Tuesday, December 15, 2009

200 seconds

If you read my 100 Seconds blog then you know about my lunch time story. If you haven't, please get familiar with it because the part two was something else.

The next day, I had it in my head that I was going to be more prepared for the next go 'round.

My first plan was one of evasive action. Don't judge me. I figured if I didn't see her, I didn't have to put my best foot backwards to keep her impromptu advances at bay. And what better way than to show up to lunch an entire half an hour earlier than the day before.

At the stroke of 1 pm, I grabbed my lunch and paper and headed two floors down to the lunchroom. Emtpy. Completely. Yesssss. So I find a seat, lay my paper on the table, open up my container and get ready to enjoy my lunch. But before the aroma can hit my nose, the door opens and...

"In she came with the same type game..."
Mos Def, Ms. Phat Booty

"You've got to be kidding me," I say to myself while keeping the poker face.

She made an apparent b-line for my table and before I could get out my generic salutation, she places her book and lunch on my table and then proceeds to ask me if she would be intruding upon my lunch if she sat here.

"No, not at all," I tell her. Lying.

My lunch time break is my time. My cherished time. I don't eat at my desk because I need the disconnect. I don't skip lunch because I need to eat. I don't spend my lunch talking because I'm eating. Is she infringing? Hell yes. So why don't I just tell her so? Because I'm not rude. [Thanks, Mom.]

She removes her pocketbook and bag from her shoulder and places them on the third chair at the table. She removes her coat and has a seat. I'm folding my paper and setting it aside while this is all going on so I don't notice her absurdly tight blouse until she sits down.

She's come prepared this time. See, the day before's ensemble was nondescript. I know this because she crossed my line of vision several times and we had a conversation and all I remember was that it was dark. Her blouse was black and so snug that had it not been for the protection my glasses provided, I would have been concerned for the safety of my eyes. The top two fastened buttons looked like they were holding on for dear life. As a matter of fact, at some point the second one merely gave in and released its grasp on the fabric, revealing a white camisole underneath. I successfully keep my eyes averted as she runs through another battery of questions.

In order to not have this spur of the moment (that being my moment, not hers) lunch seem one-sided, I ask her questions as well but the majority are ones that she's already asked of me. I say majority because I didn't inquire about her lunch the way she did mine. The whole "trading recipes" thing isn't something I do. And judging by what little she had brought in that day, it was for the best.

Somehow or other, she volunteered me to cook her something and bring it in. Yeah, I hope she was kidding because that not something I do either.

Truth be told, there are a lot of things I don't do for most people and a few things I do for a few.

Already knowing that she brought her B-game*, I wasn't too surprised when she just so happened to find it necessary to run out of the room momentarily, giving me a full show of her hip-hugging skirt and knee-high boots. I smirked a little.

Fast-forward through some more small talk and we have her standing at the table while holding a conversation with female co-workers at the next table as she takes the longest time possible to get her coat on for her 2 o'clock meeting she had to get to in the main building.

She leaves after stating she'll see me the following day - a statement I found peculiar, to say the least. I tell her okay, not knowing any other response to give.

The next day came, and I never saw her. Didn't see her for the rest of the week, actually. It was just my lunch and I. Just like I like it.

Everything I jot on the left, reads right.

*A-game isn't really possible when in a corporate environment unless both parties have consented. Otherwise, there's that whole sexual harassment suit ordeal. Ugly.

Ramblings On

We are all genius.

Did you get that? If not, let me break it down so that it may forever be broken...you, me, him, her, them over there by the window...all of us. Genius. Trust me. You may not see it in you. But someone else does. You may not see it in him. But he does. Really. It's that simple. The concept is a basic one, that holds truth.

But there's a catch.

This isn't one of those motivational blogs. I mean, if it motivates you then so be it. I've said things in the past that have gotten reactions I didn't make plans for so I'm not complaining.

Where's the catch, you ask?

For those of you that just know that so and so (or hell, maybe yourself) has never ever ever once displayed any type of genius – you may be absolutely correct. But get this, just because you never witnessed it, doesn't mean it didn't happen. And just because it hasn't happened, doesn't mean it won't. So on and so forth.

I have my own ideas of what I believe my genius to be. There are those around me who have their ideas of what they believe my genius to be too. And then there are the people who are close to me who know what my genius is whether I choose to believe it or not – because you know they always tell you. Without fail. And if you place these lists side by side, you may very well find some similarities. I've never asked so I don't really know. What I do know is, I've been in relationships* where she (the woman formerly known as the significant other) was unaware of my genius. We're talking about my genius list. Not hers.

On the one hand, I can take the full on blame for not purposely "exposing" that side of me. Or I can point an accusing finger and say it was all her fault for not noticing. And even though, that's normally not something I would do, I have to straighten the index on this one. Because what it boils down to, brass tax and all, is that I've had women that I was close to for years – emotionally, physically and spiritually – who knew less about the true essence of me than women I've just recently made acquaintances with in the past few. That has to mean something.

Why didn't she see me? That's the question for the ages. The one that will most likely never be answered. The one that resurfaces whenever someone recites from their list for me.

So, in my usual long winded way of getting to what should have been a brief statement (take this very sentence, for example), I would say to stop for a moment and listen to who is pointing out your genius to you. Not the genius on your list, but the genius on theirs. They just might be on to something. (But don't ask them, though. They're just gonna say yes anyway.)

And as far as the vice versa thing goes, I can't say for you to find someone else's genius. I don't really think it can work like that. As far as I can tell, you just....see it.

Everything I jot on the left, reads right.

*Note: I may have made it plural to protect the not-so-innocent party of whom I speak. May have. I'm clever like that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

100 Seconds

100 seconds is what I asked her to spare over chat via the keys of my smart phone. I felt the urge to share some thoughts I had on the mind earlier and I was in a sharing mood. With the dramatic pauses included, I estimated it would take about that long.

I was keeping myself entertained during my lunch break because for one, the exchange had my interest and two, my food was lackluster at best. But that's what happens when I cook a meal that I had no intentions of eating that night, for the sole purpose of having it for next day's lunch. I mean, visually, it would have made your mouth water – and it must have because this is kind of the segue.

So, I was just sharing a feeling of mine over IM when a co-worker came into the lunch room. I rarely see her – anywhere in the building. Not in this room, not by the elevators, not in the lobby and not on this floor either – so naturally, I flashed her a smile as we exchanged the usual cordials.

"Hey, what's going on?"

"Nothing much. How are you?"

"I'm good. You?"

"I'm not bad. Welcome back."

[The laughter went here]

After the chuckles trail off, I return my attention to my phone and chat partner - but not before noticing how she took in the whole scene that was me, in one fluid eye movement. She took in the black slacks, the black shirt with gray pinstripes and the gray v-neck sweater as well. She concluded the scan at the black spectacles. Like I said, fluid.

When precisely, she took inventory of my meal, however, is beyond me. In between conversation with her girlfriend, she made a trip to the microwave, a trip to the ice machine and somewhere else in addition to that. I only knew the extent of her observance when I got up to throw out the under-seasoned food that she asked if I cooked myself.

"Yeah, I did. If I don't cook, I don't eat."

She laughs in a nature that I've witnessed before so I didn't notice that I was either auditioning, interviewing or filling out an application. For what job? I wasn't sure. The next question was in regards to breakfast and whether or not I ate it once I got to work. I answered that as well – oblivious. Meanwhile, my phone is on the table, next to my newspaper, fork and napkin. Every line my IM buddy sends me after reading my thoughtful words, causes my phone to vibrate. I can hear it. I want to get back to it but I apparently wasn't through with my verbal paperwork.

Then it happened.

The most blatant sign snapped me out of my trance. It happened so fast but played in slo-mo. She was flying through a barrage of questions and somehow worked it over to working out and what gym I went to – when she threw me a look that I may not always get but I'd most certainly never forget.

I was standing there adjusting my sweater when, as if she was waiting for any hand movement in the vicinity of my waistband to take place, she puts my nether region right in her sites. It lasted an instant but it was too long to add the word brief before it.

I didn't see it coming but I definitely saw me going. I realized that maybe it was that season and I needed a refresher course on survival skills. Either way, a retreat was in order. So I back step while concluding the conversation, get back to the table, grab my phone, pack my container up, fold my paper and exit stage right, never passing go. I reply to the lines awaiting me on the screen, before I get on the elevator to return to my floor and back to my desk. My lunchtime chat friend doesn't make mention of my absence because ironically, I was only gone for 100 seconds.