I'm in the back of a jet, flying as a passenger to a city in La Belle Province, where I'll meet a potential employer. We got along well on the telephone. I know I have experience he can use, and his operation goes to places I'd like to see. I want to know that it's safe and that I'll fit in with what sounds like a testosterone-charged crowd. He says to call when I get in, but that we'll meet tomorrow. And yes, I still have that friend visiting me. Social events are sort of like laundry in aviation: put a load in the washer or have someone over and you will get called out to fly somewhere. There's food in the fridge and I left her with my home and my car, and explicit permission to drive it wherever she likes. She drove me to the airport and assured me without prompting that she would take good care of it, and not give my car a reputation for being driven rudely. I feel like I've matured a notch, because I'm relaxed about it. I was never good at sharing my crayons.
The airplane has seat-back TVs and I'm watching a show called something like Take This House and Sell It, in which the experts come into someone's house and make it more marketable for a quick sale. The featured house looks pretty good to me, not to cluttered, interiors nicely painted in warm colours. The furniture is a little worn, but not a difficult-to-show house. Then the team come in, rolling their eyes and snickering at the cinnamon-coloured walls, a nude painting in the living room (you can see one female nipple), and what they call disastrous kitchen cupboards. "Is there some story behind that?" they ask the homeowner about the painting. They had the restraint to check their mockery slightly when informed that a niece had painted it, but it still had to go. They repainted the walls white, hauled off most of the furniture, and replaced the doors on the kitchen cabinets with ones that didn't really look better to me. I knew why it all had to be done, but I disagreed. I didn't get to see what else they did, or whether the house sold immediately at the asking price, as we landed and I headed out with my gear.
I called the prospective employer to tell him I've landed and he says he'll come by. So I'm standing on the curb, with my stuff, dressed in the manner of my occupation, waiting to get into a vehicle with a guy I don't know, so he can take me to a hotel. Is there anyone who is not a prostitute who has done this so many times they couldn't say how many? It's a part of my job. I have a moment of realization that seeing as this meeting was set up through my blog, it could be a kidnapping. Sure I've looked at the company website, but did I check with Transport Canada that the company even owns those planes? It could be a fake website. Or a real company but how do I know the guy is who he says he is? And I've just stepped off an airplane with no checked luggage so I'm totally unarmed.
Someone in this conversation with myself watches too much Law & Order. The truck he described arrives, we thrown my bag in the back and go to the hotel. He has a couple of company manuals for me to look over and we set a meet time tomorrow morning. He asks about the flight, and right there I make a decision that just as I'm not selling my body on streetcorners, I'm not a house to be renovated either. You get me or nothing. I tell him about the decorating show, and that it's just like interviewing for an airline job, really. You have to whitewash over all your colourful spots, hide anything about you that is different or quirky in the garage, and replace some perfectly functional opinions with the ones designated for you. I tell him about the airline interview prep course where they told me what my hobbies should be, because mine weren't correct. I let him know that I am structurally sound, well-maintained and in a good neighbourhood, but that I just might have cinnamon walls. I'm not such a rebel that I'm not willing to put a couple of coats of paint on my personality to hold a good job, but I'm going to let you know what's underneath.
Some of you readers probably think I'm an incredible idiot for this. But it's worth rather a lot to me not to lie about who I am. And I've judged him correctly. He doesn't need that.
The hotel is comfortable, and across the parking lot from a Thai restaurant, which turns out to be mostly a Chinese restaurant, with some Thai dishes. There is adequate but not amazing food and friendly service. I saved my fortune cookie fortune to share with you, and moments ago I swear it was on this table, but now I can't find it. I think it said, "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance" on one side and something like "Un coeur joyeux rend le visage serein" (the same thing in French) on the other. I initially assumed it was something they made up in fortune cookie factories, but a bit of research shows that it's a bible quotation, and really only half of the message. It finishes "... but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." It's probably not even the original source of the 'positive thinking' message but it's notable that it doesn't promise success from positivity or even threaten failure from negativity, just states that if you feel good you're going to smile and that it's hard to fight on when you're sad. It might as well say, "A good night's sleep makes you rested." I try for that.