I was on the phone with everyone’s favorite frowner this morning, waiting to cross the street, when I heard from behind me, “Excuse me. Excuse me! Cat girl!”
At first I thought this person was calling me a fat girl, and I was ready to swing my purse at him, but then I remembered I’m wearing my cat blouse today.
“What time is it?”
The man was probably in his mid-to-late 40s, looked a bit like a disheveled, moderately slow David Letterman. Dressed in a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals.
I told him it was 7:49.
“Ugh, really? Because they’re supposed to open at 7:30,” he said in a vague whine, gesturing over his shoulder to the R-Bar.
Let me just say that while I enjoy getting grimey in the occasional dive bar, this is one bar I would probably never patronize. Even though it’s conveniently located a mere block from my house.
(I think. I always get confused when it comes to blocks.)
I shrugged and said I was sorry, I couldn’t tell him why they weren’t rolling out the cigarette ash and peanut shell-encrusted red carpet for him when it was already 7:49 in the motherfucking AM.
Hoping this would satisfy his urge for human contact, I began to pivot back toward the road.
“Where are you going dressed like that, anyway?”
STOP. DO NOT ENGAGE. YOU KNOW BETTER, ERIN KELLY.
Still, the words rolled out of my mouth like an unraveling Fruit By the Foot. It was too late to stuff them back in.
“Work,” I answered in a cheerful voice I didn’t recognize me because now I was clearly possessed by the Demon of Small Talk.
“Wow! Where do you work?!”
Guys, I’m wearing a freaking blouse thing with cats on it, and jeans because it’s Jeans Day. I’m not wearing hot pants and nipple tassels so I’m not sure why my attire was so fascinating to him other than the fact that he was probably already drunk.
So now I’m second-guessing every decision I made since waking up that morning. Was I dressed inappropriately for work?! DID I LOOK LIKE A FOOL?! I mean, these are questions that you could probably answer yes to on any given day but this guy just made me feel like I was under a spotlight and should I go home and change into a cardigan??!!
Well, I couldn’t go home because guess who doesn’t currently have a house key, so I guess the Law Firm people will just have to suffer through a day of seeing me in a CAT SHIRT.
In spite of my better judgment, I mumbled, “A law firm” and then I turned and JAY-WALKED across West Liberty Avenue and you all know how much I hate jay-walking and how terrified I am of crossing the street when when the “ITS OK TO CROSS NOW, CHILD” light is flashing. He was just beginning to lean in too close to me and my paranoia was turning my mind into a flip book of crime scene photos. I guess if I was going to die today, I’d rather get hit by a car than sodomized and stuffed in a suitcase by some early rising wino.
When I resumed my conversation with Henry, he was already laughing. “What was that all about, were you getting hit on?”
Yep, by all the best locals.
I walk-ran to the shuttle stop, which is another story for another time (there’s an Old Broad that I’m at war with). A few minutes later, just as the shuttle pulled away from the curb, I saw Drunk Letterman shambling toward the sidewalk I had been standing on 45 seconds prior. He stopped right in front of Albert’s Bar, also not open yet.
By the time I made it to work, I was fucking exhausted. Talking to strangers is so hard.
I wonder where that guy is drinking right now?