Monday, March 22, 2004

Beware the Ides of March!

This month has been a bewildering test of my resolve as a human being. Although the sky hasn't come tumbling down per se, I'm being judged on every front in my existence and it ain't pleasant. March has been full of job interviews and first dates interspersed with bouts of drinking and chronic blazing.

You might ask why I'm telling you this, or even what relevance my sordid tales might bring to your life? Well, first of all, I guess this is a sort of open letter to all my critics and interviewers. It's also an exercise in ego-massage and self-adulation. Also, we mustn't forget that I haven't been updating this site as often as I used to in the months gone by, so perhaps you might accept this as a half-assed excuse of sorts? If nothing else, then consider this a sort of reality television in text form (Fear of Being Alone Factor? Human Resources Survivor?).

The first crushing defeat came when I did an interview with the National Bank of Canada for a Customer Service Representative position. It looked quite appealing; great hours (30 H a week @ $13 per hour); a job that could potentially be less mind numbing than my time @ RadioShack; also, the National Bank is a great big monolith that you can just climb on top of and put your arms around. Even for lefties like myself, a large company can offer a sense of security and also a certain level of anonymity (and less supervision, because the place would be a maze of cubicles with one manager every 20 or 30 feet, instead of a cramped little office where the manager carries a bullwhip).

When I did the interview, I knew right from the start that something was awry. When the lady asked me if I would like to be questioned in English, I accepted. Then, she said that she couldn't speak English and that she would have someone else call me back. I relented and said "No problem, let's just do the interview in French." Collossal mistake. As soon as she began to fire off the Inquisition-like barrage of questions in a Pur-Laine Qu├ębecoise accent, I realized that I had blundered. At the end of the interview, after I successfully avoided most of the trouble spots, she informed me that my accent wasn't French enough. Then, she thanked me for my time.

I also did another rendezvous with a local computer hardware/software vendor. I won't bother to give them the honour of naming them because they're really just a glorified bunch of telemarket bottom-feeders that spend every waking hour trying to nuzzle at the corporate teat. (Sour grapes are tasty, almost as much as humble pie). Suffice it to say that I slept about three hours the night before the interview and left their offices with an awful taste in my mouth (it may have been blood, or just bile).

And now, for something completely different, what about the whole dating thing? I'll spare you the tragic details of my love life because I don't think it will encourage you to smile or even to giggle. In terms of entertainment value, the last couple of weeks rank right up there with an art film about lead paint drying on some bohemian's living room wall. Suffice it to say that I've been striking out more than the New York Mets. I'm thinking of just focusing on getting back to school and joining some sort of Buddhist convent until then, or maybe I'll just try and learn how to reproduce Asexually, like a flower or a single-cell organism.

I did find a couple of interesting sites in March. For you loveless souls out there, visit OkCupid.com. It is a free site for meeting people and a great place to express yourself. Whether you're just looking for a penpal or even the mate of your dreams, OkCupid is an exciting, vibrant community with thousands (millions?) of members.

The crafty bunch who designed TheSpark.com are responsible for this match site. Don't be discouraged by the negative connotations of visiting a "singles site". It is many things but definately not a meat market. OkCupid is far more intuitive and less glaring than the competitors, plus it's free so if you're not happy, you get your money back ($0). Also, they question you on all sorts of random topics and then match you to people who agree with your values (or who don't depending on what personality type you turn out to be!). Trust me. It sure beats hanging around grimey bars waiting for Ms. Right to saunter in and ask you about the poem you're scribbling on a tablecloth.

The other site that caught my attention was NationStates. It is a real-time nation simulator that allows you to make your own country and to set it's laws and rules. Then, each day, they feed you a couple of new issues and allow you to decide which decisions are morally (or pragmatically) correct. The fun part is that your nation (mine is called Caanibus!) will constantly change depending on how your legislative decisions. As you can see, my nation has a weak economy but Astounding Civil rights. (Maybe I really should get out more!)

Another sign that I'm losing it came on Saturday, when I watched "Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind". It brought me to tears, not the sobbing kind but the weepy-eyed silent teardop kind. I know that Charlie Kaufman is a great screenwriter (Being John Malkovitch, Adaptation, etc.) but who knew that Jim Carrey could be so good in a serious role? In this movie, he reigns in his usually exuberant personality and dredges up some real emotion. When he cries on the screen, you almost feel you shouldn't be watching because you're violating his privacy. Even Kate Winslet put in a great effort.

Friday night was even more bizarre than Saturday. A cryptic combination of alcohol, smoke, and other pizza ingredients resulted in me freaking out at Bar Sapphir. I was most frightened when I met Bon Jovi (It wasn't him but I could have sworn...) and you can imagine my concern when the bartender lit the countertop on fire with lighter fluid. Now, I'm just waiting for Spring and hoping that this March month will finish it's one finger salute and pass me for good. Long live summer and let us hope that we all find a month we can live with.

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