Throwing yourself into your day life, job interviews mean that you are driving for at least 4 hours a day 3 – 4 Days a week, often organising interviews for the next day between appointments. It is really beginning to feel like a lot of interviews are with people who have already decided that they won’t give you the job, but they don’t want to be seen as discriminating.
After about a week of being away from IRC, I decide to give it another try, but in a different part of the virtual world, than where I was before. This time I will be honest about who and what I am, even knowing that the other people I meet may not be doing the same. I try to keep my IRC time shorter, but without even realising I slip back into old habits.
Around this time online I also meet a girl from Auckland online ‘Polly’. We decide we should meet. So after one of my days in Auckland is done instead of driving home, I go and meet her. We hit it off as friends, so as often as we can after my day in Auckland is done we would meet and hang out for a while.
There was chemistry between us, and things advances for me much further and faster than they had before. Looking back it was really just a lot of kissing, and more exploring than I had ever done before. But at the time it was enough to make me feel like I was finally experiencing what I had been missing out on.
Every time we met, it would be just the two of us, somewhere relatively private. Polly told me things about her family, and her hopes, but she never talked about ‘us’ in a future sense and it was clear she didn’t want me meet any of her friends. There were also a number of times where she would have to leave suddenly, with little explanation.
For a while I was happy to just be experiencing what was.. And not worrying about the future. But as we spent more time together I started thinking and dreaming about a future together. And I started pushing for it. So we started to Fight. So it would be Fight, Make Up, and Fight again.
Meanwhile the job hunt continued, and on a particular Thursday I had an interview I was really excited about, with a bank. I turned up for the interview, and I was seen by a panel of three. Initially they seemed stunned by the fact that I was in a chair. It turns out the recruiter I was dealing with (actually also in chair himself for this one case) had pulled the fact I was in a wheelchair from my CV before he submitted it. Anyway two of the panel recovered quickly, and I thought that I had, had one of my best interviews to date. I went home (no chance to meet Polly that day) dreaming of my future in the banking industry.
Friday was another full day in Auckland, I can’t remember if it was interviews or meeting recruiters, but it was a busy day. At the end of it I was meeting Polly. I arrive where we are to meet and while I am waiting I decide to check in at home and am told that the recruiter from the bank job had called and wanted me to call him back. It’s just before 5pm so anxiously I see if I can get in touch. While I am on the phone Polly gets into the passenger seat of my car. Just at that moment I get the News. “They enjoyed the interview and think you have potential, but you didn’t look professional enough”. Initially I was stunned, I had done all I could think of to present myself in the best possible light, and I knew that for that interview I had looked as good as it was going to get. A wave of pain hit, I got off the phone, trying to hold it together. I couldn’t and I burst into tears. All hope seemed gone. Polly tried to console me, but looking back it was clear she didn’t know how deal with what I was going through. I don’t really remember a lot else of what happened that night, but I do know Polly also gave me the “I just want to be friends” speech. I drove home on auto-pilot.
After this my motivation for all things job related was gone, and I stopped making new appointments, but I had a number of interviews already organised for the next few weeks. So I kept going to any appointments I had already made. I saw Polly a couple of times over this period but each meeting was very brief. One day when I tried contacting her I found that her phone number had been disconnected.
Thinking about things then, I convinced myself that I had been Polly’s secret little rebellion.
An experience to had, but something that could be easily forgotten. It took quite some time until I even considered that there might be other explanations.
I threw myself into the online world, trying to escape “The Real World”. In some ways this worked, in others it just made things worse. For better or worse a line had been crossed and I couldn’t go back to accepting life in quite the way I had before.