Friday was an eventful day for me. Thursday night I received a call from a the vice president of a fairly large Temp Agency here in Columbia. I had recently interviewed with her regarding a full-time position that couldn’t pay me enough money, and she asked to keep my information on file since she was “very impressed” with me. I, of course, said I was cool with that. So she called me Thursday night and asked if I could come in Friday morning to discuss some opportunities and what I wanted.
I put on a shirt and tie, and then changed pants three times because I wasn’t sure if I matched or not. (It was at this point that I decided I need a woman in my life after all. Or maybe a gay man. Just someone to turn to and ask, “How does this look?”) I finally went with white (or “Stone,” as the sale tag called it) pants, a black button up, and a tie that was black, gray, and white. Add a black belt and brown shoes to that, and you see where my confusion about matching came from. Anyway, I looked pretty spiffy. I went by the recruiter and we talked about a lot of things. I feel pretty positive about the meeting, and look forward to her finding me a new job.
I came straight into work from there, still looking spiffy. The secret was out. Stuckey was looking for a job. Why else would he wear a tie to work? Everyone knows I’m a tee shirt and jeans type of guy. (I’ll let you in on a secret. I like wearing a tie as long as it’s not strangling me. Looking spiffy makes girls come up and talk to me. Maybe because it’s such a rare occasion. This bears research.) The day was absolutely boring.
First, I receive an e-mail telling my department to cut the chit-chat and keep the noise down. “Chit-chat” apparently covers all topics that induce laughter. This directive was passed down from the same manager that encourages us to “have fun every day” in her e-mail auto-reply message. I’m going to call her Satan. Luckily, Satan works from an out-of-state office and only comes down every few months to expose us to a week of the Hell. We took a total of eighteen phone calls for the entire day. The time between calls was spent staring at each other blankly, and trying not to laugh. (Giggles was moved to another department last Tuesday, so she was safe from persecution.)
The end of the day finally arrived, and it was time for the company’s holiday party. I pretty much strong-armed Giggles into going, since the rest of my department backed out at the last minute. (And, frankly, Giggles was the only person I really wanted to hang out with anyway.) Since I was going to wear the same clothes to the party, she went home and got dressed up so I wouldn’t look overdressed. That made me smile for the first time since arriving at work all day.
The Christmas party was actually decent. The DJ, however, played dance mixes of Beatles songs followed by beach music followed by the Electric Slide. Add in a flashing light that blinded us with every bass beat, a cash bar that offered Budweiser as its “premium beer,” and a buffet of finger-food that was mediocre, and you have the party in a nutshell. I didn’t care, though, because Giggles was laughing. There’s a magical quality about her laughter that can change anyone’s mood to happiness in an instant.
We didn’t stay too long at the party, though. Lots of older people dancing (ahem, shagging) on the dance floor isn’t entertaining for too long. Instead, we jumped in the truck and went to the Flying Saucer. (Cue the song “I Love This Bar”) We arrived about 9:30 and found a booth with one other co-worker. Throughout the night, Giggles was touchy and laughing. Now, maybe she’s normally a touchy person. Maybe she’s so non-threatened by me that she’s comfortable expressing her friendship this way. Maybe she’s flirting.
I’m not afraid to admit that I want to marry a woman exactly like Giggles. She’s an easy laugh. She’s not afraid of comfortable silences. She’s not afraid to speak her mind. (The fact that she’s small and attractive is a plus, since apparently that’s “my type.”) She also has two little girls who are absolutely adorable and I just want to die from Cute Overdose every time I talk to them.
So back to the laughing and the touching. (It wasn’t inappropriate touching, so get out of the gutter!) Most men that I know are oblivious to flirting. There are like a million signals that women can send to indicate interest, and there’s only like six that men send. It’s no wonder we’re so clueless. Most of the time, flirting goes completely unnoticed, and has to be pointed out by a female friend. (Such as “That girl was TOTALLY flirting with you!”) This observation is never made when it’s useful, and is almost always held until there is no way to contact the girl again. So, ladies, on behalf of men everywhere, please be sure to point out flirting when it’s useful to us. Unless you’re the girlfriend, which needs it’s own segue.
Girlfriends and wives, typically, point out flirting in a completely different manner. They get dead quiet. They cross their arms. They get a mean expression on their face. Now, we men know that “something” is wrong. Usually, we’ll pick up the check and head to the car. We’re noble enough to minimize civilian casualties when we know we’re accompanied by a time bomb. In the car, the bomb explodes. (“You were TOTALLY flirting with that girl!”) Now, ladies, please bear in mind that we didn’t realize she was flirting. Honest. We responded in kind because we are friendly people, not because we wanted to score her number the next time you went to the bathroom. There are guys who might want to follow that route, but it’s not us. We’re different from them. So please keep this in mind next time you feel the urge to blow up about this.
Anyway, I was talking about Giggles and her touching and laughing. I’m not sure how to react to this. I’m certainly interested in her, even before Friday night. (Although I wasn’t planning on acting on it since she sat across the aisle from me up until last Tuesday. Inter-office romance is a bad idea when you have to see the person every day.) I told her today that I had a great time with her, and hoped we could do it again sometime. She agreed that we’d have to set up another time. So what do I do? Do I ask her if she’s interested? Do I tell her I’m interested and ruin any chance of getting caught under the same umbrella in a freak summer storm which leads to instant, never-before-seen sparks and a passionate make-out session? (I like chick-flicks. Deal with it.)
It all comes back to The Approach, and I think it’s even worse in this case since I’m already friends with her. If I’m in The Friend Zone, my bringing up the subject of more-than-friends might lessen the friendship. This is a situation in which I DO have something to lose, and it’s something I don’t want to. So I think I might just stay in the Friend Zone, and enjoy it there.
Anyway, this is a recap of the weekend, right? We stayed at the Saucer until close to 1:00 in the morning, and I noticed that she (who normally goes to bed by 9:00) was starting to look sleepy. So we headed out and jabbered in the truck the whole way back. One other thing to note. Friday night, I finished my cigarettes and decided that those would be the last. I’m officially Trying To Quit as of Friday.
Saturday, I woke up and went to Lowe’s. Again, let me state that Lowe’s is FULL of hot soccer-moms on Saturday mornings. I went through the store, smiling and greeting every woman I saw, and left with a paintbrush. That’s right. The time has come to paint the bedroom. Instead of going immediately home, I drove out to my parents’ house. I love my folks. I know people who have estranged relationships with their parents, and it makes me sad. It also makes me incredibly thankful to have the parents I do. We ate chicken wings and chicken fingers and talked about Christmas plans and my “Santa List.” (This list is something I will probably blog about after Christmas. It’s a yearly rant for me.)
I got home Saturday afternoon and got to painting my bedroom. I threw a coat of Killz white primer on the trim and the door, which used to be this hideous olive color. After that dried, I threw another coat of primer on. By the time the second coat dried, it was late evening and I decided to call the job done for the day. I poked around on the computer for a bit. I ordered a pizza and started watching my Netflix movies (American Splendor and Ghost World, neither of which is worthy of a Confessional). I fell asleep on the couch.
I woke up Sunday morning around 10:00 on the couch. Sometime during the night, I think someone broke in, and then quietly beat the living shit out of me with a baseball bat. My whole body hurt. It was like I’d run a marathon while military pressing 315 pounds the day before. At first I thought maybe I just slept in some whacked out position on the couch, but then I realized the truth. I’m getting old. All that bending and stretching to paint combined with passing out on the couch was too much for me. I popped some painkillers and did absolutely nothing at all for the entire day.
This morning wasn’t as bad, which is a good thing. Usually it’s the second day-after that’s the worst for soreness for me. Now it just feels like a “good sore,” the kind that reminds you that your muscles are still there. It actually made me look forward to finishing the painting and revamping my garage so I have a weight-room.
I came in to work and it hit me like a sledgehammer. I haven’t had a smoke since Friday night. I had no cravings at all over the weekend. Not once was I tempted to run to the gas stations and buy a pack. As soon as I sat at my desk, though, all I could do was fidget and crave. It’s official. My job sucks. It’s lunch time now, and I made it through the first break of the day without bumming. God, give me the strength to drive past the six gas stations between here and El Monterrey. Deliver me from nicotine. Please.