The bus plodded along the street as the grey sky of winter cast a shadow over the snow. Slowly I watched the familiar parts of the city become the unfamiliar. Comfy houses with tidy, snowy yards passed by and were replaced with patches of sad, neglected, run-down homes. The combination of job interview anxiety and lying to my work made me squirm in my seat.
The bus dropped me off in a secret little industrial pocket of the city and I looked around at the low buildings with their many units. There was no sidewalk, so I walked along the street, sliding over to the icy islands when a car passed by. Fifteen minutes later I stood in front of the correct address —Unit 11. Taking a breath and pulling my shoulders back, I opened the glass door.
In the quiet lobby a young woman dressed in casual black slacks and a purple sweater greeted me. She took my name, gestured towards the chairs in the corner, and walked down the hallway.
I sat and waited, legs crossed, ignoring the “Psst! Yoo-hoo! remember me?” whisper of my bladder.
A few moments later she returned and said, “follow me, please”. We walked down the corridor, passing by an empty office and stopped in front of an open door. The woman told me to go in. The small, windowless office had two metal file cabinets, a fake walnut desk, and a couple of office chairs. A clean-shaven man in his mid-30s’ stood up from behind the desk, shook my hand, and told me to have a seat.
I clutched my purse in my lap and sat in the chair across from him. He ran a hand through his brown hair, pulled his chair closer and sat down. For a couple of minutes, we sat in silence while he skimmed over my resume. So far the interview was typical except for a one small detail.
Standing in a row, proudly upright on his desk, directly in front of me were six bubble-gum pink dildos in a variety of sizes. His “adult products” comment during our vague telephone conversation suddenly made sense.
We started to discuss sales, clients, and business growth. I shifted in my chair and tried not to stare at the rubber penises on his desk. But I knew they were watching me—six bright pink eyes— all sizing me up, leaning over trying to get a better look.
He told me the company did two trade shows a year: one was in Los Angeles and the other in Berlin. At the mention of Berlin, he snickered, and said, “Berlin is the capital of S&M, you wouldn’t be working that trade show for a while.”
He then handed me one of the “average size” dildos. As he gave me the sales pitch on the life-like texture, colour and durability, I manipulated it back and forth. Shaking it and whacking the base like a bottle of Snapple. When I placed it back on the desk with the other five, it twisted itself around, so once again all eyes were on me.
We moved on to the next product—their best seller.
It was called the Bunny. It was a two-part device. One piece was a funny-looking, oval-shaped item and the other was a button that you pressed to activate it. It made a humming noise.
He told me the Bunny was designed for couples that were away from each other. As he explained the workings of the toy, all I could think was what would happen if something went haywire and wires were crossed? You could wind up on the same wavelength as your unemployed neighbour and his television remote or your partner could open any garage door.
So many frightening thoughts.
Before the interview wrapped up, it got a bit more personal. He told me about his growing family and I told him about being a single mom with three children. Then he leaned back in his chair, smiled, and offered me the job. “I like you,” he said. “You can sell. The clients will like you. And by the way you handled that dildo, you’re obviously not a prude.” He gave me a couple of days to think about it.
On the bus ride home, I slid down in my seat, pulled my hat down low, and avoided making eye contact with anyone.
That evening when my kids were settled for the night, I sat at the table with a glass of wine and went through my list of pros and cons.
Definitely more money.
I’d have my own office and wouldn’t be on my feet all day.
I’d certainly meet some very different people.
Christmas would be interesting, everyone getting “those” presents wrapped in plain brown wrap.
How would I explain to my kids what their mum does for a living?
And what about “Take your Child to Work Day”?
I took a large gulp of wine, read over the list again and let my head slump to the table.
Decades of working in a variety of fields led to a pursuit of a writer’s life. Peggy has a knack for writing cover copy for romance novels and a love of vintage VW’s. With her eye on the Golden Pie Server trophy her spare time is spent training for the family’s annual Pie baking competition. Last year she placed third...there were three entries.