It looked as if someone had detonated an Angora rabbit somewhere on Yonge street. The sparse flakes of snow were that fluffy, that soft and warm.
I walked into the Second Cup in St. Clair Centre for the first time since August. I used to be a daily consumer of double Americanos and they were my providers.
The manager there is a thin, polite, greying, middle-aged Asian man who always gave me a quiet smile from behind his employees as they served me. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him speak, other than a quiet “hi”, but he’s somehow managed to foster a bond between us. As if our brief hellos are a code for a secret knowledge we share.
Seeing me return, his smile was wider and more genuine than ever before. His teeth sparkled like polished sugar cubes, his eyes wrinkled in grandfatherly mirth. It was as if I were a prodigal son, returned from my travels. I even felt slightly guilty that I have no intention of moving back to this warm hearth of caffeine-laced comfort. My morning visit was a special occasion. A slush storm had weakened my resolve and battered my spirit. I needed two shots of deep espresso warmth and a dose of fellowship to keep me going.
While I waited for the barista to prepare my elixir, I could feel the subtle snare tightening around me. I was being lulled back into a comfortable, yet dysfunctional, co-dependant relationship. For $2.47 a day, I could have this feeling of ritualized familiarity; At the cost of a few twinkling smiles, this surrogate grandfather could have my $2.47 a day.
As I walked away with my paper cup of caffeinated cheer, I wasn’t even troubled the exchange felt equitable and not slightly pathetic.
~ It snowed a little this morning. A few flakes. When I felt the need for an americano, I wore shorts to the Java Joes which almost caused a man to crash his car when he did a double-take in the intersection.
~ I’ve been going through a strange interview process with a company here. The first interview was with two other applicants and was more like an information session about the company — more like we were potential investors (or, frankly, potential dupes in a pyramid scheme). We pretty much had to insist he look at our portfolios. Then they had us do a take home “exam/assignment.” Then they emailed me asking what my pay expectations were before saying if they’d confirm me for the second interview, pointing out over a hundred people applied which seemed to suggest I should bid low. I did not bid low so I suspect they won’t call me in for the second “practical” interview which is essentially a reality-show style competition against five other applicants to fill two or three spots.
~ Looking for work just keeps getting more surreal. I was also contacted yesterday by a placement agency I’m not affiliated with regarding web-design work. When I explained I don’t do web, the man was very confused and stopped himself just short of accusing me of lying. Obviously he had a sheet of paper in front of him that stated with certainty I was was a web designer. I was confused about who he was and how he came to be phoning me. He said, “I guess we misdiagnosed this one!”