Friday, May 21, 2010

16. Q and A

Cayden's birthday was just weeks away. I had to give up on the half-serious thought of surprising him. Right now I had to focus on where I was going to be living and what I what I was going to be doing. Deep down I knew Cayden wanted the best for me, but part of me felt like Cayden was hoping I'd stay in NYC. He loved NYC, thought it was the greatest city in the world. If Cayden and I were going to work out, NYC was our best bet. But this job was too tempting.
I flew down to Texas for an interview. It was Labor Day weekend, and Cayden's birthday was a week away. I sent him the first season of Arrested Development on DVD, because we always used to talk about TV shows and movies we liked. I think Arrested Development is one of the greatest shows ever. I also made him a card with a poem inside. I always wrote birthday poems for my closest friends, which he knew about. Here's the one I wrote for Cayden:

I’m well known for my birthday poems,
I think I’ve mentioned that before.
So hang on to this because when I’m famous
this poem will be worth much more.

I thought about writing you a cheesy poem,
about how I think about you all the time.
But that just sounded creepy
and I don’t think I could make it rhyme.

So then I thought about a smart-ass poem.
Because that’s something I would do.
Make fun of how you say the word “rubbish”
And how you spell the word "favorite" with a “U.”

But since it’s your birthday, I should try to be nice.
Try not to make fun of your fears.
But then I picture you running from a tiny spider,
And I laugh ‘til I’m nearly in tears.

I can picture you screaming when you see a snake,
Running as if you thought it had rabies.
I’d call you a woman for being such a wimp,
But women aren’t afraid of babies.

Oh, I forgot, I was supposed to be nice.
Excuse me for being so rude.
I’m writing this from my desk, so I should be working,
But frankly I’m not in the mood.

I’d rather be cozy and warm in my bed
Snuggled, my cheek on your chest.
Listening to your heartbeat, your steady breathing,
Right now that would be the best.

I honestly thought about flying to London
T\to surprise you at your big birthday bash.
But then I decided that you’d think I was crazy,
Oh, and I was a little low on cash.

I’m dying to hear your accent right now,
But on the phone we have no luck.
So get your ass over to the US or Texas
Where you get much more bang for your buck.

I know there’s a reason I wrote this poem,
But right now I can’t remember.
Oh yeah, Happy Birthday! I hope it’s the best!
And I’ll see you in December :)

As you've learned from this poem, Cayden is deathly afraid of snakes, spiders, and babies. We had shitty luck talking on the phone. Signal was weak or we'd get disconnected.
I went to the post office to send the card/poem, and it would be there in 10-14 days.
I finished my editing test and then flew down to Texas during Labor Day weekend to meet with the editors personally. My parents picked me up from the airport and took me to Hooters for lunch before the interview. I loved Hooters wings. Mom was more than thrilled at the thought that I might be coming back to Texas than I was. After lunch they dropped me off at the magazine office for the interview while they waited in the car.
The elevator opened on the third floor and I was overwhelmed with a sense of nervousness as I walked to the office. I immediately regretted my outfit. I was wearing a dress that looked denim on the bottom, sleeveless and black on top, with black shiny leggins and black high-heeled booties with a black cardigan. It was too New York. I looked pretentious, but just steps away from the door, I knew it was too late to do anything about it.
I opened the door and stepped into the office.
"Hi, I'm here to see Hal Warner."
I was ushered into the conference room with the executive editor, Hal, and two other male editors. They drilled me on why I wanted to work there and then we talked about New York. All three of them had ties to New York in one way or another. That's when I realized I was sitting in the chair with one leg tucked under my butt, my arm slung over the arm chair, completely unprofessional. What was I doing??
After the interviewed, they introduced me to the two other people on staff and then led me to the kitchen, where they showed me the liquor cabinet.
Hmm, only one other girl in the office, and a refrigerator full of beer? This I could get used to.
An hour later I was down in the parking lot, hopping into my parents' car.
"Well?? How'd it go???"
I said I thought it went well, but we'd just have to wait and see. On the way home, the editorial director, Ray, called me. He worked remotely, so I didn't get to meet him in the interview.
"So, why did you major in journalism?" he asked.
"Well, I knew I wanted to work for a magazine, so journalism sounded like the best bet."
"Well, usually if I see that someone majored in journalism, I throw their resume in the trash. So consider yourself lucky."
"Really? Can I ask why?"
"You can't learn journalism in a classroom. So if you majored in journalism, that just tells me you spent the past four years learning nothing."
He had a point. I didn't really feel like I'd learned much of anything in my journalism classes. Everything I learned about journalism I learned through the student media at my college where I was an editor.
"But I've seen that you've done internships, so I won't count you out."
Through my college years I'd interned at The Sporting News magazine in St. Louis, the Oklahoma Gazette in Oklahoma City, and Every Day with Rachael Ray in New York City.
We talked about the position, and why I'd want to move back to Texas (I never planned on moving to NYC in the first place, my family was in Texas, it was close to my college town). We talked the whole way home, until I got back to my parents' house. I thought the interview went well, but he was hard to gauge.
My parents loved that they could hear my end of the interview. When I finally hung up, they were more excited than I was at the thought that I might get the job.
Twenty minutes after I got to my parents' house, the editorial director called back.
"Hey Whitney, this is Ray again."
"Long time no talk."
"Well, I didn't want to make you wait all weekend, and I can't make this official yet because it has to go through HR, but consider this your verbal offer."
My mom was at my side. I scribbled the words "verbal offer" on a notepad on the counter.
Mom started jumping up and down.


  1. Found this link on twitter earlier this week and have had your blog open in my browser bar all week. I just got a chance to read it...started from the beginning! I'm off to Mexico for vaca tomorrow w no access to internet so I'm looking forward to a whole weeks worth of updates when I get back! You're a great writer. (I shouldn't be surprised given your journalism background) Can't wait to hear what happened next!

  2. YAY for plugging internships! I can't tell students enough about them. You're awesome and we miss you here!