The interview went well, lasting about an hour, and the travel to and from the interview went without mention. The second interview; however, was a little more demanding, as I had not learned about it until late the previous day. The second interview was in the heart of Atlanta. In fact, it was to be right in the heart of Atlanta; a place that I had not ventured in several years and a lot of topography had changed since then and I would not have the opportunity to “scope things out” as I had for the previous interview.I did as much recon as I could on-line; gathering useful Google Map pictures and obtaining information about the building that I would be in and also the surrounding area; Wikipedia is a wonderful tool. I decided to leave for the interview as early as possible. In my haste to leave early, the BOB that contains the Bersa Thunder 45UC Pro was left behind. I simply forgot about it while my mind was more concerned with the interview than the fact that I was going unarmed – well, not completely. The 20-gauge was still in the vehicle.
The City of Atlanta is a rampant hub of activity. People are everywhere and I know not one of them. Being a dedicated introvert, people make me somewhat nervous- especially when there are large quantities of them. Nevertheless, I was going to be there among them and wherever I am at, I am always there.With the exception of the travel route, the threat level was extremely low; the only real threat in the route of travel was to be other drivers – especially those like the old man who probably forgot that one should merge onto a freeway one lane at a time and not test physics by merging two lanes at a time and not into a lane that is currently occupied by another vehicle – and that vehicle happened to be mine. Other than being nearly side-swiped by another vehicle, the journey to the interview went as planned. The only thing that saved me at the point of being side-swiped was my situational awareness (Condition Orange) at the time and being able to transition into “Condition Red” when needed. For some reason, I had turned off the radio before the trip and had seen the vehicle coming onto the freeway, as I had freed myself of all distractions except for those random ADD thoughts in my head. I moved over one lane to the left to the center lane and glanced quickly into the side-view mirror to view any traffic coming up on the left; I had anticipated the possibility of the vehicle coming into my lane. As it moved onto the expressway from the on-ramp, the vehicle just kept coming over. Had I not taken evasive action, our two vehicles would have mated right then and there, and it would have been a cleanup on aisle 3 moment. It was just another day of driving in Atlanta. I have to say that years of riding motorcycles in Atlanta has helped to develop a sense of situational awareness on the road.
I do not have GPS in my vehicles. I don’t feel a need to have it. If I have good directions, I will get to where I need to be. However useful at times, technology can stifle situational awareness. I had used Google Maps to retrieve a satellite view of the area so as to identity the area surrounding where I would be and memorized it the best that I could. I would park in a secure parking garage and since the parking garage was part of the building that I would be in, it was a very short walk to the elevators that would take me to the inner workings of the building.In mentally preparing myself for the interview, I did not feel a lack of confidence – or lack of anything, for that matter. Situational awareness is also part of an interview, or when interfacing with people in general, but that is a different matter altogether. I would be simply a person (who was unarmed) and was now part of the many who walked about me in the same manner. My protection was common sense and having a clear sense of what was happening around me. I will say that I observe people around me as much as I can. Today, there was no call for alarm, no going into condition orange – just a mellow yellow. In the environment that I was in, people cling to their laptops and cellphones and not to firearms. I did pause to ponder; however, on how many ways a laptop could be turned into a defensive weapon. Some things are just imbedded into the character.
The interview went well and I hope well enough to be considered for the position for which I applied. Time will tell.Upon leaving the interview and walking to my vehicle, I realized that although a person of our “sheepdog” nature may walk about unarmed, we are not really unarmed. Yes, the 20-gauge was still in the vehicle, and yes some might call me paranoid for having it there, but there was still the drive home.
Just before I entered my vehicle, I paused for a minute or two – transitioning between where I was and where I now needed to be, as I moved deeper into condition “Yellow” and would soon be in my normal zone of “Condition Orange.” I was experiencing a self-study of my own psychological makeup. I thought; “Had I just gone from a sheepdog to a sheep and from a sheep back to a sheepdog”? It was a fascinating journey in my mind’s eye. However, and I had to ask myself, did I really transition or was this just another exercise in situational awareness where one moves from one degree to another according to the situation. Does one, once a sheepdog, stay a sheepdog? I am starting to really understand, I think, the relationship between the sheep, the sheepdog, and the wolf – we all exist with each other and situational awareness, or lack of, is the key to how well we survive on a daily basis.
The wolf uses situational awareness to plan and execute the hunt, and the hunt will be successful until thwarted by the sheepdog. The sheepdog uses situational awareness to detect abnormalities in the current situation. However, it is an armed sheepdog that will stop the threat; otherwise, if not armed through intellect, training and effective defensive weapons, the sheepdog is ineffective.
All in all, the interview, the travel, and the experience went well and was positive. I felt that I had tackled everything that needed to be addressed and later, as I sat on the front porch nursing a fresh cup of coffee, I lapsed into listening to the sounds and watching the normal activity of my neighborhood. I was back on home ground, in mellow yellow, and the situation was good.