At a public reading last night, I read from a short story I wrote that’s based on an experience I had in a crowded D.C. subway car almost 10 years ago. I had been accosted by a Middle Eastern journalist who somehow easily pegged me as a writer. He quasi-offered me a job to write for a newspaper he was about to launch in Beirut, and I would have had to pick up and move out there. I never followed up with him or checked out the legitimacy of any of this.
I only recently remembered the incident while thinking about how much I miss a former friend of mine, who happened to have been with me at the time. As my future boss and I were getting into the logistics of my possible relocation to Lebanon, I remember looking over at her, her boyfriend, and their floored expressions. I had met this friend a year earlier in a different city and could often tell she thought there was heavy exaggeration involved with some of my personal storytelling. That summer in D.C., the more time she spent with me, the more of these encounters she witnessed for herself, and I remember the elation I felt when I saw the look on her face in that subway car because I knew she would never doubt me again.
When I delivered some of the dialogue from the pop interview into a microphone last night, I flashbacked to the conversation itself and found myself sickened by how blasé I had been during and afterwards. As my dad always told me, most jobs are found through personal contacts, and this had all the makings of a potentially golden one.
I wish I had been half as much of the risk taker I am today back then.
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