Day 163: In The Passenger’s Seat

The spiritual experience.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has an appendix devoted to this concept, but, anyone who’s had a real, genuine spiritual experience knows that it’s something that defies definition.

Since getting sober, I’ve had a few. They’re hard to put into words, so, why bother. There’s really no need to explicate. My experience can, in no way, help you to know yours. It’s something from deep within. Something strange, and sadly, fleeting. But, those moments of awakening, they stay in your mind forever. They are not only singular experiences, they become a part of the larger experience that is your internal make up. A change that informs you daily. An imprint.

Today, I went on a job interview. Actually, it was the second of a three part process. I had met with the owner and HR manager of a marketing company last week, and was called in for a second, working interview today. I had no idea to expect. The first interview was really an introduction, and the information regarding the position was vague at best. So, I went in with an open mind. In sobriety, job interviews are no longer the scary, judgmental meetings I once thought them to be. I’ve come to believe that the interview is as much for me as it is for the employer. And, in deciding that I don’t have to take what’s put in front of me just because it’s put in front of me, it makes interviewing a breeze. All I have to do is walk in as I am, perhaps clutching an extra copy of my resume, and show the interviewer who I am.

I arrived early, only to find that the trainer that I was spending my day long, working interview with was still in a meeting that was running late. I sat in the reception area and heard motivational chanting coming from the conference office in the back. Not good. I wasn’t sure what I would be doing today, but, it’s been my experience that if you have to get amped up before your work day with a pep rally, something is amiss.

My trainer came out, greeted me, and off we went. Yes, off, out, into his car. Today would be a day of door to door sales. Selling, yes, you guessed it, fucking office supplies.

Almost immediately after hopping into my trainer’s car, my heart sank. He was a total douche bag. He reeked of cheap cologne. He wore a cheap suit. He spoke like a talk show host, each and every sentence uttered, scripted. It occurred to me to ask him if I could just get out of the car. I could feel that this was going to be a complete and utter waste of a day. But, I held tight. Drawing on my inner courage. Maybe I would learn something. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I anticipated.

It was. Worse. This guy was a smarmy creep. As we went into over eighteen business selling crappy reams of paper, printers, and Quickbooks software, I watched and listened as this dude attempted to woo his potential customers. It was gross. The thought crossed my mind, as he sold one gentleman close to a grand’s worth of office shit, that, I could do this. This douche magoo  was reprehensible. If he could sell this stuff, I sure as hell could. I imagined myself, without him, shyly walking into greet the many receptionists who all bow their heads trying to think of some excuse to send the miserable salesperson away. I imagined my own, coy, kind, modest approach. I imagined that they’d appreciate my humble and natural candor. But, as soon as the thought entered my head, I cast it out. Then, there I was, back in the car with douchy McDoucherstein.

After a long day of driving, pitching, being sent away. We drove back to the main office. My trainer told me how much money he made today based on the sales we made. It was a lot. My mind ran. Could I do this job? Yes. I could, and very well. I could make this work.

Then, my trainer said, “You did well today. I’m going to recommend you for the third and final interview. So, I just want to make sure that we don’t waste your time, and, we hope you won’t waste ours. Is this something you see yourself doing?”

The whole day flashed before me. The future of this. I thought, maybe I’ll just take the third interview, let them make me an offer. I can always decline. But, the words “waste your time, waste our time” floated in between my ears. Yes, I could play this out. But, I didn’t want this. And, as I opened my mouth to say, in my people pleasing way, ‘Yes! Of course I can see myself doing this!,’ my spirit spoke for me:

“You know, no. No I can’t. I really can’t see myself doing this. At all.” Douche bag’s jaw dropped. It was as if I just turned down a billion dollars. And, suddenly, without warning, I found it necessary to hold back my laughter. We returned to the main office where I thanked all necessary parties for allowing me the opportunity to interview. Then, I ran out to my car parked in the lot.

I drove up I-5 North, back to Portland, smiling from ear to ear, radio blasting, cigarette dangling from my mouth, laughing. God sat next to me in the passenger’s seat, just as I had sat next to my smarmy trainer. I’ve never felt so blessed to be out of work. I felt cared for, watched over. Taken care of. I sat, with the full knowledge that there is something better meant for me.

Without a doubt, in that moment, I knew, everything was going to be alright. Better than alright. Something great is waiting for me. So, I drove back home, the spirit at my side in the passenger’s seat. Laughing with me. Happily unemployed.


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