Interview with a Billboard

I Interview the Billboard Down the Street

Me: Hey, how’s it going?

Billboard: Not bad. It’s been rainy, but I usually get good sun, just sort of standing here.

Me: Yeah, that’s not bad. You just people-watch all day? I guess that’s pretty good. Get tired of watching the same street?

Billboard: Yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I love San Diego, but I’ve been watching El Cajon Boulevard for, like, 25 years now. [The billboard pauses and sighs.] God, I’d love to see Barcelona.

Me: What’s the best part of being a billboard?

Bill: Well, in the summer, boy, the street gets so hot. Like those wavy vapor lines come up off the asphalt and the girls...oh, man, they wear almost nothing at all. That’s my favorite part of being a billboard.

Me: Uh, you’re attracted to women?

Bill: Mostly. I identify as heterosexual, but I’ve seen some handsome men in my life too. And who knows, you know? I like to think that I’d fall in love with the person, not their gender.

Me: Get lonely up there?

Bill: Kinda.

Me: I see. So what’s the worst part of being a billboard?

Bill: Well, first of all, I’m huge and ugly....

Me: No, no, you’re just the right size for you. You know, billboards are supposed to be, you know, your shape.

Bill: No, it’s all right. I know I’m big and ugly. People hate me. You know I can see dozens of back yards from up here. That means they see me. You think people want to cook out in the summer and stare straight into a douche advertisement? Or worse, life insurance. [Shivers.] Those old people with the insane grins and that little piggy bank. My God.

Me: So, you hate the life insurance ads. What ads do you enjoy?

Bill: I’m not wild about any of them. But at least they’re decent looking these days. I mean, for a billboard. You should see pictures of me from the ‘80s. MTV and day-glo green, and someone painted my metal structure bright pink with these yellow polka dots. What were they thinking?

Me: I’m not real sure. Do you even know what MTV is?

Bill: I was erected at night, but not last night. I can see into people’s houses; I get glimpses of TV, some movies. And [Bill laughs], I see people in their underpants.

Me: Well, thanks for talking with me today, Bill.

Bill: Sweet, man. Take it easy.


Thursday, January 31
San Diego Living
FOX 9:00 a.m.

Man, I am hungover, like gorilla stink on toast. I’m not even making sense. I feel like my body’s been filled with sharp, tiny shards of glass, and my brain’s been chewed by a gang of miniature dachshunds and then spit back into my head. Now, I get to sit at my desk and pretend to work, and I’ll bet I stink like booze. I’m totally getting fired. I know it.

Still Standing
FOX 11:00 a.m.

I haven’t been fired yet. But I had to sit through a meeting where Marcy, my “teammate” in marketing, and our manager, Josh, had a contest to see which of them could waste more time. Josh reminded us he had a Porsche every three minutes, and Marcy yacked about her 19 kids. Okay, we know you drive an expensive car, Josh, and someone had sex with you, Marcy. Congratulations to the both of you. I think I’m going to take a nap in the bathroom.

Friday, February 1
The Young and The Restless
CBS 11:00 a.m.

Whoa, that was a bad idea. I saw myself in the mirror. I look like I spent the night outside. In these clothes. My hair is oily and sticky-uppy in back. Did I not shower this morning? Oh, God, I didn’t. I was late, half-drunk, and I rushed out the door. I wonder if anyone would notice if I lie down under my desk.

Saturday, February 2
What Not To Wear
TLC 12:00 p.m.

Super. Marcy found me. I said I was checking my computer’s power supply, and she said my snoring was disturbing the rest of the “team.” Now my clothes are more wrinkled than they were and the left side of my body is asleep. I really don’t want to see my hair. Oh, this day is shot to hell. I’m going to get some coffee.

FOX 12:30 p.m.

Damn! Marcy totally caught me pinching some of her vanilla creamer. I told her I didn’t know whose vanilla creamer it was, and she pointed out the fat magic marker all over it that reads, “Marcy’s creamer, stop stealing.” In three places. She was so steamed! Whatever, I got coffee filled with rich creamy goodness and she’s got a huge butt. I could probably sleep in my truck without anyone noticing.

Sunday, February 3
El Fugitivo
Telemundo 1:00 p.m.

Josh noticed. That was awful. I caught a good look at myself in the rearview mirror. My hair looks like there’s some sort of party on my head, and I have the impression of a seatbelt receiver on my cheek. It’s all red and tender. Worst of all, Josh came out and knocked on my window and asked if I was all right. He said maybe I should go home.

Monday, February 4
General Hospital
ABC 2:00 p.m.

I don’t want to use my sick days because I need them for Coachella. Oh, great, a bare wire from the seat of my pickup tore a hole in my pants. I can feel it; it’s under my right butt pocket. Oh, I’m pretty. There’s a bleeding hole in the seat of my pants, my hair is oily like salad, and my face has lines from my seatbelt. I’m setting the financial world on fire. I am going to own this insurance company.

Tuesday, February 5
Decorating Cents
HGTV 2:30 p.m.

Uh-oh, Marcy’s outraged. She’s bitching about something at the top of her lungs in Josh’s office. What the...? Oh, man, there was a dime stuck to my neck, right behind my ear. It must’ve been there for, like, an hour. I went to the store and got a sandwich like that.

Wednesday, February 6
Family Feud
ABC 3:00 p.m.

Marcy came out of Josh’s office and she glared at me when she passed my desk. Whatever. She’s taken, like, a grand total of 16 months of maternity leave. It’s as if the company pays her to drop a new piglet and take half of every year off. And I can’t blow one day of work at my desk, reeking of booze, and checking my email 9000 times? Bite it, Marcy.

Thursday, February 7
Happy Days
CASD4 4:00 p.m.

Ah, it’s 4:45. Fifteen minutes left of this rotten workday. Sure, Marcy’s pissed off and Josh probably has me on a short list of people who are getting canned this year, but I wasn’t fired today. And tonight there’s this band playing at the Casbah, and there are drink specials till 10 at the Pink Elephant. It’s going to be relaxing to finally get out of this office, and I might have a drink just to forget about this awful day.

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