The first time I met Boss Lady, I thought she kind of looked a little like Sarah Jessica-Parker. I had just moved to New York and was slightly obsessed with Sex & the City. Before I trekked all over Manhattan for job interviews, I took the 1 train down to Perry Street in the West Village every morning and sat on Carrie’s stoop and ate a cupcake from Magnolia’s. I thought it would bring me good luck with finding the perfect job in Manhattan.
But I somehow ended up in Brooklyn, interviewing with Boss Lady at an event planning firm within a broken bottle’s throw from the funky-smelling, toxic Gowanus Canal. I wore a suit that was way too big for me. She wore a blouse that was way too small for her. The interview was lengthy, and Boss Lady asked a lot of the same questions, just rearranging the words and sentence structure. As the boring, joyless interview lagged on for what felt like an entire lifespan of one those really old and crusty sea turtles, Boss Lady started looking less and less like Sarah Jessica-Parker. Her teeth seemed to have a wooden texture and instead of having a faint mole on her chin like SJP, Boss Lady had a large one on her cheek. As I spewed out lengthy answers, Boss Lady lightly tugged on the bottom of her too-tight blouse and repeatedly hummed in agreement. “Hmmm-mmm.” When she grew bored with hearing me talk and she was eager to ask the next question, the humming quickened and was slightly higher than her actual speaking voice.
I’d like to think I’m a good judge of character and yes, my crazy-person radar was going off like, well, crazy. However, a part of me was elated to be in New York. My dreams were coming true! There were places to see! People to meet! Streets to walk! Neighborhoods to explore! Boys to kiss! So I ignored my crazy-person radar.
I was also in survival mode. I was running out of money and I had already interviewed at numerous other places. No one likes interviewing for a job- they’re a lot like first dates. We slap on a smile, dress to impress and fake our way through a conversation. All this to acquire something that we will end up hating, with someone we will end up loathing. Still, jobs are a necessity unless you are a house pet or a person with the last name Kardashian.
My first interview in New York was at Piano Due, an upscale Italian restaurant in the theater district. I interviewed with a well-dressed European man named Elis. “With one L,” he made a point of saying. In the middle of the interview, Elis, with one L, interrupted me to offer some advice. “This is New York,” he said. “Your gentle Southern ways will not work here.” I suddenly felt like Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson in The Closer.
“Well, I DO declare…” I joked with a smile. Elis, with one L, did not smile. He adjusted his chunky Cartier watch and began fingering his iPhone.
“I’m serious,” he said without looking up. “This is not like Sex and the City.”
Elis, with one L, called a week later and offered me the job, but at half the salary I required. Thinking it was time to negotiate, I asked for more money and he refused and quickly hung up. Oh, well. What the hell kind of name is Piano Due, anyway? I wondered. They don’t even have a piano!
Tags: Boss Lady, Brenda Leigh Johnson, Brooklyn, Elis with one L, Event Planning, Gowanus Canal, Kardashians, Magnolia Bakery, Manhattan, New York, Perry Street, Piano Due, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City, The Closer, West Village