Thursday, April 3, 2008
A precious day
As some of you know, I was interviewing for a possible job with WETA Studios here in Wellington (It’s Peter “Lord of the Rings” Jackson’s production studio) right before I started this trip. I had randomly sent them an email and it turned out they were hiring for a Marketing Manager for their two Web sites. I submitted a resume and cover letter and made it to the “final” stage, then did a phone interview before leaving. I found out, while in Sydney that, although I was one of the final two, I didn’t get the job.
Honestly, I was surprised to make it as far as I did and, as they said, it was less risky (financially and as a company) to hire someone local at this time. But, they were really nice about it and we arranged to meet for lunch today, which was great. I wasn’t able to get a full studio tour (they are working on many highly confidential projects), but I did get a little tour and spent the next hour or so just catching up with my interviewer. He is a really nice guy and has been working here for about three months. He commutes here, away from his family, from Auckland each Tuesday, and then flies back on Friday nights. That is how much he wanted to work in this fun/creative environment. Although this particular job is already taken…who knows what could happen in the future. Anything is possible…
With the help of a local girl and a bus driver, I was able to get back into the city and go to the Wellington Botanic Gardens. You take a cable car up a big hill to the gardens and the amazing view over the city. It was a beautiful day and I walked around for a couple of hours, just looking at the various gardens and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
And, as much as I don’t enjoy most bugs, I saw this really colorful caterpillar on a branch and, next to it, was this unusual pod that looked like it was lit from within.
Not sure what it was, but it was really interesting and it didn't jump on me, so that's always appreciated.
I walked back to the hotel and took a little siesta, then headed a couple blocks away to see a one woman show “Marilyn Forever Blonde”. I’m not a particularly big Marilyn Monroe fan, but I know who she was and I had heard that the play was good…so I decided to go. It turned out to be a very good show and gave me a lot of interesting background information on Marilyn that I didn’t really know. But, what made the show worth it, was Ruth.
About 5 minutes before the show started, this very short woman, around 75-80 years old, walked over and took the seat next to me. She sat down with her little plastic cup of red wine and immediately began chatting with me. She, like me, had decided to see the show at the last minute and had cancelled her plans with other friends to see this because they all told her it was good.
At intermission, we chatted a bit about how she had moved from Ireland to New Zealand 54 years ago to marry her “True Blue Kiwi” husband. She also told me, on numerous occasions, how she felt that everyone who lived in Wellington is “privileged” to live in such a lovely city and country. She was very witty and self-deprecating and, when I told her I was a writer, she smiled and said “Oh, you’re creative and handsome.” She said that she hoped I got a job here because this city has so much culture and really could use more creative people. She also made a comment about how she had not noticed all of the lovely white and red feather boas that were covering the stairwells and draped around various areas. I told her she should get one and she laughed and agreed that it might look nice on her. I was going to try to buy one from the people in the lobby as we were leaving, but they were too busy.
After the show ended, we walked down to the lobby together. I told her how nice it was to meet her and that I was glad she was sitting next to me during the show. She said she felt the same thing and said “Well, if you leave us here in New Zealand, I do hope you’ll come back and tell friends to come too. We really are privileged to live here and we are always happy to welcome visitors”.
I reached down and hugged her goodbye and she said “Oh…why thank you. It was so nice to meet you too…AND you smell good”. Then she wished me a good night and rest of my trip, waved over her shoulder and walked out the front door. As the door closed behind her, I decided that I wanted to get a picture of her and rushed out….but she was gone. There was no local parking garage, no waiting taxis or place she could have gone in those three seconds…
She just disappeared.
It was really weird and as I walked back to my hotel, I actually felt a strong sense of sadness. My first thought was that it felt like she was sent to sit with me tonight, for some reason. It is the middle of my trip and I have been feeling a bit lonely lately and missing my friends and family, so it kind of hit me after she disappeared. Maybe it was also that she reminded me of Frank a little and, in some way, it was like he was around me too tonight.
Sometimes strangers come into your life for very short periods of time…maybe even only for a minute, but they end up playing some kind of significant part in your day or life. Maybe it’s just someone who gives you directions, when you’re lost…or helps you with a car problem, when you’re stranded…or just makes eye contact with you and smiles, when you’re having a particularly difficult day.
They’re there…and they’re gone…and you may never see them again.
But, they make a difference.
Whatever it was tonight for me, it felt nice and lifted my spirits after a while.
So, thank you Ruth…wherever you are.
You made a difference.