The phone call started out simply enough ‘I’d like to start by saying thanks for coming in for the job interview last Wednesday’…yep, I muttered as I realised a little too late that another chocolate bar had melted in my handbag ‘but unfortunately you didn’t get the job’ they continued – shit, my entire train pass was covered in Mars Bar – (note to self: start diet tomorrow). I went to hang up, but the caller continued ‘it’s not to say your CV wasn’t impressive, and your presentation was impeccable with the exception of your shoes’ – excuse me? My shoes? ‘yes’, she continued –’they were wet.’ Of course they were wet I thought, I mean it was torrential rain outside that day, and short of a valet carrying me inside or gracious men covering the wet pavement with their coats, my goddam shoes were going to get wet.
I muttered my thanks and went again to hang up, when –’and there’s something else’ – oh fine I thought as I forced myself on the train and barely managed to escape the clutches of some sweaty man who was going around declaring himself a patron of women’s hair (but I love da blondes he muttered as he stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out a clump of blonde hair) – ‘it’s just, you lacked that certain something, that special quality that it takes to be – (a what? A glorified typist? Please….), that little something extra we were looking for, basically at the end of the day you weren’t well special enough.’ And with that she hung up.
As if on cue my mother called –’ok, pay up – I knew you wouldn’t get it.’ She was right and supportive but to be honest I wasn’t really surprised I didn’t get the job, it was more the comment about not being special enough – like was she saying ‘special’ in the retarded sense? Or special in the way that we’re led to believe we all are, and then I realised it, for the first time in my life I was being called average – sure I’d been called lots of things, but average – nup, not one, and that I idea was so distracting that I didn’t even realise I’d boarded a train in the wrong direction, an express train in the wrong direction and everything suddenly smelled of urine!
Turning to my left I noticed a women squatting in the corner relieving herself – as one does on public transport. Suddenly a firm tap on my shoulder drew me from my dazed state and a tight-lipped older woman accosted me from behind – she started going on about how she’d over heard my conversation and she just wanted me to know that all the Chinese were special, she’d lived there for 2 years and sure we all looked the same, but we were all special, and how dare someone say I wasn’t special when you could tell by my shoes that I struggled to come to this country and make something of myself. All I could think while she continued to ramble on about how she ran a refugee support group, was how much I hated express trains to fucking no where and more importantly how do I break it to this women that after spending 2 years in China she was still at a loss to spot the difference between a Chinese person and someone of Irish/Spanish decent.
So I thanked her for her sentiment and she grinned a cheeky smile adding that my English wasn’t half bad – I thought it best not to mention I had a Masters in that very subject and with that I flung myself from the train and onto the tracks below.