The vending machine guy, unsure of what I liked, just brought me chewy fruit snacks and a bag of M&M’s.
“You smiled at him, didn’t you.” Asked my supervisor.
Maybe. My smile, when properly applied, is the moneymaker. I know my strengths.
Plus, it’s my job. I sit here and I smile at people. Sometimes I say stuff like, “good lord your hair is magnificent” or “does this company employ every New Zealand ex-pat, you people are everywhere.”
But most often: “have a nice day”. I got to say that last one in my expensively acquired foreign language of choice earlier today when it turned out that a guest named Alessandro spoke a thumb and pointer finger squished together amount of English. And dad thought that Italian would be worthless, boo-yah!
I arrived early this morning. So early in fact, that I scored a killer parking space right in front. I can see the (lack of) tread on the tires from where I’m seated, third car in. I can also watch the rain not wash off a mysterious black ribbon of goo decorating one of the back doors.
While wondering how fast I could run in these heels on slick terrain under rain-fire and giving silent thanks for having gotten such an amazing parking space on monsoon day, a gentleman with an enormous golf umbrella and wearing the most expensive suit I’ve ever seen blew into the building.
“Do we have any customers here today?” He had the kind of authoritative voice that leaves no room for hesitation or incompetence. Hopelessly intimidated, I managed to shrug at him after a second.
“Because customer parking is full,” he gestered to the front of the building and waggled his fingers towards my car “we’ve got some naughty employees, but I’ll fix them!”
His suit was a dark blue pinstripe double-breasted number and his hair was uber gelled and wooshed back. He looked and sounded like a reasonable interpretation of “fixing” might be to club people on the back of the head, shove them in a trunk and drive them to the Pine Barrens.
“Where exactly is the customer parking?”
“Right out front, right there!” Again he gestered towards my car. And then he disappeared into the building, having not provided a definitive answer.
In approximately as long a sit would take a guy moving at pinstripe man’s speed to reach his desk and pick up the phone, the security guy burst through the double doors and ran out into the parking lot with a wad of yellow slips.
“Off to look for some vi-o-la-tors!” he shouted & followed that up with an evil cackle that continued out into the parking lot. When he returned, I asked him wtf.
“I’m wired into the DMV” he tells me, “I write down the license plates of everyone who’s parked in customer, run them through DMV and cross-check to see if they’re employees here.”
‘And if they are?”
‘World of hurt, little lady. World. Of. Hurt.”
Technically, I’m not employed here and I’m pretty sure this dude doesn’t know my last name. Plus there’s no yellow slip on my car. But I’ll have to keep an eye on Pinstripe man, he gets the job done.
Pinstripe guy left early today and I asked a lobby groupie to identify him for me. Turns out he’s a pretty big shot. With a fantastic name that I really wish I could share here but there would probably be dire ramifications.
It also turns out that customer parking is flush against the building and that I am in a safe zone. Security guy gave me the run down of where to and where not to park. This intel made my day. Shortly after, a manager walked up and told me that I was perfect for this post because I have a beautiful smile and managed not to sound creepy while saying it. Can’t wipe it from my face, now.
One more week of easy living and then it’s back to hoping and dreaming and planning and wishing. I’ve been paying attention to the news. Unemployment this, poverty that. But things seem to be waking up. Within hours of accepting this temporary position, three more offers rolled in that would’ve paid significantly more (but, that also would have involved real work, hmm…). Interviews are lining up and these guys will let me take off for them. I asked.
Free M&M’s, great parking, manicuring my nails all day and getting paid to sit and smile. Living the dream, people.