I am nearing the end of my third decade and still support myself in part by working at the mall. It’s been bleak at times and is pretty easy to get morose about it. There have been some moments for hope this year.

I’m in the process of interviewing to potentially make one of my non-retail jobs into a full-time thing. Schedule-wise, the interview has landed between two of the most stressful weeks of the year, which has made prep a little more terrifying than usual.

Last weekend was a big event which I coordinated to help build my program and improve my chances at the job. Four or five of my closest flute friends came out to help it go. Every single thing that could go wrong of course ... did. They pushed it through anyway, and the event was not what I had envisioned - but I think it was still a success.

The culmination was when we got downstairs and found the TV screen which scrolls organization announcements. They’re interviewing myself and the other candidate this week, so the interview schedules were both being projected.

“They can’t have [that person’s name] up here during your event!” screeched the most conservative of bunch. They were of the mind that I should project an air of permanence, even though the opposite is true.

And then three professional, normally reserved ladies (I’m the rowdy one of the bunch) set about trying to turn off - and eventually unplugging - the offending screen. Words cannot do justice to how silly they looked climbing over couches and on top of chairs looking for an off-switch, shouting about how unacceptable the TV was and how it wouldn’t stand - like the TV was somehow responsible, and in spite of my protests that no one would notice and it was fine.

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The other candidate knows who I am and is trying to get under my skin by invading my social media with subtle hints that he’s there and he’s interviewing. (He friended me after finding out he was a finalist, and checked into a small regional airport. This week, he has had several mutual acquaintances publicly wish him good luck and good juju. He has also been stalking my professional website 2-3 times daily for about three weeks.) With each post he made, my friends started mocking him until we were all laughing so hard we cried. We started using the other candidate’s name as a curse every time something else went wrong.

When I went downstairs the next morning, the TV was off.

The event went, I went home to recover, and today discovered that in all the fuss, my flute managed to break. My catch-up day has turned into a panicked four hour commute to the repair place, and killing my prep day in a mall food court while I wait to get it back.

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In short, everything is a mess, but what else is new? But every time I start to panic, I think about my friend scaling the couch while shouting, and I get the giggles. I can’t share this story on social media because we’re not supposed to talk about the interview process before it’s completed, but it fills me with so much ridiculous glee. I don’t know what I would be doing to get through this moment if their comedy reel weren’t running through my head.

I hope there’s a happy ending for me at the end of all of it, but if there’s not, I want to remember my friends, the late night cackling, and that stupid TV screen.