We’re swimming in inadequacy today. Want to come?
This wasn’t necessarily the plan, for today. But here we are. Sitting in yet another coffee shop, staring blankly out the window. Feeling like we could really go for a do-over.
I blame the girl who hunkered down in the corner, cell phone in hand, about four sips into my first cup. I liked that table too, but the top was sticky. And lopsided. (One of the legs called for a piece of cardboard I couldn’t find.) She doesn’t appear to have noticed — she’s too busy scribbling into the notepad open across her lap.
It’s a networking call — that much is obvious. And from the few snippets that have floated my way, I’d say it’s safe to say she’s rocking it. She’s doing just what you’re supposed to do: reaching out to someone she admires, starting with Mister. Smiling so that warmth infuses her voice. Inviting him to talk about his successes. Giving him her undivided attention. Jotting down every single suggestion he makes, overtly or otherwise.
It seems like what she’d really like is to connect with him as a person, rather than as President of So-and-So. It seems like she’s out to find a willing mentor, above all else.
And — here is the clincher — she never says anything even remotely in the neighborhood of I-was-wondering-if-you-could-help-me-get-a-job-k-thanks. She’s good. Really good. She’ll probably have a real interview lined up, by the time I finish writing about her.
She knows what she wants, this girl. Or she’s fooled me into thinking she does, at least. I’m afraid that might be all that matters.
Mostly manufactured or not, I bet she has some marketable skills to speak of. I’d sort of forgotten about those. About how important they’re going to be, again, in just a few short weeks. When I have to figure out what I’m going to be, besides the girl who writes in coffee shops and looks for any excuse to take the long way home.
I don’t think I’ve added very many to my repertoire, since the last time I looked for a job. I feel like I’m always looking for a job. Does it feel that way to you too? (Don’t answer that.)
Let’s not be so hard on ourselves, hmm? Let’s ham-and-cheese croissant, in honor of Bastille Day (and the French major we like to blame everything on), and just think for a minute.
We can find a quote for every occasion — and that’s something, right? That must mean we are reasonably perceptive.
And, let’s see…we can take a picture from the backseat of a moving vehicle, and fiddle with it until it looks like somewhere we’d want to be. This must mean something too — we’re just not quite sure what.
And! (This is big.) When push comes to shove, we can grill something the size of a flying saucer. (We can also take the liberty of blanketing it in mango salsa, just in case it doesn’t come out quite right. It makes for good insurance, mango salsa. On swordfish, and on salmon, too.)
So…what we should be? We must be more than the girl who Instagrams.
We must be more than the girl who goes for walks. Who lived in NYC, but no longer does. Who had a job that could have been a great job — had about twenty things been different. Had she been able to stick it out?
We must be more than the girl who almost got married, but didn’t. Who was too freaked to do anything but friend-date, for the fifteen months that followed.
We must be more than the girl who cooks, who reads, who writes. Who runs.
We must be more than the girl who wants to sleep alone, but not be alone. If that makes any sense whatsoever.
We must be more than the girl who dreams, now. Who hopes. For something like Someday Soon, sort-of-maybe.
We must be more than the girl who houses her secrets in her backspace button. Who can’t seem to make it past Introduction.
We must be more than the girl who feels infinitely better, knowing she has a virtual friend in virtually every place.
We must be more than the girl who would like to hand-deliver All Things Homemade to every other person sitting alone, on Sunday night. (Although we think she might be onto something, that girl.)
We must be more than the girl who wants to be able to measure her worth in time well spent. In books read, in shirts wrinkled, in chocolates eaten, in countries visited, in postcards sent, in connections forged, in hearts healed. In those things that have no place on a one-page, please-don’t-cast-me-aside resume.