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 12: Betrayal Confirmed

dc-metro-map(First Timer? Read from the start)

Friday, September 19th at 11:00pm

Tap! Tap! Tap! “Oh that must be the door. Jaz, I will be right back,” I uncoiled myself from the lotus position and half walked and stretched my legs on my way to open the door.

At the door, Cindi asked while whispering “How is doing? Is she OK?”

Lowering my voice as well, I responded “She is doing a lot better now. Not crying as much. She is debating calling and asking him right now about his Match.com profile and his cheating on her, but I told her maybe she should confront him face-to-face that way she can better gauge his reaction.”

“Not sure if she should wait. Well anyway, let me in I want to show her the goodies I brought with me.”

“Hey sweetie, how are you doing?” She exclaimed walking into the room making a beeline to a sullen Jaz curled up on the couch swaddled in my favorite quilt. “I brought you some junk and some Sex and The City. They are right here when you need them.” Cindi noted as she placed her bounty on the coffee table.

On cue, I walked to the kitchen to grab some plates, napkins and bottles of water. On my way back to the living room, I noticed that Jaz was now sitting up and sobbing.

“I can’t believe he would do this to me, to us.  Crap! I would have even understood if he wanted to take a break or not date anymore. But to cheat?! What a loser! What did I ever see in him?” And with that outburst she swigged half of the bottle of water.

“Hon, so what are you going to do?  Diane was saying that you wanted to wait to talk to him later?” Cindi inquired. I could already tell that she did not think that was a good decision and that the fighting litigator in her was getting ready to roar.

“I am really upset, but I am going to wait to talk in person.  He  texted me ten minutes ago that he wanted to stop by tonight after quote, unquote – hanging out with his friends. So, I am going to head home in a few to confront him. I copied and pasted his profile in an email to myself, as proof. Gosh, I am so annoyed!  I don’t even know how I can tell my mother!”

Saturday, September 20th at 3:30am

“Hello, Jaz darling what is going on? How did the talk go?” I said after calling her still half asleep.

“We’ve been arguing for hours. He finally left a few minutes ago. He admitted to dating other women for the past two years.  He said he was only doing it as an ego boost but that none of these relationships were important to him.  He claims there was only heavy petting involved. ‘I still love only you baby’ he said over and over. At this point I don’t believe him. He says we should go to a counselor and not throw away eight years. But, I feel like such a fool. Two years and over ten women, maybe more!  His best friend AJ even knew what he was doing all this time and no one told me. They must think I am a stupid. I am so sick about the whole situation.” She said tearfully.

“Do you want me to come over?” I was thinking that she should not be by herself.

“Ummm…not really.  I just need to be by myself right now.” Sniff. Sniff. “I just have to take all of this in. It’s all so new. I am 29 years old. He and I dated ever since my last year in college. My entire twenties I could’ve dated other people! I even thought he would pop the question when I turned 30. To think that I could’ve married someone I never really knew is scary. How did I miss the signs?” She said all this and just went silent.  Then I heard her in the background fiddling around.

“What are you doing?” I asked curiously.

“Getting his stuff ready to dump in the trash room. I never want to see him again!”

I stayed on the phone with her until early in the morning. She needed to talk and I so I just listened also in shock at all that was happening to her relationship. In the end, at least physically all reminders of him were no longer at her place. I still had to remind her to change her locks the next day but after we both got some sleep.

 

 

Episode 9: All Work and no Game

flowers-1(First Timer? Read from the start)

Wednesday, September 3rd at 12:49 pm

“Hey Cindi! How is work?”  I was on lunch break at the Tyson’s Corner Mall.

“Eh! It’s coming along. We were hoping to settle this case but it looks like we are going to trial which means no free time for the next three months! I am so annoyed because Yvonne wants me to be her maid-of-honor in her wedding in March and I am already not even sure I can make the engagement party next weekend!” She said while I heard what was probably her opening and closing the drawers in her desk and her clicking on her mouse.

Oh boy, once again Cindi was showing signs of getting stressed out over work, I thought to myself.  “So much for being relaxed after a beach vacation.  Darling, I am sure you will get it all under control. You usually do.” I tried to reassure her.

“Are you making fun of me?” She questioned and that alerted me it was time to end that conversation.

“No, I am not darling. Hey, gotta get back to the office for a meeting. Let’s talk later.”  I hoped she just needed time to get organized and find her bearings.

Wednesday, September 3rd at 6:31 pm

“We should do something to help her not get too depressed.  Maybe we can promise to help her find stuff for the wedding. Since she is from St. Croix, for the wedding we can find stilt walkers, decorate a limbo stick, and have fire eaters and jet-ski show. ” Jaz said this while stirring away in her kitchen.

“Ah, ok darling don’t get carried away. Plus, have you seen the diva who is Cindi’s sister, she would never agree to all that at her wedding. I think we would have more fun finding Cindi a guy to hang out with.” I said already considering the possibilities.

“Yeah, she does need a boyfriend! Maybe that can be the magic stress reducer in more ways than one if you get my drift…wink wink! She is always so focused on work that even though she meets guys all the time when we hang out but she is clueless about the fundamentals of flirting.” Jaz explained thinking back to all the handsome guys Cindi met in Florida and before.

“Basically! Or she will meet handsome cute guys like those at Lima about a month ago and she will talk about work too much or go through her mental check list and decide before a second conversation that they are not someone she would like to date.” I said thinking back to the night at Co Co. Sala when we both met Chris. I thought to myself at that time that because he worked in a restaurant that she probably thought he was uneducated or something like that and therefore not the guy for her. She did randomly pass him off as only liking me more than her when he was clearly being friendly to both of us. Oh well she missed out…sucker! Ok that’s not nice, I giggled to myself.

“Sometimes I think the poor guys are dismissed for wearing black with navy or something random like that. We should sign her up with E-harmony or Match.com. Maybe, we can fill-in her stats and look for a guy on her behalf who is as successful as she is and set her up on blind dates.” Jaz was still going on and on.

“Excellent idea! That way she can work and help plan the wedding and just have to show up on the dates.” I agreed. Cindi had not dated someone seriously in years.

“Only problem…do we use her picture? I can see her killing us if she thought we did.” Jaz pondered.

“Jaz, this is DC. On paper she looks great, so we should have no problems finding takers without the picture. We will just have to carefully filter out the ones that she would never go for.” I resolved.