It was a good day in the office. The office was throwing a goodbye lunch for the interns.
The food arrived on time—and the conference room/lunch room was suddenly filled with. . .editors, graphic designers, production people.
Minutes after we began to dive into the strawberry shortcake, the fire alarm sounded. Darn! We had a drill the previous week. The building evacuated, and—you wouldn’t believe this—the editors, graphic designers, production people just all wanted to go back in to do their work. “We have a magazine to put out,” I overheard one editor tell a fireman. But, it turned out: this was a REAL fire. Some electrical wiring problem on the third floor. Fire trucks barreled down as we were told to remain put. Stuck outside, we discussed normal things such as Fact Checker Jonathan Quartuccio’s hidden desire to become a fireman so that he could make it into the annual “Firefighter Hunks Calendar,” the notion that perhaps people on the advertising side of the magazine had pulled the alarm so they could steal some of the food from our lunch, and the fact that John T. was stuck outside without his phone, keys, and wallet (he left it inside).
Then, we were told that no one could re-enter the office. Now what?
Home. Kind of a letdown. Really.
So here’s a big interning-at-Westchester-Magazine perk–the part you’ve all been waiting for: glamour. And here it came in the form of FOOD. As in free food, the best kind.
Last summer while I was interning at WM, Managing Editor John Turiano took me and two now former editorial interns to the Argentine/Italian Tango Grill restaurant in downtown White Plains. This tasty treat took us out of the office for a lengthy lunch with our supervisor where we were able to discuss important stuff—like what could be the possible ingredients to make Tango Grill’s famous sangria so delicious and the fact that some of the interns had serious crushes on Westchester Magazine‘s IT guy (yeah, Lenny, you’re cute).
This summer John did not disappoint; he took us editorial interns out for lunch, this time at Hito Asian Bistro & Sushi on Westchester Avenue, a pan-Asian restaurant with a sushi bar. Thanks, John (and, John, dinner would, of course, be nice, too). Okay, so we interns don’t get paid in greenbacks but free food ain’t bad.
Besides, I’ll bet at a larger, national magazine, the managing editor is not going to take time out of his day to take his interns out to lunch. I’ll bet at the larger, national magazine the interns have never even spoken to the managing editor. And, I’ll bet that the interns wouldn’t know that the managing editor decides which animals he will eat based depending on the animal’s “personality” and “intelligence” (e.g., cows and sheep are okay to eat, but dogs, fuhggetaboudit).
My alarm clock blares uncontrollably at 9:15 a.m. until I manage to connect with the “snooze” button.
‘Five more minutes,’ I think. ‘Last night was a late one.’
In what I swear is a mere 20 seconds, the clock yells again, reiterating that although I live a convenient 11.52 miles from work, driving 70 mph down I-287 won’t get me there in time unless I get moving. Then I remember my first job of the day is not to get to the office on time but, rather, to get over to Mamaroneck (I live in Rye Brook) to pick up bangle bracelets from a local shop for an upcoming story.
Now let me tell you—these are the types of tasks for which an intern waits.
“Would you mind driving to a couple towns to pick up some things for me?” an editor asks.
“Sure. Let me finish fact checking this article.” (Fact checking is that wonderful task where you must check every, I mean every, fact that goes into an article which means asking Tom Smith if he does indeed have blue eyes), I assure you the pen is down before the statement is even uttered, as getting away from the office for an errand brings you out of the cold air conditioning and back into sunlight. Time to thaw out!
Feeling extremely grateful, I rev up the car. The first stop is simple; the store is a straight hit from my house. Now, I pride myself on having a fabulous sense of direction. I go somewhere once and can always get back (yet, I also tend to forget that there are towns in Westchester beyond exit 29 on the Hutch).
Therefore, after arriving at the Mamaroneck shop, I want to make sure I can correctly get to Larchmont, to Palmer Avenue, to be exact. It’s supposed to be easy. Left out of the parking lot, right back on to Mamaroneck Avenue, immediate right onto Weaver Street, and then a left onto Palmer Avenue. Sounds simple?
The first three steps go wonderfully. But this alleged Palmer Avenue….nowhere to be found. I keep driving straight (I mean it had to creep up soon enough). I find myself in New Rochelle. I pull over to ask for directions. Great. I still can’t find Palmer Avenue.
Oh God, what will the editor think? Is she thinking I’m taking a long coffee break? Where is Palmer Avenue, please? Finally—sigh of relief—I arrive.
I get back to the office—one hour later than expected. Does anyone inquire? Nope.
Lesson of the day: An intern can successfully disappear for over an hour to get that caramel macchiato without question, as long as the item is eventually delivered.
I pull into the parking lot at 100 Clearbrook Road, parking my obnoxiously big Chevy Trailblazer in my usual spot. Feelings of excitement abound as I pull the glass doors, make a quick right, and open the door to Westchester Magazine, the editorial side. I’m here for my second summer as an editorial intern. I’m here, despite the lack of pay, for those opportune times when I get to write a short blurb in the front-of-the book and build up my clips. And, I’m here to be The Super Senior Intern.
Let me take a moment to introduce myself for all of you who don’t remember my gripping chronicle last August on end-of-summer store sales or my riveting blurb on college networking sites. My name is Carrie Schmelkin, and I am entering my senior year at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. As a double major in magazine journalism and English and a minor in sociology, I guess you could say I’m one of those over-achieving kids. I have written for countless publications, both at school and around Westchester county, but something at this little office on Clearbrook Road must be so gripping that I have chosen to intern here yet again (it must be the annual Best Of party where I make out like a bandit with free goodies).
My past four months were spent studying abroad in Florence, Italy, in a desperate attempt to break beyond the bubble of Westchester and assure myself life exists beyond the Hutch and that Franks Pizzeria in Port Chester has got nothing on a “Pizza Margherita” in Piazza Republica. So now I am back in the states and back at Westchester Magazine. Back for another summer in those lovely cubicles.
Let me give you the insider scoop. Being the Super Senior Intern is actually more exciting than it sounds. Last summer, my first couple of weeks were spent completing the mundane “I need to prove myself” tasks—the clichéd updating of an editor’s roll-a-dex, driving to return a product to a store, and fact-checking till my pen ran out of red ink. Just two weeks back now, I have already had three (THREE!) short blurbs to write and pitched the idea of my own blog for our revamped Web site. So my fellow Westchesterites, I’m here to give you that inside look at the life of the intern—at a magazine. I’ll go beyond the gloss and fine print of the magazine for the real story. I’ll give you The Intern Diary. And, here at Westchester Magazine, they’ll give me…well…some refreshing gelato from the most recent taste test.