January 7, 2019 7 By John Aggrey

February 12, 2014

As I always do, I enjoy a good movie (Lone Survivor) with some homemade cocktail to match. When the email came in, I was reluctant to open but I had to. I checked it out! The email I have been waiting for. It was a Wednesday morning but the sun wasn’t smiling; blazing like a furnace that could have equalled that of the Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s.

“Hello John,

This email is to confirm your interview with us at 2pm today….

Should the need arise for a change in time, kindly revert immediate. We look forward to seeing you”

At this juncture, all I did was raise my eyebrows and puff. Wrong timing. Not when man shall not live by bread alone. Who calls for an interview same day with less than 6 hours to go and venue was at Labone. I was then staying at Achimota Kissieman, a place called “Cemetery”. Don’t ask me if I actually saw ghosts. If I was living right in their ‘hood’ then I guess I was considered a friendly neighbour. We go and come as we please.

Well well well! I got some time to spare before the interview so continued with my movie, 45 mins into it. At noon I decided to prep up for my interview. Got the lists all out and ironed what needed to be straightened. You would have thought doing all these, I was going to hail a cab (dropping) to my final destination. Ha! That wasn’t the case oo. Man broke pass the word, broken! At the junction, I boarded a trotro to 37 station, then joined a loading taxi to Labone. I wasn’t lucky that day as two of the passengers prompted the driver to drop them at Zenith Bank. Eh-huh! means I have to get down at Aunty Muni junction, and walk 600 meters to final destination.

The sun wasn’t merciful. It was as if it could sense my frustration and compounded it when knowing it was an interview day. You either get lost looking for the place or there is heavy human and vehicular traffic. The worse off for interview dates for some of us is the trotro wahala. Where you either get your neatly pressed white long sleeved shirt stained at the back, or sweat out 10 litres of sea water under your armpit. If you’re lucky enough, you will get a nursing mother apologizing a hundredth time for her child who is trying to use all muscles and tendons to pull at your low-cost tie which has been worn to major events including unsuccessful interviews.

After walking for about 600 meters, I came to the place.  The building all white and yes as you will know about Cantonment offices, exuded all the qualities of grade A office. I met the security man (note this is the normal practice) who inquired my mission and goal and directed me to the main entrance to the office. Some even inspect your job application letter at the gate and tell you what you are missing in it. I reserve that topic for another interviewee. Certainly not me!

I thank him with a big grin plastered on my face, took out my phone to make a call to my neighbour, Bondzi, a fellow Fante Confederation, at home. I needed to make sure my request for banku will be successful as I had made plans to finish 3 movies (Robocop, I Frankenstein, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit) that very day with Banku, groundnut soup with cow leg (affectionately called “kotojwe” if you know what am talking about) and chopped okra.

Whiles seeing to the success of my menu on phone, I kept walking briskly towards the main entrance of the office and baaaaaaam!!! Glass door. BANG!! What! Yes, I banged into the glass door at the entrance. My oh my! I looked up. See, at this point if I was told I was on drugs I would have believed it myself). Why look up after banging head on the door? I guess I was disoriented. I entered and there sat the fairest girl, with exotic legs neatly tucked under the seat, looking professional unperturbed at my demise and scrolling on her phone. That could count as a relief for me.

I… I… hmm I started asking myself if she was deaf, because to come for an interview and BANG head was simply unacceptable. I will not continue. I nodded at the gentleman seated and took the only available chair. I sat down, meaning, right next to her. With boldness from nowhere. Even Adam won’t attempt this! I opened my mouth.

Me: “Hello, I am John Aggrey”

Her: without moving an inch or show of interest, responded, “Hi, Masha”!

That was enough for me. Who cares? Till today, my wife (affectionately called Bebs) says I have no sense of shame. I guess she was/is right. Because there was no way I was going to sit aloof or shy away after that fiasco. No no no! Botwe boy got swag even when floored. More vim!

I got interactive with Kevin, the other gentleman who was also there for the interview and as boys boys, we laughed off a few tit bits. That got me settled in a bit. After we all made introductory remarks and as to how, what and why each of us was there, we patiently waited to be called for the actual order of the day; the interview.

Part II….