“I forgot to tell you, I got stuck talking to that travel office lady last night,” I complained to Henry yesterday. “We were in the bathroom together before I left work, and she started talking to me about my hair while we were washing our hands.” Here is where I would make a disgusted sound for effect. “It was so awkward.”
Henry didn’t say anything, just kept driving.
“Then we had to walk down the hall together! I mean, there was no way around it. We were both headed the same direction.” I shuddered a little in the passenger seat, reliving the horrors of it all, how she penetrates my soul with her intense eye contact that makes me instinctively take two steps back. “And of course, we left at the same time so I had to ride the elevator with her.”
I had a quick flashback of frantically thumping the “close door” button to no avail; she was too quick in her approach and managed to slip in between the doors before they closed completely.
“And then, the whole way to the lobby, all TEN FLOORS down to the lobby, she asked me questions!” I added incredulously.
“Like what?” Henry asked.
“Like, ‘What’s your name? What do you do here? Why do you work part time? Are you in school?'” I rolled my eyes and made more disgruntled throat scrapings. “It was so awkward,” I reiterated.
“That just sounds like a normal conversation to me,” Henry said impatiently. That’s because he lives in a world where conversation is invited, and not the impenetrable bubble of ignorance in which I’ve set up my cozy little hobo camp. My friend Alisha once pointed out that she had never known someone with as much ability to turn every situation into something as painfully awkward as I manage to do every single day of my life. I take a certain pride in that.
“I have to remember I’m talking to a twelve-year-old,” he said mostly to himself; and then, shooting up his voice with an extra dose of condescension, he patronized, “That’s how you MAKE FRIENDS.”
I laughed haughtily. “What makes you think I want to be friends with her? She’s lame. And old.”
“You’re so judgmental! What if she thinks you’re lame? What if she likes the same music as you?” And then, as if to really drive home his point, “What if she’s going to see Dance Gavin Dance, too?”
This time absolute hilarity drove away the anger from my laughter and I was practically in tears at the absurdity of his statement. “Trust me, she does not like the same music as me.”
“How do you know?”
“Because she wears this ugly leopard print hat from the Grandma Cleavage Store!”
Henry shook his head in defeat and dropped me off at work. Minutes later, the elevator door opened on my floor; as I went to step off, Travel Office Lady was waiting to step on. “Welcome to work!” she exclaimed in that friendly manner that I haven’t quite yet mastered.
For a split second, I felt guilty. But then my eyes flicked up to her stupid fucking leopard hat and I carried my sanctimonious attitude to my desk like the bloated extra appendage it’s known to be.