Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I Used To Work For Her

UPDATE: This was down for a while. Now it's back up. Hooray!!!

The "her" in question being Park Slope author and Salon-contributor Cintra Wilson.

A few years ago, I answered an ad on Craigslist for a personal assistant job, mainly because it would be working for an author and, at the time, my dream of being a writer hadn't been thoroughly kicked to death by reality. I'd never heard of her before, but she and I seemed to get along well enough in the interview and she hired me on the spot.

Let me say, for the record, that I was wildly unqualified for the job. I have zero organizational skills and, on top of that, I'm quite lazy. What I am good at, however, is pretending that I'm neither of those things. When I've shaved, had a haircut, and put on a clean shirt, I look like the preppiest go-getter ever to spring forth from the Ivy League system. Also, I'm pretty sure I lied and said that I'd had just tons and tons of experience doing the sort of things she asked me to do; filing, clearing out office clutter, cooking at dinner parties, etc. What can I say? I wanted the job. Also, I was drinking pretty heavily at the time, and that always makes those sort of things sound like good ideas. So, with that, I got the job.

I was fired after three weeks.

Oh, and before I go any further, I do want to say this... despite what ended up happening, Cintra Wilson was always, always perfectly nice to me. No, I didn't exactly care for her personality. I'm not a fan of people who are self-consciously wacky, which is pretty much her shtick (see: the above video) and, yes, she's like that to one degree or another all the time. However, she was never mean or angry and even when the eventual firing happened, she was even apologetic about it and was nice enough not to call me on the, at that point, fairly blatant lies I'd told about my skill set. Just want that to be clear; I want to be totally fair.

Anyway, the real problem was the garden. She lived in a large brownstone and, behind it, she had a sizable (for Brooklyn) yard/garden that had fallen into disrepair. Not Grey Gardens bad, but still; unkempt enough that it definitely needed attention. I'm fairly certain that this wasn't mentioned in the interview, so when it was brought up, after a couple of weeks of office work, that I was expected to do the gardening myself, I was shocked, needless to say. My thoughts were, and are still, why would you hire a personal assistant to do gardening? Why not hire... I don't know... a gardener??? I did a craptacular job, obviously, because I had no idea what I was doing. This came on the heels of the first (and only) dinner party that I helped her throw. Let's just say that I was in over my head and it showed.

So, a few days later, I called her to find out what time she wanted me to come in and she said, "No, that's okay, this isn't working out." When I asked why, she told me that the garden was still awful and that it looked like I hadn't done any work on it at all. My first thought was, well, duh. But, because she was being pleasant, I opted to not get all indignant and "hire the right person for the job" about it.

I never heard from her again and I never did read any of her books.


Anonymous Kathy said...

I can't help but ponder how much her appearance would have benefited from having a priest thumb affixed to her forehead.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

That would have TOTALLY completed the outfit. That, or an unexplained black eye.

1:12 PM  

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