It all started when my pants fell down.
I think it was bending over that did it. I heard a sickening rrrippp and my belt was in two pieces. At least I was in my office at work this time. The last time this happened to me, I was entering a courthouse. This was many years ago, when I lived in New England. After I emptied my pockets, the security guard insisted it was my belt that was setting off the metal detector. Removing my belt as instructed, I found myself standing in the courthouse lobby in my skivvies.
This time, however, I simply picked up the phone, told my lead worker I was running home for a bit, and headed out the door, holding up my pants with one hand. I would simply switch belts and head back to work. Arriving at home, however, I found no sign of my other belt. I had forgotten that it had already been packed up and moved. We are in the process of moving from southern California to northern California, and the box in question had already been moved 600 miles up the I-5.
My wife and I drove over to K-Mart to get me a new belt. I stayed in the car rather than walking the aisles holding my pants up with one hand. I put on the new belt as best I could in the parking lot, hoping no children or cops walked by.
Within two days, it became apparent that the new belt was a piece of junk. About half of it had shredded, pieces coming off in my hand when I put it on or took it off. Back we went to K-Mart that evening in pursuit of yet another belt.
It was late in the evening, almost closing time, and we noticed an apparently homeless dog walking back and forth in front of the store entrance. It was a beautiful pit bull mix, and we were appalled that someone had abandoned it. We keep plenty of bottled water in the car, so we planned to give the poor cur a drink. In our 100+ degree heat, it must have been parched. Just then, we saw a man approach the dog with a fast food hamburger. We handed him the bottle of water. We were truly heartened to witness the act of a good samaritan. We noticed he had a bit of trouble getting to the dog, as it had begun wandering about the parking lot, following anyone exiting or entering the store. It was as if the dog were begging someone to take it home. This tugged at our heartstrings. There are so many abandoned dogs and cats in our community. We just hoped this one wouldn’t end up being run over by a car, abused by miscreants or suffer from exposure to the searing heat.
But I digress. My newest belt had issues of its own. As the waist has been taken in on all my pants, the belt loops have been altered. Thus, the only way I can get this wide belt on is to drag it through the loops before I step into the pants. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to squeeze the belt through the loops in the back while I twist myself into a pretzel.
I thought I had learned to deal with this state of affairs fairly well, that is until the day of the big interview. Arriving 15 minutes early, I emptied my pockets and stepped through the metal detector. Beep! “Remove your belt,” the guard ordered. I groaned. Deja-vu!
I pulled off the belt and raised my pant cuffs to show that I didn’t have a pistol stuck in my sock. Here I go hobbling down the hallway in search of a rest room, holding my belt and padfolio in one hand while holding up my pants with the other. Ensconced in a bathroom stall, I removed my shoes, removed my pants, forced my belt through the loops, put my pants back on, put my shoes back on. By now, of course, I was late for my appointment.
My morning consisted of traipsing about the building, meeting with supervisors and staff in each department. The first supervisor came to fetch me from the HR Department. “Our one and only elevator just broke down a few days ago,” she informed me. The building has three floors. Her department was on the top floor. I have bad knees, one bad hip and a bad back. I begged her patience as I struggled up two flights of stairs, one painful step at a time.
“What do you do for ADA compliance?” I asked. “Like for customers in wheelchairs?”
“That’s an issue right now,” she replied.
After pulling myself up and down to the various departments, I was told to come back in three hours. I had drawn the last interview of the day. Donna and I went to lunch, drove around a bit to check out the town, killed some time buying presents for our little grandniece and took a little nap in the car.
Finally, it was time to go back in for my interview. I go through the metal detector again. Beep! “Remove your belt,” I am ordered.
“But we already went through this earlier” I protested. “Do I really have to do it again? ” I whined.
“Once you exit the building, you have to do it again,” I am informed brusquely. Off with the belt again. This time, I had Donna with me. Holding up my pants with one hand, I walk down the hall to just outside the HR Department, where Donna is kind enough to force the belt through the loops as I turn around and around.
It was a fairly standard panel interview. My four inquisitors went down their list of questions, then I had a turn to ask a few. My allergies were just killing me, so I punctuated my answers with coughing, taking sips of water and using my handkerchief to wipe at the snot running down my face.
At the end of the interview, I was asked to wait in the HR Department with the other candidates while it was decided who would be asked to stay for a second round of interviews.
In the HR lounge, one of the orher candidates recognized me. I was her supervisor years ago, when I worked the graveyard shift and she was an undergrad trying to pay her way through college. Small world indeed.
Less than ten minutes had gone by when the CEO came out to inform the waiting candidates that there would be no second interviews after all. It appears there had been a change of circumstances. They had just learned that there wouldn’t be any funding available to pay for the position. Perhaps funding would become available closer to the end of the year. He would keep us informed. Wah-wah-wahhh…
So, in summary, the time and money spent on this 1,200 mile trip was all for naught. A big ol’ waste for a big heap of nothing.
The moral of the story is this: I should have done the right thing to begin with by turning down the interview to spend Rosh Hashannah with my parents.