It’s the first day of my internship at Hashtag Creative, and I’m excited. Conversing with Sue and Marcia, meeting Joe and Hayden, touring the Members’ Lofts of the Station House, and countless other signals, throughout the selection process, gave me a good feeling about this. The company culture is fitting, a match made in Heaven by dim-witted angels, for I was interested in Hashtag for some time.

I wore clothes I’d wear anywhere, putting on a navy-blue shirt with Donald Duck, waving a fist; black Volcom shorts; black, gray, and white DC skate shoes; and a black bandanna about a tangle of curly hair.

The Station House resides at the very heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, where it used to serve as a boarding terminal for a railroad, and now houses co-working spaces, fitness areas, a cafe, an event-floor, and a restaurant.

I walked beneath Neo-Romanesque archways, thru glass double-doors, and into the building’s reception area. I greeted Sue and Hayden at a tall table, their laptops open nearby, and — feeling clumsy — I  ruffled thru my bag for my own device.

“We’re going to have you start on something light. I’ve sent you the names of a few clients to review and get a feel for,” said Sue. “ That should keep you busy for the morning.”

To Hayden; “if there is research you’d like done for a post, hand it over to Kris.”

The morning sped by from there, for I was carefully considering the details of websites and social media channels, taking down detailed observations on a spiral notebook that had a few pages left, having been used for Economics courses at university.

Later I got up to grab a beverage, something to put more pep to my pace. I stood back a bit from the cafe-bar. The Stations cafe has a wide selection of delicious beverages and Hashtag foots the bill the first round.

“Hmmm – Sue recommended the Moroccan Mint tea, but the Florida Orange Blossom,” speaking low to myself. Having decided, I stepped up to ask for some iced coffee with room for cream.

I like my sugar with coffee and cream!♪

Rail travel tempered off decades earlier, the Station House then served as a bank. Leftover were a few artifacts: solid iron bars over narrow windows and a walk-in vault, its solid, thick-steel door swung open, the inside seen while adding sugar to coffee at the cafe.

Soon after returning to a desk, Sue came over saying: “I’m going to get you a laptop.”

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me

The imagination can misbehave mid-conversation. I pictured Sue standing in a slow line at Best Buy, cursing under her breath about how I really should be grateful. The vision fogged my sight – briefly – and I said “My tablet works fine. Only it’s slower to load some of the apps.”

“I’m concerned about you hurting your eyes,” Sue said.

What happened then, what in St. Pete they say: that my heart grew three sizes that day.

Later I met Tyler, the Hashtag Web Mastermind. Sue was showing him around the Station. We talked philosophy, diverting away from the topic I was researching, then we turned to.

Many companies sharing the co-work space were formed with help from USF St. Petersburg alumni. I was happy to see many of my classmates there. The afternoon went by in a blur.

“Not bad for the first day?” Sue said.

“Not bad uhh-tall,” I responded, slapping fives.

– Kris Daberkoe, Hashtag Creative 2017 Autumn Intern