Thursday, September 24, 2015

Seattle's Batman is a lawyer that works on 3rd Avenue.

Look at this little brown bat! Are they cute or what?!?!
I'm started to feel better about my move to Seattle. I took the bus downtown and met with some job recruiters, in person, so they saw my lip piercings, and one of them mentioned my tongue piercing. I've had my tongue pierced for twenty-four years, and it's one of my body modifications I forget about, or at least forget that people do notice it when I talk. The two that I talked to are totally clear that I will not take them out, and that I'm looking for a place that will not have issues with me not looking or being a cookie-cutter finance and accounting clone. They both seemed completely comfortable with me and this limitation. That probably had more to do with my comfort with myself and my own boundaries than anything else. Also talking to them about my resume made me realize that I have a very good resume with a lot of valuable experience.

I do still have significant doubts about whether any corporate environment would be tolerable to me, but the beauty of the piercings is that I'm putting it out there, on my face, that I am not going to be a good fit with a company that I probably wouldn't want to work at anyway. We're also dealing with this issue up front as they are making sure to discuss this with the company before any interviews take place. I was rejected for two jobs within 12 hours though. I passed on one before they even approached them because it was at a biotech with drama. I worked at a biotech with drama already, and a medical company with drama, and have no desire to get anywhere near medical/biotech drama ever again. Instability and power struggles seem fairly common in this particular industry, and when I google a company name and the first thing that comes up is a recent article about the board forcing out its second CEO in less than a year, it does not bode well. The ones that rejected me were, company is fun and casual but the CFO is too conservative for that, and a temporary project that someone at the recruiting firm pitched to me over the phone but hadn't met me in person, and I said, did you know about the piercings? So she put me on hold for quite a while, and then said she'd call me back, and then asked if I'd take them out, and I said no, and then she kept saying, "well, it's your choice" and I thought, but didn't say, uh, yeah, it sure is my choice.

Anyway, somehow I just feel better having it out there, and giving myself the chance to potentially find a place that I would fit in with and greatly reducing the chance I would fall into a job where I hate the culture. One of the other avenues I'm pursuing is a government/university job. I had an interview at my alma mater today. I interviewed with three people, and while they probably wouldn't have said anything about my piercings if they did have a problem with it, they didn't stare or look startled or freaked out, so that was a good sign. I was the first person to interview for the job, which they told me several times, which I don't really know how to interpret? Hopefully I blew them away and all the rest of the interviewees pale in comparison. I really felt comfortable with all three of the people, and them seemed very smart and down to earth, and the job sounds really cool and interesting, and OH MY GOD I WOULD LOVE TO WORK AT MY ALMA MATER! I love that university. I went there for undergrad and grad school, and would be totally trying to get into their MFA program except that they don't offer creative nonfiction.

But one of the issues with government/university is that the interview process can move really slowly, I'm told, so pursuing these jobs requires patience. Not my strong suit. I also kind of fall in love with some jobs I interview for, or the idea of the job, prematurely, so I'm trying to just move on and not think about this one until I hear something. Also, while they did seem to like me and my experience, I had some moments of unfocused blabbing (like what I do on my blog pretty much all the time lately) which does not necessarily help my case. I hate those, give an example of some blah blah difficult situation, how did you handle it, what would you have done differently, questions. So dangerous for an arguably overly open, chatty person such as myself.

In conclusion, be patient, work on the unfocused blabbing, there are a ton of job postings for this university in finance and accounting and I have an interview for another job there next week. Things are looking up. Also, the area of downtown I was in and the university district don't look nearly as different as Capitol Hill, so that made me feel less like I had come back to a completely changed Seattle. It is kind of a bummer that I am probably priced out of living in Capitol Hill when it was where I live for the three years before I moved, and, is it even possible to park on Capitol Hill at all? But Capitol Hill was one of the busiest and most expensive parts of town even back then, so I'm not totally surprised. It is unfortunate that the condos have taken over, but I do like the rainbow crosswalks.

In other news, as I have shared on Facebook, I attempted to participate in a bat rescue in downtown yesterday. Why this poor bat was in a tree downtown and fell out of it onto the street during rush hour morning traffic we may never know. I was walking to my interview with one of the recruiters, and I saw this guy trying to get this tiny bat out of the street and on to the sidewalk. He seemed pretty frazzled, so initially I was just trying to offer some moral support to this kind man who was obviously on his way to work and was unable to just walk past an injured animal like so many others were. We got the poor critter on the sidewalk, when promptly a group of people who seemed to come out of a sitcom about horrible, selfish people started taking pictures with their cell phones and telling us with glee in their voices that this bat is going to die! I couldn't even look at them I was so pissed, so I focused on the bat and brainstorming with the guy as to who we would call for bat rescue services.

Meanwhile, it did look brutal. The bat was on his back, shaking in the cold, and every time a bus drove by, it created a wind that blew right into her. (The bat would have definitely been hit by a bus if not for this man because we were next to a bus stop and buses were swooping in close to the curb every minute or two.) I was trying to shield the bat from the wind and cold by cupping my hands around him, which was super ineffective. A doorman from the building we were in front of came over and tried to help, and they moved a orange cone on the sidewalk next to the bat, and then the doorman brought over a plastic trashcan that he put over the bat to protect him. The guy got a hold of someone from the city who was sending someone over, no eta, and he obviously wanted to get to work but didn't want to abandon the situation, so I told him I'd stay and wait with the little bat.

The doorman picked up the trashcan, and little bat (who was tiny, would fit in the palm of my hand) had flipped over. She made a beeline for the cone and crawled underneath. The two of them went into the building, and I sat on the sidewalk next to the cone, hoping he didn't crawl under the cone to die. She had pulled her wings into his body and was sticking her tongue out before he was under the trashcan, and scurried under the cone so quickly that I had a lot more hope for her than I did when we first got him on the sidewalk.

The guy from the city actually showed up in less than an hour, which is amazing! Downtown, morning traffic, I don't know how he got there so fast. Soon after he showed up, this woman stopped by and said she sat across from the heroic man, who is a lawyer that works in the building we were in front of and told her the amazing bat story, The city guy gave us business cards, and took my name and number, and scooped the bat into a coffee can. This was the first time the bat showed any aggression at all. She hissed at the city guy, or the coffee can, I couldn't tell which. The city guy thought I was very brave to have my hands near the bat because bats can have rabies. Thing is, the bat didn't act aggressively towards us at all. I imagine he was preoccupied with survival. When I think back on the whole thing, I am just awed by how bravely this tiny bat fought for her life, and hope he is still alive. Also, it reminds me that some people are incredibly compassionate, and some people are incredibly callous, and it's hard to tell about everyone else who walked by. Human nature is often to not get involved, and to keep walking.

I actually had an experience of this back when I was the age that I got my first piercings. I was waiting for the bus on Broadway, the main street through Capitol Hill. There was a guy, possibly someone I had seen at parties or even knew, passed out just down the street. I assumed he was drunk, even though it was the middle of the day. I had a bad feeling and kept looking over there, thinking that I should go check on him but feeling frozen and anxious. I don't even know what I was afraid of, what was holding me back. Maybe that I didn't know what I would do if there was something wrong, that I felt too powerless to help him? Finally a woman did stop to check on him, which initially I was relieved that someone besides me had done, but then she started calling out to people to call an ambulance (days before cell phones). A crowd gathered, and the consensus seemed to be that he had overdosed on heroin.

I never heard anyone in my little punk scene mention someone who had overdosed after that, so I don't know what happened to him, if he lived or died. I felt the most intense shame that I did nothing. This was even someone like me, about the same age, a punk boy, someone I probably did have friends in common with. Maybe if I had gone over the ambulance would have come sooner and he would have had a better chance. What if he died? I'll never know what happened to him. It haunted me. After that, I tried to never keep walking. I know I can't live with myself if I don't stop. Sometimes I just check to make sure someone is breathing. It was overwhelming when I lived in San Francisco. I walked by so many people, literally in the gutter, and I saw so many people step over people lying on the sidewalk without even looking at them. But I can still understand that it's hard to stop. It sometimes feels like a primal thing, that you are fighting against all your instincts to get involved. So I really can't blame people. But it is a wonderful thing that there are people who stop and try to help.

I give Lawyer Batman all the credit on that one. I don't think I could have handled that on my own. But it does seem that if that first person stops, usually a couple others will too. It's a nice caveat to human nature, a bit of a counterbalance to all the people who keep walking.

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