Authors: Anita Claire
Having worked all day yesterday with Mark to get the code to the release group I missed out on the post-Thanksgiving conversation at lunch. On the way down to the cafeteria I ask Hita, “What did you wind up doing this weekend? I haven’t talked to you since Thursday.”
Raising her eyebrows and giving me a secret smile she says, “I had a date.”
“On Thursday you were complaining about no prospects,” I give her an appraising second look, “As in a real date with a real guy?”
Hita playfully hits my arm. “How dare you insinuate that I don’t go on real dates with real guys.”
This makes me bark out a good hard laugh. “OK, did he pick you up at your place and pay for the food, or did you just meet him at some gaming event and he followed you around for half the night?”
Hita laughs, “Real date, real guy, real car.” Then she stops and gives me a flirty smile, “and a real kiss.”
“WOW, Hita, good for you.” then I lean over and in a conspiratorial soft voice I ask, “Is he a good kisser?”
She gives me a secret smile then winks.
“That good.” I reply. “Where’d you meet this guy?” I ask. Then with a chuckle I tease, “Please tell me he wasn’t wearing a super hero costume when you met him.”
Rolling her eyes she says, “Really? You’re going to go there?” Even so, I’m sure she met him at some geeky event, probably a gaming convention, or some all-night hackathon.
We part in the dining hall. Hita’s a vegetarian; she has no interest in joining me as I stand in line at the BBQ station since I’m completely hooked on the pulled pork sandwiches. After getting my sandwich and some grilled veggies, I head out to find my friends.
Hita’s beats me to the lunch table. She’s joined Megan and Jessica. Megan works in our MarCom organization. One of her duties is to procure all our swag—logoed merchandise that’s handed out to employees and customers. Jessica works on the web design team. They both have added design flair to our engineering centric lunch group. As I sit down Hita shoots me a look. “You better stop teasing or you’re not going to get any of my juicy gossip.”
Jessica pipes in, “Is it considered gossip if you tell other people about yourself?”
Hita gives Jessica an annoyed look, “Everyone is so interested when Juliette tells us about one of her guys.”
I bark out a laugh, “Really? You guys give me untold grief about getting my relationships to the next level.”
Hita starts laughing, “Yeah, that’s true. While I’ve already had a nice kiss.” she says as she lifts up her eyebrows on the word kiss. “At this stage, you’d be all angsty as you try to figure out his name.”
Megan breaks in, “We’ve heard all about Juliette: her swimmer and doctor. Come on Hita, give us the details. Where’d you meet? Where’d he take you? What’d you guys do?”
With a satisfied smile, she tells us, “I met him at this thing.”
Chuckling I say, “When Cassie says ‘thing’ she means some high end event where there are rich guys and celebrities, how come I think your definition of ‘thing’ is different?”
Hita laughs. “Hey we hung out on Friday and he took me out for dinner and a movie on Saturday.” Focusing all her energy on me, she says, “He picked me up in a
car. We ate
food, and he gave me—” she stops, gets a sassy smile on her face. “And he gave me a
“What is all this
about? What else can you have besides a real car, food, or kisses?” Megan asks.
I start cracking up as Hita points her fork at me while giving me the evil eye. Turning to Megan and Jessica, I say, “Hita had a cyber-relationship with her college boyfriend. Their avatars went on virtual dates together. Brandon would pick her up in his cyber car, take her to cyber restaurants, and they’d share cyber kisses.”
Megan and Jessica’s eyes get big. They both look at Hita and say in unison, “No way!”
Hita makes a face at me. “It’s not as bad as Juliette’s making it out to be. We actually met in real life at a gaming convention. He was going to school up in Washington, and I was going to school down here. Since we lived so far away we’d meet in the virtual world and have virtual dates. It was lots of fun. Actually our relationship worked much better when we went cyber. Once he was back in Silicon Valley full time, everything fell apart.” Shooting me a look, “Anyways, dating online was a lot more fun than having lame conversations on Skype.”
This is a total dis on me. After Stephan graduated, we Skyped every day.
“OK, back to the new guy. What’s his name? What does he look like?” Megan asks.
“His name is David. He’s taller than me, and,” she gives me a satisfied smile, “he’s a real good kisser.”
“What does he do for a living?” Jessica asks.
Hita rolls her eyes. “Of course he’s a programmer. Who else do you meet here? Anyway, I always go out with programmers.”
Shaking my head, I say, “The real question, is he a gamer?”
Narrowing her eyes, Hita says, “OK, he’s a gamer. Juliette, I too, am a gamer. Unlike you, I actually like gamers.”
Jessica looks at me, “What’s your issue with gamers?”
Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes. “Have you ever dated a gamer?”
Jessica shakes her head.
“All they want to talk about are games, all they want to do is stay up late and play games. After spending some time with a gamer, you just want to stick knives in your eyes if you hear anything else about their stupid games.” I explain to her.
Hita gives me an annoyed look, “You went out with one gamer, and now you’ve written off all gamers.”
“Stephan was a gamer?” Megan asks.
I turn back to Megan. “No, Stephan wasn’t a gamer. Chris, my college boyfriend, was a true bro-grammer. He was in computer science, not engineering, and really into hackathons and gaming.”
Hita interjects, “Yeah, why is it that guys can do all that geeky stuff and still be cool, but when one of us does it we’re just considered geeky?”
“It’s that old double standard.” I say.
At about this time, Kami and Caroline, who programs our dashboard, join us.
Sitting down Kami asks, “Did I miss anything?” The four of us look at each other and start to laugh. Caroline and Kami get the recap of Hita’s social life without all my commentary.
Getting back to my desk, I finally feel relaxed from my stressful morning. At some point, Mark IM’s me:
Help me take Buddy for a walk.
This is a Mark euphemism for “we need to talk” without everyone else listening in. Following Mark out to the field at the side of our building, he uses his
to throw Buddy some balls. Wondering if he heard about my dad, I’m afraid to say anything. After a couple of throws Mark finally says, “Your dad figured it out just off the behaviors?”
I’m relieved that his tone isn’t angry. “Yes, I told him what we were working on. He asked me a bunch of questions and then said we should be looking lower down.”
“Why didn’t you tell me your father had figured it out?”
Taking a deep breath I confess, “You never asked me how I figured it out.”
This elicits a glare from Mark, “Really, you leave out important information and think that’s OK since I never asked?”
This really pisses me off. “I didn’t leave out any important technical information.”
Breathing a few times to control my temper, I continue, “If I told you my father figured out the solution, then you would have listened to me, but when you thought I figured it out, you dismissed the solution?”
We just stare at each other; I can feel the anger rolling off my body. Shaking my head in disgust, I start walking back in the building.
Mark calls after me, “Hey, Juliette, where are you going?”
Turning around, I take a deep breath, close my eyes, shake my head. “Mark, I’m too pissed off right now to carry on a reasonable conversation.” Heading back into our office building, I stalk to my desk.
My head is definitely not in the work this afternoon. When I’m about ready to leave, Mark e-mails me:
I was busy. A junior person asks about running tests we already performed. If I had known that a senior person had a theory based on years of experience, I would have been willing to spend some cycles checking it out.
This is definitely an explanation not an apology
. Do I deserve an apology?
I feel like I want one.
Reading his e-mail over again, I think back to what my mom said about how every organization, no matter how young and flat, still has a hierarchy. Will any of my other recommendations be considered mine, or will they now ask if my dad was the brains behind them? This whole line of thought makes me feel depressed. Hopefully, I didn’t hose my career within the first couple of months.
In the morning, I meet up with Meredith for a run. Filling her in on the latest in Hita’s love life, she says, “Finally, you guys are all starting to date. Sam loves you guys but it’s a lot more fun for him to have some guys along when we go out.”
Meredith’s been living with her college boyfriend for the last two years. I ask, “Are you and Sam looking at making things more permanent?”
Meredith almost stumbles. “No, no way. We are so not ready to get married. You know, once you get married everyone then wonders when you’re going to have kids. I’m working this year, a break before I start my PhD. When I see thirty approaching, and if we’re still happy together, then I’ll start pushing for—” she raises her left hand like Beyoncé and sings. “
If you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.”
“Meredith, you realize that song’s about running into an ex.”
“Whatever, when it feels right I’ll push Sam to move to the next step.”
At my mid-morning break, I check messages. There’s nothing from Zach. I send him an e-mail:
How was your flight?
Nate has sent me a text.
Are you free after work this week? If not, how about Friday.
My core constricts thinking about last weekend. We just kissed; I wasn’t ready for more than that. But it was some really steamy kissing. I can’t keep stringing these guys along. Nate is pushing for more and now Zach is out of town.
Then I decide to add a little bit more by flirting,
some very good ideas for some new things we can try.
Since soccer season is over Isabelle asked me to try out Zumba with her. After work I change into yoga clothes and sneakers to meet her for a beginner class at a local studio. Isabelle and I are tough and quick on the soccer field, but neither of us took dancing as kids, which is completely obvious by how klutzy we are in class. We both keep on cracking each other up as we energetically stumble through class. Afterwards, I fill her in on the latest with Hita.
The first question out of Isabelle’s mouth is, “Don’t tell me he’s a tall thin Asian guy?”
Feeling completely bewildered I say, “I have no idea. She just said his name is David.”
Isabelle stops, puts her hands on her hips, “No Way! That’s the guy she was playing against on Friday. Damn, I knew something was going on with those two.”
By now, she’s walking me to my car. The night air is cold, so I throw my fleece jacket on over my yoga clothes.
“Have you heard from Kelly or Jennifer?” she asks.
“Those girls have new loves; they’ll be MIA for a while.” I tell her.
“Kelly is supposed to be leaving for Brazil this week, or next week. If we don’t grab her soon, we won’t see her for the next few months.”
Isabelle pulls out her phone and sends a group text.
Napoletana Pizza on Thursday, 7:30 sharp.
She then looks at me. “Let’s see who shows up.”
“I’ll call Kelly and Jennifer specifically to make sure they come.”
The next morning at work, as I’m coming back from my mid-morning stretch, I’m greeted with a Buddy crotch sniff. After moving Buddy out of my crotch, I look up and lock eyes with Mark, I give him a warm smile, pretending that everything’s OK. It’s obvious he’s relieved that I’m no longer angry.
The next day I send Zach a text:
Did you make it to London?
Then I poke him on Facebook, and send him an e-mail. Is this too much?
I hope those new things you want to try are physically demanding. Can we do them after dinner on Friday?
I stare at that text. My mind has blocked out Friday for Zach, but he’s in Europe. I’ve been putting Nate on the back burner. If Zach is gone then I should be focused on Nate.
Friday for dinner works, how’s your cardio system?
Entering the cafeteria it looks like little elves were busy last night, since it’s now all magically decorated for Christmas. There’s a big banner advertising our Christmas party. It’s at the Tech Museum, which is having a Star Wars exhibit. As I sit down, my friends are all talking about the party. From what they say, the company does it up. There’ll be a live band, dinner will be catered, and there will be an open bar. Jessica, Kami, and Hita attended last year’s party.
“This is on a Saturday night. Do we go stag? Do we bring a date? How does everyone dress?” I ask.
Hita pipes in, “I went stag last year; more than half of the people didn’t bring anyone.”
“Last year’s party was a Monte Carlo night. You got chips for winning and could redeem them for some great prizes. I brought my old boyfriend, he was totally jazzed when he won an iPad.” Jessica fills in.
“Everyone gets dressed up, well at least the women get really dressed up. The guys didn’t wear suits and ties, but everyone wore pants, I don’t think anyone wore flip flops, and most of the guys even wore a collared shirt.” Kami fills in.
My cardio’s great and I’m looking forward to you giving me a workout.
Let me ask around where we can go for dinner first.
I’m open for anything
That’s what I’m looking forward to.
Nothing from Zach.