Thursday, March 08, 2007

a boycott, a smile, and a sunset

I broke my Wal-Mart boycott Tuesday night in a state of crisis. But after eight months, three weeks, four days, and about twelve hours, I think I had a pretty good run. I'd bought a pair of super-hott Chinese Laundry shoes to dress me up a bit for my interview the next day, only to get home and realize I couldn't walk in them because the backs kept slipping off my heels. So, Wal-Mart being the only place that was open, I begrudgingly broke the boycott with Best Friend Roommate. But alas, in typical Wal-Mart fashion, they were fresh out of heel grips. I had to settle for some ball-of-the-foot pads that I thought might push my feet up a bit, but only succeeded in making my shoes a little more squishy. The entire experience reassured me that my boycott was, in fact, justified, as even at 11pm Wal Mart is miserable. I was competing for aisle space against men armed with forklifts and hand trucks, I could have sworn the electronics section was being robbed for the constant, rhythmically beeping, ear-piercing noise, and, of course, I waited in line for twenty minutes to check out. When I swiped my card I was randomly selected to evaluate the cleanliness of the store, and you better bet I said it was filthy. I wish it'd been an open-ended question--I would have written an essay on all of the reasons I hate their store.

Fortunately, I had enough time to run by Payless on my way out of town yesterday and grab some heel grips. I got down to New Orleans about thirty minutes early, plenty of time to find the building and a parking spot. Now straighten that skirt, girl, stamp out that cigarette, and act like those shoes don't kill you. I marched in like a champ, my ambivalence about the job itself hidden by my sparkling charm. I got a quick tour of the building, my shoes making what seemed like quite a clamor on the ancient wood floors. It was all winding halls and nested offices; I don't think they even had air-conditioning. Very nonprofit, very New Orleans.

They were great, awesome, amazingly cool people, but about halfway through the interview they broke it down for me--they really liked me, but the position had already been filled by a former intern, and they want me to intern for them instead. It's basically the same job, full time, but unpaid. I told them I'd keep it in mind, but I'm sure they know better than to hold their breath. I left with a smile in my heart nevertheless--I'd gotten the chance to meet some really cool people, I'm always happy just to drive around New Orleans, and I had time to go see an old friend before meeting Nick for dinner.

I'd never driven across the Causeway before, as I'm always taking either the twinspan or the spillway out of the city. It crosses the longest part of the lake, over to Mandeville where Nick lives now, and I realized that for several miles in the middle of it, you can't see anything but water. You might as well be in the middle of the ocean. I was driving at dusk, and could follow the sun setting into the water through my window. It was awesome. I had a beautiful day.

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