Through an acquaintance, I contacted Jon about becoming one of his experts. He supplies a site like Ask-dotcom and Expert-dotcom with information in the form of short videos. The expert gets free advertising. Each of her bits shows her website on the screen, and she introduces herself at both the beginning and the end.
So it's a pretty mutual relationship: He gets the free expert, she gets the free advertising. I was up for the English Expert. I emailed Jon to tell him of my interest, saying I wouldn't be available till Monday because of Circus McGurkis.
To my surprise, Jon called that very day, Thursday. He wanted to make sure I knew how the thing worked. He made a big point to say that when I'm scheduled for the filming of my bits, I'd better not back out, since the studio space and crew were already paid for by then. Fine. But I'm all about Circus right now.
He called again that night to arrange a nine o'clock phone appointment with Carrie, who'd have to interview me, too, to make sure I'm right for this, even though he's convinced I am.
That did make me pause. How does one decide who's an expert? At first, this had seemed like You're an expert if you say you are, which is pretty scary. On the other hand, if Carrie can tell an expert from a non-expert, maybe she should do all the filming. In any case, I agreed to the phone appointment.
I was here at my desk at nine, waiting for the call. I can spend hours here, puttering around, so the waiting wasn't a burden at all, except that I still had Circus things to do. I didn't really want to get started on them till I got the call. I read a cousin's work and got nicely involved.
At eleven o'clock, I decided to do laundry and some errands. It was hard to be too indignant about Carrie not calling because I don't even know these people. How could I be surprised?
Now, laundry is a huge burden in my life. Every now and then, I've had a washer and dryer in my very house and oh! what a pleasure laundry is then! But mostly, I've had to make the sullen trip to a grubby Laundromat full of sticky children and smokers, machines carrying rust and dust and filth beyond description (thank god!). Bugs are being chopped up in the ceiling fans. Clumps of things are in the dryers, usually sticky, always ominous. Copies of Awake are part of the floating world that swirls just above the floor: bug parts, dryer lint, dryer sheets, tiny socks, cigarette butts.
Perhaps I exaggerate. Surely I digress.
After I popped the clothes into the machines, I headed out for the bookstore. Halfway there, Carrie called. She was brisk, not to say curt. She and I had some things to talk about before she went ahead and scheduled studio time. Then she repeated Jon's warning about never ever canceling studio time. Talking almost too fast to be understood, she continued, but I was distracted by, um, driving. When she took a breath -- and let me state here that I was surprised and glad she even required breath -- I told her I was in traffic. That meant nothing to her, so I interrupted her to say I didn't want to drive and talk any more. Her reply was that it would only take about ten minutes.
I told her I had been expecting her call at nine, and her only reply was to snap, "We're very busy so we're running behind."
But I parked while she continued her speed-rap. She's very emphatic. She "drives home" every point; she doesn't just talk. I turned off my car and heard a horrendous noise coming from it. It was a horrifying mating of a honk and a screech. It shook the car. I said into the phone, "Wait, Carrie!"
A woman in the car next to me was just as surprised and dismayed as I. She clearly thought it was her car, too. We yelled across the noise a couple of times and then realized it was a tractor trailer in the throes of something unimaginable.
I went back to the phone call and Carrie was still talking. I'm thinking you don't need to be an Active Listener to encourage her.
She wanted me to tell her when my errands would be over, so we could continue the lecture ... er, conversation. I simply wasn't up to trying to figure that out -- plus what's to say she'd make that appointment? -- so I was sort of spluttering when she interjected that there are others who want the non-paying job of English Expert.
Whoa. A threat.
In a sweet, calm voice, I told her to go ahead and contact the next person on their list. And oooh! didn't that feel good! It seemed like a big revelation: You can't bully me.
While I was folding the clothes, Jon called. He was all squealy like someone on a sit-com. "What happened? I thought you were SO RIGHT for us! I was soooo looking forward to meeting you!" I agreed to call him when I got home, but when I got home, I realized -- from the other three conversations I'd had with him -- that he wouldn't listen. The first time he'd called, he was also answering other calls and looking around, all fluttery, for a plug for his laptop. He had made the call, but he wasn't prepared for it. So instead of a call, I sent him an email. I reminded him that my initial email had said I wasn't available till Monday. I apologized (!) for not enforcing it. I said he'd hear from me on Monday. He wrote back and said they didn't want me to DO anything till Monday. They just wanted to set it up. I suppose he could have misunderstood the word "unavailable."
I've decided to blow off this enormously valuable opportunity. I simply don't need to work with jerks, which rhymes with cerks, which bring us to Circus McGurkis.
I had a really good time. I made less money than last year by about thirty-five bucks, the cost of the space, but I saw lots of people I wanted to see. My only regret was that while I saw people I knew, I didn't have much time to hang out with them. Well, I was working, after all, even if it didn't feel like work. As usual, I got a lot of comments on my car. What's unusual is that I got a phone call before the show was even over, from a woman who wants me to paint just the cab of her truck. Yay!
I could barely walk by the end of the day. That is, alas, not hyperbole. My feet are okay this morning, but my back is really sore. I'd like to say I'm too old for this nonsense, but I really enjoy it, so I won't say it.