Tuesday, 22 May 2012

I hate 2nds

There are exceptions, but generally speaking I hate 2nds.

2nd interviews.  2nd auditions.  2nd bills.  2nd dates.  2nd choices.

I’m neutral about 2nd cousins because actually I don’t really know who they are. 
(Are they the children of cousins or is that 1st cousin once removed?)

But 2nd interviews suck.  I have been waiting for a 2nd interview for a job for days now. Yet despite the recruitment chap promising to get back in touch and saying he’d try hard to make a time early this week, nothing’s happened.  So again I’m left hanging.  It’s probably worse because I waited nearly a fortnight for the first interview, but it leaves me in an awkward position. I’m reluctant, you see, to accept another job I’ve been offered as it’s not my style to say yes and then let someone down (which is what I’d have to do if the 2nd offer were to come through as it’s more in line with my skills, experience and projected bank balance, all of which is important when you're a freelancer). 

Before I spread my wings into management, there were other 2nds which weren’t great: 2nd auditions.  You waited for your agent to call, on the edge of the seat until he/she did, and then five minutes after being told you had a “call back”… you were torn between already spending the money and the torture of knowing your competition was someone more famous or more likely to get the part than you were.  So, only validating to a point. Whereas by the 3rd and 4th audition you felt like you genuinely had a good shot, and could relax and enjoy it more. Well, until the 5th or 6th audition by which time you dreaded the possibility of being 2nd choice!

That’s another 2nd I’m not fond of: understudy.  You stand in the wings, rehearsed and ready, keen to get your chance to go on… but it rarely happens like Ruby Keeler in 42nd Street.  Once I was even in the costume having the wig put on, when the star arrived and they threw me out of the make-up chair because it was two minutes before the half-hour-call (which was as per union rules but brutal for an understudy who was so ripe by then it was pathetic).  Took years before a kind, older actress, explained that particular girl would never have gone off sick when I was so perpetually eager.  In fact I recall when I spilt tea on her she asked if I’d done it on purpose?  No!  Seriously, it was an accident.  Well, consciously.  Whatever, it seems I lack the subtlety of a 2nd. I can’t play the politics of a corporate ladder well either - biding my moment with Machiavellian objectivity and rationality.  I’ve never been sufficiently cool to feign indifference. 

And what about 2nd bills?  They are never nice.  They use language like “reminder” but you know the debt collector is dusting off his hat ready to threaten you.

I was nearly a 2nd wife once, too, but to be perfectly honest the role didn’t sit well with me.  

2nd dates aren’t my favourite either.  You presume you’re both interested enough to have a closer look, but can you be sure he’s genuine?  Is it romance or friendship?  Is he a player?  Is he smart, kind, sexy enough?  You notice things you hadn’t noticed before and, as we’re all human, the rose-coloured glasses may strain a little.  Whereas by the 3rd or 4th date you’ve been talking to your girlfriends about how cute he is and whether or not you’re going to kiss.  Much more fun. 

On the other hand, I’ve never turned down a 2nd glass of wine and I’ve always been a fan of 2nd base. Not the baseball variety: the sensually exhilarating, joyful phase of a new attraction. No risk. No worry. No commitment (necessarily).  Love it.

I also admit to quite liking 2nd helpings; though often regret it later.

And 2nd class was pretty good. Mrs Buckley was one of those intuitive souls who could see the difference between spirit and bad character.  She diligently made us recite our ‘times tables’ and I never once saw her use the ruler she carried. Shame my High School Principal didn’t take a leaf out of her book (for that particular Nun thought I was definitely destined to join the rebellious Archangel in the 2nd place, the hot place).

You can score with 2nd hand clothes, providing you wash them well.  Curries and Spaghetti Bolognese on the 2nd sitting are often better than the first.  And of course what kind of world would it be if we didn’t get 2nd chances?  Or for that matter 3rd and 4th

But overall, I have to say 2nd is not a place I like to be.  It reminds me of the mean Professor who spoiled my academic record by giving me one mark short of a straight hand of High Distinction results in my Masters.  It irks. 

So, having said all that, do you think the recruitment guy will ring for the 2nd interview?  Or do I have to accept my 2nd choice of job and make the best of it?

This is evidence of greed, I know; ego, idealism and impatience too.  But when you come from a big noisy family where you have to fight to get attention, you grow up determined to be anything but average. 

No wonder I quit the orchestra when they offered me 2nd trumpet.