Monday, August 11, 2008

Mysterious, Part Three

Continued from Mysterious, Part Two...

Adrian's Cafe boasts a mean egg salad sandwich. Adrian's also boasts an owner who does an unintentionally spot-on impression of Nathan Lane. And Adrian's Cafe boasts a particularly precocious counter girl.

I'd guess she's college age or so, but it's really quite difficult to tell these days. She's very chatty and enjoys engaging in conversation that delves into more than just the weather, often at the shock and embarrassment of the conversational participant.

Normally, I visit Adrian's flanked by a couple of co-workers, as it's one of our mutually favorite places to grab lunch. Recently, though, and on this day, I was on my own with only a book in hand as my company.

"So, whatchya readin' today?"

"Breakfast At Tiffany's."

At this point, she stopped what she was doing and stared at me as if I had just run over her dog. Repeatedly.

After about five seconds of being uncomfortably stared at, I said, "Is this a problem?"

She snapped out of her stupor as if a hypnotist had snapped his fingers.

"Oh! Oh, no; not at all! It's just that, well, I didn't think that you'd be reading a book like that."

The last time I was in, I was reading "On The Road" and she registered her disdain in saying she felt it was more of a "guy's book".

"Well, I like to read all sorts of things," I said.

She finally gathered herself and started ringing me up.

She asked, "So, what do you do?"

"I sit behind a desk all day, dreaming about the time that I get to go to lunch and read about more interesting things."

"Where do you work that you can dress like that?"

The definition of "that" was a gray and black striped collared shirt and reasonably fashionable jeans.

Rather than saying, "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" I instead said,

"I work at Cargill in Corporate Woods around the corner."

"Oh! Don't we deliver sandwiches to you guys a lot?"


"Wow. You are mysterious."

This being the first time that anyone has actually recognized my innate mysteriousness, I was momentarily stunned. While she dreamily rang up my order, I tried not to ruin my newfound reputation.


So, like I said, maybe it's the stubble. There doesn't seem to be any other common factors involved in all three of the aforementioned encounters. That is, not unless you count charm, humor, respect and politeness. But none of those factors have worked a lick in the preceding handful of years. So, I really don't know.


Mysterious, indeed.

Mysterious, Part Two

Continued from Mysterious, Part One...

The only regularly scheduled exercise I get is playing Ultimate Frisbee on Sunday afternoons. Ultimate Frisbee is a game that resembles soccer but utilizes a Frisbee instead. Lots of running back and forth, if you're in decent shape; lots of loafing and walking if you're in my kind of shape. Our game is a co-ed game with players of various skill levels. Thankfully, my skill level is high enough that I can loaf when I'm tired. Or when I feel like loafing. Which came in especially handy on this day.

We had already played one game and we were sitting around drinking water and taking a short break before starting up the next game. I noticed a fit, blonde girl running the path that encircles the park. Nothing out of the ordinary. But as we started playing the second game, I noticed that she had come over to where we had just taken our break and was watching us play. We're an inclusive group, so we shouted out for her to join us. She ended up joining the team opposite of me and we just happened to end up on the same side of the field. Which, of course, I was pleased about.

Since we were on the same side of the field, naturally I covered her. She was still trying to figure out exactly how the game was played so we chatted about how to play as we leisurely went through the motions. This was pleasant for me on numerous levels, including the fact that I was able to save some energy for later. As it turned out, I was going to need it.

As the game wore on, we were becoming friendly and she was starting to catch on to how the game is played. Once she finally got comfortable with the game, she started putting her athletic ability to use. While we were lollygagging in the end zone, she put a juke on me and scored a point. She whooped it up and talked some trash as I smiled wryly and headed back to my side of the field in momentary defeat. Play started up again and she started running me all over Creation, culminating in my failed diving attempt to keep her from scoring the game-winning point. She spiked the Frisbee and celebrated as if she had just won the Super Bowl.

As folks were packing up their gear and getting ready to head home, we exchanged typical post-game pleasantries. I complimented her on a good game and gently ribbed her about sandbagging early on only to stick it to me in the end. She returned the good-natured ribbing and apologized for outplaying me. Which was nice. Sort of. In a pride-injuring way.

Skip to next Sunday. Due to laundry choice, we were on the same team as dictated by the fact that we were both wearing dark shirts. While warming up, she came over and playfully pushed me around as we exchanged salutations.

Then, as the teams were heading to their respective sides to start the game, she literally jumped on me. I'm standing there with a fine, athletic, young specimen clasping her arms around my neck, feet off the ground, firmly attached to my left hip.

If there's a better way to start a game, I haven't stumbled across it. If there's a better way to completely lose focus on the game, I have yet to discover it, also.

She spent the rest of the game pushing me up the field, giving me congratulatory pats and finding whatever other excuses she could to lay her hands on me. I spent the rest of the game wondering if I had somehow become a test customer for Disney World-KC, A Place Where Dreams Really Do Come True.

Even so, that was not the last in this series of rare encounters.

To be continued...

Mysterious, Part One

Maybe it's the stubble. I don't know.

I say it might be the stubble because I've become quite lax in my shaving habits. I generally have an average of three days growth at any given time. And I recently saw the results of a survey that said women prefer men's facial hair in this order:

1. Stubble
2. Full beard
3. Clean shaven

Now, I didn't really believe that when I read it. Nonetheless, being a man of the people, I decided to allow my lazy ways to assimilate to the results of this highly scientific study.

And, whaddaya know: Women have started flirting with me. Three, in fact, in the last month. Allow me take you through each incident.


The population of available women in my office is low. The population of attractive available women in my office is zero. Which makes this first incident flattering, yet unfulfilling.

You see, she isn't ugly, per se. But she would blend in well within a community of elves or gnomes or some other race of diminutive, woodland peoples. I'm sure she was cute as a child. Now? Not so much. On top of that, she appears to be in her forties, has a hairstyle from the fifties and may or may not live with her mother who is probably in her sixties. The worst part, though, is that she's nice. I take that back; it's not that being nice is a problem, it's that she's overly eager. When most people pass each other in the halls, they acknowledge each other with a nod, a grin or a short hello. She looks longingly into my eyes and won't look away. When lunch is brought in for the office, she'll make a special trip to my desk to make sure that I get something to eat. To hell with everyone else, they can starve for all she cares. Somebody's fax didn't go through? Who gets the first visit to inquire if it may have been theirs? That's right, little old me.

But the incident that gets recorded here makes those minor irritations take a backseat. It wasn't a prolonged encounter, but the feeling remained for quite a while:

She touched me.

Bare hand on bare arm. For no other reason than I was just passing by. Now, I don't know about your office, but mine is not a touchy-feely place. Many of us have worked together for seven or eight years and could be considered friends, even outside of work. But we don't touch each other during work. Which is why this was so unsettling. In all my life, that was as close to feeling violated as I've ever come. And it made me understand why we have such strict sexual harassment laws in place.

I realize this might sound like an extreme reaction to a rather mild occurrence. But it just came off as really strange and uncomfortable. However, it was just the beginning in a series of events that one might find in an AXE deodorant commercial.

To be continued...