June 1, 2011: My day starts by preparing for a 10:00 am interview. As I drive to the interview, I am not completely sure if I will head back to CO today. Uncle Steve and I had been discussing my next move the night before. We talked about me renting an apartment and moving to J-Town even without a job. I am not sure I am ready to make this step right NOW. I had looked at some inexpensive apartments the day before, and was not impressed by what I saw! But then unemployed, impoverished people can’t be choosy!
Steve thought I should call up Mr. So and So, with whom I had two interviews the previous week, and tell him I need a hiring answer now! Steve even thought maybe I should go directly into Mr. So and So’s office and pound on his deck demanding the job! I guess that’s one tactic. We have talked in job networking groups that it’s important at the end of an interview to ask for the job. In fact, one job seeker reported a person did not get a job, because they failed to do just that!
My interview in Valley City ND goes well. It’s a group interview, and each interviewer has a printed set of questions in front of them. Prior to the interview, the group and I had been chatting about ND. I told them I was from Devils Lake, and I detected a bit of animosity. We talked about flooding, and I asked if Valley City has had problems in recent years. They point out the window of the second floor conference room to the Sheyenne River, which, like many ND rivers, is surrounded by sandbags just above trees covered with water. I remember now that the outlet-less Devils Lake was about to begin overflowing into the Sheyenne river, which, of course, Valley City residents aren’t too happy about!
I leave the interview and make an executive decision to indeed drive back to CO today As I travel west on I-94, I go over the interview in my head. I think after an interview most people have at least a few questions they wished they would have answered differently, and this interview is no exception! I also think about past interviews. I sometimes wonder about past jobs I was offered but declined. What kind of path would my life have taken if I had accepted a particular position. One that comes to mind was a Communications Director job for Ski the Summit, which at the time was a consortium of Summit County CO ski resorts. I imagine I would have become a world-class skier and jet setted around the world, promoting Ski the Summit. As it turns out, I have done a little world jet setting in my PR jobs!
As I head west, I listed to NPR and get the latest flood news. Both Bismarck ND and Pierre SD are sandbagging to try to keep the rising Missouri River at bay. Minot ND is doing the same on the banks of the Souris River. As I pass through Bismarck, I drive over the Missouri River, and it is indeed extremely high! I also hear on the radio that Amtrak train service in ND has been temporarily halted due to flooding.
I head south on I-85 at Belfield ND. I have driven I-85 down through ND and SD and know it is one lonely, desolate stretch of road. As I try to get in a Zen driving mode, I notice a herd of buffaloes in a field. At the same time I see movement out of the corner of my eye It’s a wayward moth, who decided to hitch a ride in my car at my last pit stop. As I try to find something to swat at him, I see a white car do a u-turn and flashing lights. Uh oh. This police car isn’t after me is it? Maybe the officer just got an urgent call from dispatch, asking him to check on a report of a teen-ager shoplifting fertilizer at the local Farm and Feed store, or maybe Mrs. Farmer T. Jones spotted a flasher in her backyard lilac bushes. But no, the officer is after me. Crap!
As the officer approaches my car, I roll down the window and say “Hello Officer” in a cheery tone. The officer smiles. He looks about 12-years old and has chubby, rosy cheeks and a rather large red nose. He would make a good Santa Claus. Our conversation goes something like this:
Officer Rosy Cheeks: Ma’m did you know you were going 77 miles in a 65 mph speed zone?
Me: No officer (was I really going that fast? Not possible). I was a bit distracted by a moth in my car (that sounded kind of dumb).
Officer Rosy Cheeks: And would it be fair to say that you weren’t wearing your seat belt?
Me: No, I was wearing it. (umm I always, ALWAYS wear my seat belt Office RC. Besides how could he have noticed that in the nanosecond that he passed me!)
Officer Rosy Cheeks: Where are you headed?
Me: Back to Colorado. I’ve been looking for a job in ND (playing for sympathy). I’ve been out of work a long time (more sympathy).
Officer Rosy Cheeks heads back to his police cruiser with my license and registration. I think about the scene in the movie “Thelma and Louise,” where they are stopped for speeding in an Arizona desert. These on the lam ladies eventually pull a gun on the cop and lock him in his trunk. However, since Officer Rosy Cheeks won’t find that I robbed a convenience store at gun point like Thelma, I won’t have to resort to such drastic action!
Office Rosy Cheeks, apparently not in a Christmas in June kind of mood, issues me a $30 ticket and wishes me good luck on my job search. I, of course, am indignant! Everyone knows it’s perfectly acceptable to go five miles over the posted speed limit without risking a ticket. So technically I was only going seven measly miles over the limit. Puuullleeeeaase. Plus, Officer RC probably passes multiple cars each day speeding on this road. However, before I get bent too out of shape, I remind myself this is my first ever speeding ticket! Yep. Never had one before. So I can add and cross that off my Bucket List in one fell swoop!
As I head through WY on yet another desolate stretch of road, I decide to check out a box of cassette tapes that have been sitting in my trusty 93 Honda Civic (which doesn’t have a CD player) for many years! I find a Roger Miller’s Greatest Hits tape. I think Pops/Fast Eddie used to listen to Roger Miller. I put the tape in the player, wondering if it will still work. Sure enough it does! Soon I’m singing along to “You can’t roller skate in a Buffalo herd. You can’t take a shower in a parakeet cage” Kids would like this song. And my all time fav “King of the Road” “Trailers for sale a rent, rooms to let fifty cents. No phone, no pool, no pets. I ain’t got no cigarettes.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA1q9f3HTPA&feature=related
I decided earlier to power drive back to CO today! And I really don’t have much choice, because I have no funds for a hotel room, unless I can find one to let for fifty cents! It’s dark as I exit out of WY and hit I-25 toward CO. As I pass by the Firestone/Longmont CO exit, I see the office building where I used to work for the National Honey Board. I miss my Honey Board job – it was one of my favorites. I think of my former co-workers who still live in this neck of the woods. I wonder if co-worker Amanda would mind if I knocked on her door at this late hour and ask her to put my up for the night!
The last part of road trip as you get closer to home always seems the longest, particularly when it’s late and you’re extremely fatigued. I finally roll up to my apartment about 1:30 am. Home!