Monthly Archives: July 2010

For want of a sidewalk – part 2

The office I wanted was a minimally decorated single suite in the back of a nondescript building on the far side of a sprawling office park. The receptionist gives me a clipboard with a one page application to fill out. I sat down in one of the five blue plastic chairs in the lobby, but was called back to the manager’s office before I could get past the dreaded “Do you own a car?” question.


He said his name was “Chuck,” and he told me not to worry about the application as everything would be on the resume anyway.


The ad (which claimed the job was in “Baltimore ”) stated the position involved “direct marketing.” I was worried this might be code for telemarketing, but it actually referred to what the interviewer called “Retail sales.”


He never stated if it was like the Verizon kiosks in Costco or the sampling tables in Wal-Mart. All I know is that I’d be in a store collecting salable leads for the company’s clients.


“All of the people I hire can talk,” Chuck said. “They’re ALL salesmen, and they’ll talk you into anything.”


He goes on to talk about the training program and how his operation is all about training people for management so they can open new branches in new territories. He then looks down at my resume again.


“So… you live downtown,” he said. “It says you don’t have a car either… So then how long did it take you to get here?”


“15 minute walk to Metro station, 37 minutes on the subway, 10 minute bus ride, and an approximately 30 minute walk from-“


“That’s a long commute…” he said reaching for straws. “Especially when you consider we start our day in the office at 9am – that means you would have to LEAVE your apartment at 6am – so we can start on site by 11am and stay there through 6pm and then return to the office to process paperwork which can take until 8-9 at night…”


I’ll worry about my commute, thank you”


“But, that’s a lot of time – even if you lived across the street you’d do NOTHING but eat and sleep once you got home. Are you sure you can handle that? We don’t want Girl Scouts here; this is BUSINESS, we want serious people who will get the job done.”


He tells me that he will be wrapping up interviews by 3pm today, “and if you don’t get a call by 5pm this afternoon, than well… don’t take it personal – it’s just business.”


He practically pushes me out of his office, reiterating his 5pm deadline as if it was now set in stone. I pass three people in the lobby on the way out, and took my tie and jacket off as I exit the building and begin the commute back to the city.


I started my return trip on Cronbridge Rd , but I wasn’t on it long enough for it to make an impression. It’s just a standard-average office park with a small duck pond near the road.


Crondall Lane is a semi-rural two lane road with a series of office buildings on the left side and a large meadow and\or farm on the right. Neither side had any sidewalks nor shoulders to speak of, but both dropped off into shallow ravines less than a foot from the edge of the road. Did I mention this was a heavily trafficked road? It was, and the uneven ground was murder on my feet – especially since I was wearing dress shoes.


Groff Lane is a short, two lane road that winds through a small wooded area, and serves as a scenic connector between Reistertown Rd and Owings Mills Blvd. Like every other road I’ve walked on today, it had neither sidewalks nor shoulders (except for the area where it crossed the railroad tracks), but it did have a decent amount of traffic and none of these drivers were happy about having to steer around me.


I came out of the narrow grassy road at the foot of a small hill partially hidden by the sign for Tollgate Rd … and directly behind the northbound bus stop. I hate irony.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, job hunting | 1 Comment

For Want of a sidewalk – Part 1

I left the apartment at 9:45am and stopped at the convenience store on the ground floor of Sutton Place (all I had on me were two $20s) before rushing off to catch the Metro for my appointment at noon. I get to the fare machine and am elated that it takes the crinkly $5 the shopkeeper gave me. I collected my change and head downstairs.


I catch the 10:07am “westbound” train to Owings Mills and arrive at said terminus in time to catch the 056 bus to Glyndon. I had no idea where I was supposed to get off at so I asked another passenger and she told me to listen for the announcement just as the pre-recorded stop name came on. She also said I’d have to get off the bus at the next stop as the driver would not allow me to ride all the way around again.


I get off the bus and call the office to say that I may be running late. The receptionist thanked me and told me that she’d pass it along to her boss. I hang up and wait 20 minutes for the next bus to arrive. Not only was the driver the same, but so were some of the passengers – absolutely NOTHING awkward about that.


She calls out the stop and I dutifully get off, look at my directions: “head SW on Reistertown Rd , turn left on Groff Lane .” I look around and see nothing resembling an intersection in the immediate area (just a Texaco a block or so back) so I follow the directions as I had written. Most of the road had no sidewalk so I either walking along the edge of the road or on the uneven berm – in dress shoes no less.


When I got to Painters Mill Rd , I knew I had somehow missed my turn, but since I could see the Metro garage ahead of me at the bottom of the hill, I called the cab company to arrange for a pick-up. Except, I didn’t have any taxi services listed in my phone so I dialed directory assistance, and they connected me to Yellow Cab which irritably told me that they were “city only.”


Just then I see a yellow cab turn into the pick-up lane of Metro station so I hung up and chased after said cab (as fast as one could run on uneven terrain while wearing dress shoes).


It turns out there was a line of about a dozen Middle Eastern men milling around the median near their respective cabs. I take the first one who offered and was elated that he had heard of my destination. It took about 6 ½ minutes to get there and cost me $8.20, but it got me there in one piece.

Categories: adventures, Baltimore, transportation | 1 Comment

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