Updated: Mar 21, 2018
Earlier in January I wrote two short essays for Ogilvy's associates program application so I figured I would share them. I haven't written creatively since my Freshman year, so I really enjoyed this.
Jane Austen Parks
How many people live in the same cities that mirror their last names? Jane thought. She was a curious woman who started every day with an odd new question. She thought of it like a game; how many ways could she find the answer and how many answers were out there? The year is 2050, and Jane recognizes the possibility that there could be too much information accessible to her, and that this mountain of irrelevant knowledge may conceal those small treasures that are actually important.
Jane Austen Parks. If only her last name were Austin, maybe she would have enjoyed living in Texas more. On the bus to work she rarely sits in the front, the back is the best place to view what everyone is doing around her. Usually grown men have an issue with this since they’ve claimed the space, but Jane takes their disgruntled sighs and nasty words as fuel, like a morning’s cup of coffee. After the statute of 2044, personal cars became obsolete because of the outrageous traffic overtaking the United States. Since then, most people began riding buses or trains. It’s strange to think that others would prefer to drive themselves – how lonely.
Jane gets to her office around 10, ah yes 9-to-5’s still exist. Jane scribbles down an idea for tomorrow’s question – why did society determine hours of work like this? Jane hears a beep coming from her Samsung i100. Since Apple and Samsung had merged two years ago, there hasn’t been a lot of room for any other cell phone companies in the global market. Right – the weekly publishing meeting. Jane rushes to the third floor, arriving five minutes, 21 seconds, and 11 milliseconds late, as usual. Her coworkers have started bets on how late Jane arrives to every meeting - to the exact millisecond of her arrival.
Jane smiles, aware of her lack of timeliness. She’s convinced herself that she’s working on it. Every meeting begins the same way, repeating the mission statement of Plain Jane Publishing. “We are a for-profit digital platform dedicated to sharing stories published by women.” Employees went around the room sharing projects they were working on, the biggest being a young adult novel by Katherine Kaling, a philanthropist and daughter to the amazing Mindy Kaling. She had chosen to incorporate pieces of her own upbringing into the story, making this a book that could truly relate to all ages. Today, Jane announced that 90% of the profits from the book would be going back to nonprofits dedicated to helping women. After all, it’s still not an equal world and this could really help make an impact.
The rest of the day was mediocre. Jane finished researching her question of the day around nine o’clock. There are around 1 million 339 thousand and 7 people in the United States that have the same name as the cities that they live in. Transcending to her couch, Jane watched The Tonight Show with Millie Bobby Brown. Damn, she loved that woman. Today’s report on immigration reform was truly harsh. How have we increased the number of deportation detention centers that separate parents from their children? These prisons used to only be in Texas, but now span across the country. Millie shared that these centers need humanitarian volunteers, to better the condition for these immigrants and to bring families back together.
Jane stared at her screen, unsure if she was doing enough. Today proved that she could make an impact, but was it large enough? She had been featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 for the past ten years. A superficial award she thought, but how could she further make an impact in this world? She was doing the best she could. Jumping from the couch, Jane started packing her bags. Jane wasn’t one to act solely on impulse, but tonight felt different. With her reputation for being late, Jane figured she would have at least six hours before her Vice President would start looking for her.
Stumbling on the cobble streets in Paris in the dark nights of April, all you could hear was “Beat it, Mather.” Mather lit his cigarette and reached into his pocket for his notebook. Flipping to a page titled Unwelcome, Mather added this bar to the list. That makes twenty-two. An unfortunate condition, to be thrown out of so many places, yet Mather chuckled.
A month ago Mather had been expected in New York, where he was going to relocate full time to work with Ogilvy. That early spring morning he hopped on a call with Ogilvy, which began with five solid minutes of banter. Despite the seeming light heartedness, their conversations were always clever and resulted in their creative minds melding together to create something new, something beautiful. However, Mather’s head wasn’t in it. The next morning he traveled to Paris. He knew he would be spotted here and that someone would eventually tell Ogilvy where he was, but he decided it was better if he didn’t know exactly how Ogilvy felt about his blunt disappearance. He imagined Ogilvy spent several days in rage followed by a deeper realization of comfort and ease.
Mather struggled to get up to his newly rented apartment, so he settled down on the stairs inside his building. One night of discomfort wouldn’t kill him. He awoke to someone kicking him and stared up into the face of his neighbor, Marie, a young, boyish flapper. They had a bit of a history, some sexual tension, but Mather really had that with any woman. “Lay off!” Mather said as he coiled back up. At six feet tall it was difficult for him to get comfortable again on these short, uneven steps. After what felt like a minute Mather slowly opened his eyes, noticing Marie flipping through his notebook. “Well don’t you look all dolled up,” Mather expressed, somewhat snarkly, but mostly sincere. He didn’t mention the notebook so as not to agitate her, but she threw it carelessly at him anyways. “Let’s go,” Marie replied. He stared at her, confused, but he wouldn’t dare turn down an offer from a beautiful woman.
Mather lit his first cigarette of the day, mainly to deter from the stench of his clothes - and more importantly, the stench of himself. He pondered over asking Marie to wait for him to change into something cleaner, but they had already left the building behind. Getting into a car, Marie handed him a bottle. Bastille Whisky, his favorite. Taking a sip from the bottle, Mather thought about asking where they were going. Before he had the courage to speak, Marie replied, “We’re going somewhere you can make new memories.” Instead of speaking, he continued to drink. He trusted Marie for some odd reason. Maybe because he was the one usually letting women down, so why not let Marie have control of his life for a bit. Plus, it would make for a great story later.
Before he knew it, evening had come, and he was dressed in a fine suit talking to extravagant party guests. Mather grew up from a well-off family and had a nice apartment, but he would never show off his wealth, and he would certainly never attend a party for socialites. Of course he drank too much, Marie had given him the entire bottle. “Fuck.” Mather had heard this swear a lot at bars he frequented and it certainly caught on as he seemed to be a part of more and more misadventures.
Looking for signs of where he was, he gave up and asked the nearest server. “Why, Monte Carlo, of course.” While he was still sober, Mather made small talk with a group of guests. Might as well be civilized since he knew that these men and women were of great importance, most of them business owners. Word would certainly get back to Ogilvy if he got kicked out of this party. Although he fled the company, he didn’t dare ruin Ogilvy’s image. Unsuccessfully trying to spot Marie in the crowd of guests, he wondered why she had brought him here. Maybe she just wanted company, maybe she wanted Mather to be less self-destructive, maybe both. After all, he wasn’t sure how much of his notebook she had read while he was drunk and asleep.