job offer in Santa Monica
Monday, March 6 2000
I was looking forward to this day with the nervous dread reflected in yesterday's entry. My real estate agent was expecting me to fax him a $6000 check and get in touch with a loan agent, and I still didn't have the job for which I'd been interviewing. In the morning I faxed the check and then returned to the apartment to think over exactly what I would be telling the loan agent. I'd misplaced her number, so I called my real estate agent to find out what it was. He told me that she'd been out sailing in a boat yesterday and, owing to the ferocious storms passing through the area, had been stranded on a desert island (I'm not making this up), but that she'd be back sometime this afternoon. Well, that bought me a little time at least, so I kicked back in the bathtub and took it easy until Kim came back from a meeting with her "faculty adviser" (whatever that is).
We did lunch as the only customers at the Newport Bar & Grill, the place where Kim once had to send back her steak to have it uncooked, the place where we once killed two pitchers of Sierra Nevada with our Iranian friend Shiva[REDACTED].
My luck with the Newport Bar and Grill is never that bad, but as usual Kim didn't especially enjoy her meal. She privately complained to me that her turkey burger tasted like a "salty hot dog." Surprisingly, though, she kept a cheery face for the waitress, only asking to have her fruit taken back and replaced with french fries. For some reason Kim was unusually good-natured about the whole thing, saying that it was good karma for us to be the waitress's only tip for the afternoon.
We took the french fries to go, but Kim left them chicken-bomb style in the Appletree Supermarket when we stopped in there for whatever it is one buys when one shops for groceries on a full stomach. As Kim pointed out the fullness of our stomachs was not a good kind of full. It was the unhealthy kind of full that makes one just a little bit angry inside. Alluding to this discomfort, Kim referred to the sandwiches we'd eaten as "belly bombers."
In the juggle of our lives' transformation, today there were two balls up in the air. One was whether or not I would be getting the job at the Santa Monica firm where I'd been doing interviews for the past week. The other was the status of our loan application, which was going to be dependent (at some point) on whether or not I had the job. Throughout the afternoon, calls from the loan agent interlaced with calls from my prospective employer.
While my credit history was being run, I got a call that the phone numbers I'd given for my references weren't working. It turned out that the phone system for my erstwhile employer had completely changed in the few weeks since I'd worked there.
Then it came, the job offer. It was for exactly what I had requested, plus post-IPO stock options. Mind you, this isn't a wildly generous salary, but it doesn't undervalue me either. It's about the same amount as what I earned, with bonuses, at my old job in the last few months I worked there. The difference, it's important to note, is that it's a reliable figure that isn't subject to wild fluctuations month to month based on the performance of my projects, and it's a firm, righteous figure I can present to someone like a loan agent. And it's nothing to sneeze at; it's what (based on the accidentally-leaked payscale list) some VP-level people earned at my last job. It's the sort of figure one must have vast seniority to earn in, say, the teaching profession. Remember folks, I'm a college dropout who has only spent a total of three years in the conventional job market, so I'm pretty psyched.
Not wanting to seem over-eager, I didn't immediately accept the offer, of course.
The job offer was cause enough to celebrate, without fretting too much about the status of our loan application. We sipped some whiskey and watched junk television for the rest of the evening.
I was most impressed with the teen-focused show Popular, a high-school variant on the Melrose Place "fuck or fight" social-drama soap opera (but sponsored largely by acne-fighting products). Most "locker-slamming teensploitation" shows fail to capture the absolute evil and backstabbing underlying the social hierarchies of a typical high school. But in tonight's episode of Popular, the stunts perpetrated by the popular girls were almost unwatchably vile. Here was Carmen, the plump popular-girl-wanna-be, inviting all the popular girls to her birthday party in the sad hope that they might finally accept her. But the popular girls only come to her party after learning that she has a cute older brother. When the plan for seducing him falls through, the popular girls hypnotize Carmen into thinking she's a chicken (of course, she acts like a chicken only to please her tormenters). Then they take her out to a fried chicken restaurant and continue having her act like a chicken until she is thoroughly humiliated. The inclusion of so many psycho-social complexities in this single episode was wickedly clever.
In the place I am now, reflecting back on Friday (which already seems like it belongs to a musty ancient era) I can't help but feel a rush of delight. That morning when I'd gotten up at 5am to go to my second Santa Monica job interview, Kim had expressed dismay over the latest instance of my homemade haircut (given to myself only the night before) and wondered doubtfully if I really looked like the sort of person who deserved to earn what I was asking. But here I am; the guy with that haircut was really offered that job with that paycheck.
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