gonna get out.


see, the school was holding this little reception for the interim dean, to say good job and all that, and thanks for covering since the old dean peaced out last year. my coworker complained. girl was like, who holds an event on a friday? at four o'clock, no less? if they did it during the day, maybe, just maybe i'd stick around. but come on. four to six on a friday? are they kidding me? girl was going off. it was as though the email about the reception had personally insulted her. either way, she peaced out around two in the afternoon. the new girl was like, is she coming back? i said, no, and then we both laughed about it.

everyone in the office, though, headed out for the reception around four. i felt i had to as well, otherwise risk being labeled the office grump. don't be the office grump, a friend once told me. anyway, i knew there was gonna be wine and a decent spread, so i got up off my lazy ass that wasn't doing anything nohow except maybe watching some daily show. i trekked across the hall with the new girl, and she's all giggles and smiles all the time, like a stoner who isn't really a stoner. really fun to be around, actually. i told my friend this, and my friend said, have you tried flirting with her? and to that i said, hell no. she's engaged.

so we walk over to where they're serving wine. she gets white and i get red. i don't know why i'm such a red wine kind of guy. maybe because of blood and rose petals and all that. white wine just doesn't appeal to me. i heard you drink it with fish or something. i don't know. i'm no wine afficionado. anyway, we get our wines, and we're standing around, and i'm hoping to keep the new girl close to save me from inevitable office awkwardness. you know, i'm not a lawyer or a teacher, or even a contributing staff member, so i always feel out of place at these things. new girl gets pulled aside by her supervisor. have you met...? and then i'm stranded with a glass.

i make my way over to the full spread. they've got little fruit tarts and kebobs and some deep fried pork won ton balls something or other. i get a little bit of each, and then i'm stuck at this bar table with this older, shorter woman. i ask if she works here, and she says yeah, she's a visiting professor. i tell her what i do, and she just nods. before either of us can say anything else, another old woman shows up and she introduces herself. we shake hands, and then the two older women talk.

out of nowhere, this 2l shows up, and she's blonde and pretty, and i've talked to her before. she's got wide eyes with sharp pupils, like a cat's. other than that, i know nothing about her. she says hello, and then she sets her small plate on the table. i ask her about finals, and she says something, but a combination of her mouth being partially full and the background noise prevents me from actually hearing what she says. she asks if i am busy at work, and since i can't outright say, actually, i've just been watching a lot of daily show and drinking tons of water and getting up to pee just about every twenty minutes, not to be healthy or anything, but you know, just because it's something to do, i tell her instead that things are kind of slow right now. she asks if it gets busy during the summer. i tell her it might. it won't.

there's an awkward pause, and i have to fill it quickly. i ask questions about what she did last summer (she went to south africa), where she went for undergrad (uw), when she graduated ('07), will she apply for the post-graduate fellowship (she won't), and did she think school rankings were stupid and arbitrary (yes). she said she felt safe in south africa. and then she talked about the court systems in south africa and how there's never any evidence, and a lot of the time, they make decisions based solely on testimonials. she also said that police are paid off, and there are lots of people who get hit by cars. after all that, i said, and you felt safe there?

she was anxious to get out of there, and she said she had some paper or something to write. after another awkward pause, she said, okay, i'm gonna get out of here. i said goodbye, and then we parted ways. that was the part where somebody cooler, somebody more confident would have asked for a number, or would have said something along the lines of, we should get together sometime. but i'm me, and i have friends who tell me, you can't do that. they say, you have to get "vibes" before you act. whatever the hell "vibes" might be. also, if there are vibes, and you don't recognize it, and you don't act quickly enough, those vibes die. they also tell me, you can't rush it. and my personal favorite: if something would've happened between you two, it would've happened already. according to my friends, women are like the math section on the s.a.t. - what's the point in studying? if you don't know them by now, you never will.

whatever vibes are, i knew i wasn't getting them. i haven't gotten them in twenty-seven years, so why the hell would they suddenly show up now. i knew i'd be doing exactly this: writing more bullshit on a friday night.

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