Unmarried Lovers, I Cannot Speak Spanish

Freaky ghost building where good things die.
I went to a career fair in Portland in February. I road-tripped there with two unmarried lovers. This was truly risky. Unmarried lovers are time bombs; they could erupt at any moment into a kissy fit or, worse, an exchange of googly eyes. But I am fearless. I do risky things like other people do lunch.

One risky thing I did is I did the Man Jump at the Oregon Coast on Memorial Day, 1996. I was only sixteen. It involved leaping off the side of a steep hill, plunging fifteen feet, and landing in a tight circle of jagged rocks. I'm so glad I did it. If I hadn't, the guys would've mocked me, and... my intrinsic worth would've been compromised and my future opportunities would've been restricted? If I had died, well, there is always a risk when, like me, you do risky things.

So, about this road trip with the unmarried lovers.* I knew I had to handle things just so in order to keep them from procreating in the back seat. First, I claimed I get car sick in the backseat. That meant I had to either drive or sit in the passenger seat. Second, to ensure that they couldn't procreate in the passenger seat while I drove, I made a "no procreating in the passenger seat" rule, which I think was an inconspicuous way to achieve my objectives without letting on what my objectives were. Third, I insisted that we listen to Taylor Swift's new album all the way the way through. I have the deluxe version with an extra ten songs. Fourth, I sang along to "The Story of Us." Next chapter.

In Portland, I managed to secure a couple interviews at the career fair. The interviews were for unpaid summer positions. They are unpaid because money doesn't exist anymore. Haven't you guys heard about this? See, they keep telling us at law school that unpaid positions are just as good as paid positions in this economy. And, since the only way that could be true is if by "paid position" they mean "position in which you get 'paid' with high fives and butt slaps," I just assumed money doesn't exist anymore. There's no way I'm mistaken about this. I'm a sharp guy. I won several academic awards in elementary school.

One interview in particular was pretty awesome too. Keep in mind, as background, that these guys selected me to come up to Portland for an interview. So I sit down in front of a young chick and an old dude. The first questions are easy:

Them: "Why are you interested in working with us?"
What I want to say: "Because it will be something to do this summer that I can put on my resume, which will potentially help me get a better job than working with a granola non-profit like yours."
What I actually say: "Because I love helping the poor and destitute. And I know a ton about immigration law, seeing as how I have had six class periods of exposure to it."

Them: "What experiences have you had with immigrants?"
What I probably should say in the interest of truth: "Well, Taco Bell, I guess."
What I actually say (I had known this question was coming): "My grandfather was an immigrant from Nicaragua. He worked very hard providing for his family so that his grandchildren could have a better future. Now I am in law school thanks to his hard work, and I want to give back."

Notice I don't actually answer the question. That's how I got into law school. But then they ask me if I speak Spanish.

What I want to say: "Don't you think I would've put that on my resume if I did?"
What I actually say: "Uh, no?"

I expected the question, but I thought that since they invited me 800 miles for an interview, they were potentially willing to look past my lack of Spanish. "Oh, gee, that's too bad," the guy says. "Ninety-eight percent of our clients only speak Spanish." I'm suddenly somewhat irked at this guy and his idealistic co-interviewer kid. "Oh, wow," I say, "that's a lot. Well, I don't speak Spanish. But I'm pretty good at Arabic." The guy laughs softly. I almost recite the first chapter of the Qur'an to him to prove my point.

I start to feel sort of hungry and uninterested in the interview, now that it's clear I'm out of contention as a simple gringo. But I harden. I set my jaw. This road trip will not end like this. Not with me on my heels and grandpa over there thinking he's got the best of me. Not today. Not on Rex Manning Day.

I tell him: "Well, my wife speaks Spanish. My kids speak Spanish. I'm the only one in my house that doesn't speak Spanish." He's confused. His child lawyer friend is confused. Why is he telling us this? Ha! I have turned the tables! Whereas I was confused at why they had invited me for an interview, now they are confused at why I'm accentuating how pathetic it is that I don't speak Spanish. "It's funny," I continue,"that with my mom having a Nicaraguan father, she never learned Spanish. And, obviously, if my parents don't speak Spanish, and if my resume doesn't say I speak Spanish, I don't speak Spanish either. But I know a ton about the Middle East." And so, since we still have ten minutes left, the guy starts quizzing me about the politics behind the then-current uprising in Egypt. I provide a detailed analysis. His kiddie interview helper absently sits there, thinking about Grey's Anatomy. The interview ends. I go have a sandwich. Interviews are lame.

* -- the unmarried lovers I speak of deserve praise for being the least sappy, most socially appropriate pair of unmarried lovers I have ever had the pleasure of road-tripping with. There were no kissy fits or googly eyes, no syrupy verbal exchanges. K & A will marry in one short week, and I wish them the very best. They are both very, very wondreful. And... there was never really any risk of procreating in the car. But you have admit, any talk of procreation really seems to attract reader interest.