I have to imagine most of us have had an experience that gives us pause for thought over the years. One such event happened to me about twenty-five years ago.
I was between contracts and looking for a job. This was before the Internet was commonly accessible and most job hunting was still done via newspaper advertisements. I noticed a small ad for an employment agency that was located just two blocks from where I lived. Most of the big agencies were downtown and were not interested in my eclectic background.
I called the number and set up an interview for later in the day.
The building was a two-story one that used to serve as the administrative hub of an adjacent bakery that had been turned into condos. I arrived promptly and was met by a shabbily-dressed older man, perhaps in his mid-sixties, who introduced himself as the guy I had talked with on the phone. His name has long escaped my memory. He told me his business partner was just finishing up a conference call and would be available soon. We went to an unoccupied office and engaged in small talk.
After a few minutes, the phone on the empty desk rang, summoning us to an office next door. As soon as I entered I immediately recognized the man behind the desk. We had gone to the same grade school many years ago. Although he was several years older, I was a friend of his younger brother and as such had talked with him on many occasions over the years. Then, as these things often go, we did not move in the same circles and I guess I forgot about him. Until that day.
By coincidence we both had beards. When I was introduced to ‘Doug’ and we shook we hands I joked that the last time we had met, neither of us had a beard. He looked me straight in the eye and simply said, we’ve never met before. It is an odd feeling indeed to look at a person you know and have them deny having ever met you when you are absolutely certain, for a fact that you’ve met.
By the way he looked at me it was clear that no further discussion of our mutual past was going to take place. As I sat there listening to him talk about the services they offered, not really concentrating on the details, I noticed that along one wall of his very nicely appointed office, was a wall unit that had about a dozen small screens, each showing a view of some part of the small building. Overly high security for an employment agency I thought.
After our chat, as the first guy was showing me out, I mentioned that I believed I had met Doug before and asked if he had a brother. The old fellow said he did not, and mentioned that Doug had been in the USA for some years. I have to think it is more realistic that he may have been behind bars.
I have never had any further contact with them, but I must admit I’ve always been curious.