I was only thirteen years old when I overheard a conversation between two adults, managers by profession and nature. They were discussing the process of choosing people for particular jobs or positions. I remember my Dad telling Walter he could tell everything he needed to know about a person within the first five minutes of meeting them. Maybe Walter was trying to defend a hiring he had made, discussing what the interview had been like and how different that particular employee had turned out.
It was a debate, one of many I am sure but one of the very few I remember now although I did and still do like to hear my Dad's thoughts, the rationale behind his thinking, how confident he seems in his decisions. He was not letting up on Walter, and I remember enjoying the liveliness of the conversation. I wanted to be a part of it, but I was just a kid and my input would only get me sent to my room or the kitchen or taking the dog out. Dad was seriously not going to be talking logic with a girl he had refused to sit at a dinner table with for an entire summer 'cause she turned her hair orange even if all the other kids were using Sun In.
Tonight I would like to be in that room with those two men, in a small house at the back of a cove in Bedford, Nova Scotia. Everyone seated with their own poison. I would like to say that anyone can fool you in the first five minutes, in the first hour, in the first weeks. I would defend Walter, but Dad would be relentless. He would scoff at my urging that people can fake it, be easily schooled on correct answers to typical questions, feign excitement about jobs or ideas. You could be talking to them on a bad day or a good one, everything behind what they bring to the table cannot be there for you to see in the first five minutes.
Oh but it can, he would respond.
Then I would concede as he would explain that my job is to get there from here. If I am not getting everything I need to know in the first five minutes then I am asking the wrong questions. Maybe, I would say, or maybe I just always find ways to excuse anyone. I dislike forming some final judgement on any person figuring I have no idea what it is like to wear their shoes.
Their shoes are worn by the way they walked, he'd be growing tired of the conversation.
He'd point at me and shake his head.
My point would be mute and any remaining argument I'd have would be with myself which is where we're at right now I think.