Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fashion Victim

I find the over-fashionable to be boring and pathetic. It seems to me that all the bells and whistles that come with fancy clothes really boil down to a beautiful distraction. Yeah silly girl, there is a situation in Darfur but first make sure you get on the waiting list for that 1,000 dollar purse!

This used to never bother me until I had to be confronted with the over-fashionable on a daily basis. I have to share office space with a magazine that deals in all things high fashion and culture. So the conversation in the halls, if you happen to run into one of these fashion drones and are forced to make small talk, tends to be vapid and leaves you feeling dirty and a little less intelligent. It’s like everyone on my floor came out of central casting for “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Ugly Betty”. Until I saw it with my own eyes I would have gone on thinking those shows were filled with sweeping generalizations and overblown stereotypes. Nope. Those people exist, and the girls pee on the seat in the bathroom (Too much information? Perhaps, but I’m doing everything in my power to demystify these heathens.)

Now, there is one straight guy who works in that office so heaven forbid if the girls he works with see you talking to him. It’s like those girls are plotting something very weird for him and he has no idea. When he walks past me I tend to turn into the wall of the hallway and pretend to really be interested in bad office art, to avoid any menial conversation that will in turn make me a target for a bunch of mean girls. He stopped me once in the kitchen to tell me I was wearing a great t-shirt. I responded by saying, “No. It’s stupid.” Great answer! I was mortified and didn’t leave my office for the rest of the day. God knows what he must have thought, but he had no idea that by speaking to me he was putting my life in jeopardy.

This morning I witnessed one of the fashionistas asking my co-worker who her colorist was, because she was looking for something a little more boring to do with her hair. My co-worker responded, “This is my natural color.” Awkward.

Suddenly the fashionistas focus in the work kitchen shifted to me:

“Oh my God, who makes those boots? They are great!”

Why are they asking me, I just want some water.

“Ummmm….You mean the name of the cobbler?” I asked, innocently. I always say, veiled sarcasm is the best deflector.

They just stared. They must think cobbler is a dessert and I’m stupid. Fine. I left the kitchen remarkably unscathed. While I shouldn't’t value their opinion, I couldn't’t help it. I went straight to the bathroom and lifted my leg on the sink counter so I could see my boots and thought to myself, “Yeah, those bitches are right. These really are great boots!” I guess in the end, sometimes I like being vapid too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

New Year, New Fear

I have a fear of driving. I'm not afraid of much in this world, but driving scares the bejesus out of me. For the record, I went to take my driver's test when I was 16 wearing a mini-skirt and a white blouse that was as see through as I could get without my mother losing her mind. Not one of my finest moments, but I was desperate. Up until my having to take the exam, my only experience behind the wheel, was driving once on a Kentucky highway that the locals affectionately called "Dixie Dieway" while my Mom screamed in terror while simultaneously my brother screamed at her for making him come along and put his life on the line "before the big game on Friday". Strong support system, I tell ya'. Surely with that much driving practice under my belt, passing the exam was going to be a piece of cake.

During the exam, I felt that I was taking way to long to parallel park and I was compensating by giggling at the instructor's bad jokes. At the end of the exam, my instructor asked me to stay in the car while he spoke to my mother privately. It was one of those moments when I could hear the blood pumping in my head. I was trying to read lips but I got nothing. In my mind the conversation went along the lines of the instructor telling my Mom, "Ma'am, your daughter is dressed like a low-rent flooze. This is the DMV. We have standards, you know." Whatever was said between the two of them I'll never know. My mother's version is that the conversation went like this, "She shouldn't ever get behind the wheel of a big car like the Jeep you have her in now. She should only drive in emergency situations." To this day I say bullsh*t, but it's hard to call your parents out on the white lies when you're dressed like Britney Spears coming off a three day bender. I never got behind the wheel again...that is until yesterday.

I had enough of waiting to learn how to drive all over again. I suddenly found myself screwed, because my new promotion (*ahem* different job title same pay) at work requires me to fly to places and (gulp) drive! So, I went to Budget, rented a car, and went for a drive. My friends were all shocked and quietly worried for me. I brought along my roomie for support and paid through the nose for every bit of insurance those car rental places dole out. I think I bought so much insurance that even if I hit a deer, Budget would remove the carcass, turn it into deer jerky, and donate it to the food kitchen of my choice. Manhattan driving was the easiest. I got to yell at tourists, honk at cabs, and shake my head in disapproval at the horse-drawn carriages. The one thing I know is nobody ever really crashes their car in Manhattan. You never go faster than 20 miles an hour in traffic. The most you get are fender benders and side scrapes. It's the pedestrians that should be scared. The highway is what I always have feared. It's the idea that some kid just saw Fast and the Furious or finished up a totally kick ass game of Grand Theft Auto 22 and wants to show off on the road in front of his "boys" is what scares me.

In the end I survived! I even told the lady in the toll booth it was my first time driving through the tunnel and that I loved her very much for taking care of the roads. She was very nice about the whole thing . At Budget they were proud of me too (possibly relieved) that I made it back in one piece. They also mentioned that Driving Schools offer "nervous driver programs" that may be a cheaper alternative to renting a car every time I wanted to practice. I asked if anyone who worked there had taken a class, and they all started laughing and said, "No, we're from New York City we don't drive. We don't even have licenses!!!!" Nice. You got me this time Budget.