When I was working in Boston, my job dominated my life which left me little time to socialize as a normal human being. At times like that, a person comes to understand the internet in a way not originally intended by the scientists who created ARPANET and how sites like craigslist can make natural things unnatural, uncomfortable and absolutely hilarious.
One night before I left work, late as usual, I posted an ad on craiglist under 'men seeking women' titled "Anyone for a drink In Harvard Square?". I drove the 30 minutes back to Boston opened my computer and replied to the first email I received.
No details, No exchanges of countless emails. No IM chatting. No pictures exchanged. Just meet me at the newstand next to the Harvard Square Station for some company and share a few drinks.
She wasn't exactly overweight, but definitely weight mis-shapen, or in other words the top half of her body suggested that the bottom half should not have been as large as it was. She wasn't exactly pretty either but I wasn't planning on a love connection so I didn't mind at all. What kind of skeeved me out was that she had some sort of skin problem that left her arms flaky and in desperate need of moisturizing cream. She wasn't exactly interesting either, but she was a real human being and wanted to 'get out of the house' and that counted for a lot. Besides, what was I supposed to do? Leave?
The pub I wanted to go to was a mellow establishment which was very nice for having a pint while staring through large bay windows as New England snow piled up on the streets outside.
However, unbeknownst to me, on Friday the qaint little pub turned into a mini-frat house and it was far louder and more crowded than I was expecting. Still, we dove into the fray and managed to get two seats at the bar and was able to order a few drinks.
When we settled in, she asked, "So, what do you do when you're not working?"
Whoever said honesty is the best policy obviously had nothing to do with policy implementation but, nevertheless, I'm still a fan of the concept.
K: "Well, there is what I like to do and then there is what I really do."
D: "So what do you like to do?"
K: "I like going to the gym. Taking a spin class or a yoga class. I even tried a hip hop class and I looked pretty funny too. I like swimming in the pool and relaxing in the sauna while reading a magazine when I'm finished. I really love swing dancing, but it's not as easy as carolina shag, and I take lessons whenever I can. I love to read fiction, non-fiction, historical biographys. I play Irish fiddle and enjoy going to sessions but the musicianship here is so high there are only a few I'll play. I like writing. Journaling mostly and sometimes a short story. When I'm not doing those things, I like hanging out friends and talk about music, religion, philosophy or anything not sports or weather related.
D: *visibly impressed* Wow! You like to do all that?!
K: Absolutely! But, then there is what I actually do.
D: *curious* So, what do you actually do?
K: "Well, what I actually do is I wake up at 5:00 every morning to arrive at the office at around 6:00AM, usually picking up a dunkin donuts coffee and a breakfast sandwhich along the way, which I eat in my car. I sit in my cubicle in the dark for an hour until the overhead floresent lights flicker to life at 7AM and then in another 40 minutes people will begin to arrive at the office. So for the first two hours I'm working alone and in the dark while formatting excel spreadsheets which tracks the progress of publication ads.
And thats actually the good part of the day...
The rest of the day is spent on the phone fielding questions from designers and the production team, going over color correction rounds with art directors and doing a few hundred other things as well so I don't have a spare minute to breath much less go to the bathroom. It's pretty much a dead run until I get out of work at around at around 6PM or 8PM.
After working 10 to 14 hours a day, I'm pretty exhausted and I get back into my car, in the dark, and drive home. But before I get there I'll stop by the package store and pick up one or two six-packs of beer, depending on how stressful the day was.
Then, I take my clothes off and plop down on the couch and drink the beer until I pass out in front of the TV in my t-shirt and boxers. When my snoring wakes my roommate, my roommate will shake me and tell me to go to my room and I go downstairs, fall into bed and to wake up at 5:00AM and do the entire thing over again.
After I finished the story, I went to the bathroom. When I came back, other people were sitting at the bar where me and my craigslist date were sitting just moment ago. I don't know if she calmly walked out the door or ran for it.
Today, somewhere in Boston, there is a weight mis-shapen, unattractive and flaky skinned girl who is telling this same story, but from a completely different perspective. When I think of this, I can't help but laugh and the absurdity of the evening and how perfectly it was ended.