If we’re in a bar or a more social situation, sometimes girls go in for the hug. Really? You’re hugging me? I barely let my parents hug me. I’d really prefer it if you don’t touch me. I am fully capable of totally avoiding the hug. Being rude isn’t something I’m afraid of. But I was raised in a nice household with morals and values so I do have a limit. The first stage of the almost-hug when they are about to extend their arms, when you can see it in their eyes, I just divert eye contact elsewhere and they get the idea. Still rude, but they get it. Maybe I’m a softy but when I see their hands come toward me (in slow motion- like its out of a horror film) and their most-likely-dirty hands are dangling in thin air waiting to grasp my shoulders, I find it hard to just walk away.
So first days of work (or in my case, internships) are always the worst. There are so many people to meet. People whose names you need to remember. Need to because in about an hour you are going to have to deliver them mail. I know it is customary for interns to be over qualified but really? I’d love to meet the kid who can meet twenty-five people and remember all of their names an hour after. And then people have the nerve to be offended.
So my most recent first day, I had to meet lots of people. Thankfully, this office was sympathetic to the very common intern dilemma and they have signs with everyone’s name next to their desk. It was great. I guess I’m more of a visual learner. So when it came time to meet my co-interns’ names, you’d think I would register that these names are crucial. I tend to make lots of jokes about the boss. And when I have to deliver something, usually I go to them to find out who is who. But of course I don’t remember their names either and have to ask them multiple times.
But then I was introduced to the interns in the other department. Seriously? Those are the least important names to know.. or so I thought. So I meet this girl, let’s call her Sarah. But I think her actual name starts with a J or a D or a K?
Fun fact: I interviewed for Sarah’s position a few months earlier and did not get it. Which was great because when the boss asked me what I wanted to do “in life” (oh how I love that question), and I answered, “write”, he kindly joked, “oh you should’ve been a writing intern”. Which then led me to have to admit that I interviewed for that position, and for the millionth time in my life, was rejected.
“So boss, who controls all progress and opportunities I get out of this internship, just so you know on the first day before you get to know me, the other interns are already better than me.”
So I’m introduced to smiling Sarah who has the internship I wanted. I didn’t even try to hear her name. In my head I was just going over all of the reasons in which me and her differ and why I already don’t like her.
1. She smiles. I don’t.
2. She comes off as very nice and upbeat. I don’t.
3. If she and I lived in the ‘60s, she would wear shirts that says ‘free hugs’. I would wear ones that say ‘don’t touch me’.
I really don’t blame people for not hiring me. Although I’m a great employee, I am horrible at interviews. I cannot, and will not, suck up to you. And I’m really bad at bragging about myself. If interviews weren’t based upon the false assumption that the intern is given actual responsibilities, I would do great. Why can’t everybody just be honest and acknowledge this.
Interviewer: “Why should we hire you?”
Me: “I’m really good at doing nothing. I have an expert knowledge of coffee. And I’m not the type to get up and ask if there is anything you need, so I definitely won’t disturb you.”
So I shake Sarah’s hand knowing I won’t be seeing this girl ever again. A goodbye handshake I can happily agree to. The rest of the day went great. I sat at my desk and did nothing but talk to my fellow intern about things completely unrelated to the internship. A pretty typical day for us unpaid interns. The day went well and not remembering any names didn’t bite me in the ass. I consider that a successful day.
The next day I’m going to class and I see her: Sarah. Why am I so bad at remembering names? She even had a sign next to her desk yesterday. I literally had to go up and offer her lunch. We interacted enough that I should know her name. When we make eye contact, I have to do the whole, “oh, you intern at the same..” “oh, hi! Yes!”. Still so peppy. There are no bosses here to impress. Why are you still smiling? And why can’t I remember your name?
Probably because I just spent the last fifteen minutes trying to avoid eye contact and avoid having this exact conversation. And probably because she just called me out on it. It was really hard avoiding eye contact and staring at the ground for so long. And in such a small elevator. Why do the elevators at NYU go so slowly? Of course it stopped at almost every floor on the way up. I really thought I was successful. I sprinted out of that little elevator so fast, never looking back. If I had, I would have seen that she was right behind me watching my attempt to escape.
After we finished our conversation and had to shake hands again, I went straight to the bathroom to wash them. And I bought a pocket sized Purell on my way home. At least she didn’t try to hug me.