It’s a long story on the exact hows and whys of things, but I recently found myself on a work trip to Kansas interviewing candidates for a job out there.
I had worked out a situation in which I would greet my prospective interviewees in the lobby and go over my questions in the hotel conference room.
So there I found myself, sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Lawrence, Kansas, scrolling through my phone while keeping an eye on the door for anyone who seemed like they had shown up for a job interview.
I glanced up when a woman came in with three other people, dressed very conservatively. She, in her long denim skirt with her teased hair and denim fanny pack, seemed to have traveled through a time warp to get to there.
Convinced that none of these people was the interview I was waiting on, I swiftly got back to scrolling through my phone and checking emails while eavesdropping on their conversation when it started getting a little weird. Which was immediately.
“But I want to pay in all cash,” one of the time travelers said.
“I’m sorry ma’am but we have to have a credit card on file for incidentals.”
“But I don’t want to pay with a credit card. I can give you cash right now.”
“We won’t charge the card, we just need one for our records.”
After the woman reluctantly coughed up a credit card, she went outside and gathered about 10 people out of a car and they started packing up one of those luggage trolleys with bags before wheeling it inside.
I sat, simply pretending to scroll on my phone at this point, but I figured my entertainment was over since they were headed upstairs.
They pushed the luggage cart toward me and the woman with the matching denim skirt and fanny pack apparently didn’t seem to notice me until they turned the corner and the cart was no longer blocking me from her vision.
I know this because she yelled audibly and jumped, looking me dead in the eyes like I was the devil himself.
And it’s not like it’s the first time someone’s confused me with the devil.
Once at a bar in Seattle two men came up to chat with a friend of mine and I, and shortly thereafter asked me point blank if I was the devil.
Common mistake I suppose. I guess I’m putting out the wrong kind of vibes.
But it made for a funny story, and I’m still listed in my friend’s phone as the devil to this day because of it.
I sat in the lobby a little stunned by the woman’s reaction to me. I looked down to confirm I was wearing the cute dress that I had felt was both sassy and professional for interviews. Casual, slightly Parisian looking. I had been proud of the choice that morning.
I was not wearing my pj’s or anything revealing or chilling out in underwear in the lobby like a psycho. Check.
It was confirmed she was just gasping at me in general. Cool.
She approached me with caution, and I immediately knew I didn’t want any interaction with her whatsoever.
“Can I give you a smile?” she asked, slowly walking toward me like I was some sort of mangy, rabid animal.
I wanted to say, “Honey, I can’t smile when there’s a fanny pack in the room,” but decided not to be a complete asshole.
I was about to respond when I watched her reach into the very same denim fanny pack and place a pamphlet on the table in front of me, smile, and walk away.
I should have hissed at her or something for effect to really play up the devil/possession aura I was giving off, but I’m not really good at thinking on my feet and being witty in moments of awkwardness like that.
It was one of those “You’re a sinner, come to Jesus” cards that doesn’t make me want to smile as much as it makes me want to smack someone in the face.
Also as a grown woman, I figured she would know it’s rude to tell someone to smile. I’m not the lobby greeter. This isn’t a Walmart.
It would be creepier if I was sitting down there alone with some fake plastic grin on my face anyways.
I also don’t trust any human who wants to pay for a hotel room in cash and gets defensive when asked for a credit card. That reeked of fraud or embezzlement.
But I guess part of giving off that devilish vibe is just owning it.
That is until my next interview walked in the door, I plastered a smile on my face, and acted like I hadn’t just been accused of being the Anti-Christ.