Episode 26: The Inauguration

Peace

Peace

Thursday, January 15th at 12:31pm:

 

 

 

Location: Café Asia, 1720 I Street, NW

Scene:  Diane and Cindi eating sushi at restaurant and talking.

“Ok, so I think I found us tickets to the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball!” Cindi blurted as soon as she sat down barely removing her grey wool coat.

“How did you do that? I thought it was one of the invitation only events. This better be good because some people are willing to stand outside in the cold for days to get these tickets and kiss any willing behind.  So, whose butt are you kissing?” I said staring at her with a smirk.

I knew she would start off by telling me something to the effect that she was only looking out for us, that we couldn’t miss any opportunity to meet the beautiful and professional (hopefully) men who would be descending on the city all dressed up in their tux and dapper fineries. Hmm mmm…we should probably add a hopefully to the beautiful part of this scenario as well, come to think of it. Overall, new faces to flirt with are always a single girl’s dream.

Cindi started, “getting the tickets was a little tricky but it will be worth it in the end.  You, me and Jaz are going to have so much fun!” she exclaimed.

 “Suuuure, so who did you get them from?” I stopped chewing on my Tuna Maki to give her the sideways stare. Truth be told, I did not care who the tickets were from, I was just happy we were all able to attend. And I was not surprised that Cindi was able to pull off the tickets, since she was pretty resourceful when she really wanted something.

She responded at probably two or three hertz’s below an auctioneer, “well I was going to ask my boss if he knew of a way to get the tickets.  Aidan walked into my office to drop off some papers and while he was there we started talking about the Inauguration. He mentioned that he was going to two of the Balls. I asked him, how was that possible because he mentioned the ones with the hardest tickets to come by. Then he mentioned that his dad was a lobbyist who had donated lots of money to the campaign as an individual.  And so, because of the amount he had donated he was given five tickets to two events and would only attend one. So he gave Aidan all the tickets to the Mid-Atlantic and Aidan offered three to me.  So, that’s how we get to go.  Fun, huh?” She finished and I realized that all I heard was Aidan and fun and huh.

“Oh boy, I guess the excitement that day will not only surround Obama! This will be interesting. I’ve got my dress so I am game!” I uttered a spasmodic laugh and I toasted to the ball with her smiling and shaking my head, while catching a swift glimpse of apprehension on her countenance.  In a nanosecond it had disappeared. I wonder if her knowing what Aidan’s dad did for a living made his overtures less repulsive.

Tuesday, January 20th at 4:02pm:

Location: Cindi’s Apartment, Logan Circle

Scene:  Diane, Cindi and Jaz preparing for the ball.

“Darling, did you see the ambulance outside your building?” I asked Cindi as I entered her apartment simultaneously laying down my bags and Inauguration Day collectibles.

“I think my neighbor fell down the stairs. It was weird since I did not realize he was sick. Hopefully those crazy kids in the neighborhood were not bothering him.” She noted and the asked, “Jaz, where is your Ball gown?” as we both looked at Jaz who was holding up a black hippie style skirt and wrap style silk shirt.

My only response was to laugh out loud at the scene because I knew Cindi was just upset–because Jaz was recycling a few items from her closet and did not buy anything new to wear.

“Whatever! Don’t knock my outfit.  It’s fab and you’re jealous.” Jaz stuck her tongue out kindergarten style and walked towards the bathroom.

“Okay, let’s hide the skirt and find her something from my closet! We are not going to have these pictures taken for posterity with her next to us looking like a hippie. Did standing in the cold all day get to her brain?” Cindi sounded frustrated.  She was probably just trying hard to now make a good impression on Aidan and his friends. “Do you think she will fit into this fabulous black Byron Lars dress I purchased from Everard’s Clothing in Georgetown but never wore?” She continued, pulling the satin dress out of her closet.

“It’s up to you,” I shrugged. “I think there is nothing wrong with the outfit she chose. After a spiritually uplifting day as today I will not be judging anyone. Didn’t Obama say something about ‘unity of purpose over conflict’?”

At that moment, Jaz walked out of the restroom wrapped in her robe.

“Jaz babes, here are some goodies I laid out for you while you were taking your shower. What do you think?” Cindi was so determined that she just might get her feelings hurt.

“What! Hey, if you are offering, then I am taking. Hand the dress over and by the way, are you expecting it back?”  Jaz was excited while Cindi rolled her eyes and headed to the restroom to start her preparation ritual.

Jaz turned to me, “if I knew that wearing one of my gypsy skirts was all it took for Cindi to hand over one of her nicer dresses, I would’ve worn it a long time ago.”

We both started laughing. I could tell already that the evening would be equally amusing as the preparation process was becoming.

Tuesday, January 20th at 7:10pm:

Location: Mid-Atlantic Inaugural Ball, Washington Convention Center – Hall A

Scene:  Diane, Cindi and Jaz at the ball.

When we left Cindi’s apartment out of the corner of my eyes I noticed the boys she was referring to earlier. Thankfully we were able to grab a cab on 14th. They gave me the chills but that was neither here nor there. I put all thoughts of them aside when we entered the ball room.

“Hey Aidan, these are my friends Jaz and Diane.” Cindi introduced us to the tall, lanky Krispy Kreme donut tanned guy who was cute in a “golly Beave” kind of way.

We both said, hi but I guess she was taken aback when he introduced us all to his friend Nicholas who was preppy-cute with rimless glasses and a complexion of hot chocolate with an equal amount of milk and chocolate. Jaz walked away because she was still not in the dating or flirting mood, Cindi on the other hand was stuck with Aidan who proceeded to grab her hand and guide her to the dance floor while low and behold I was left with Nicholas who gladly agreed to walk with me to grab some food. I waved good bye to Cindi all the while smirking to myself because I knew she was just now beginning to feel stuck as she bopped away with Aidan who could not get his hands and legs to coordinate and move to the beat of the same song.

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Episode 25: No More Drama…For Now

christian-louboutin-black-leather-pumps2

Wednesday, January 7th at 4:41pm:

Location: James Consulting, 20th and K Street

Scene:  Diane sitting at her desk.

I decided after work on Tuesday that I was going to de-drama-fy my work life.  You can say I should have decided this before the first day.  But when thoughts of grabbing Margaret’s aka “Maggie’s” golden ponytail and dragging her out the building with the sole purpose of wrinkling and ruining her always in place skirt and shirt ensemble (but not her Louboutin Platform pumps, of course), I knew the time for reform was now. 

So, I became determined to ignore the way she cuts off everyone at the Tuesday meeting.  I turned a blind eye to her always thinking she knows everyone else’s job better than them.  And I did not pay attention to her uninvited opinions and suggestions at the staff meetings.  Most importantly, I pretended not to see or hear the snide remarks she makes that leave her victims confused, when they see her for what she is whether to be hurt or pleased for the acknowledgement.  

But for others, she could do no wrong. For example, to Triste in PR (one of the “I am just here to work” types), this morning Maggie told her, “cute skirt”.  I knew she was disingenuous because everyone could tell that somewhere between walking out of her house and getting to work she had spilled some ketchup down the side seam of her skirt.  She also managed to have twisted the skirt so that the front was now the back and vice-versa.  Why not just tell Triste to check herself in the restroom. It was obvious her comment was probably a dig.  But,Triste did not think so because she was smiling like Brad Pitt had asked her out on a date. 

I was not surprised at Triste’s reaction, because on Monday she had confided to me in the restroom that she had lost 60 pounds recently via gastric bypass. Because of this, I knew she would be excited to receive any compliment or fashion acknowledgement especially from the most well dressed girl in the office.  I looked on and rolled my eyes yet after observing the “compliment” scene I knew Maggie was a true expert at the game.  I realized commenting to the naïve would not be beneficial.

Wednesday, January 7th at 6:20pm:

Location: Zola, F Street NW Capitol Hill

Scene: Diane sitting in lounge area near the bar waiting for Jaz and Cindi.

I planned on meeting Jaz and Cindi for happy hour. We chose Wednesday because it was a slow night and we needed to talk.

“Yes, I am waiting on friends, but I would like to order a French martini and hamburger and fries.”  I was starving and both Cindi and Jaz were running late.  I figured that they would have to find parking when they got here so it would probably be another forty minutes or so before I saw them.  And I just could not resist the Zola french-fries. They are the best.

Surprisingly, Jaz showed up twenty minutes after I placed my order.

“Hey lady, look at all this food! If I did not know how much you love these fries I would think you are doing the food consoling thing.”

Not sure that I wanted to complain on an empty stomach, I noted, “you got here pretty quickly, Did you take a cab?”

She shifted and started searching for some random, phantom object in her bag so I knew this would be good. After a while she responded, “George gave me a ride.”

George! Are you kidding me?!” I sat looking at her, my mouth opened, as I held a half eaten piece of French fry next to my cheeks. 

“We are just friends and maybe not.  He wanted to talk and I needed a ride so he obliged.  Don’t worry I will not be dating anyone anytime soon”, she said while poking her fingers into my fries, pulling out a few. The waitress appeared and she ordered her own batch as well as a French martini.  “So how is work?” she continued.

“It’s ok.  I am just trying to figure out how to get without getting involved in any drama.  Trying to make 2009 drama-free.”

Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Cindi saying she was running late.

“That’s good. Because you have had enough work drama to last awhile.” She continued, “here are two complimentary tickets to the opening of my show in March, something to look forward to. Hugs hon.”

Episode 24: Rules and Mirrors

A study of stuff.

A study of stuff.

Monday, January 5th at 7:23am:

Location: Diane’s jr. one bedroom apartment, Capitol Hill

Scene:  Diane getting ready in her bedroom.

Today was my first day at the new job. From what I noticed during my interview for the most part everyone at the James Consulting wore DC conservative chic. You know the A-line skirt with the V-neck cashmere sweater, hair in a ponytail with Steve Madden leopard print pumps or Tory Burch flats. Some may take it up a notch with a few David Yurman pieces but that puts them more towards the conservative, in my view. Those leaning more towards chic usually opt for statement accessories from one of the local boutiques like Hu Shoes in Georgetown. Of course, there were also the “I don’t care” or the “I am just here to work and be out” folks but it would be too stressful to focus on them right now.  I had been thinking of my first day wear for the last two weeks while also keeping the three first day rules in mind. And right now first and foremost on my mind was rule number one – figure out the office uniform and take it up a notch.

I have never been a mold girl and to be honest, with my short pixie haircut, I would not be rocking a ponytail anyway and I am firmly on the anti-weave brigade. Cindi and I agreed that my choice should be a scoop necked, gray sheath from Zara which hugged the hips but not enough for others to question if my aim was to turn tricks on K Street rather than cut deals.  I was also planning to wear my black patent leather Michael Kors classic open toe pumps and my trusty Swarovski cocktail ring. Yes, it was cold outside but what are cabs for if not to save you when you make a winter shoe faux pas.

I was ready.

Monday, January 5th at 8:55am:

Location: James Consulting, 20th and K Street

Scene:  Reception area on the fourth floor.

“Hey lady, good luck!” Jaz texted me as I exited the cab.

“Thanks Darling!” I typed right before walking into the building. Thankfully, I looked up before smashing into the glass doors. It would not be cool to embarrass myself on the first day. I walked into the office and greeted Anna, the receptionist.  

Which leads me to rule number two – always be nice to the receptionist even if you are no longer interviewing. You don’t want to hang out at her desk gossiping but you most certainly don’t want her slinging dirt about you to others.

“Hi Anna, how are you doing?” pause so she can respond.

“Can you please tell Margaret Vandercraft that I am here?”  According to my schedule Margaret was supposed to give me a tour of the office and then I had nothing to do until my 11am session with the folks at HR.  I sat in one of the brown toile decorated guest armchairs grabbing the daily Washington Post – the Obamas were of course one of the topics covered on the front page.  I can’t believe they are really here in the city. “By the way Anna” I continued, “that shirt is such a great color on you.” I said looking up at her with a lovely smile after she noted that Margaret would be soon on her way.

“Thank you! I’ve been eyeing your shoes since you walked in. They are simply divine.” At that moment Margaret entered the room wearing her navy blue take on the DC conservative chic on her 6’1” frame. Only she wore a clean blonde ponytail with diamond stud earrings and grey 4 inch pumps. She looked beyond chic and did not even have on any statement accessories. Out goes my theory.

“Hi Diane, you look lovely today. How was your commute?” Margaret said formally with a well polished air that surprisingly I could not read.  As we walked down the hall, she turned and gave me a toothless smile, “here is the pantry and across the hall is the main conference room. We have 9am meetings every Tuesday in this room.  Bob likes everyone to be on time.”   

We walked by Bob’s office on our way to mine and he was in so we decided to say hi.  Margaret started, “hi Bob. I’m taking Diane around and I should be able to stop by to talk about the Sturn report in about 30 minutes. By the way, it was great seeing you at the Hudson’s New Year’s Eve party.”

“Yes the party was great. I can’t wait for the next one. I had quite a good talk with your guy Dan.  By the way, Diane welcome aboard. Maggie we’ll talk later.” And with a smile he waived us off.

Well at least his demeanor was a step up from Jerry my last boss.

“Oh by the way I forgot to mention that everyone I work with calls me Maggie. You should too.” Maggie mentioned when we turned the corner.

I knew from her tone that it was not a suggestion but a request. Walking, listening and sizing up Maggie had now pre-occupied my thoughts. After Maggie led me to my office, I asked “are you available for lunch today? It would be nice to meet and talk especially since we will probably be working on some projects together.”

“Hmmm…not sure. If my meeting with Bob does not last too long I’ll see if I can schedule some time with you. Are you sure you want to head outside for lunch? Your toes might get cold.”

And with that she was on her way.

Hmmmm…rule number three was now in effect – get to know the competition and find out how she works the game. I did not think I would have to use this rule after my experience at my previous job but I believe I just found the competition.

Episode 23: Strange Bed Options

A Study of a Caribbean Beach in December

A Study of a Caribbean Beach in December

Friday, January 2nd at 7:23am:

 

 

 

Location: Diane’s Father’s home in Boston

Scene:  Standing in the living room with her bags.

 

“Dad, are you ready to head out?”

I had been calling him for the last 15 minutes. My flight leaves in 3 hours but I was just afraid of the walking into another web of chaos at the airport.  I remained impatient although Carmela had accepted the mission to pull him away from his study and the telephone. He was unofficially working from home today.  I would have asked my step brothers to take me to the airport but they had already taken off with the speed of running bulls when their college buddies suggested spending New Year’s Eve in New York. It had been kind of nice just the three of us in the house over the last few days.  A rarity though they’ve been married for six years now. Carmela gave great advice on my Chris situation and I was going to open myself more to a romantic relationship with him. 

“One moment,” he called from the top of the stairs, “I just need to put on my shoes and we should be on our way.” 

Thank goodness!

Sunday, January 4th at 10:44am:

Location: Busboys and Poets, 5th and K St., NW Washington, DC

Scene:  Ladies on top floor couch sipping on hot chocolate and reading the paper.

 

“Did you all hear about the dress registry website?” Jaz lazily flopped one of her booted feet on the couch. I could tell by looking at her knees that she had a great tan from her vacation home in Miami.

“No. I’ve been a hermit the last few days. What about it?” Cindi responded.

“It’s the best idea ever! Events are listed on a website and women who plan to attend can add the dress they plan to wear with dress details and a picture to the site.  For one of the Inaugural Balls someone listed that they are wearing an H&M dress.  Now, I am all for making sure some other diva does not show up with the same dress at the same event, but what diva would want someone else to know how much they actually paid for a super fabulous outfit.”  She explained with eye rolls using her hands to express how appalled she felt. 

“Hilarious indeed!  I will have to check it out. So, Cindi how was your vacation? Your tan looks great by the way darling.” She was seating in front of me more relaxed than I’ve seen her in a long time, red turtle neck, gold hoop earrings, hair in a ponytail and a slight brush on her lips of her favorite MAC lip gloss.  I wonder who the guy is.

“My vacation was great.  The family was together with my grandparents for the first time in four years. Grandma looked healthy after a scary stay in the hospital at the beginning of the month. Yvonne got to show off her engagement ring to the cousins. We partied till the sun came up just about every night for a week. Good times.” She nonchalantly stirred her hot chocolate.

I gave her a sideways glance, scrunching up my nose Samantha the witch style. I did not believe her. “Really and what else has been going on since you’ve returned?” I continued. Jaz’s head finally popped up in my direction periscope style.

“Nothing.” She squinted at me, “just vacation afterglow. I did see Jamie Foxx on the flight back. He is so cute.”

“Are you kidding me? Please don’t let me regurgitate my breakfast. Every time I see him on the blogs pouring drinks down a girl’s throat I think classy <air quotes>. He seems like the kind of guy who would purposely ride on the packed train car just to cop a secret feel.” Jaz spat her criticism and finished with another elaborate eye roll.

“Well, I still think he’s cute and would not hesitate to get secretly copped if the opportunity knocked.” She continued with a sly smile. Jaz turned the page of the Post style section obviously trying to ignore her response.

“How is Aidan?” I was still suspicious that something was brewing with that relationship and did want to get thrown off the scent.

“My goodness, you are like my second mother! Ok, so I have been sleeping with Aidan. I’ve just been too embarrassed to tell you ladies. I should have never taken things to home base with him.  But anyways I ended it this morning and so I am wearing a happy color.” She ended puffing out her chest and smoothing out her cashmere turtle neck. “Peruvian Connection by the way.” And so was the end to the revelation.

“Hmmm…the big reveal finally. We knew there were holes in the story you told us a few weeks ago.” Jaz nodded in my direction.

I shook my head, “maybe for 2009 we will have to work on getting you a serious man.”

“I know. You are probably right but we shall see.” I knew deep down she was in it for the chase and there was no chance of her staying in a relationship for more than the three month mark.