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 11: Betrayal Discovery

Friday, September 19th at 7:00pm

“Jaz, do you want red or white?” I asked her grabbing a multi-colored wine glass.

“Red for I am in a pensive mood tonight. Oh I love that glass! Where did you get it?”

“Pier  1.  I must ask, what is wrong with this picture? We are home on a Friday working on an Internet dating profile for Cindi. Shouldn’t we be out on dates ourselves?”

“Oh please girl, what are you talking about? You have Chris and you just need to be patient during these first three months.  You don’t have to be around him all the time.” Jaz pointed out fiddling with the veggies on the stove.

“Darling, and you are dating George. What’s up with you guys lately?”  I started to serve our quickie dinner of veggie lasagna a la Whole Foods. I also looked at her for possible signs of trouble because it always seems like George was never really around anymore. She could so do better.

“Oh we are just there. I think he is out with the guys tonight at some bar or ball game. We are just in the couple-ly state you get to when you’ve been dating for 8 years.”

“Well you need to spice it up because I need something to look forward to like a wedding one day! Ummm …where did you get that fabulous purse!?” I exclaimed handing her the plate.

“Girl, Nido’s in Georgetown. I got like 10 compliments on the way here.” She responded touching her new purple purse with gold hardware. “You should stop by there over the weekend before all the new stuff’s gone.”

Friday, September 19th at 8:00pm

“So how do we start this?” Jaz asked as we both stared at the laptop.

“Darling, my co-worker said that we could go online and search the Match.com database first to see who is on there.  To be honest, I am actually curious as to the kind of guys who participate on this site.” I started the search.

“You are typing 28 to 32 as the age range she would like, but I think she would prefer someone her age or older. Try 30 to 34.” Jaz commented and I typed her suggestions. I ran the search.

“These guys are kinda cute. It’s so funny some of them seem familiar but then again they really don’t. How do you make a decision with so many choices?” I asked while scanning the pages upon pages of pictures.

“I know.  So many.  So cute.  Maybe I should sign myself up!  It’s so interesting how this one guy, BRWNSKNCUTEY looks just like George. Can you believe that?  I wonder if there is a Chris lookalike? This is fun.” Jaz stated while commenting on the various quirky usernames.

“Jaz sweetie, are you sure that guy was not George? Same age, same smile, same height, same job. Can’t believe the he makes that much! Wow! Umm, so what do you think?” I asked, biting down on my lips and waiting without taking a breath. Time to drink some more wine! This is not good.

She clicked back to the profile in question and after rereading and rereading and looking at his other photos especially the one from a few years back of the two of them, only in this version she was cropped out of the shot she stood up unexpectedly. Luckily, I caught the computer in the nick of time before it went flying off the couch.

“Why would he have a profile on this site! Out with his friends? Oh my goodness, my mother was right. I’ve wasted all my ‘good years’ on a cheater! That little S@#$#@$%^W&! How could I be such a fool?”

“Jaz calm down! You have to calm down. I know this is weird but you are going to have to talk to him. This is such a weird situation. Are you ok?”

“How else can I be? Potentially the guy I’ve been dating for the last 8 years has been openly cheating on me. What do women normally do in this sort of situation?  I probably need to take an AIDS test.”

And so she went on and on. What do I do?

Friday, September 19th at 10:00pm

Text message to Cindi: “On Match.com last night with Jaz. Found out George is cheating! Yikes!”

Text message from Cindi: “What the hey?! Where is she?”

Text message to Cindi: “Here at my house.”

Text message from Cindi: “Coming over in a few”