Now, the reason I jetted off to Sydney for a fleeting forty-eight hours.
You may have wondered why this was so, when I’ve just returned from the solo sojourn and am pretty skint (sensational word that entices thoughts of Chesney and Fizz and Dierdree and Dev and – well, the whole Coro crowd). Thus follows the grounds.
About January this year I got into my mind that being a tour guide would be the ultimate job for me. Travel? Talking? People? History? Research? Pop all over mate!
I went straight to Contiki. Aside from being the best in the business (it’s to tours what Anchor is to milk, TipTop to ice cream, Intercity to long haul bus journeys) it was started by a Kiwi. John Duncan Anderson, the ultimate entrepreneur. So I sent in my CV, answered a few questions and promptly forgot about it.
Whilst gallivanting round the Taj Mahal I received an email requesting an updated CV and me to answer some more Q’s. I did so upon return home and a few days later was invited to attend a group interview in Sydney. Should I prove successful in the group gathering, I would be asked to attend a personal interview the day following.
I weighed up the pros and cons. Cons being the singular lack of funds. Pros being well, why the hell not? What have I got to lose?
So I went.
In the email it said that during the group interview we would be required to give a three minute presentation. With no notes or technological assistance (i.e, PowerPoint or music). I was given the topic of Nostradamus. Excellent, I thought. Now to find out who he is.
(Just for the next time you go to a quiz night or play a trivia game, he’s the “most reknown predictive power in all of history. Forseeing Adolf Hitler’s reign, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the rise and fall and Napoleon, the Great Fire of London, the death of King Henry II. But are these predictions bulleyes, or bullshit? Polarising opinions have waged since the outset. Skeptics maintain that any tenuous associations between historical happenings and Nostradamus’ quatrains are merely retroactive clairvoyance, with their vagueness allowing words to be skewed to fit events and vice versa. But the man has major staying power, with fandom followings sprouting up all over the globe five centuries on…..” Ok stopping now. I must have looked a right tosser out walking the Schnauzer pair as I reeled off recitations of my spiel).
I’m very fortunate in that researching, writing and memorising come fairly easily to me. I just record myself reading it, chuck it on the iPod, run around repeating it and know it off by heart in a couple of replays. The hardest thing about the assignment was culling it down to the time restriction; on first go it was 7min 32, not so ideal.
So over to Sydney I flew.
The group interview started at 9.15am, Monday morning. We were one of about four of five groups of 30 to go through the process. It was like being in the room with 29 Aussie versions of myself; all chatting and extremely extroverted, we were all pretty much friends by the time we were summoned upstairs.
I won’t go into the ins and outs of it. We just did some activities so they could obviously observe our interactive and impromptu capabilities, did our presentations (bang on 2.59, yayah) and got some info. We were told to call a phone number at 1.15 to find out if we’d made it through to the second stage.
Which is why at 1.25pm I was in my hotel room, clothes crumpled on the floor, hoeing back a mango and frantically pressing redial. I finally got through, told I was successful and that my personal interview was scheduled for 2pm.
“Fantastic,” I thanked the receptionist profusely. “See you tomorrow.”
“Oh no,” she was alarmed. “Today. 2pm today.”
I glanced at my pile of creased clothes. Ran my tongue along the strands of mango stuck in my teeth. Looked at the time. 1.31.
“Righto,” I replied. “See you soon.”
The next five minutes was a full on flurry, with only a brief pause to decide if they’d think it weird if I came back in a different outfit. Yes, I deduced, flinging out the ironing board and giving my top a cursorary steam. A quick re securing of the bun, teeth floss and application of mascara and I was off.
I was in the interview about half an hour, asked questions, given “what if” scenarios and the op to ask my own ponderings. I left a tad uneasy; did I ramble too much? Was that the right thing to say? Gosh darn it, why didn’t I use that example?!But my main berating of myself was the blasted taking of the cup.
When I’d sat down upon entry, a stack of disposable cups and a jug of h20 had been at the ready, obviously for the interviewees to rehydrate the sweat beading out in nervousness. I poured myself a half full – not half empty – glass (well, plastic) and had a few tentative sips throughout the exchange.
On dismissal I was in a dither with what to do with said cup. What if I left it behind and they thought I couldn’t clean up after myself?
So I shook their hands, picked up my cup and declared with a jolly – and I mean jolly – chuckle, “I’ll take this one for the road, in case anyone after me accidentally drinks out of it.”
What? I mean, what? First off, when have I ever used the expression “one for the road”? Even Henio only uses the term “roadie”. And secondly, why the fuck would anyone else take the blatantly used cup over the stack of pure pristinely new ones right next to it? No wonder the interviewers looked a bit perplexed.
So I strode through the foyer, cup in hand, searching for a bin. With none in plain view, I had to leave the building with the bloody cup in tow.
And would you believe it – no trash cans out on the street either. And it had started pouring with rain. I was forced to trek back to the hotel, cup poised up in defiance.
Along the way a woman merrily waltzing along under an umbrella catcalled, “Trying to catch enough for a drink, eh love?”
Oh yea. I got the job.