There are two big dogs on either side of me. Sniffing. They’re also drooling heavily and I try not to act like I’m repulsed by the smell. I’m not sure if they’ve had baths in … a while.
“They’re not bothering you, are they?” Alexander asks nonchalantly while typing away at his computer, eyes glued to the screen. I’m not even sure he’s speaking to me, but decide to go ahead and answer since the dogs, for whatever reason, won’t leave my side.
“Oh, um … it’s fine,” I lie (and I don’t want to seem like a princess).
I’m embarrassed to admit, but any dog bigger than a Yorkshire terrier scares me. I have this fear, this nightmare of a vision where I go to pet a dog and it turns its head just in time to bite my hand off. It takes my hand in its mouth and chews on it, turning it into something resembling a sponge. I’m left screaming, the blood drains from my body, and I end up in a heap on the floor, not breathing.
Dramatic, I know. But nonetheless, very real. I should go on that show for people who want to overcome fears. I watched a very masculine man (a professional wrestler) overcome his fear of bees on that show.
I glance around the room. Lots of open desks that face the center of the room: essentially no one has any privacy. The man I’m waiting to meet looks like the receptionist the way his desk faces the open area, but he’s actually a very popular, even high-end talent manager with famous clients. He’s busy. I check my cell. I’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes fumbling through a heavy book of the Wonders of the World – oh, India! I’ve been to the Taj Mahal twice! I’m trying not to have a heart attack over these dogs. I close the book. I move. They follow. I stand up, they sniff more. I sit back down. I’m sweating. They inch closer. My chest starts to blotch up with large red spots, and just as I’m about to tell Alexander I’m uncomfortable, he looks up.
“Pull up a seat.” I do. The dogs follow. He leads the dogs through a doorway. They don’t come back. I relax. After a little small talk, which I extended to calm down, I say:
“I don’t do commercials and I don’t do nudity.”
At first he explained the money in commercials, and then I explained the cattle calls where bikinis are often required along with making animal noises. I referenced an oink-ing pig. He laughed. He dug my honesty and confidence and we moved on.
The meeting concluded with an open end.
We shook hands. He went back to click his computer keys. I saw the door I had to go through to leave. The one where the dogs were breathing: I could hear them. I took a deep breath, and after standing awkwardly next to Alex’s desk almost a minute after saying goodbye, I – I ran out of the building!
I made it. I’m alive. This is good.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.