Recently, I had a job interview at Hearst Magazines – the big shots in the publishing world – at their London offices near Carnaby Street. I had arrived early and was waiting nervously in reception, but it wasn’t long before the lady interviewing me arrived downstairs and introduced herself – let’s call her Jessica*.
To get upstairs to the main office, you needed to scan an employee pass and go through a turnstile – Jessica of course already had hers to hand, and wandered through before noticing that I had no way of doing the same. To let me through, she leant forward to scan her card again, but then pushed the bars on the turnstile forward so quickly that I barely had the chance to squeeze one leg past, let alone two.
I now had the metal bar on the turnstile uncomfortably positioned in between my legs and half way up my dress, and I was straddling the damn thing like I was on a seesaw. The interview hadn’t even bloody started yet and here I was getting over-friendly with the furniture. Clinging onto my dignity like a hapless MP caught toying with things one shouldn’t, I hopped backwards onto the leg on the correct side of the turnstile, and attempted to lift my other leg over the metal bar without crashing spectacularly to the floor. I succeeded, but not without elegantly falling into a baffled Jessica, who was stood behind me, and three other random people who could hardly believe what was happening. Feeling very warm and flustered, I muttered something about making an interesting first impression, but Jessica just smiled. In case you were wondering, I didn’t get the job.
*Jessica wasn’t her real name, but she was genuinely lovely
I’d like to imagine that this was just an unfortunate one-off, a complete anomaly, but admittedly I am a ridiculous person, and ridiculous things happen to me on an almost daily basis. The kind of idiot who has “only that could happen to you” repeated to me each time I recall an occasion which I said or did something stupid. Like the time I tripped over and spilled a cup of coffee all over an old man’s crotch on my first day in my first job as a waitress. Or the time I went grass sledging with my brother’s Scout group, rocketed off the edge of the track and landed head-first into a bog. Or even that time my dress accidentally fell down inside the Sistine Chapel, where the exposure of bare shoulders and knees is banned. (Luckily the security guards failed to notice, but I will probably be going to hell now).
I almost wish I could say that it was all on purpose – a way to get a reaction or a bit of a giggle – but really I just make terrible decisions that more often than not have bizarre and unfortunate consequences. Sometimes (as we all do at one time or another) I wish I was the kind of girl who was a bit more normal, and a bit less of an idiot, and wouldn’t have to worry about making a tit of herself when it isn’t exactly appropriate.
But wouldn’t the world be dull without a bit of foolishness? God I think so, and wasn’t it Marilyn Monroe who once said that “it’s better be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring”? So even though my friends and family may wince at my clownish behaviour, in this season of starting a-new I figured I might as well just embrace my ridiculousness, and style it out for as long as I can manage. After all, being a clumsy idiot sure as hell keeps life entertaining, and is a pretty handy ice-breaker, too… maybe just don’t save it for your next job interview.