Over six weeks ago, I was at work scooping ice cream as usual. In comes this guy with his son, the latter being anywhere from ten to twelve years old. The dad’s demeanor towards his child was very militaristic in regards to his progeny’s manners. Every time the kid didn’t call me “sir,” use the words “may I” and “please,” or failed to glorify me like a king, the dad was instantly on his case muttering behind him the words the boy failed to utter. Quickly, his son made up for his transgressions by using those words he forgot to utilize. I was a little put off by this, but saw two possible explanations: 1) the father could either be a complete jerk who never tells his kids he loves them and is proud of them, or 2) his son could be a problem child, meriting the institution of these severe disciplinary actions. This guy and his wife may have very well been ready to ship their kid off to a behavioral correctional school in North Dakota, and this weekend afternoon trip to the ice cream shop was a testing ground of sorts.
Due to my slight discomfort, I wasn’t giving the most unbelievable customer service. I was cordial, but I wasn’t beaming sunshine. Regardless, the father posed a question to me right after I asked him if he’d like anything to eat. He asked if he could hire me. I wasn’t following, so I unintelligently asked, “What?” and he repeated the same thing. I told him I wasn’t sure I understood where he was coming from, so he asked for a pen and paper and said, “Call this number and tell Angie you talked to Mick,” and murmured something about how he runs a ball room dance club. Then he and his son left.
This whole situation was weird enough to tickle my sense of adventure, but not creepy enough to cause me to run and hide in a broom closet. That was on a Saturday, so I had to wait two days to call the number. On Monday, I told Angie I had “talked to Mick,” even though I really hadn’t since all I had done was serve his kid ice cream. Angie said they were looking to hire dance instructors and that Mick must have been referring to that. No prior experience was required, and she wanted to know if I would like to come in for an interview on my day off. So I did. Just for the heck of it, with no intention of wanting to work there (unless, of course, it seemed too excellent to pass up).
I put on a suit, I went there, and it was a warehouse converted into a nice, comfortable dance studio. There were several women in their forties dancing with their instructors. Mick had since forgotten who I was, but came by in mid-dance with a woman to re-introduce himself and said, “The best thing about this job, Nelson, is how you get to dance with all these beautiful women.” I sat there and thought, “Did you really just try to sell this job to me that way?”
After filling out an application that asked very little about my personal information, I met with Angie. Pretty early on in the interview I began to get the vibe that the dance studio was somewhat desperate for instructors. But I sat through the entire thing anyway, and Angie proceeded to do her absolute best to sell the job to me . . . by pulling wool over my eyes.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to not laugh out loud in people’s faces. I’m proud to say this interview was not a failure in that endeavor. While Angie continued to give me ridiculous after ludicrous pieces of alluring information about the job, I maintained a peculiar countenance’s blend of stoicism and keen interest. Angie painted a picture of how this job was, well, you know really quite glamorous—very akin to the life of the movie stars. ‘Cause, I mean, you know, they go to dance competitions in Miami Beach and stay in these superb hotels, and it’s just, well, wonderful.
I balked inwardly at that equestrian carrot. Glamorous? Movie star lifestyle? Who did she think she was kidding? At that very moment, I was sitting in a converted warehouse. Where was the pizzazz? But she had more.
Angie went on to mention how this job was also a great education in sales (I think she was trying to tie a connector to my current job of selling ice cream and how the dance studio was a better business environment). She was so confident in this aspect of being a dance instructor, that she said, “I mean, after a few months here, it’s practically the same as getting your MBA.”
This was when I almost coughed up both lungs and approximately seven ounces of mucus onto her desk, but I kept myself from laughing. Soon after, we shook hands, and I left to enjoy the rest of my day off.
This was the second job interview now where I firmly believe the people interviewing me had to think I was a certifiable idiot and would just buy into anything they said. At first I was kind of annoyed by it because they could see quite easily on the job application that I had a bachelor’s degree, but then I had to stop and think and realize how it’s really not that hard at all to pass your undergraduate studies. Anyone can do it. Rather dumb people do it all the time, so having your bachelor’s really doesn’t say anything about your intellect.
But I mean, really? Movie star lifestyle? Glamour? A veritable MBA received just through teaching people how to dance? And Angie also mentioned how it was a very solid-paying job. Did she think I was clueless that it was a commission position (which she cleverly never referenced)? I’m rather tired of people thinking I’m unable to think on their level just because I’m young. The entire time I was sitting across from Angie I wanted to scream, “Girl, this is pitiful. You’re like polished glass. I know what you’re doing.”
I told them I’d call them by the end of the week. As I’m typing this, I just now realized I forgot to do that. That was six weeks ago. I don’t know whether to feel bad or not. In the meantime, I will stay perfectly content with my white boy dance moves, which I expertly displayed at a wedding last weekend. Nobody can dance to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” like I can.