Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 19 - HELP WANTED: Tales of a Free- Spirit Professional

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my latest post over at!


By the time Monday’s interview arrived, I had been to four different stores in search of a book on making balloon animals.  While there was no shortage of such materiel, making a sword out of a balloon was pretty hard to learn by looking at pictures.  Plus, holding the book and the balloon posed a major challenge as it was impossible to do both with success.

I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d just have to tell the truth.  Copping to my lie would surely cost me the job, but it was kind of hard to fake it with balloon animals.  I’d almost cancelled altogether, but when I called to do so the night before, Violet, the owner of Focus on Fun, was so excited to meet me, I found myself all caught up in her excitement, gushing about how I was so looking forward to the interview.

Violet worked out of her apartment on the Upper West Side and as I climbed the stairs to the fifth floor, I wondered again whether I should’ve cancelled.

“Just a few more flights up,” she called from somewhere above my head.

My heart was pounding and it had nothing to do with nerves.  I was in good shape, but five long flights of stairs had me grasping at the railing like a frail, old lady in an attempt to pull myself up to the top. 

“Hi Liz!” a voice said to my left. 

“Hello,” I squeaked, steadying myself as I tried to catch my breath. 
Violet stood in the doorway of her apartment and I wasn’t sure if it was the light coming from behind her or the lack of oxygen going to my brain, but she looked like a very tall cross between Pippy Longstocking and a clown. 

Her braided ponytails sat on her shoulders, held together by those old school ponytail elastics - the ones with marbles on the ends.  She wore lilac sweatpants, cut off at the knees with mint green tights underneath and a red sweatshirt tied around her waist.  The only tame thing about her outfit was the white man’s undershirt she wore with rhinestones circling her neckline.

“Come on in,” she said, as a wide smile spread across her face.

Inside, her small apartment was bright and cozy.  Her desk sat underneath a loft bed and the rest of the space - save for a small couch next to the window – was filled with costumes and props.  It was like being at a

Sesame Street
convention with Big Bird and Elmo looking down at me from their respective hooks on the wall.  Princess costumes and clown wigs hung from a rolling coat rack and in the far corner, sat a small pile of various balloon sculptures from poodles to swords to purses.  Hard to believe all that stuff fit into such a small space. 

“Have a seat,” she said motioning towards the couch as she settled into her fancy, ergonomic chair.

Sitting down sounded like a great idea, being that I was still a little out of breath from my journey up the stairs. 

“Let me tell you a little bit about what we do,” she said, leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees.

It was hard to concentrate as she talked because Violet looked like a kids’ party character.  Her green eyes danced when she talked giving life to the sprinkling of freckles across her light-chocolate skin and her hair – though braided - looked like a wild child wearing a pretty dress. 

The mention of balloon animals snapped me back to attention and I humbly admitted that I knew nothing about them.

“That’s okay,” she sang, clucking her tongue a little.  “I like you!”

And with that, she slid her chair over to me and gave my knee a smack.

“I’ll show you everything you need to know.  Don’t worry, it’s simple.”

No comments: