Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Monday, September 19, 2005

'Tis the Season

This morning, waiting for the elevator in a major downtown office building, I stood in the vestibule beside a self-concsious young man, lithe in an immaculate if poorly fitted pinstripe suit, white shirt, lime green diagonally striped tie a la mode, amber pricey folio under his arm and shoes like a pippy's paws that suggested room to grow. As it was, I was spotting him several inches. He looked like he was only a few months beyond the last of his adolescent acne, like he still thought of himself as a kid among grown-ups, like he had various immediate regrets including the amount of product he'd used, the precise angle of his side-spiked dark hair, whether his shoes and his belt really suited each other, and whether the folio made a complementary trio, and whether he remembered which of his interviewers had gone to Notre Dame undergrad, and whether that was the one who'd done graduate work in philosophy at NYU.

The elevator arrived, and I ignored his extended hand, motioning him into the car. Inside the elevator, he began to fidget, shifting feet, leafing briefly through a folio that I knew from experience would contain nothing more than copies of his credentials and perhaps a single page of notes about the firm and the attorneys with whom he expected to interview -- hopefully hidden somewhere out of sight, it being, in my view, bad form to open one's folio during an interview to reveal a crib sheet containing information about the person across the desk, notwithstanding that everyone imagines it is there.

I tried so very hard not to say anything, but it is so rare that one sees so utterly through a stranger, and one so vulnerable at that, that for someone as voluble as I it is effectively impossible not to comment.

ME: Interview?

HIM: [Smiling with surprising ease, turning corner profile to respond] What else? Miserable.

ME: Been there. Could be worse, though. After all, you're interviewing at [elite Pittsburgh law firm].

[DING -- Elevator stops at a floor several below the interviewee's intended floor, but it's another floor containing the interviewing firm]

HIM: [Reserved; bright enough to realize that we've been joined by an attorney from the interviewing firm] That is true.


HIM: Have a nice day.

ME: You too -- and good luck.

Lawyers. Poor thing.


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