The way I see it, life is like a rollercoaster. In the beginning it seems like a good idea. Then you have to wait in line for two hours in the hot sun, just inching along. When it’s finally your turn, you realize that some of the people coming out of the ride look like they left their heart and spine behind. This is the point where you realize riding a speeding rollercoaster might not be such a good idea after all. Yet, by that time you’ve gone too far. At that point you just close your eyes and pray for the best while you’re tossed and turned as your car lurches up and down before grinding to a stop. At this point you either toss your cookies and move on or head back in line for another turn.
My name is Olivia Ryans and with the way my life is going I’m not sure how many rollercoasters are in my future. Truth is, I’m scared of heights and prefer my feet to stay on the ground. Unfortunately, at this moment I’m on a plane headed to Florida, trying to ignore the smell of baby puke and pinching myself every few seconds to make sure that I haven’t entered the Matrix. Confused yet? Perhaps I should back up a couple months. Then maybe you can enjoy the ride with me a little better.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was sitting in front of the television convincing myself that an hour of Wii Fit was much more entertaining than watching VH1 all day, when I saw it. No, not It, the Stephen King clown, but it as in the advertisement that would change my life.
“Are YOU a boy band fanatic from the 90’s?” the announcer’s voice called out loudly as a bubbly pop song started, providing thumping background ambience.
Uh-huh, I thought to myself, prepared to see a Now That’s What I Call Music Boyband Edition advertisement.
“Do you have an interest in blogging, photography, and video arts?”
Uh-huh. At this point I leaned a little closer to the television, turning the volume up slightly. I’m usually never a sucker for commercials, but being out of work for two months had me excited at even the hint of productivity.
“Live Entertainment is looking for someone with visual arts experience for a well-paid summer internship travelling with one of the hottest boy bands of the 90’s on their resurgent summer tour. For more details go to www.liveentertainmentinternshipsummer.com – Apply nowwwwww!”
Now usually I would have shrugged it off and sat back to enjoy another episode of Tool Academy or Flavor of Love, but I was sick of sitting at home feeling like a wart on the underside of society. Plus, the sound of my husband snoring from the other room was grating on my nerves. On a beautiful sunshiny day the last thing I wanted to hear for hours on end were the sounds of grunts and snores as I went through the phonebook inquiring about jobs. My husband works nights, and even though I was extremely thankful one of us was employed, the days were extremely lonely. So, turning on my laptop I headed to the website, wondering if they could possibly have made a longer URL and wondering how much junk e-mail I would get if I had to submit my e-mail address.
Surprisingly, the website was pop-up free and simply asked anyone interested to submit a resume, letter of intent, and examples of any visual arts work. I figured I didn’t stand a chance; someone with a master’s in visual arts would surely get the position (if it was even legit), but I could at least mark it down as a job inquiry on my weekly unemployment. I spent the next few hours sorting through photographs and videos that I had taken at my previous job. I had been employed at the Wakamata Public Library since I was sixteen. However, after ten years and the economic downfall, more than half of the staff was let go. Unfortunately, I was one of the victims. I had loved my job; I worked in the Children’s Department and it was a perfect outlet for my creativity. I painted decorations, created promotional videos, blogged about books…life was good. And now…life was not so good.
I chose four or five of my favorite photographs, two of my best videos, and a link to my personal blog. Coupled with my resume and a gushing letter that explained my vast geekiness of late 90’s boy bands, I e-mailed my resume off and promptly forgot about it. I have to admit that my unemployment was causing a lot of problems in my life. For example, my husband, Hunter, was growing more and more frustrated. I will admit that I have always enjoyed being a little lazy, but this was more than that; this was depression. I let my wavy brown hair grow unkempt, knowing full well we couldn’t afford my monthly cuts and blonde highlights. I lived in my pajamas, hid my blue eyes behind my thick black glasses instead of wearing my contacts, and lost my appetite. Of course, looking back, losing my appetite wasn’t a bad thing; I actually hit my goal weight that I had been trying to get at for the past four years. As the weeks crawled by I continued my depressing routine of VH1, phone calls and resumes, and the occasional Wii Fit workout.
As the calendar crawled into April, I hadn’t received any callbacks for jobs and was pretty sure that we would be eating Ramen noodles for the rest of our lives when I received the e-mail. I was lying on the couch, VH1 Top Twenty Countdown playing in the background, when I saw the e-mail from Live Entertainment. Preparing myself for a rejection letter, my heart stopped. I read the e-mail; then reread it. In summary, I had been short-listed and they wanted to pay to send me to Florida to produce another example piece. I don’t remember putting the laptop down, but the next thing I knew Hunter was yelling as I jumped maniacally on the bed.
“What the hell are you doing?!” he yelled, trying to sit up and avoid getting kneed.
“I’m going to Florida!” I yelled right back.
Now, I probably should explain that my husband can be very grumpy when he has to wake up before he wants to. I was mid-air when he clamped his big bear claws on my arms and locked me into a sitting position. His green eyes sparkled with annoyance and his red hair was pointing in about five different directions. As menacing as that sounds, his Scooby Doo boxers and his baby face allowed me to remain happily oblivious to his anger.
“What are you talking about?” he grumbled.
I should also mention that I had honestly completely forgotten to mention to him that I applied for the internship; I didn’t think there was a chance in hell that they would have read my e-mail let alone shortlisted me. In the span of five minutes I gave Hunter the rundown, finishing off with a big smile.
“So, I’ve got to call them and then I’m going to Florida.”
“No, you’re not.” he replied. My mouth open to retort, he flopped on his side and pulled the covers back over his head.
“What do you mean, I’m not?” I retorted indignantly as I stared at the blue comforter.
“I mean,” he said, his voice muffled under the fabric. “You are not going to Florida. You need to find a real job. You said internship. Internship means temporary. Which means only for the summer. And that’s even if you get it. You’re going to be wasting your time when you can find a real job.”
“How can you call it wasting my time?” I could feel my face flushing. “I could be bringing in good money and have steady work, even if it is for a short time. Plus, I can still be sending our resumes even if I get this, which I probably won’t. But I WANT to try.”
“Well,” Hunter said with a hint of venom in his voice. He pushed back the covers. His jaw was set…I knew the look all too well. “I can sum it up like this…I forbid you to go. I don’t want my wife gallivanting around Florida alone.”
“I won’t be gallivanting! I will fly down, they will take me to what I need to do, and I will come back.”
“We’re done talking. You can’t go. That’s it.”
With that he flung the covers back over his head. Fuming, I stomped out, slamming the door behind me. With dramatic flair, I flopped onto the couch and blew a piece of hair out of my eyes. So that was it?
Half an hour later I was sitting in my mom’s car using her cell phone to call Live Entertainment.