Since a lot of the work I do can be telecommuted I don't dress in power suits to sit at my computer. Nor do I feel the need to glam up my make up for a meeting when it's going to be held on the phone.
Unfortunately after a hard morning
at the keyboard, I get hungry. With no husband or kids around, my
refrigerator usually has an echo in it. So I take a break and head for
one of the umpteen fast food emporiums that make my suburb a magnet for
families with cupholders and DVD players in the back seats of their
Often when I rush out for a quick
bite to eat, I'll be halfway to the sandwich shop before realizing that
I'm still in my sweat pants, hoody, and flip flops. And no make
up. Just the shiny leftover grease from the Vaseline I use to
take off my eye shadow and mascara. It's a raccoon look.
Since I'm not going to the Four
Seasons and there's no maitre d' to question my attire, I'm not worried
about being seated near the window. Unless it's the drive up
But yesterday I was telecommuting
with someone else at her place. We were reviewing some footage on
her TV. No need to tie up the conference room at her ad agency
when we could do the same thing at her house. But I thought it
would be smart to dress higher up on the food chain. And make up
my face a bit. I even styled my hair, since she is a client after
all, although we are friends, too, thanks to our special bond
as the only two straight women on any of our former softball teams.
We were there for about five hours,
watching tape after tape, while snacking on baby bagels and cream
cheese chased with a glass of Tropicana orange mango something. For
lunch we splurged and made Kraft macaroni and cheese. It was like
all those times in junior high when happiness was playing Monopoly all
day Saturday and your mom just kept bringing food so you never had to
move. Only we were getting paid for it.
When we finished, it was getting
close to four o'clock. I was meeting someone for an early dinner
at 5:00. Shut up about the time. You'll be eating early one
of these days too. So my decision to put on the paint and look
suburban instead of homeless was about to pay off.
I had to copy and mail a bunch of
stuff, so I stopped at Kinko's on my way to dinner. As I was picking
up an armful of things and preparing to go out the door, some guy asked if I
wanted him to open it for me. I said no I'd just push it with my
big butt and I demonstrated my derriere move. Outside the store I
turned to go to my car and he said, "Mrs. Linklater, you don't have a
He knows me?
He knew me.
I had no idea who he was. For about
two beats. And then I recognized him from some volleyball tournaments
and very late nights 28 years ago. The good news is he recognized me
right away. Phew. It's all about ME ME ME in this journal,
remember? The bad news is that I wouldn't have known him on a
bet. Until we started talking. I realized I was looking at someone from
long ago, just a supersized edition of his younger self. He also
seemed about two inches taller. Or I'm two
inches shorter. His height threw me off more than anything.
So we did the what have you been doing for the past 28 years thing. I wondered if he was still younger or closer to my age now.
He also checked to see if I was
wearing a ring. Every time I run into a guy I knew in a former
life, that's the first thing they do. Like I'm single and we're
going to race off into the sunset? Or they're going to get lucky?
The whole time I was saying, "Thank
you God." The woman's gratitude prayer. Because my hair was having a good
day and my makeup was in its upright and locked position.. Plus I
was wearing slacks not baggy sweats. And shoes, not shower
thongs. Not because I wanted to rekindle an old flame. At my age that would take a blow torch. I
just wanted him to tell people I was looking good when he ran into
someone we both knew. I have my priorities straight.
Okay, for my more sensitive
readers, the whole time we stood there chatting, I was saying, "Thank
you, spiritual being who guides me through the thick and thin of life."
We exchanged cell phone numbers and
email addresses -- the 21st century version of *kiss* *kiss* let's do lunch.
Surprisingly he called me as I left the parking lot and
headed for dinner a few minutes late. Why so soon? To see if I'd given him a
real number. He said.
This morning I thought I would put
his number into my cell phone book. So I clicked on Received
Calls to store it and he had blocked it. After writing it down
for me on a piece of paper. Gee, I wonder where that piece of paper
disappeared to? It's a shame I lost it.
No, really -- that's the end of it. It'll be another 28 years before I want to see him again.