“The faint rumbling in the distance brings my hope up for a second, when I realize it is the R. The one positive thing about missing the train to the biggest job interview of your life so far in 97 degree weather is the gratifying gust of warm air from the wrong train. I fan myself with my hands, like that’s going to do anything. In that moment I make a decision. I’m taking a cab.”
It is hot. Very hot. I can feel my legs sticking together under the tight, unbearably itchy skirt I bought at a vintage shop for four dollars. I feel beads of sweat in my hairline about to make its grand appearance. The faint rumbling in the distance brings my hope up for a second, when I realize it is the R. The one positive thing about missing the train to the biggest job interview of your life so far in 97 degree weather is the gratifying gust of warm air from the wrong train. I fan myself with my hands, like that’s going to do anything. In that moment I make a decision. I’m taking a cab.
As I walk up to street level the loud sound of honking of New York makes me want to break down and cry. Can you just stop honking for one second? Sometimes I just wish that everything would just freeze. That way I could get to my interview and everything would be fine and dandy. But that’s not how life works.
I stand on the curb and flail my hand rapidly. Thankfully, a cab pulls over. I hop in so fast, you could mistake me for the flash if you squinted. I pull out my black heels and slide them on in replacement of my sneakers. I yell at the driver to take me to my location.
“Broadway and 50th please!” The man gives me a thumbs up.
Once I’m in the car and buckled up I feel a sense of relief. Lucky for me, there is air conditioning and mild traffic, so I’ll probably be there on time. I sit back and take a few breaths. In and out. Ok, game time. I pull out my laptop and open the website for the graphic art company, Art Touch NYC. I watch the company’s introductory video for the 100th time. At this point I basically have the 45 second video memorized. Next, I open YouTube to a video titled “how to ace that interview! Tips from a pro”
I’m about to watch it when I hear a voice coming from the front of the cab.
“So why so stressed sweetheart?” the man says.
“Job interview,” I say and do that smile that you do to strangers on the street that is also used to signal that you don’t want to make a conversation with the creepy old taxi driver that just called you sweetheart. Gross.
Instead of taking my signal of the fake smile and me starting my job interview video again, he keeps talking.
“What kinda position?”
“I’m interviewing for a graphic design job. My job will be an assistant client agent. At least that’s what the job title is called. I will basically assist and learn from the head of that branch,” I say in a quick and monotone voice. That was a sort of close ended answer, so I’m really hoping he stops talking and lets me touch up my makeup.
“Is this your first job? I’ve always had a sense for when people are stressed out. Or maybe it’s because your face is all twisted and you are so extremely frustrated with the task of untangling your ear buds,” he says, looking in the rear view mirror. He chuckles.
There is something sort of therapeutic about his voice, but I was not in the mental state to be having small talk with my taxi driver.
“I’m Eddie by the way”
“Isabel,” I respond.
“Oh Isabel! What a beautiful name. You know, that’s my granddaughter’s name. She’s the sweetest girl. I think you would love her. She’s 16.”
“Cool. My younger sister is 16 also. Her name is Rebecca,” I say, almost forgetting about the interview for a moment. “I haven’t seen my family since Christmas.”
“Wow, what a coincidence! I haven’t seen my beautiful girl in a little over a year. Her mother…” he trails off and bows his head. The car pulls to a stop at a red light. “Actually, I have a picture!”
I close my laptop and look at the small picture he pulled out of his wallet. She has black hair and brown eyes. He smiles and carefully outs the picture in his wallet.
I smile. “She looks like a nice girl. What does she like to do?”
“She plays volleyball. I went to one of her junior varsity games a few years ago. She’s really good.” He chuckles and says, “I sound like I’m promoting her.”
I look out the window and stare at my surroundings. The tall building, different shops, hot dog carts, and confused tourists. The hot NYC air has become cool fast wind as the car moves down the street. I stick my head out the window like a dog.
“I have some advice for you, Isabel. Don’t stress about the little things in life, because you won’t be young, in New York, and following your dreams for the first time forever. Now go get your job!” he says, pulling up to the building. I look at him as I’m unbuckling my seatbelt.
“Thank you.” I take my card out of my wallet. I’m about to swipe when his hand stops me. I smile at him and get out of the car. He drives off. I turn on my heel and open the door into the cold office building. It’s go time.