I'm interviewing for jobs again. It seems to go in mysterious cycles - I probably apply for approximately the same amount of jobs over time, but I go through periods where I don't get calls for interviews and periods where I do. All of the interviews so far, of course, have turned out the same, but I feel particularly anxious about this latest round. I have to say certain things, use certain words and phrases, in these meetings to convince others that I've been a professional person before. And when I hear myself talk like I used to talk . . . I feel like an impostor. Like an impostor and like a person who is giving up something important. Signing away their share of ownership in something valuable. I don't like it. I know it's just one last Shitty Banking Job to carry me through school, but I've never had a job without it taking over my life. I'm worried I don't know how to do it. I'm sure it seems that after the past year and a half and all that surfing it should come easy. But what's a year and a half compared to 16 years? Or 39?
With the recent heatwave, I haven't been able to run for almost a week. And before that, I was having some stomach cramping while running so I had to cut my runs short. So now it feels like it's been forever since I've had a long, satisfying jog. And I don't really feel like myself. I've been eating shitty foods and letting outside pressures or perceived pressures influence my food choices. My body doesn't like it and neither do I.
Let me tell you a story.
I've been doing a ton of dating lately. A hundred first dates, a handful of second dates, two third dates. Pretty much all really cool guys, and I've learned something important from each experience. It's been fun and good for me, but I admit that I'm getting kind of tired of the whole routine.
But two guys made it through the screening process pretty far, and I went out to brunch with one of those guys last weekend. We went to a place where the table is a griddle and you make your own pancakes. The waitress told us the instructions and gave us bottles of batter, and we got started. I like mine really doughy so I began to flip my first pancake pretty early, and the waitress, who happened to be flitting by at the time, chirped from behind me, "Let it cook longer!!" Surprised because I didn't realize the price of breakfast included advice, I looked at my date, who said, "Yeah, you need to let it cook longer."
So weird, other people assuming they know what I'm trying to achieve with my pancakes.
I finished that one up and put it on my plate and dropped batter on the griddle to start another one. The first one was slightly overdone for my tastes, so I tried with each subsequent pancake to get them raw-er, but I just received more advice. "You have to wait for them to bubble," my date said. Strange. I have to? Why? So the waitress won't give me a drive-by critique again? I continued doing my own thing, which should probably be my life's slogan, and was making more breakfast and soaking up the atmosphere, listening to the sounds, thinking about my date. Pretty soon he started laughing. "What is that?" he said, pointing.
Such a foreign thought for me. Is it that the pancake has to be round for it to be called a pancake? Or is it that it only tastes right if it looks like every pancake has looked for all time?
I took out my iPhone to capture our food-illustrates-life moment and told him, "This is to show our relationship therapist later."
The important part of the story is this: A year and a half ago, my pancake would have been the one on the right. Last weekend, the pancake on the left felt sorry for the pancake on the right. And for the bitchy waitress who really needs to keep her opinions to herself. If my date hadn't called attention to it, I would have gone right along eating the best pancakes in the world - because I'd made them my way, just how I like them - not even thinking that I'd been coloring outside of the lines.
I can't help but think that surfing has had a major influence on my pancakes. I hope very, very much that I'll see the effects of surfing in the way I experience school next week, and eventually a job, and the rest of my life. I hope, I hope, I hope.