Monthly Archives: February 2009

A Feminist Flounders

There’s some guy who recently started using the computer three spots down from me. I have no idea which department he works under or what his job title is. Since I recognize (and empathize with) occasional looks of blank boredom, I assume that he is an intern like me. Despite our close quarters, neither of us have taken it upon ourselves to say, “Hey, I work three computers down from you. What meaningless career-climber tasks are you doing today?” Not for any other reason except to be polite because we’re, you know, human beings and neighbors. For me, it’s mostly because I’m absurdly shy when I’m here. For some reason whenever someone that I don’t know says hi to me in this building, I can only manage a squeak and a nerdlette smile. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My only theory is that I’m actually anxious about being too childish in front of these sophisticated-literary-types, whereas I’m totally and utterly encouraged to be silly and entertaining at my other job (it’s theatre, folks, what do you expect?). There, I’m the polar opposite, often teasing my higher-ups and engaging in loud frivolity at every turn.

Anyway, so here I am, On the Rise Career Woman, scopin’ out possibilities, impressing superiors, writing important emails. And, yes, occasionally lugging buckets of slush to and from the mailroom. Sometimes they get pretty heavy (mostly when would-be authors try to bind the damn books themselves, oy), but it’s not impossible. You just have to do that funny, I’m-carrying-something-unwieldy walk. No worries.

I pass the guy as I’m waddling to the mailroom, we do the catch-eye, look-away thing with the polite smile of people who have recognized that we’ve shared the same workspace for three weeks and have said nothing to each other. He passes me. Then he stops and says, “Do you need any help?”

And you know what I do?

I fucking GIGGLE and shake my head, “No, that’s alright. Thanks!” I even use my upper-register. Shudder.

UGH!! BAH!! The only time he feels compelled to say anything and it’s because a girl is lugging something unwieldy and I react like a total vacant moron. Tee hee. Gee, thanks, mister. Thank God I didn’t let him carry for me.

I don’t want to get on this guy’s case; I’m sure he’s a totally nice guy, has no problem with women in the workplace (after all, mostly women work here), loves his mom and I’m sure that he meant nothing by it. I’m not even mad at him. It has nothing to do with him at all and, in fact, I have no way of knowing that he wouldn’t have offered a man help if he had passed instead.

Regardless, what made the moment stupid was MY reaction, not his. I’m just annoyed with myself for acting like a giggly damsel. I read feminist blogs, I belch feminist rants, I loudly snort in disgust at sexism. But without thinking, I just played into the same stupid gender roles. And it just made me think about the original issue. Why CAN’T I be funny and vivacious in front of people I want to impress? Why do I secretly feel that if I’m small and mousy, but work really hard and do good work that I’ll succeed more than if I’m spunky and fun, but work really hard and do good work? And is this even gender-bias-related or is this just me being a total paranoid lunatic?

Kitty at My Foot and I Wanna Touch It

M Fox might get mad at me for this, but I think it’s a cute story. Also, it’s not nearly as embarrassing as the time I slipped in algae and fell on my ass whilst we were courting.

Recently M Fox and I reminded each other of a very funny incident that occurred one balmy September evening as he picked me up from the airport. I was still living in Ventura at the time. M Fox had invited me to be his date at B&L’s wedding, two of his friends whom I barely knew at the time (actually, I didn’t meet the bride until the day before her wedding!). I was excited to meet more of his friends and especially honored to attend the event since I was such a nube to the group. My anticipation was high; best friend’s wedding, new relationship, new dress, first impressions. Exciting stuff! I even bought a plane ticket instead of driving. Cus that’s what grown-ups do.

In order to get to LAX, I decided to not make my dad drive me all the way into Los Angeles. So I found a shuttle that would take me from a local hotel to the airport. I figured Dumpy Hotel Shuttle + Driving to LAX + Rush Hour Traffic = Leave Early To Avoid Missing Flight to Lover. Sounds reasonable, yes?

Oh man. The shuttle driver did not get on the highway once. Yes. That’s right. The guy took back roads from Ventura to LAX. I don’t know if people not from SoCal can truly appreciate what this means. For you NorCal folks, it would be like driving from Gilroy to SFO without getting on a freeway. Possible? Yeah, sure. But WHY.

We ducked down alleys, rumbled through weird residential neighborhoods, drove across parking lots; Santa Monica was the driver’s personal carnival. I’m surprised we didn’t use the Pier somehow. I swear to God the man had every streetlight timed so that we never once had to stop. And, dag nabbit, we arrived at the airport an hour and a half earlier than I expected. Which meant that after I had taken off my shoes and put them back on again, my flight still didn’t leave for another two hours. Lame. Even more lame is that I was slightly nauseous from sliding back and forth across my seat like an apple at the bottom of a ship and therefore didn’t have the mind to write down the route, as I would have liked to map it for future reference. Getting to LAX from Ventura in almost an hour is not only a miracle, but is practically magical.

Anyway, so after ricocheting around a bus, sitting at the airport for longer than my flight would last and then sulkily realizing that the final amount of travel time would actually equal more than it would have taken me to drive (sucks), I finally arrive in San Jose. (It was seriously the longest flight of my life and it only took an hour. Although, I was pleased that Southwest brought back peanuts). M Fox and I found each other at the baggage claim, had a little Lovers Meet at the Airport After Not Seen Each Other for Weeks scene and then got into his jalopy so he could drive us back to Santa Cruz. It was such a relief to finally be on the last leg of the journey.

Of course traffic getting out of San Jose Airport was hell. I fought feelings of guilt for making M Fox drive to get me as we inched our way out. We tried to make the best of it, awkwardly joking about the huge SUV in front of us with the word “Kitty” on the license plate. Suddenly filled with romantic giddiness, I leaned over the seat for a kiss as we rolled forward to fill in the gap. We neared Kitty, closer and closer. One of my eyes popped open, sensing something, and before I could disengage, we bumped the car in front of us.

A small Asian woman got out of the car, hair piled high, aqua stretch pants and pink lipstick shining in the light. I think her shirt was floral, as well. Her plucked eyebrows were extremely concerned. She looked at her car, then looked at M Fox’s and said reproachfully in an almost stereotypically high voice, “You hit Kitty. Why you hit Kitty?”

I was truly too busy trying not to burst out laughing to A) hear what M Fox said in response or B) to figure out whether Kitty actually did refer to the car or if Kitty was this woman’s name. There was no damage done to Kitty, fortunately, and M Fox’s car is so war-torn that we probably wouldn’t have noticed even if it had been crunched a little.

To sooth egos, we unfairly mocked the woman for awhile, giggling nervously at the close call and both feeling stupid that my wanton lechery had caused Mike to get in an accident and that Mike had gotten too wrapped up in the moment to push the breaks.

Needless to say the wedding was wonderful, our relationship blossomed and we all learned a valuable lesson about the importance of abstinence while driving. But there were definitely a string of nights where one of us would suddenly start chuckling and murmur, “You hit Kitty!”