“Honey, do you want to work in porn?” I looked over at my girlfriend and the look on her face told me she’d just asked a serious question. Normally when she asks me something like that it’s because I’m wearing something outdated or ugly, like a fur hat.
“I don’t think I could get hard in front of a camera, baby, and anyway, wouldn’t that be like sticking my dick in a petri dish?”
“Dumb ass, do you want to be the webmaster for a sex toy company?”
“Oh. I guess…fuck it, yeah, how much worse could it be than typing all night?” And, with that, my life had changed, though I obviously didn’t know that yet. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much how life changes tend to go. Anne went back to the conversation she’d been having on the phone and a few minutes later was writing down a phone number. She handed me the paper she’d written on and said, “Call and ask for Donna, she’s about to leave for lunch so call now.” Five minutes later I had an interview scheduled for the following Monday.
Later on, as I drove to work, I thought about how nice it would be to have a real job again. I’d spent the last seven or eight months typing police reports for ten bucks an hour and I pretty much hated it. Most everyone I worked with was awesome, but working as a transcriptionist was something I found profoundly boring and, anyway, it had always been just one of those jobs you do when you’re between jobs. As I got closer to the office I started thinking about how every shift supervisor suspected all the other shift supervisors of trying to destroy them and then, even worse, I thought about the Cheese Lady. Oh my fucking God, the Cheese Lady. As I parked my truck in the lot, I’d decided that I was done working there and that I was going to kill at my upcoming interview.
I got to my interview five minutes early, dressed sharp and with a pen in my hand. I’d considered putting on a tie, but then I remembered I was interviewing at a dildo factory near Holt Boulevard and the 71 Expressway. Once inside the building, I didn’t even have time to sit down before Donna came out to greet me.
“Tim? I’m Donna, how are you?” One thing was immediately obvious: This woman had no shortage of energy. She walked up to me so fast I almost assumed a defensive stance, and as she walked back to her office, it occurred to me that if she’d just had a pair of hand weights, she’d look exactly like the middle aged women who power walk around my neighborhood.
We sat down and she proceeded to tell me how she’d had a web site for a year and a half and the people she’d paid to design it still hadn’t finished working on it. They were apparently very gifted graphic designers who had made a side business of hosting web sites. But the minute things got more technical than a simple html tag, they were in over their heads, which ultimately led to her wanting to hire an IT guy full time.
“So, tell me about yourself, what can you do for me?”
“Well, I’m basically just a huge geek who’s really good with computers.” The geek comment got her to laugh, which is what it was supposed to do but, to put it mildly, her laugh was unsettling. Donna’s voice is naturally shrill and her laugh sounds like what you’d expect a witch’s laugh to sound like if it were coming from a Halloween-themed greeting card. This threw me a bit, because humor was a big part of my plan of attack for the interview, but I really didn’t want to hear that sound twice. I decided to put that aside, however, because this job was going to be mine. I continued to tell her about myself, throwing out the typical code words of, “smart, motivated worker,” and “team player,” and the rest of it. And as I did so I tried to keep my tone conversational and lighthearted, which had the positive and negative result of ingratiating myself while prompting more laughter.
“Look,” she said, “I’m basically just sick and tired of this thing being in limbo. So much of the adult industry has gone to the internet and I just feel like the longer I have a web site that isn’t working, the more money I’m losing. I’d do it all myself if I could but I’m just not that smart. I’m smart in a lot of other areas, but this computer shit is just beyond me. I want to bring someone on board who can really do this and who, when I have an idea, can make it happen.”
“Well,” I replied, “I guess the bottom line is this: I’ll never claim to know everything about web design or code and frankly, I don’t ever want to. But I know a lot and for everything else, that’s why we have Google. So basically I’m not going to have the answer to every question you have readily at hand, but I will know where to go to find it. As for the particular, shopping cart program you’re using, I have no experience with it. But I do have experience with a different one and the nice thing about shopping cart programs is there just isn’t that much variation from one to the next. They all do the same thing, they just have slightly different methods of doing it. Give me a little time and I’ll know this one as well as I know anything.”
As I was speaking, Donna had a smile on her face that kept getting wider, and when I finished, she said, “So when can you start?”