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Archive for May, 2008

Sounds like an Irish Drinking Song…and in many ways it should be. You’d think this combination would be cause for a good time, or at least a good story…let’s hope for a good story.

The Hook—

The birthday girl, none other than Neever dealt with the onslaught of aging one more year through denial, rage, and ultimately found acceptance at the bottom of many Imperial Pint glasses, courtesy of Eamon, bartender extraordinaire at Midtown’s The Galway Hooker Friday night.

Charmed by his Irish accent, un-even teeth, and random bursts of U2 lyrics (hokey and cliché, but all true), Neever (now more of a persona than nickname) routinely held up her pointer finger and with a little nose-scrunch order pint after pint (along with a carbomb and cosmo at midnight). Eventually the crowd changed over from happy hour (4-6) to nightlife (8-4). We held our ground in front of the taps, and eventually found our group of eight whittled down to the two of us. No surprise there. Since I’d met Neever, we’ve managed to close or almost close several bars.

As we sat, judging the clientele around us, we began to be approached….by…well I wouldn’t exactly call them men, but they seemed to be of that same gender.

The three actors were the first to approach. Fred Savage (a chunky version) was introduced to us by his friend, who I decided resembled Kevin Bacon (as he was known the rest of the night), and Tom Cruise ambled over a short while later, deeming us important enough to approach or just lonely at being left by his entourage of less than attractive look-a-likes.

We gave our names, Kate (Neever) and KT (me).

Kevin winked when we met, winked as we talked, winked from across the room while Fred chatted with Neever and me about his work with the government….at which Neever (persona) interjected that he was thus the reason we were still in Iraq with a bit of a smiggle. Fred took offense and sulked off. Tom Cruise lost interest early on and went to prey on other Holmes’ (Katie’s) as we clearly did not make the cut.

The Line—

They were replaced a group of raucous 36-year-olds who surround the pair of us, leaning around and between to order Jack n’ Cokes and Bud drafts. After some lewd remarks over our heads, one made contact…with me. As Spitz (he provided me with saliva sprinkle each time he spoke) zeroed in on my 3-foot bubble, Neever met Droopy Puppy.

Droopy Puppy, age 39-ish, had eyes that were deep-set in caverns of black shadows. His smile was a pout and his stomach a pouch. Feeling the confidence of the Captn’ in his veins, he tried his best line on Neever.

“If you could name one book that I could read to get you to go on a second date with me to discuss it, what would that book be?”

Little did he know, he’d struck gold with the English major working in Publishing. I was too preoccupied with Spitz to hear much of their conversations as he was busy trying his ‘technique’ out on me. In an effort to impress, he figured the key to my interest was to share all about himself.

He worked for an Investment Bank, successful, single, straight.

But I work with a bunch of Ivy League assholes. And there I am, out of Rutgers. They go to the Hamptons on the weekends, play golf in pastels…”

All sounding very good to me…

“And what do you do,” I dared to ask.

“I can’t even tell them that I spend my weekends getting black-out drunk (I must interject here—at age 35+ mind you) with my buddies, so drunk I pass out in a corner, wake up not knowing where I am and realizing I’ve puked all over myself…” Spitz sprays me with a fresh mouthful of saliva as he laughs at his own ‘sweet life.’

And this was to impress me, or as I over-heard him tell his friends, “she’s in the bag.”

While I was in the bag, Neever continued to heatedly converse with Droopy Puppy, ultimately deciding any book by Margaret Atwood would score him a second date with her. He whipped out his phone, spilling his rum and coke on my dress and into my shoe. Oblivious he tapped in her phone number (oh…you better believe she gave him the real thing) with the promise that in 3 weeks he would have it read and they would have dinner.

The Sinker—

He moseyed off to share his good fortune with his friends, while one, Nice Married Guy (NMG) came over to talk to us.

“My friend over there told me the author he needs to read is Margaret Atwood. He knows I’ve read one and said I should come over and find out the book…” He took a seat on the free stool. “I just want you to know he’s a great guy and we’re the types that don’t do this well…we’re, you know…pretty awkward about this stuff.”

Neever looked at his hand, and scoffed, “You’re married.”

“Yes. And I think all it takes is that one connection (I wish I was making this up…but word for word, this is what he said). You never know when it will happen or how, but when you have that one thing, that connector…I just want you to know he’s a really great guy and though the drinks he’s had tonight have made him bolder, he’s a good guy.”

At this point, Neever asked, “You have kids?”

“Yes two, one 8 and one three months.”

“Pictures?” She continued.

He took out his cell phone and we stared at a squat, grainy, younger version of NMG. Neever, interest quickly evaporating, announced she had to use the restroom, then mouthed “is that ok” at me.

She left and NMG turned to me asking, “What’s the deal with your friend? I mean you seem nice and approachable, easy to talk to. I think you’re probably honest and genuine. Why is she so guarded? Why are you taking care of her?”

Not sure what to say, I sat back and listened as he eloquently tried to deconstruct my drunken friend…

And tried to process it, remembering that he was married, met his wife in college, so thus probably had no clue as to what the New York City dating scene really was. Remembering that it was approaching 2:30 in the morning, so by this point, no one really makes much sense when they are interpreting society’s social constructs. I tried to remember that I would never see this guy again, so the fact that he called my friend guarded and me her babysitter shouldn’t really be taken to heart.

So when Neever finally came back, and I shared with her NMG’s professional opinion of the two of us in front of him, I was not surprised by her reaction. It was the same as any 20-something single female in New York City would have. She turned to him with pursed lips and explained…

We are young and free—no string or fishing line attached and this is our time to be reckless, casual, silly and fun. There’s no way we want the baggage NMG’s lugging around with him.

So the consensus is I’m pretty sure he, and Spitz, and Tom, Fred, and Kevin were all jealous. Of the fact that we are 20-something and fabulous—out late, drinking pints, with no ties except the one to our favorite Hooker (boat that is).

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It’s fairly safe to say that when I started my job nine months ago, I was completely ignorant to corporate bureaucracy. Because of my ignorance, I did not take offense when on day one, my boss led me to a workstation instead of a cubicle.

You see, a cubicle has three sides that rise almost as tall or taller than the employee who sits in them. Space is left for a door if you so desired screwing one in. It has several drawers for filing and to hold personal belongings. Often it even includes a chair to be used for quick meetings between colleagues. Two-thirds of the cubicle is lined with a beige metal shelf to hold products, files, clutter and beneath the back wall, fluorescent “track” lighting glows on the desk. The computer keypad hides beneath the main desk on a black stand, making the entire work space appear sparse, clean and organized.

But walk ten feet and you move into my ‘open’ workstation. I am about a foot taller than my three ‘walls,’ two of which seem to be more like partitions. The top of my boss’s head is clearly visible as she bops round the corner with a knock on the…metal cabinet which serves as my drawer, my door, and my desk. I am only allotted one lengthspan of desk space with no drawers and no little black stand for my computer’s keypad.

The Office Dictionary

More and more often now I am brought into meetings. My Outlook Calendar blinks orange 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time, and just as I do with the morning alarm, I snooze it to 5 minutes before I need to be there. I sit around a table with twelve others, three of whom dial in on the conference line. Their voices chime through at various times during the meeting, but otherwise I forget their existence, until one focuses on a specific point He disagrees with.

Several pairs of knowing eyes in the room meet, roll, and dart up or down. People smirk into coffee cups or chew their pens while He continues harping on His point, long ago moving away from whatever topic was originally on the agenda. The looks continue as He rattles from this argument to that until one person finally interrupts,

”Guys I think we should take this up, offline.”

OfflineProbably my most favorite phrase I’ve encountered since entering the working world. What I’ve gathered in terms of meaning is that it’s a politically correct word for one of two statements:

“This is f-ing ridiculous. Why are we wasting my time discussing it”

“You’re wrong and your idea is stupid. We will nix it later”—i.e. Offline.

Either way it’s perfect and I believe it to be a welcome addition to my person vocabulary.

Set a Reminder

The coffee-cup gossip that would involve my name still makes me flush with embarrassment, even though in the end it did no real damage. Since my workstation lacks the proper space for any personal belongings, often they just sit out and I fish through them for my gum or lip gloss throughout the day. My bag usually packed with clothes and sneakers from my morning gym trip, my lunch and other odds and ends, remains open for most of the day, without any additional thought from me.

But a few weeks ago, I learned a lesson when I stepped into a catch-up with my boss. While I was away from the desk, my very own ‘Michael Scott*’ swung by to ask me a question. A co-worker saw him hunting for me and let me know when I returned. I sat down to shoot him an email when I happened to glance to my left. There, for all the world and Michael* to see was my favorite, tattered sports bra, just chillin’ outside my bag, hangin’ out…just air-dryin’.

As I sat there staring at my oldest, ratty undergarment, knowing it should be in the trash, all I could picture was Michael* recoiling in disgust as he gave-up looking for a post-it to leave me a note and shrank back to his safe, sterile office with a door he could close and a drawer for his personal stuff.

At that moment, I couldn’t wait to become management.


*clearly not his real name

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