Thursday, July 20, 2006

Stuff in my head today

So there's this woman at work. She & I aren't very close friends, mostly because we have very opposite personalities - she's an aggressive steamroller, I'm the type that will get flattened because I'm sitting back watching, unable to believe she'd really run me over. Anyway, she was one of the first people to notice my weight loss, months ago, and immediately asked me what I was doing. I started telling her about the low-calorie, low-fat, sensible-carb plan I'm on, and she cut me off. "I can't do that, I need immediate results." O-kay. Whatever.

Fast forward a few months and she's noticeably heavier. Is it wrong of me to feel a bit gleeful in that "I told you so!" way?

* * *

Another co-worker told me that I was a "nice person" the other day. I was telling her about how I ran into my old boss (which I don't think I mentioned here, but yeah, I did) and how nice and friendly he was to me despite the miserable end of our working relationship (i.e., him laying me off and me vowing to hate him forever.) He sad he was glad to see me, and he really seemed to be. My current co-worker said of course he was, because I'm such a nice person. I didn't know how to respond. Does no one realize how much of a bitch I am in my own head? Guess that's good.

* * *

We were talking about age, and my brother told me I look younger than I am because I have young-looking skin. Now, people tell me this all the time but it still throws me. I remember way back when I was in my early 20's and working in Macy's, a customer grabbed my face and rubbed a finger on my cheek and told me I had beautiful skin. I don't really see it, but I've heard it many times in between, and if someone as unobservant about cosmetics and skincare as my brother sees it, then I guess it's true. I wish I had some kind of secret beauty routine to share, but the truth is I do nothing. I wash with water and washcloth in the shower in the morning, and don't even take off makeup at night before going to sleep. (Not that I wear very much, mind you.)

* * *

Weird thing happened: the owner of the nail salon on my block disappeared. Although, maybe she was just the manager? Anyway, she'd been there 12 years, as long as I've been there, and I've been a customer for about 8-9. Now, I'm not one of those long-taloned nail fetishists, I simply like to be well-groomed and I keep my nails short and usually polished in pale pink or clear varnish. It's more of a clean thing than a fashion thing.

Over the years, I've had occasion to talk to the owner about things, like my family, etc. She always asks how my mother is, or how my nieces/nephews are. She had this same kind of connection with other customers, too, and knew the ins and outs of the neighborhood. On 9/11 (her birthday), she was the first person I spoke to after my 3 1/2 hour trek home from midtown. Her shop was still open, and she invited me in to sit and have a drink of water before heading home. I live just five buildings down, so I'd walk by every day and she'd wave from inside.

She'd also been out a lot recently with neck/back problems, but I saw her there on Thursday. On Saturday I walked by with my nephew and thought if she were there, I'd stop in with him, but she wasn't, and two complete strangers were. Monday there was a new sign on the window, with a new business name. Last night I went in for an eyebrow wax, and sure enough, the two strange women are the new proprietors. Most of the stuff inside (handmade signs, customer baby photos on the mirror) are still the same, but they've brought in a few pieces of new equipment. And put up their business/cosmetology licenses where hers was. They didn't have an answer as to where she had gone.

I know this doesn't sound earth-shattering, but it's such a strange feeling to have someone disappear from your life like that so abruptly. Especially someone you don't necessarily know all that well, yet have known for so long that it feels like you should. I can't help but think I should know what happened to her. I remember talking with her after 9/11 about how she might not ever know if a customer was lost in the twin towers because they might just never show up again, which she might not even realize until months had gone by. And which could mean anything, really. That's somewhat how I feel about losing contact with her. It could be anything. And I might never know.

* * *

CNN today said that Macy's is doing a reality show, about their employees. See, now, I get that. I worked there for 5 years, and believe me, I lived through enough drama to fill several long beach-read novels. I started out in a store in Albany, at the time the store furthest removed from the Herald Square (Manhattan) flagship. Twenty-something managers from the executive training program would rotate into our store for 9 mos. to a year, and knowing virtually nobody but co-workers, and working 70-80 hours a week, we formed our own, very incestuous, social circle. The stories I could tell! I've joked about doing so, about turning it into a racy novel, but figured nobody would believe it. We'll have to see if this "reality" TV experience can come close to matching it.


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