Thursday, October 23, 2003

Is that your fish in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

My office is full of beautiful women. My boss and one of the graphics artists I work with (she's Columbian; I don't think I have to say any more) are stunning. Two of the secretaries could easily be models; one of them, I swear, has like a 10-inch waist. Clearly I was hired on the Cellulite-Ridden, German-Nosed, Large-Pored Woman Affirmative Action Program. Yet another reason to look forward to flipping that office light on in the morning.

The girl I was hired with, Michelle, is also disgustingly pretty. Her mother is Puerto Rican, and she has this long black hair and dark eyes and like .000001% body fat. Of course, she's also shy and kind and funny. I would totally hate her, but she's too damn nice.

The engineers love her. They're always hanging around her office. I can't imagine why they don't hang around mine. Is it the life-size standup of Obi-Wan Kenobi beside my desk? Is it the picture of me bullriding? Is it the way I tote around these large, bulky, word-intensive objects known as "books"? Or the way I look at them with fear and revulsion when they knock on my door and say things like, "Hey, the (incomprehensible engineering term) grant for the (incomprehensible engineering term) is due tomorrow, and the (incomprehensible engineering term) is (incomprehensible engineering term)!" Seriously, what am I doing wrong here?

So far Michelle has been asked out by THREE DIFFERENT GUYS in the company. Gossip has it that she's steadily dating one of them, a completely hot former water-skier out of Iowa. But for some reason nobody here at the Graph Paper Paradise wants a Equibase-trolling English major behind his corn-powered speed boat.

I saw Corn Boy and Michelle leave for a date together after work this week. Ran into them in the dark bowels of the parking garage. As they left, he held the door open for her, sunlight poured over them, angels sang, and I felt bitchy.

I was frowny over all this for a little while, then realized: There are certain people you don't WANT hanging around your office or asking you out. I think it's GREAT that the engineers find me repellant. I find THEM repellant. Pimps and gangsters: Absolutely. Hydrogeologists: No.

This is not to say no one ever hits on me. There was that one murderer guy Flipper and I met while rollerblading (I can't believe I let that one go) and earlier this week-- I don't know if it's the fact that I'm in motion, or caked in sweat-salt, or what--it happened AGAIN. I was zipping around my own personal roller rink (the bus loading circle) and out of the corner of my eye I saw a guy approaching with a dog. He didn't creep me out (yet) so I kept going, but I made sure I was aware of where he was.

I did not, however, keep an eye out for the dog, which was unleashed. It came barking up alongside me and running in circles and all, so I stopped and put my hand out for her to sniff so she could confirm that I am not really all that interesting, and she responded by lunging at me. Hey, I like your dog! She's great.

So the owner came running up, and I'm all, "Oh, no, no, this whole situation is way too Nora Ephron-approved for this to truly function as a way to actually meet a guy," and sure enough, Jumpy Annoying Dog's owner was DOA: somewhat cute from a distance, but Diminishes On Approach.

He apologized for Jumpy Annoying Dog, but did not apologize for training her so crappily (Perhaps I shouldn't say that. If the dog was trained to wipe out glaringly white women on wheels, he did a FANTASTIC JOB.) I smiled and said I didn't mind. (That is correct: I put on my Engineer Greeting Face and lied.)

Then it started. Hey, do you live around here? What do you do? Are you okay with engaging in sexual relations with utter losers such as myself? I told him I was a writer (this is what I tell everybody, including my alumnae newsletter, as there is no occupational box to check for "Professional Disgruntled Employee" on the change-of-address form) and he launched into some sort of epic tale concerning his community college, his family of (his word) "rednecks" ("They had to shoot deer to eat," he confided. Oh, thank GOD you told me, because now I totally want to bear your children) a dead deer, him shooting said dead deer, him writing about it, and subsequent dead-deer essay being published in some sort of community college pamphlet.

But Wait There's More: "I have other pets besides the dog."

Oh please let it be a stage-performing white tiger. "Really," I said.

"I have a beta fish." Pause. "Guess what I named hi-"

I started talking in the middle of the pause, probably saying something about the fact that I needed to get going because I had to wash my hair since I had to call my mother due to the fact that my apartment was on fire, and he returned to the topic, so you know it was really important. "Guess what I named my fish."

"What?" Oh, he was so proud of himself.

"Master Beta."

I do not photograph well, but I really, really wish somebody had a camera trained on my face right then, because I would dearly, dearly love to see how I received this. It was probably a fairly close approximation of the Chris McCarron Look of Death, only taller, more venomous, and way, WAY less amused.

This was only slightly better than the stockbroker I was set up with and upon whom I cancelled when he told me to meet him at a bowling alley. "You'll know me by my purple bowling bag!" he said.

I don't understand it. I invest a good forty minutes of weekday mornings into fruitlessly putting myself together to look as non-pasty as possible (Do I wear the gauzy skirt with the Nudity Top, or the gauzy skirt with the "Forget the Bull, Ride a Cowboy" T-shirt?) so that I may meet non-assy people downtown, but give me some ratty hair, unshorn underarms and a layer of sweat, and assy guys fall out of the woodwork. There's a parallel, or a philosophical statement, or at the very least a Celestial Seasonings box saying here.

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