Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Grave Chicago Sin

You say Chicago, I say hot dog. Chicago. Hot. Dog. A real one looks like this (notice the lack of ketchup):

Yesterday I had two above-par hot dogs from America's Dog. This was first Chicago hot dog experience since before I left for France over a year ago. Needless to say, I was excited.

There was a problem though: too much dog. I was foolish to think I could eat two of these things. I made it through about a third of the second one when I went to grab a knife and fork so I could pick through the tasiest bits.

Wait, did you catch that? Because it took me about three minutes to realize what I was doing, get really embarrassed, and look around to see if anyone noticed. I was eating a Chicago hot dog with a KNIFE AND FORK.

I obviously looked like a tourist. I'm blaming France. France taught me to eat everything with cutlery, (French) fries included. I definitely did not look like someone who is, um, from Chicago. Where hot dogs are made to be eaten with your hands.

What I did wasn't just a mistake. It was a sin. I am so ashamed, and the best I can do it promise it will never happen again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

To whom it may concern,

The above phrase is dominating my life right now. I apologize to all my loyal blog readers - all fourish of them - for Reve Rouge's MIA-ness lately. Instead of writing blog posts, I have been writing cover letters. I feel like I have written a gazillion of them.

My life is consumed by working or trying to find work right now. I take every snippit of freelancing I can get. And when I am not doing that, I am job hunting in every way I know how: stalking online job boards, writing those cover letters, reformatting my resume, sending handwritten thank you cards, calling my friend's mom's friend's friend who said he might be looking for someone, rewriting cover letters because the first drafts were horrible, donning my lucky green interview shirt every once in awhile, following up, etc. etc. etc. etc. There is so much etc. I can never do enough. There is always more work to be done in my search to find work. If I don't do everything I can to get offered job X, someone else will. And that person will get it. I don't want that to happen.

So right now, I have seven events on my Google calendar this week that are labeled "job shiznit." And it's only Monday. I need to write two cover letters and research a company where I am being interviewed tomorrow. I have to go. Sorry blog and its readers. Maybe I will get a job soon and subsequently have more time to write.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

From the Job Hunting Trenches

The other day I went to a group interview for a job I desperately did not want. I don't know why I went. I don't even know why I applied.

Okay, that's a lie. I do know why. It was a job to work with children. I have fun with kids, and we usually hit it off pretty well. I have plenty of references who will speak highly of my experience and creativity. And since I'm jobless at the moment, a small part of my job hunt has me looking at jobs involving kids. Basically because I interact well with children, and because I think it's likely that I will be able to find something.

And that's what led me to this interview. I had to do some activities with other job candidates, almost all of them my age and female and overly peppy — in other words, the type of people who usually work with kids (and the type of people I tend not to get along with). The interview didn't go so well. I hated being there. I didn't even try to make them want to hire me.

I left feeling frustrated and dejected. What was I doing at this interview? I do not want to persue a career with children. I have a million other skills that fit my professional goals. I have the whole city at my fingertips in regards to finding a job that is a good fit for me. Why was I going through the motions of seeking a kid-centric job if I don't even want one?

This situation reminds me of a bartender back at a bar I frequented in Paris. I don't know his whole story, but I do know he is some sort of crazy genuis math wiz. But he's been bartending for six or seven years now. Even though he's good at math, and could probably make some good cash with those skills, I guess that doesn't make him happy.

So the moral of the story is just because you are good at something doesn't mean you have to work in that field. If I don't want a full-time kid job, well… then I shouldn't be looking for them. So I am going to stop. And if they call me back for this job, I will politely turn them down.

Monday, October 05, 2009

October 2 - 5

Have you ever been anticipating one single weekend for months? Maybe you'll be visiting a new city. Maybe you're planning a grand reunion with old friends. Maybe it's finally!!! time to run that race you have been working towards for the past 18 weeks. Or, maybe it's all of the above.

So the weekend comes. Naturally, your camera comes along with you. After all, this weekend has been in the making for months and months and everyone in your life knows it. You've got to have something to show for it when you get back.

You arrive. It is everything you hoped it would be and more. There is cooking. There is eating. There is sitting around the table reminiscing about this and that until who knows when. There is wine. You try to show of your France skillz by volunteering to open said wine, then embarrassedly realize several minutes later it's a twist-off bottle. Everyone laughs. Because you haven't changed. Even after what seems like ages, after your lives have veered in different directions since the last time you were together, everyone is still the same.

Then there's the big race. That 26.2 miles you have been thinking a lot about lately. You run it. It's hard. It's really much harder than any of these you've done before. Somewhere between miles 19 and 26, you wonder what you are trying to prove and who you are trying to prove it to. You think this is a very stupid thing you're doing. You think it would be nice to slow down your pace a notch or two or ten. But you know that would also a stupid thing, because that would be too easy. So you keep going and cross the finish line with your fastest time ever, and that makes it worth it.

Later, there is dinner with another old friend. More reminiscing. More laughing about the past, present, and future. And afterwards, beer. You have a Blue Moon, your first since returning to America. You leave the orange slice until the end, just like always. It tastes better that way.

Too soon, you are catching your $1* Megabus back to Chicago. You feel very sore and very content. And you realize you forgot to take pictures. No snapshots of the dinner making or of old friends or of sightseeing in the new city. No marathon-related photos. The problem is that you were having too much fun over the course of the weekend to feel obligated to document it. Your memories will have to suffice. And that is just fine. You don't mind one bit. You'll take living life over taking pictures of it any day.

*plus 50¢ reservation fee.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

I Get It. And I Like It.

On Tuesday, night, Jake and I went to the Chicago premiere of Where The Wild Things Are.

(See the trailer HERE. I'm not sure how to embed it without everything looking silly.)

It was great. The Music Box was packed head to toe with hipsters — good people watching. Dave Eggers brought Max Records, who plays Max, for a hysterical Q & A before the screening. Afterwards, Spike Jonez and Catherine Keener answered questions, too. I'm bad at reviewing movies, so you can read Jake's review on Chicagoist. But it was good. There was laughter. There were tears. And it didn't ruin the book. I liked it a lot.

We walked home afterwards, me in a fake gold crown they handed out at the door, and I felt so content. For once in a very, very long time, I didn't have to furrow my brow and try to understand any part of that experience.

I hated not understanding things in France. This isn't about language. That is only a teeny part of what I'm talking about. Just because you speak a language does not mean you understand the many cultural layers behind what's going on.

What was there to understand about Where The Wild Things Are? The whole audience grew up reading this book that was originally deemed inappropriate for children. We understood how the book make us feel as kids. We understood what a huge and delicate undertaking it was to translate this iconic piece of literature to the screen. We understood what it meant to have Dave Eggers and Spike Jonez on board for the project. We understood why Spike Jonez was so anti-CGI in creating the wild things. And when some moron asked if wild thing Ira was named after Ira Glass, we understood what an idiotic question that was.

The best part of understanding all these things was that I didn't have to think about them. I simply understood them. Just like that (picture me snapping my fingers). This, my friends, is something I missed dearly about America. It feels good to get it. It feels good to be back.