By JAMILA RIZVI
I had my very own Derek Zoolander moment yesterday.
Having travelled down to Canberra the previous evening, I was prepped and ready for one of the biggest interviews Mamamia has scored to date; richest (or second richest, depending on which list you consult) man in the world, Microsoft founder, global philanthropist and arguably, the most influential figure of the last century, Bill Gates.
A few minutes before my allotted interview time, I decided to take out my notes for one final scan. I prefer not to be looking down at a page of questions during an interview because as I learned from Kim Kardashian – eye contact is critical.
Instead, I just have my Mac Book or iPad sitting on the table next to me; it’s for comfort purposes more than anything else. I don’t need it, but I’d be anxious if it wasn’t there. So, I pulled my laptop out of my bag and propped it up on the coffee table in the waiting room, hitting the ‘power’ button while I rehearsed a friendly-but I-mean-business delivery of ‘it’s a thrill to meet you Mr Gates’ in my head.
And then it hit me: My questions are IN the computer.
As in, IN the computer. My APPLE MACINTOSH computer. Shit.
Desperate not to ruin my interview before it even starts by revealing my preference for Gates’ competitor’s product, I bolt from the room. Thankfully my sister works in Parliament House (where the interview was taking place) and I was able to print out a few pages on the Assistant Treasurer’s computer. Well. That’s at least a few of my tax dollars well spent for the 2012-13 financial year.
Rushing back to the interview room, I sit down at the table and get my papers in order. I rearrange the angle of my chair and the one next to it. I take a sip of coffee. I pull out my iPhone and open up the Voice Memo application, so that I can record the interview in full.
DAMN YOU STEVE JOBS AND YOUR ALLURING SLEEK AND SIMPLE DESIGNS, WHICH APPEAR TO HAVE INFILTRATED EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE.
At that moment, in walks Bill Gates. He doesn’t wait for his assistants but strides confidently towards me, wearing a broad grin that reveals the smile lines around his mouth. I hold out my hand and introduce myself, explaining where I’m from.
He doesn’t say who he is. Fair enough really.
My new friend Bill has come straight from the airport, except for a brief detour via the Prime Minister’s Canberra residence, the Lodge. He is as bright and sunny after his long haul flight, as only someone who owns an extremely comfortable private jet could be.
Bill Gates waits patiently as his media adviser sets up a second recording device (definitely NOT an Apple product). Gates tilts his head to one side, looks at me with his piercing eyes and opens his hands so that the palms face upwards, as if to say ‘alright, let’s get started’.