Friday, June 08, 2007

Ideal job??

One of the questions I was asked in my momentous job interview the other day was - inevitably? - "What would be your ideal job?"

What is one expected to answer to something like this? Do they really want you to gush, "Well, I really think this position has all the elements I'm looking for in terms of challenge and responsibility..."?

I can't now remember quite what I answered. Not 'beachcomber', I don't think (Damn! Missed a trick there!!). Well, I believe I managed to avoid saying that my ideal was not to have to work at all..... but did say that my ambitions tended to focus on my creative endeavours rather than my job, that I'd like to be a novelist, a film director, a blues guitarist, a kamikaze mime....

Of course, I came up with an esprit d'escalier answer, and it was this:

On a few trips to Greece in the late '80s, early '90s I noticed that every little taverna had a token old geezer who would take up station at an outside table fairly early in the day (i.e., shortly before noon), and apparently idle away most of the day there, watching the world go by. I never saw these guys pay anything for their little dish of olives and their hourly-refilled glass of retsina or ouzo, so I assumed that they were being comped by the bar owner in return for 'advertising' the fact that the place was open and worthy of looking in on. Free booze and snacks, while gently baking your brain in the Mediterranean sun, and calmly watching the pretty girls go by (I have a big weakness for Greek girls....).

That is my ideal job.

By the way, the greatest illustration of esprit d'escalier I can think of occurs in Patrice Leconte's film Ridicule:
Et avec le même utensile.



Well Froog if I were you, I'd moove to somewhere like that and get a job like that. I'm sure you could find other part-time jobs to supliment the first one with.

Tulsa said...

you wrote somewhere that to write about life you have to live life.

think of all the living you'd do with this job.

and you'd be down the street from the Stone Boat... does it get any sweeter than that?


Froog, thanks for the french lesson. It just gave me a tinggle from top to toe and reminded me of one of the things to do before it's too late -learn french. I so so so so so have to learn this beautiful language. It's funny how so many people in the world feel this way about french language. Why is that?

Froog said...

Well - much as it pains me to admit it - it is a wonderful language; one of the very few that actually sounds nice; truly mellifluous, musical. It even lends those qualities to the accent when the French speak other languages. And they do have some of the world's great literature. I learned French to read Voltaire, Maupassant, Flaubert - not to speak it.

Froog said...

By the way, I see the 'permanent customer' in the pavement cafe position as more of a retirement job for me. I think you have to be at least 55, and ideally over 70 to apply.

Froog said...

For those who haven't seen 'Ridicule', DO. And then go and watch everything else by Leconte. Quite possibly my favourite director: I adore The Hairdresser's Husband, Tango, The Girl On The Bridge.

'Ridicule' is set in pre-Revolutionary France when erudite wittiness was a keenly cultivated art amongst the upper classes, seen to be a means to impress and gain influence at court, and thus a source of vicious competition. Jean Rochefort plays a bumbling, impoverished aristocrat who is trying to play this game, with rather limited success. He spends hours conning books of clever jokes, but always misses his opportunity to use them in the salons.

One day, a hated rival of his is gorging himself on cherries, and expresses himself in a pompous Biblical reference: "These are delicious! I think I could eat as many of them as Samson killed Philistines."

Rochefort realises there is an opening here for a really devastating put-down, but he freezes. He spends hours, days puzzling over the reference he wants, the right form of words to use. Only when he is back at home does it finally come to him: "And with the same implement." (i.e., the jaw-bone of an ass!)

It is a perfect illustration of the esprit d'escalier concept.