September 25, 2008

Love Over Argyle

As you have no doubt noticed, I have not been writing as much as usual. Over the last two weeks you have been given cute pictures of my children (the real reason you come here I know) without having to put up with my ramblings. This isn’t right. The literary content has been lacking lately for three reasons. First, Matilda+Annabelle=Busy. Second, I was writing something for submission to a local magazine that I needed to finish before posting. And finally, my job opening boxes for “Hip local retailer” has taken up some time if not brain capacity.

The most important of these three reasons is that for the first time in my life I am pursuing the career that I have always wanted. This pursuit started with Unfinished Dad and now progresses with, strangely, the first written work I have ever submitted for public consumption/scrutiny. There is, of course, no guarantee that my piece will be accepted and if/when it isn’t, I will post it here. Its subject matter is one that I am passionate about—raising children without the influence of religion.

Today, I thought we could take a quick stroll down memory lane.

My first job after leaving college was at AT&T in Florham Park, New Jersey. I hated this job. My second job after college was at ADP in New York. I went door to door selling payroll—that just sounds shitty—to local business. I hated this job too. Needless to say, I quit both of these jobs ignominiously. Upon leaving the payroll job, I was strolling through my local mall and drowning my misery by purchasing unneeded argyle socks and sweater vests at JCrew. It was during this drowning process that my younger sister said, “Hey, don’t you love Jcrew?” “I do,” I said, and simultaneous light bulbs illuminated over both of our heads.

I first met my mentor and boss that day and we hit it off immediately. By the end of the week I was again gainfully employed, though poorly paid. If nothing else (and by nothing else I mean rent, car insurance, and food), I would at least be able to satisfy my clothing addiction. Plus, there were cute girls everywhere. My time at the store began with selling on the floor. I soon realized that standing on your feet for nine hours a day is much harder than people realize.

To break things up I would volunteer for any job that took me out of my selling role. I happily opened boxes in the stockroom (this is in my blood I guess) and organized the shoe closet. I even took on the role of that ridiculously annoying greeter you sometimes see at the front of the store. “Welcome to JCrew. Today, all of our rollnecks are $39.99 and socks, as always, are buy three get 20% off.” You may remember me, I invented the tandem greet. I would choose the most bubbly, least self conscious employee working and we would double team you with happiness and sale items as soon as you entered the store.

One such fellow greeter was a serious, but silly girl who liked to wave to people by opening and closing her hand, as if she were trying to pull some invisible object out of mid air. We would greet together for a few hours, then sell, and then greet some more. At the end of the day we would fold pile after pile of hastily strew sweaters while we lamented the meaninglessness of our jobs. It came to pass one night, while noticing her white ankle socks adorned with frogs sticking out their tongues, that I realized I liked my fellow greeter.

There were, however, a few problems. I was 25, she was 21. I worked at a low paying a monkey could do this kind of job, she was finishing college and on her way to one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. I snowboarded, she skied. I waved like a Homo sapien, she waved like, well, something else.

It came to pass that one day while greeting she casually asked me if I would teach her how to snowboard. I eagerly, but coolly said yes and we set a date. I’m still not sure if it was a “date” date, but it was an event out of our normal environment so we may as well assume that it was. If I had known then that perhaps our greatest difference would be our completely opposing levels of patience—mine infinite, hers something less so—I may have turned down her request. It was a day of stress and mild concussions, in which I think she wound up liking my best friend and not me.

I drove her home after dinner with my parents (what am I, stupid?) and we parted with an awkward hug. First girl met at new job, first girl lost at new job. We both went back to work and pretended that our day of winter sports was definitely not a “date.” Work was going well for me. I was well respected and actually kind of talented, and I started to think that I could make a career of it. She was getting ready to head back to school and thinking about friends and drinking and drinking.

The New Year had dawned. The college students would leave the store, trailing behind them all their skipped shifts and lockers filled with molding sandwiches. On January 11th 2002, I worked the closing shift. I couldn’t wait to get out of the store. When we all finished folding our respective tables of clothing we turned out the lights. On a hunch, and a belly full of nerves, I asked her if she wanted to grab a beer downstairs. I could sense her hesitation and I started to stammer something about how it was no big deal, and we could do it some other time, and how I was tired and had to work early, and how I had some sweaters to shave at home, and a nonexistent dog to walk. You get the point; I was sinking fast.

I decided to pull out my trump card. I took a chance and mentioned that my house had a beer pong table in the basement. Her eyes lit up like I had given her a 10 carat diamond, and the rest is history.

It’s almost noon and the babies are stirring. This is a story I enjoy telling and will continue for you next Tuesday. You will here all about the dawn of a new love and a transgression greater than any in the history of mankind, including the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the inclusion of Spin The Black Circle on Pearl Jam’s greatest hits album, and the discontinuation of Rice Crispies Treats Cereal.


Blogger Dani said...

I know Tilda was wearing argyle socks yesterday... you couldn't give us just one pic?

September 26, 2008 at 3:49 PM  

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