Sunday, September 30, 2007

Baby Steps

Saturday did not turn out how I had expected. It ended up that very early in the morning I realized that I had misplaced the bag that held my Anthralin and now had to retrace my steps. The bag had to be somewhere between my work on Friday, the quick stop at my apartment and then finally, my parents' house.

Once the first half of the morning was spent running a rampage through my parents' house with no success, I realized it had to either be my place or at work. I was praying for it to be at my place.

So I had my father drive me over, and I ran up the steps, trying to focus, trying to find that bag. Nope, no bag. But I grabbed another outfit to wear (since I was wearing sweats and I was headed to a study group later on at 1 pm @ Barnes and Nobles) and headed out the door.

That left the last place: my office. I've never been there on a Saturday - much less a Saturday morning. It's quite boring - and walking into the building left a weird feeling. There was so much silence, such a sense of emptiness that I felt - as if during the week the building's walls had been so pregnant with the full bustle of workers, diners at Della Rose's and customers perusing the spa on the 3rd floor and suddenly, once 5 pm Friday evening hit, the building was quickly emptied. Just like that. It felt like a foreign country - my sneaker steps echoing against the marble - and I suddenly noticed that three quarters of the main lobby were still unleased.

Well, I found my medicine. Thank God the security guard at the desk recognized me. I had taken my work badge just in case there might be trouble, but I also knew that it probably wouldn't do me any good anyway since all employee badges are programmed with timed access. (I had found this out one morning when my ride had to drop me off at 6 AM and I was unable to get into my office. I had a nice time sitting propped up against the wall until 7 AM rolled around.)

The security guard said that it was his day off, but he had been asked to come in anyway. I told him I just needed to grab my medicine, and that I thought I had left it in one of the drawers of my cubicle. I'm glad he went with me though - I tried to scan my badge at the door first, and it wouldn't let me in.

Medicine in hand, I ran out to the car, and headed back to my parents' house to take a shower and at least get ready for the study group. I desperately need this study group if I even want to stay afloat in this class.

The study group was set up to be at 1 pm. By 2 pm, I came to the conclusion that it had to have been cancelled and I had just not gotten the memo. When I tried to call my other classmate (the girl who put the study group together) her phone had been turned off. Awesome. I called the other classmate and he called me back to let me know that work had called him in at the last minute and he needed the extra money. I understand that.

I tried to study as much as I could by myself, but technically, the whole point of having a study group is so that you can feed off of each other's notes, and other people's knowledge on the concepts that you don't understand. When there are no other persons that kind of defeats the purpose.

I went searching through the self-help, self-teaching books in the science section and grabbed a copy of Chemistry for Dummies. It helped to a point - but at that point, my stomach was growling, and I had lost all interest and focus on trying to finish the homework that was due on Monday. Besides, I was finding it much more exciting to eavesdrop on the conversation occurring two tables over.

There was a woman dressed in what looked like flowery purple drapes. They looked satin from where I sat, but at any rate, they at least appeared soft. She had dark brown hair, below the shoulder, and had a pair of designer sunglasses on her head. Beneath the table, her matching purple toenails were exposed, and she was lightly sipping on her coffee while flipping through a notebook that she had laid out before her.

Suddenly, it seemed like out of nowhere, a couple appears in front of her and they are shaking hands and smiling cordially - but nervously. A first meet, no doubt.

The couple sits down at the woman's table and she begins speaking matter-of-factly. I think that's what intrigued me was her ability to speak with almost no pause, with so much factual tone - it was friendly but professional.

"I know you saw me from my website. You were the ones who emailed me. And I assume that you've had a chance to view the site and see all of the services that I offer. Were you able to check out the photo gallery? Those pictures have been from the past few years of my experience and should give you an idea as to what to expect from me," she said, while flipping more pages of that notebook.

The couple was just nodding their heads, silently. The woman was still gripping her purse on her shoulder - a sign of nervousness for most people.

As the conversation let on, it became apparent that this woman (the one with the purple flowery drape outfit) was a wedding planner and at the end of the conversation, the couple had both agreed that they would be employing her to help plan their wedding.

That was my cue to go. No other interesting things for me there to help distract away from the awful Chemistry homework that I had to do. I quickly packed up my things, placed the empty plate on top of the trash can (the previous home of a delicious turkey and 3-cheese melt on basil infused panini bread) and decided on taking a trip to the mall.

The mall is the same as I leave it - no matter how long I go without perusing its hallways. Which has been a long time. Possibly close to 7 months or so. I bought a few things, but mostly looked. Student loans and a pending auto loan is keeping me from spending too much nowadays.

I had originally planned on staying in all weekend long - but I had gotten a text message later on in the day from my friend Sal. He was headed to Trust (which is now Stadio). Usually, he tells me where he's going and I say 'cool' and stay home regardless.

Something about last night beckoned me out. So I put my medication on for two hours, walked around the apartment trying to clean up, and then took my shower to get ready.

I called the cab at around 9:30 pm. It didn't arrive until 10:15 pm.

The cabbies that I got were truly hilarious. As I climbed into the back, I noticed that there were two men sitting in the front. I was curious, but acted like nothing was out of place.

"200 East Redwood, please."

"Eh?" asked the driver loudly.

"The girl said 200 Redwood...East, right hon?" asked the other man as he turned slightly in his seat to face me.

"Yes, East. That's right." I now knew why there were two. One was the driver and the other was the driver's ears.

It took us forever to get down there. I didn't get to Redwood Street until close to 11 pm since Ears (my name for the second man) told the driver to take a wrong turn without listening to my protests. Finally, they were so exasperated by themselves that they suggested that I get out of the cab a block and a half from the 200 block of Redwood. I agreed, mainly because I didn't want to have a $50 cab fee.

I crawled out of the cab, and made sure to grab all of my things. As I closed the cab door, the driver leaned across Ears and rolled down the window.

"Hey, besides, what is a pretty young girl like you doing out here so late without your boyfriend?"

"No boyfriend. And I'm just trying to have fun and live my life," I said, "Thanks for the ride!"

"Anytime, hon."

The walk was short, but a walk nonetheless. As I neared the valets I pushed past the metal gates and up the front steps.

"This is Trust, right?" I asked for good measure since it had been more than a few years since the last time I'd been there.

"Uh - yeah, Trust - it's not that anymore. Stadio," said the bouncer with his hand outstretched for my ID.

That night was all about baby steps. I was all by myself, had gone with no one I knew - only with the hopes of running into Sal. And just my luck that it was lingerie night - so there were plenty of women with long hair and hoochie outfits to taunt me.

It was tough the first few minutes. I was conscious that I had my hat on, and that I didn't look like any of them. But then I snapped myself out of it - this wasn't the me a few years ago. This wasn't the vibrant girl that went to all the clubs just 5 years ago. Where did that girl go?

I marched up to the bar and flashed a smile. Grabbed my screwdriver, and headed over to the dancefloor.

I decided to just dance. Dance and have fun. That's just what I did. Baby steps, right?

Sal showed up later and kept telling me how I shouldn't be worried about how I looked because I was always going to be fabulous.

Overall, a fun night. Tiring though. I collapsed as soon as I got into the backseat of Sal's car.

Alright, time for me to sleep. Chemistry is kicking my ass. Chemical nomenclature needs to get bent.

Might I mention to my happiness that despite my self-consciousness of holding the edge of my hat all night to keep it from falling out that I was hit on five times by five separate men (all pretty decent looking, too.) I know that sounds shallow, but in a very small way it helps with the baby steps. I figure if random strangers don't notice anything unordinary, then I shouldn't be so worried about it either.

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