Sunday, May 04, 2014

Another Direction

I thought doppelgangers were the stuff of legend and horror movies.

It just didn’t seem possible that anyone else out there could look as stunningly handsome as yours truly.

But then there was this time in my life when I applied for job in Honolulu and now I’m not so sure.

Yeah, seriously, Honolulu: sunshine, luaus, ukuleles, Steve McGarrett, the whole Hawaiian fantasy.

Now let’s all pause for a moment and try to imagine me, a lifelong Brooklyn knucklehead living in the Aloha State.

I went to Hawaii on vacation a few years ago and loved it. So when I saw ad for a job that matched my skills, I sent in my resume just as for a laugh. I never thought anyone would ever get back to me.

Well, they did. The editor of this particular publication shot me an email within days of my response and we set up phone interview.

We talked for over an hour and I have to say this interview was more intense than many of the face-to-face job encounters I’ve had with prospective employers.

The editor asked me every conceivable question about writing and reporting. It was challenging, but I was grateful for the experience. I hadn’t had an interview in years and it felt good to be back in the game.

The editor told me he would go back to his supervisors and get back in touch with me. And then he had one final question.

“Are you still interested in the job?”

“Yes,” I said, almost truthfully.

I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to be honest.

Hawaii sounded fabulous, but I wasn’t sure if the job would be a good fit for me.

I spent the next several weeks in a semi-dream. What if I got the job? Could I really move to the other side of the world and live happily in the land of pineapples and Do Ho?

Every time I walked into one my local stores—dry cleaners, fruit stand, supermarket—I wondered if this would be one of the last times I ever came here?

I've made hating winter into a secondhand religion and now here I was about to escape the frigid temperatures forever and it actually bothered me. Complaining about the cold weather is such a large segment of my life—could I survive without it?

And what if things—God forbid—didn’t work out? I’d be on an island in the Pacific with no place to go.

Tiny Bubbles

But while I was going through all this self-inflicted misery, the weather changed, I got sick, and then I started thinking, you know, maybe this Hawaii thing ain’t so bad after all.

The only problem was the editor had disappeared. I waited a month before writing to him and he wrote back saying “we’re still going through the process.”

Fine. I could hold out. I had waited this long, what’s another week or so? Then another month went by and still I heard nothing. I didn’t want to piss the guy off, but I wanted to show him that I was still interested. And I also wanted to wrap this thing up, quite frankly.

So I wrote to him again and found out that I had been worrying about absolutely nothing.

“We decided to go in another direction,” he wrote.

Now I can handle rejection, I really can. It was my best friend in high school.

But so much of rejection depends upon the other party’s choice of words and a line like “going in another direction” pushes me into “Psycho” country—screaming violins and all.

Being from Brooklyn my first inclination was to point down to my crotch and say, “Hey, I gotcha your direction right heah, buddy!”
I would’ve preferred if the guy said drop dead, we hate you, and we hope you contract a horrible fungus on your unmentionables. At least that would’ve had some emotion to it. Another direction sounds like a busted GPS unit.

But at least I had an answer. I could go to my dry cleaners without having to hug the owner goodbye.

Then one day I made the mistake of looking at the publication online to see who had gotten the job and I nearly fell off my chair.

The guy was my fucking clone.

He had a shaved head and he came from the East Coast—just like me. The editor never saw me in the flesh, but I still wonder if he didn’t hire the wrong guy by mistake. Or maybe he thinks all hairless white guys are interchangeable like spark plugs.

I’ve got half a mind to fly out to Hawaii, take a seat at this guy’s desk, and see if anyone can tell the difference.

I ranted about this incredible injustice online to a friend and she wrote back a simple question.

Why are you looking at a publication that your aren’t working for?

Well…yes, there’s that. I really should move on, forget the past, and go in another direction.

It would’ve been very painful leaving my family and friends. And I’m not sure I’d be happy in a place so different from New York.

But I still can’t help but wonder how it all would’ve worked out if I had gotten the job instead of my doppelganger.


Ron said...

You know, it's funny Rob because as I was reading this I was reminded of how many times I auditioned for a part in a play and was kind of told the same thing by the director..."We went in another direction."

And sometimes when I would go and see the play on opening night, I could see that they DID go in another direction, TOTALLY (with a different type than me). But then other times the person who got the part looked very similar to me.

I always tried to look at it as, oh just wasn't meant to be. It wasn't my time. Or the RIGHT time.

"And I’m not sure I’d be happy in a place so different from New York."

Exactly. I think everything happens for a reason. And for our own good.

Besides, I would hate it if you moved away from NY, which is my FAVORITE city on the east coast.

Have a SUPER week, buddy! And say Hi to NYC for me!

Bijoux said...

Ok, that is really bizarre, Rob! And I don't think it's odd at all that you would have looked up the publication. I would have done the same thing.

I never think anyone looks like me, but I was reading a library book a few months back and turned to the back cover and the author looked like me when I was in my 20's. I was blown away. Even my daughter agreed, though my spouse didn't really think so.

Rob K said...

Wow, Bijoux, that must have a trip seeing that author's face.

Looks aside, we all know that there is only one REAL Bijoux!

Take care.

Rob K said...


Hey, Ron, what's up?

That's so funny that you've gotten the "another direction" routine, too! I think that's such a lame expression.

And it looks like I'll be a New Yorker for a while, so I'll be sure to give your regards to the Big Apple!

Take care, buddy!

Anonymous said...

I gotta say the "other direction" thing has really pissed me off as I work through my job search. It is so passive and non committal. Tell me you hated me. Tell me I am not qualified. I dont care but tell me SOMETHING! People seem to want to avoid hurting feelings so much they end up just pissing me off! I am glad I am not alone in that feeling!

Rob K said...

Hey, Shae, so it bugs you, too?

You're so right on this. That phrase is so meaningless, you almost preferred getting slammed!

Let's keep looking for our own direction.

Take care!

Jay said...

Ouch! That hurts! Bad enough that you were passed over in such a cavalier way, but to do so for a doppelganger .. I mean, what did he have that you didn't have?

Do it! Go sit at his desk and find out!

Rob K said...

Good idea, Jay. I could always use a trip to Hawaii!

v said...

life in hawaii would have been sweet, at least i think it would have been for me. sorry you didn't get the job, maybe for the better. the punk could have called though or sent a rejection letter.

Rob K said...

Hey, Val, how's it going?

Yeah, it was just one of those things, I guess.

I've just about given up on prospective employers doing the right thing. God forbid if you should keep them waiting, of course.

Take care!