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“Did I make an idiot of myself?”, this is what my anonymous colleague asked me. We will call him X for the sake of our chat today.
Well! I wanted to answer, but I didn’t know the whole story to be able to give my own opinion. He said she (Martha) asked me about obesity, saying that the newspapers mentioned that the levels of obesity in the US were getting higher.
“Oh! Obesity!” I said.
X said: “She continued: What do you think the reasons are? In my mind, I said OK, this is a nice subject to talk about, but I didn’t collect my thoughts on the subject, being thirsty, wanting to use the bathroom, and sitting to that desk for the last two hours, holding the phone in my hand. I started talking saying: Yes, it’s a tremendous problem that is facing the American society, and in my own opinion the reason behind all of this is the continuous commercials promoting fast food in the TV 24/7.”
He took his breath then said: “There is not enough control inside our homes to observe our own kids, and to educate them about healthy food. They eat trashy food all the time, and they sit in front of the TV for hours and once they watch those detrimental commercials, they grab some popcorn or some chips and eat it while they are in a semi-coma mood.
Kids are supposed to eat healthy and to be trained since early ages not to consume large quantities of unhealthy fast food. They need to be educated what kind of foods are healthier for their body than others. They need to know that they should exercise or play some physical games instead of sitting down the whole day playing war games online or box 360, Nintendo or others.
Sometimes it is hard to have kids recognize the importance of eating healthy because some concepts are hard to be grasped by kids at a certain age. This is fine. We all go through these stages in life. What we need, then, is to make it easier for our kids to understand things; not just push them around to do things they do not understand, coz when they are convinced of the principle that eating unhealthy is harmful for their bodies, and that they should be eating veg, fruits, proteins, etc., they will stay away from drinking soda, caffeine, and have some milk or some fresh juice instead.”
Martha here interrupted him saying how about Michelle Obama, and her efforts in this area?, he said. “Oh! Yes of course, she made great efforts!” X now is asking me: “Can you imagine this?! Is this all I could say when she asked me about the 1st Lady?! What was wrong with me?” tapping his forehead nervously with his fingertips.
“Sophie, let me explain to you how I came to that FBI interview. Let me give you all the facts, before I got you into any deeper level. A year ago, or may be more, I went online digging for a language specialist job. I found that post asking for people to work with the FBI as a linguist in critical languages. Since I watch TV FBI shows and movies, I found myself very excited about that post. I read through it, I prepared my resume, I wrote my cover letter, and I started reading the post over and over again to make sure that I didn’t miss any part of it, and that I would be eligible for that post. The requirements of the job was as shown through this link: https://www.fbijobs.gov/linguist
Almost one year later, I received a nice email saying “Congrats, you’ve been chosen to take the preliminary test of the FBI in your language. If you are ready for taking the test on such date pls let us know”. That was signed by an FBI Office Assistant, with her phone number and other info.
I couldn’t believe that I was reached by an FBI office. It was such a big deal for me. I couldn’t dare telling anybody else about it. May be it was related to a national security matter, haha!
Of course it was not. It was all in my own small mind. How stupid I should have been? How stupid I am? How awful it felt? I must have been the most stupid person on Earth. For a whole week, I have been blaming myself. Can you imagine why? You will not believe it! Can you imagine that I was asked about 1Zumba, and I got frozen. The only thing that came to my mind was: (It’s a physical fitness program that is using music with movements. So the class follows the instructor. They, Uh, use all kinds of music such as Samba Rumba Cha Cha or jazz music but jazz only for the muscle stretching part by the end of the exercise.
Ah, and there is that 1Zumba Body to certify the instructors to be able to work as instructors. What else Uh, It’s good for all ages. No dangerous movements.) Then she interrupted me saying : How about if you compare between 1Zumba and Yoga, coz I myself go to Yoga, and I don’t know much about 1Zumba.
Here, I should have complimented her about being an attendant of Yoga, even if I felt otherwise. What is wrong with a tiny compliment to my examiner? Something like: Oh Yoga is a great physical program or what an excellent choice! But instead I said: Oh! I attended one or two classes of Yoga with my neighbor and it was not for me. Very arrogantly I continued as if I was an expert in physical fitness, I think the difference between 1Zumba and Yoga is that they are not the same movements.
In 1Zumba we do not perform movements sitting on a mat with our legs folded, or lay down on our backs, raising our legs up in the air. Um! I kind of fumbled afterwards I didn’t think what else I should say, although I had plenty of other things , but anyway I didn’t say anything else.
The other examiner, Kevin, whose voice was similar to a well-known TV News host, asked me about human rights. So I am embarrassed to say that, I asked him in return what was the definition of ‘rights’ in that question. The reason I asked that was a long story, related to a legal course I took, in which rights were classified into certain categories, but anyway I continued the argument with both of them, and the female interrupted his question, in a challenging tone – remember I implied that I disliked Yoga – asking why didn’t I give them examples of rights, to which I did pretty well as a matter of fact.
Nevertheless, the way she responded was a discouraging tone for the word ‘Interesting’, which could affect the other examiner too, and which should not have happened in the first place. If there was a monitor for that examiner, she should have been pulled out of that exam at that time instantly coz she was biased. The whole process was an absurd act. At that moment, you would not imagine how I felt, although we were in two far away separate places, actually two far away states; one on the far East of the US and one on the far West.
But it felt as if that Martha was with me in the same room hinting to me about how bad my response was, or wanting me to feel that I didn’t make it. That was how I felt, and that affected the whole rest of the interview, or may be, that was my excuse for not trying harder. Yes, that was exactly how I felt. I felt I failed the test at that exact moment when she said: Oh! How interesting! As if she was making fun of me, I didn’t know if I was really that bad.
There were three other exams followed on a time period ranging between three or four months, but the most odd thing that happened was that my own language oral evaluation was just pass score, although I am a native speaker of that language, and I have a degree in that language, and the people who were testing my language skills were non-native speakers with a heavy accent.”
I was listening to X all the time, and I wanted to know if he passed or not, and what he was frustrated about other than the testing process. I didn’t want to interrupt him, coz I might miss an important point to the story. At the same time, I needed to re-arrange my schedule if the tale was going to be taking longer time. I kindly asked him if he could give me one short moment to make few changes in my appointments, showing sincere interest in hearing the rest of his incident.
When I came back, X gave me a fully detailed description of all the procedures, the memos, the emails, the telephone calls, and the correspondence that went through between him and the FBI Office in LA, CA.
My huge eye-opener was that X had passed all the tests required, although he felt otherwise during taking them.
X rubbing his hands said: “Can you imagine, this is the FBI language protocol test, which I passed. But you see how I wasted my time and my resources. I had to travel to take those tests from my city to LA, including expenses for hotel n parking reservation, days off from my work, paying all of that from my own pocket for nothing.”
“How?” I asked.
He said: “All I did: time, work, study, preparations, accommodation, n everything I did for that matter was just for a letter saying: “Thank you for passing all the FBI tests, but Sorry FBI does not have budget for hiring you now!” So why they had that post online, why they wasted my time? I am in doubt, is this a 1Zumba or an FBI skirmish? 😯
There is more into it, to tell you the truth, but it will take me forever to give all the details. X gave me a list of all the topics they asked him about, a list of all the written subjects they tested him in, along with the different formats they used. If you like to know more about the details, pls email us 😉
[To be continued]