Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A WESTSIDER STORY

In between the writing I divert my attention towards Contracting in Computer Networking, which in this day of outsourcing, are as common as positive rating points are for George W. Bush. Well the other day I get a call from one of those Headhunting Agencies looking to fill a job ASAP. I hate them. “HATE”, being a strong aggressive word that civilize people should avoid, ‘I HATE HEADHUNTING AGENCIES”. This particular agency (which I want to name and just might if what I am about to tell you happens again) called me about a “Wonderful Opportunity”. Mind you, I have never worked for these people, nor have met the people who called me. We talk on the phone for a few minutes as I run down my abilities and background. Sell, sell, sell myself, that’s what I did and the end result was a possible long term working gig at the world famous auction house, Sotheby. Now for those that do not know, Sotheby is one of those places where any and everything of worth can be showcased, highlighted and sold for what I like to refer to as STUPID MONEY. So you can correctly assume that the type of people that work and auction there are not your average people next door (especially next to any of the doors I ever lived in).

So I’m on the phone and we are talking when the Headhunter tells me that my appointment will be the next day around 2:00 PM and then goes on to explain to me WHAT a Sotheby is and what they do and how they do things (I remain silent because I already know all of this) then the Headhunter tells me to check my email for the contact person and address. Ten minutes later I get another call, “I want to change those plans. Come into my office so I can meet you and fill out some paperwork.

This is one of several reasons why I dislike Headhunting Agencies. There is always this need and desperation for bodies at the last minute when they are looking to fill a position for a “cut” and “commission”. Mind you, if I was looking for a position on my own through them, I’d be an annoyance or forgotten for months before some NEW person pulls my resume from the bottom of some file cabinet and starts calling hoping that you are STILL UNEMPLOYED, but for now, I am Golden Boy so I'm going with the flow.

"What time do you want me to see you?", I ask.

"How about 1:00 PM?", the Headhunter responds back.

So now I am thinking, you want me to see you at 1:00 PM, not 11:00 AM or 12:00 Noon and then run to an appointment at 2:00 PM. That is cutting it a bit close. Too close.

"Don’t you think that is too close? Wouldn’t it be best to go to the interview and then swing by you for the paperwork? Or you can email me whatever I need to fill out today and I can fax it back to you. " , I ask.

"No, there are some things you need to fill out in the office. " ,the Headhunter confirms.

"No problem. I’ll see you at 1:00 PM.", I then accept and end the conversation.

The next day I get up early. I get a haircut and shave, a facial and the whole Metrosexual treatment. Knowing that I need to make an impression at Sotheby, I needed to have an above average look on par with that ELITE associations noted to frequent the auction house and it’s patrons. I will have to admit, I was turning few heads. Just as I was walking out of my place, the older woman from upstairs met me in the hallway. As I was leaving she gave me my "Suki Suki" moment. The kids in their SAGGIN ways step to the side of the walk as I proudly marched down towards the subway. Even the Rookie Cops that routinely stand by the Dunkin Donuts didn’t know what to make because it was a Tuesday and here this N____ was stepping out in Sunday Heels; they figure I had lost my mind due to the Heat of Global Warming or just decided to participate in Earth Day by not washing my Ghetto Gear. With all the attention, I still kept thinking in my head that I should have pushed the original plan and met with the people of Sotheby’s first and then the Headhunter. It's that FIRST THOUGHT THEORY.

I get to the Headhunter's and of course, I am asked to wait in the lobby for 20 minutes. The receptionist (a HOTTIE) kept telling me that the representative would arrive in a minute. When he finally arrives, we shook hands and I returned it back with equal Professional Formalities. He places the papers in my hands where the whole process took 10 minutes. The Headhunter then gives me the directions and a contact number and as I read the directions to gauge the quickest way to get to Sotheby’s from where I was I ask, “Is this interview still scheduled for 2:00 PM? "

"Oh no, I moved it back to 3:00 PM you have plenty of time to get there. Enough time to even walk if you like." the Headhunter assures me.

Yeah I could but I DIDN’T. With the weather being PERFECT, upper 70 degrees and nothing but sun and a light breeze, it was too perfect and I did not want to be affected by Murphy’s Law. I looked at my watch and saw that I had just a little more than 40 minutes to get to Sotheby. So I was safe. I shake hands once again and departed. I’ll skip the whole hustle and bustle though the streets of Manhattan and get to the door of Sotheby.

I get to my place and it is everything it was suppose to be. Sotheby’s, being on the Eastside of New York City, it is one of the Crown Jewels of OLD MONEY. We say that of the Eastside because east of Central Park is known for Wealthy New York residents or what is known as generational family wealth. The Westside is NEW MONEY. This is where traditionally the RICH people live, those whom have generated wealth within one to two decades. One side can trace its historical wealth back to and beyond the turn of the 20th Century or back to family within Europe, Africa, Asia and South America while the others can look to Entertainment, Technology, Banking , Medical and Service. The Westside is also the place where the newer and more frequent high-rises are located and built so anyone looking to move to New York City with a few coins in the pocket and wants to live Midtown or the Upper sides would more likely find themselves living there than the Eastside. Central Park being the line between the two sides, it is more than just a few acres of green dividing the differences, it also separates the attitude.

People usually ask me if the people of New York City, specifically those living in Manhattan, are racist or prejudice? In all things human nature, there will always be racism and degrees of prejudice BUT in Manhattan the divisions have more to do with CLASS as oppose to Race. Based upon your socio-economic situation, you can pretty much live anywhere in Manhattan. Depending on where you live, one can almost predict what your financial portfolio is. Those living in a particular area (and this is where prejudice and racism factors in) that would seem a bit questionable you would then ask, “So what do you do for a living?”. There is a theory behind this that at some point I’ll go into detail but for now let’s get back to Sotheby.

I walk into the building and pretty much get directed to my meeting place. Exiting the elevator I see a Brotha at the greeting desk where he then gives me slight attitude and directs me to sit and wait for my interviewer. I take out a handkerchief to wipe the sweat from my brow. Between the weather and my hustle, I gave myself a pretty good workout. While sitting, I observe all the fine art and paintings hanging. The furniture was very comfortable for being art deco and I say to myself, “Self, this leather chair I know cost more than $3000.00 easy." The wait wasn’t that long when the Gentleman comes from a back office. I had to admit, immaculately dressed, he did look good in his clothes (Not as good as ME, in the words of Jill Scott). First impressions being everything, I stand up to greet my host and find that I am a Giant to his slight frame. As I am standing I can see how his neck is just arching to a locked position so I step back just a little so that I don’t give the “little” man a cramp. He, an amalgamation of Beverley Leslie (from Will and Grace) and Niles Crane (from Frasier) and giving off pure Evana Trump in Diva-tude looks me up and down but I don’t pay it any mind.

How are you, it’s a pleasure to ...”, I greet the Interviewer

Very dismissive the Interviewer interrupts, “I’m sorry but I’m NOT meeting with you?

YOU WHAT? NOT WHAT? OH HELL NO YOU DIDN’T!

You aren't going to meet with me? Why not?”, I ask.

I take being on time very seriously. This position that I am offering is not something to take lightly and you standing here now just don’t represent that.”, the Interviewer says patronizingly.

WHAT THE FUQ. NO THIS LITTLE PENCIL NECK DID NOT TURN ME OUT.

Stepping forward two steps, “Excuse me but I don’t think I'm late.

Excuse me BUT you are. You were to be here at 2:00 PM and I don’t have the time to ENTERTAIN you.”, spoken dismissively.

SHYT, DID HE JUST SAY THE WORD ENTERTAIN? HE WENT THERE.

In defense of myself, I just left the agency no more than a hour ago where I filled out the proper paperwork. It was my understanding that the interview was to be at 3:00 PM and not 2:00 PM. I have the appointment schedule with me.”, cold and monotone I responded back.

I don’t care, your agent should have contacted me. I’m sorry but you WON’T work.”, he said with finality.

YOU KNOW, FUQ YOU FREAK

It is not an issue. I understand your decision and thank you for your time.”, I say in finality.

So a gathered my things as well as my thoughts (because they were becoming a bit Gemini by the second) and left. As I leave the decadence that littered what is a Sotheby, I looked around the building before exiting into the street and I say to myself, ‘Self, honestly, did you really see yourself working here? I mean coming from the Upper West, not coming from much and building yourself up through struggle into living a decent life, traveling the country and the World, passing the homeless and sickly on the streets just to get here, knowing there is a War going on, knowing that much of the wealth in this place was collected, gathered and or created off the backs of People without means or conscious, my attitude for doing the Right thing, personal views, personal values, your politics and temperament, lack of tolerance with people whom get off on the belittlement , dismissing of others and or condescending to just anyone and everyone, I mean you are a humanist at your core and yet you can be Bold and Acknowledging of your own prejudice, is this REALLY what you want? Does this place fit into your PEACE OF MIND?

I then change the direction of my thoughts and ask myself again, “Even with all the miscommunication and shady attitude from "Shorty Pants", is some part of you just twisted over not being able to get the opportunity to interview for this position?"

NOPE.

So I get outside, in the sun and I exhale. I look down the street as I watch the White folk in their diamonds and pearls, their Caribbean, South American and African nannies bring children home from the prep-schools, people on their way to their late afternoon Catholic and Jewish services, the sounds of Arab and other Middle Eastern dialogue eating outside cafes, European shoppers looking for expensive bargains, elderly men and women being pushed down the street in wheelchairs and or assisted in walkers, giving silent greetings and acknowledgements to Black and Brown door men as I past by and before I knew it I was by Central Park; the dividing point between what is real and what is tolerably real.

Not for nothing, I broke out the camera and decided, for my PEACE OF MIND I will do something that comes directly from me and capture the spirit of the day, the celebration of life, and a few snapshots of my SEXY. As I walked and took pictures, a group of young women stopped me and asked me why I was taking pictures. They were full of energy and girlfriend giggles. Most of all they were sight seeing and fame searchers. One of the young ladies asked if I knew anyone famous and as I rarely do, I name dropped a few people, which they loved. Then they asked if I could take their picture and vice versa. I promised that I would post the meeting on my Blog and I will (I hope they come check it out). I eventually started to tire. Being on my feet in “show shoes” and running out of space on the digital camera, I needed to be home because I couldn’t wait to get that damn Monkey Suit off and into a pair of jeans and a tee-shit ON THE WESTSIDE.

MAN I LOVE BEING ON THE WESTSIDE.

3 comments:

jjbrock said...

Poet do you think the person from HeadHunter gave you the wrong time on purpose? I love the way you handle that little problem with class.

Shazza Nakim said...

I don't think it was malicious, I look at it as being typical and incompetent and yet the attitudes given off can be looked at as being suspect.

My Opinion

dejanae said...

i see ur getting ur GQ on
glad u kept ur cool
who'd u name drop?lol