I had a great day yesterday. I took a much-needed break from doing laps around the Internet Explorer bookmarks under “Job Hunt,” and from staring at my résumé and wondering if further changes were needed. It doesn’t mean I’m being any less aggressive about this job hunt, but sometimes clearing my head is a good thing.
I met a longtime, very dear friend of mine and her boyfriend at a very unlikely place: The Irish Rail in Manasquan, N.J. The bar is, literally, the Manasquan New Jersey Transit train station. There’s a small waiting room and ticket booth, and The Rail takes up the rest of the building.
On Thursdays, The Rail offers $3 pints of Guinness, Bass and Smithwicks. Since Guinness makes up about one-third of my blood, and it would be unhealthy to risk fluctuations in that ratio, I decided to take the train rather than driving. I’ve always been very good about having no more than two drinks before driving, and I knew there was no way in hell I was limiting myself to a pair of $3 pints of Guinness (great pour, by the way).
Unfortunately, there are no direct trains between Hoboken and Manasquan, so the trip ended up taking nearly three hours each way, versus the one hour plus assorted traffic that it would have taken by car. But it kept me away from the PC and gave me the time to read a great book.
If you’re not familiar with Nick Hornby, become familiar with him. He is a truly fun writer who is probably best known for High Fidelity (the John Cusack movie) and Fever Pitch (the real one, about Arsenal soccer, not the gay-assed Red Sox disgrace starring Drew Barrymore). Yesterday’s selection was Slam, about a 16-year-old boy in London who gets his girlfriend pregnant. It’s a great, humorous, fun read, and I definitely recommend it.
I got a lot more reading done on the way to Manasquan than I did on the return trip, however, and it wasn’t because the Guinness was making me see three books and I was having trouble focusing on the one in the middle.
When I boarded the train for the second leg of the trip, from Long Branch to Newark, it was quite crowded, so I just grabbed the first available window seat. I couldn’t have possibly picked a worse location.
This bizarre ass hat proceeded to sit directly across from me. He looked like Bill Walton, only with short, dark hair. He was tall, thin, lanky and goofy. Despite being a big guy, the Phillies hat he was wearing dropped down over his head, making him look like a kid wearing his father’s hat. He was carrying a Sony Walkman — not an iPod, not an MP3 player, not a CD player, not a Sirius or XM satellite radio: the original Sony Walkman. I had to really fight the temptation to tap him on the shoulder and say, “Um, dude: 1982 called. It wants its product back.”
The train pulled out of Long Branch, and this tool started yelling — not mumbling, not singing, YELLING — the words to the songs on what I not-so-affectionately nicknamed the Solo White Man Mix Tape. I like all of the artists I’m about to mention, but not when the lyrics are being yelled by someone who sounds like his testicles are caught in a can opener.
The first number I was treated to was “Angry Young Man,” by Billy Joel. This was followed by the one and only Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, with “Badlands.” The worst musical performance I’ve ever been forced to sit through finally concluded with Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom.”
I don’t know if his four AA batteries died, the cassette tape caught in the spool, or it was an act of God, but the shrieking finally stopped and I was about to dive back into my book.
Anyway, all in all, it was a refreshing break from the monotony of searching for employment, and the bonus was finally checking my e-mail late last night and being offered the opportunity to interview at a well-known media company sometime next week. Keep your fingers crossed. Just don’t sing on a train while doing so.