Word Load For The Intern

One summer during college, I interned at a very small corporate travel agency. It was a one-woman operation, and the owner (who was just trying to get her business off the ground) had hired two (female) college interns to man the desks during the hours when she was not in the “office.” “Office” is in quotation marks because the space consisted of one tiny, windowless room with two ancient computers and a telephone, located in the basement of a restaurant/lounge whose owner my boss “knew.” “Knew” in quotation marks because it wasn’t altogether clear how rent was being paid, other than a strong suggestion that it did not involve cash and probably involved some hanky-panky.

I didn’t meet the landlord until a few weeks into the summer. He was a tall, strikingly handsome man with a wedding ring who showed me pictures of his gorgeous wife and two adorable daughters. He came by a few times looking for my boss, but she usually wasn’t there when I was. On his third or fourth visit to our little basement room, he started cordially asking questions about my life:

“Where did you go to high school?”

“Where are you in college?”

“When did you lose your virginity?”

Wait, what?

Being a naïve 19-year old, I blushingly turned back to my computer without answering this last question, mumbling that I should get back to work and thinking he would just go away. He did not go away. Instead he started massaging my shoulders, and invited me to help him cheat on his wife. In the years since, I’ve blocked most of his romantic monologue out of my memory, but I will never forget one key phrase: “Once you go Black, you never go back.” Yes, this man actually spoke these words to me out loud. From then on, I switched all my shifts and locked the door from the inside while I was working (in retrospect this was a flimsy defense strategy considering the man owned the place).

I met the other intern at the end of the summer, and we compared notes, piecing together what had been an odd few months for both of us. First of all, the intern, myself, and our boss all looked very, very similar. The guy obviously had a “type” (interestingly, his wife was not this type). He also apparently confused the other intern for me when he met her and tried to pick up where he’d left off (square 1). Secondly, it appears our restauranteur was not very creative with his pickup lines–the going Black and never going back phrase was also used on my intern colleague. Third, our boss had recently gotten serious with her boyfriend and coincidentally, the “lease” on the “office” was running out and the company was going to have to relocate.

Luckily no innocent college interns were seriously harmed in this unhealthy work environment, but man did I learn something about how the professional world operates–and isn’t that was summer internships are all about?

Comments (10)

TMSAugust 6th, 2010 at 5:45 am

I never in my life did I think anyone ever used the “Once you go black you never go back” line seriously. Sure, my friends and I have said it jokingly, but actually knowing that someone said and meant it made me throw up in my mouth a little.

MMMichelleAugust 6th, 2010 at 8:05 am

Ugh. He said that?! Hahahaha. What a loser!

tronnerAugust 6th, 2010 at 8:51 am

Are you sure he just wasn’t commenting on your coffee order?

MeshellAugust 6th, 2010 at 10:46 am

Oh man… this is the very best of the MVWJ. Well written, full of WTF, and lulztastic. Thanks, OP and great pick, Admins!

TanekAugust 6th, 2010 at 11:26 am

Just a little confused here, did you go back?

AndrewAugust 6th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Seriously? He seriously REALLY said that? Being serious & not joking?

AntonioAugust 6th, 2010 at 4:16 pm

I’m astonished! What a interview! Tiny room, tiny mind.

smalls (submitter)August 6th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Yup! He really said that. He was totally serious, and it was part of a fairly long monologue. I was pretty innocent at that age and he must have thought he’d make a big impact…

TMSAugust 6th, 2010 at 7:58 pm

He made an impact alright. As a major jerkoff.

efaneoAugust 9th, 2010 at 6:05 am

I’d have told his wife afterwards, but that’s just me.

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