The 9-to-5 Escape

Nov 21, 2013 by

          Work saved me today. (I catch myself off guard when I say things like that. I spent years needing to be saved from work.) Life at home is tense. Olivia and I aren’t on talking terms. Thus, I’ve been avoiding our apartment this week (got to love Starbucks!), except during sleeping hours. Obviously, this is a lonely way to live, but it beats screaming matches and days-long discomfort.

          Unexpectedly, this morning I walked right into our icky, mid-fight atmosphere. Usually, when I come home from the gym to get ready for work, Olivia has already left for school. Not today. Today, she and I were – fuck our lives – getting ready at the same time. Awkward! We acknowledged each other with low-toned, where-the-fuck-do-we-stand hellos before I hurried to get dressed and get the hell out of there, closing the door behind me without a word. As a result, I spent the drive to work wondering when she and I would either (a) be cool again, (b) continue fighting, or (c) give up on our stupid friendship. Notice the absence of secret option (d) be adults and move the fuck on. That one is never within our reach. I have too much pride, and she is queen of avoidance. I guess we’re doomed. Oh well.

          Extremely anxious by my inability to predict the future, I reminded myself that work was just minutes away. Was I seriously using the prospect of work to help myself relax? Yes, yes I was. Cue my chin on the floor. Clearly, my work life has come such a long way since the days of experiential hell – I mean, marketing. I work with fabulous people, who have the magic ability to unknowingly make my personal life disappear when I need it to.

          Today, as I walked into the office and dropped my purse on my desk, I heard one of my favourite co-workers quietly talking to the person beside her about a strip club. I thought this was quite the coincidence, given that I had just gone to one on Friday. It turned out to be no coincidence at all. Before I even had a chance to say good morning, she called me over.

          “Missy! Last night, I read your post about going to the strip club!” She began to laugh, clutching at her chest. “It was so funny! I showed my husband. He was wondering what I was laughing at. I loved the part about you paying one of the guys $10 to leave you alone. I was laughing so hard!”

          Ecstatic, I ran over to hug and thank her.

          While talking by her desk, she mentioned that she was booking a trip to Miami, and that she’d be taking her son to the zoo there (which, by the way, sounds like the coolest zoo ever). She’s an awesome mom. My mom didn’t spend a lot of time with my sisters and I as kids, so I forget that there are mothers out there that like to do things with their children. The experiences that she has with her son make me smile. She takes him everywhere!

          “You are such a good mom!” I remarked. “You get just as excited as a kid would about all of the places that you visit with your son.”

          “I know! I don’t do these things for him. I do them for me!” she joked.

          I laughed, knowing that she was serious. She grew up in communist Poland. She didn’t get to be a kid. She compares watching Disney movies to dreaming, because the Polish government only aired them on television at Christmas time. Entranced by the details of her childhood and absolutely fascinated by different cultures, I was fully engaged by her knowledge of European history. Without realizing it, she was taking my mind far away from my little tiff with my best friend. I could have listened to her speak for hours if we weren’t interrupted by – oh, right – work. With a ring of her phone, my history lesson came to a halt, and I made my way back to my desk in much better spirits.

          When I noticed she was free, I rushed back over to her desk. “You need to know that you made my day,” I told her. “I had a rough morning, but you helped me to forget about it. I love our chats! Thank you!” I exclaimed as I hugged her.

          “Aw, missy, you’re so cute!” she laughed. “You’re one of the good Italians.” (Italians have quite the reputation for being hard-headed, argumentative people. They also have the highly contradictory reputation of being warm-hearted and kind. Needless to say, I was happy to be considered a part of the better half.)

          Just when I thought she couldn’t make me feel any better!

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