Saturday, February 25, 2012

Then and Now 30 - Hospital Crash

Then and Now 30 - Hospital Crash
Time: Mid-2007, single and at the hostel.

My first job interview couldn't have gone better. After emailing an application to a very large language school, I checked the hostel computer and found that I had been accepted for an interview. A day or two later, I quickly and happily headed out to an office building where the language school was headquartered. I went up a few floors and waited in the lobby until a foreign girl came by to see me.

The interview was spectacular. I was confident, clearly experienced, funny and all-around ready to take this job, and by her interested reactions, I was looking at a very impressed interviewer... or at least, a very good actor. The most difficult question she asked was having me tell her of some great trouble I had overcome. I told her that in my youth, I had Social Anxiety Disorder (as soft a euphemism for "suicidally depressed, lazy and self-destructive" as I could think of), but that I had turned everything around several years prior.

She made a note on my application, and I got a bit nervous, thinking that the person who reviewed it would think I was still shy around people, and around my future students. I very, very politely asked her if she could make a note that I cured my problem, and she smiled and said, "Of course! I already did it. But I'll underline and circle it, if you want." I laughed and said that would be great. We shook hands, then I went back to the hostel to drop some papers off... then went right back out to adventure a bit.

A few days later, I got an email saying I was accepted, and that all I had to do was choose from of a handful of cities and positions that I wanted to work in. Truth be told, I was nervous. This was the second school that had offered me a job, and knowing that I had a choice between several positions in several cities, all I could think of was, "What if I pick the wrong job or place? What if the students at the place I choose are out of control? What if the money there is bad? What if the best girl in the world is in city four, but I take the job in city two?"

I relayed my fears to Ken that night, and being the awesome guy he is, he just told me to relax and go with whichever job I thought was best for me. He said that things just had a way of working out, and all I had to do was make a decision, and let things happen as they should. With that excellent advice in mind, I decided to do a little recon and compare what the different cities were like. I had already seen the area for my first job possibility, so I went out to one of the couple of cities that this company had planned for me, one that I had a good feeling about.

I called up the branch there and let them know I wanted to come over and look around, but some irritated guy on the phone berated me for wanting to visit without making an appointment. I apologized, politely refused an offer to make an appointment, then said goodbye and hung up. It all seemed a little blown out of proportion to me. After all, I just wanted to shake a couple of hands and look around a bit; I didn't need a guided tour. In all honesty, I was starting to feel a bit soured on the whole "cog in the corporate language school" idea, and started to lean towards finding a school which was smaller and more family-like. I ended up finding that school a week later, but I'll get to that story another day.

Anyway, I went to check out the city that day. I knew it couldn't hurt to look around a bit, because even if I didn't take the job or need to scout, at least I would have a fun trip. The bus arrived at a hospital, and I got off to look around outside. It was an excellent place: outside of the front doors, there was a large park complete with a pond, trees and benches where patients could go outside and relax. I walked around and took pictures while I circled the pond, and I found quite a few excellent scenes with the hospital rising behind and above the treeline, and the pond in the foreground. After that, I picked a random road outside the hospital and started walking up it to see more of this possible future city of mine.

There were almost no buildings where I went. On my left, the mountains rose slightly up, and there were thick and impressive trees obscuring any view behind them. To my right, the mountain gently sloped down into a valley that was overcome with brush, with a couple of residential houses dotted around here and there. I walked up the wide road for only a few minutes when I saw a small gathering of people at the side.

They were all surrounding an old woman who had been hit by a car and thrown off her bike. I didn't hear any of this happen, but I arrived just as one of the men was helping the woman hobble to the curb to wait for an ambulance. I was over in a flash, gently put her other arm over my shoulder, and helped the man get her to a good place to sit. She was so in shock that she couldn't say or do anything. I waited there with everybody until an ambulance pulled up, then I nodded and smiled reassuringly at the unresponsive woman before I continued my walk. Just a bit later, a cute local girl from a convenience store just up the road, who had seen the whole thing, came out of the store at my approach. She smiled broadly at me and waved, and I did the same before I continued on.

The mountain on my left and the valley on my right didn't change for the whole half an hour or so I walked up that road; they were still as picturesque as ever. Eventually, the road ended in a T-intersection, where the road I was traveling on was stopped by a large hedge that I couldn't see through. I think I had seen enough of this area, so I headed back to the hospital.

I went downstairs to one of the little restaurants to get something to eat, and while I was down there, I saw two local college kids, a guy and a cute girl, talking at one of the tables. When the girl, Elaine, saw me, I smiled, she waved back, and I came over to introduce myself to her and her friend, Jack. We ate together while I asked questions about them to break the ice, and I found out a little about their studies in college, but I don't remember any of the details.

Their bus was arriving soon, and it was the same one I was going to take back to the main city, so we all got on together. We talked for a good hour, Jack and I standing while Elaine sat, and I flit back and forth between them to keep them both entertained. Eventually, Elaine's stop came up, and I exchanged e-mail addresses with both her and Jack. He and I said goodbye to her, then when she was gone and I was alone with him, I could tell he was looking a bit nervous.

I smiled. "Do you like her?" I asked. "Are you dating?"

He nodded. "Yeah, I want to," he answered.

I raised my hands slightly in mock surrender. "Don't worry at all," I said. "I'm just making friends, and I'm not going to get between the two of you. I promise."

He looked a bit relieved, thanked me, then started to open up a little more as the bus continued on. And when my stop came up, I got off and said goodbye. I kept in contact with them for a week or two, and though they eventually stopped emailing me, I still felt happy getting to know them. I didn't end up taking the job in that city, but it was a great trip.

As for today...

I woke up at 5:00.
I played video games.
My wife and son woke up, so I turned off the computer.
I ate lunch.
I watched TV.
My wife went to work.
I played video games.
I played cars with my son.
I roughhoused with him.
I watched internet movies with him.
I took him to the arcade, then we went home.
I watched TV.
I went out to tutor students.
I came home.
I cleaned up the floor and table.
I folded and put away dry clothes.
I played video games.
I slept.

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