.
Me: Hello, I’m Carolyn!
Lady: Hi there, I’m Heather. Just follow me back here. Sorry about your wait!
Me: Oh, it’s not a problem!
Me: (thinking) You have all the time in the world when you’re unemployed. It’s fine.

Heather leads me back into a room divided into tiny cubicles. We slide into one of the little squares and sit down. Our knees awkwardly brush together because it’s such a close space. And so, the interview begins. I was so nervous for this moment that I spent the night before google-ing “top interview questions” and preparing my answers. I talk a lot about my time spent in King’s Island, how I was part of a “performance team” there. Everything is going pretty well. My mouth is a little dry from my nerves, but after a while I’m able to relax and just talk. Heather is a really sweet girl, and she seems to be enjoying herself as well. When she asks me why I’d like to work at Universal Studios, I say the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: Well, I mean, I’m sure you hear this all of the time, but I would absolutely LOVE to work in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am SUCH a huge fan, I’ve seen all of the movies and read all of the books multiple times. That would honestly be a dream come true.

The interview continued, asking generic questions about my previous professional experiences, etc. Finally, I felt like the interview was coming to an end.

Heather: Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is we don’t have any merchandise positions available right now. The good news is, though… that with the Holiday season coming up, we will have some openings, and I believeee… that some of those openings will be in Harry Potter World.
Me: *Actual audible gasp.*
Heather: (Smiling) Soooo… I’m going to go a head and quiz you on your Harry Potter knowledge!
Me: (Finally truly believing that dreams really do come true, even when you’re not in Disney World.) Okay!!!!
Heather: Okay. So. What is your favorite book or movie, and why?
Me: That’s easy. For the movies, I liked Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Heather: (Taking notes) And why is that?
Me: I liked how they dealt with Harry’s darker side. It’s the first time that Harry is really starting to be affected by his mental connection to Voldemort, and I feel like they showed his struggle onscreen in a very accurate way. For the books? My favorite would be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I liked how it didn’t follow the traditional format of “Harry goes to school, Harry solves a mystery, Harry comes face to face with Voldemort and defeats him.” It gave a lot of insight into Harry’s past, about who betrayed his parents, Peter Pettigrew, all of that.
Heather: Very good! Okay. So which Harry Potter character best matches your personality?
Me: (After some serious consideration) I guess I would have to say Hermione in the later novels. She’s a bit of a book worm and very driven, but at the same time she’s not a know-it-all. She helps Ron and Harry with whatever they need, and she’s very kind to others.
Heather: (still note-taking) Okayy… On a scale from one to five, five being the most, how much do you think you know about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter?
Me: Well, I don’t want to brag, but… I would probably say a 5.
Heather: Okay! Let’s skip some of the easier questions then. Let’s see… (She scrolls down) Let’s see here… okay. What is the instrument used to collect and store thoughts and memories?
Me: The penisive in Dumbledore’s office.
Heather: Very good! Lots of people don’t get that one.
Me: (thinking) How can you not know that?
Heather: Alright. What is the magazine that Luna Lovegood’s father writes for?
Me: The Quibbler.
Heather: Yes! Hm… What subjects do Hermione and Harry teach the other students, and where?
Me: They teach Defense Against the Dark Arts in the Room of Requirement.
Heather: You know, most people say they’re a 5, but they really aren’t. I’m impressed.
Me: Thank you! (thinking) Please just keep asking me questions about Harry Potter.
Heather: What publishing venue does Rita Skeeter work for?
Me: Oh. Um… gosh. That is a tough one. I know that one is in book 4…(thinking) I haven’t read that one in years. Shoot. I know it’s obviously not The Quibbler. The Inquisitor? Is that even a paper in HP world? Gah. (spoken) The Inquisitor? Man I can’t remember, it’s been so long since I’ve read that book.
Heather: The Daily Prophet.
Me: Of course!!! How could I forget that!? (Thinking) That is literally the most obvious answer. Great job, Carolyn.
Heather: Name three of the seven Horcruxes.
Me: Tom Riddle’s diary. Ummm… The ring that Dumbledore acquires. And the locket.
Heather: You are good.
Me: (thinking) Three out of seven isn’t very hard to do.
Heather: If you could have any career in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which would you choose?
Me: I think I’d like to be an Auror. Learning all of the defensive spells would be awesome. But at the same time, I love animals, so teaching Care of Magical Creatures would be wonderful, too.
Heather: Well! You did wonderfully! I will definitely pass your information along to that department. We’ll contact you in the future if any positions open up.
Me: Thank you!

I shook Heather’s hand and walked out of the door, past the nervous and jaded people in the waiting room. (Thankfully, Dominique was no where to be seen. Apparently she had finally been called back for an interview.) I opened the door and walked into the bright Florida afternoon. And you know? For a first non-sparkly job interview, I felt good. I felt confident.

If only all real-life interviews were based on a knowledge of Harry Potter… If only.