Thursday, August 7, 2008

Screwball part 1

Funny thing about life, sometimes it throws you a screwball


From August of 2002 to March of 2007 I work for an interpretation company. When I started I was just an interpreter, as time went on I because Lead Interpreter, Assistant Supervisor and ended with IT tech when they closed down the branch and laid us all off. During my time as IT guy I helped set up all of the computers that we would eventually end up using. Part of the reason we set up computers is when I started at the office we only staffed interpreters. That meant that we had cubicles filled with people that spoke two languages, they would wait for their phone to ring, translate a call over the phone and then do it all over again.

For the last year that the branch was open we stepped it up and had operators. So a client would be given a special number to call when they needed an interpreter and when they called they would get an operator. The operator’s job was to connect the client with one of the interpreters that were able to handle the type of call they were going to be given.

It was a great time for me work wise since I was being trusted with more responsibilities which would eventually lead to me going overseas for the better part of two months to set up call centers in Peru and Dominican Republic…story for a different time.

In any event, we got the operators through a temp agency. We didn’t have many requirements except they be outgoing, pass a drug screen and be able to type. That was it. We got some bad eggs, some good eggs and some great people.

Two of those people were Anthony and Ariel. Anthony, at the time, was a recent transplant from Rhode Island, how he got to be in Oregon is an interesting story. He’s a gamer, they both are, and his guild leader at the time lived in Oregon. He wanted a change of pace, she had an extra room and bam, Anthony was in Oregon. While their relationship was interesting…to say the least, the point was that he and I hit it off right away because we both played WOW. This was before the expansion had come out, we were racing to get our characters to 60 to chomp at the bit for Outlands and level 70. It was great.

Ariel was a different story. She was native to Oregon and had known the area forever obviously. She was also a gamer, WOW natch, and had many of the same likes and dislikes that Anthony and I had. She was kinda one of the guys. We would all sit outside during break, smoke, talk shit about work, laugh and then go back into the little cubicle hell that we called work.

So the first day of basic training I come in a little later than everyone else, because I’m IT, and I start looking over the group that we have assembled. Now you have to understand that I put together the curriculum to train these new operators on how to use the computers. It wasn’t rocket science but I broke it down into digestible little fractions that would be better suited for them. I’m standing there taking in the faces of these new people when Ariel’s face just pops out at me. She’s sitting down; I remember this clearly, in front of one of the work stations in the middle of the office. She’s got black roots that lighten into a bright red in a pixie cut, cut little cat’s eye glasses and she’s wearing normal gamer attire for the NW. She feels me watching her, turns to look at me and smiles. I’m fucked.

I find out that she is, Ariel, she’s 19, and she’s living less than a mile from my house. I’m seriously fucked. At the time I’m married. I’m not going to say happily because things had been going downhill at that point, still having an affair is nothing I would ever contemplate and at that time even leaving my wife was nothing but smoke and mirrors in my head. So why am I standing there with dry mouth? She smiled at me and my heart just went a little faster…what the fuck?

Yea, so that was the little group…

The three amigos….

One day Anthony comes to me. Now Anthony’s about twenty two at this point. He’s got this Pointdexter thing going on with the striped shirts, real short hair cut, messenger bag on at all times and just innocent little baby face. He’s a cool guy don’t get me wrong, but he’s still a kid. Know what I mean? So looking at him I know that there’s still a lot for him to learn and while I’m not the ‘wise man’ I still feel like if there’s something I can do to help him I’m going to try.

So I’m sitting in the break room, my office was in the back with all the hardware and for the moment things were running smoothly, drinking a Mountain Dew and reading the paper when he walks in.

“Hey Gabe!”

“Sup Tony.”

“Listen can I ask you something?”

From there it spiraled into the usual boy meets girl, boy wants to date girl routine. The problem for Anthony was that he felt that Ariel was unapproachable; he felt that she was way above what he should be shooting for. And at that moment I made the decision to help him win her over. My thinking, my logic as it were, was this, if I can’t be with her because of my circumstance, I should be sure to hook her up with someone that I felt could not only take care of her but make her happy. When the three of us were together we all laughed at our stupid jokes. Cause they were our stupid jokes, you know? Did she laugh at mine a little more? I don’t know. I know that we all had a good time.

So for Tony’s sake and for Ariel’s sake I become Cyrano and give this kid all of the things that I would have done to win her over.

Learn what she likes to drink and then just bring it for her, show her you care. Listen to her stories; say the right things at the right time. Like what? Well if she’s pouring out her soul, put an arm around her, tell her how bad you feel. Be honest, be true and be the man that she needs. It’s not that hard if you put your mind to it. You guys know what I’m talking about.

Unfortunately this kid was like a deer in headlights when it came to women. We’d all be sitting there talking and a PERFECT opening for him to say something would come up and he’d miss it. I’d nudge him to do something and he’d do the opposite. From what I understand at one point SHE was the one that showed interest in him but he backed off.

It was like watching that bad joke about Adam and Eve where God is trying to get Adam to sleep with Eve but Adam can’t figure out where his thing goes. Truly a sad sight.

During this time of course my branch is getting word that we may be closing and every week all of the operators that we hired on are under the guillotine at the possibility of being cut, since they’re temps. So the Supervisor, Assistant Supervisor and myself are having these meetings every morning, cutting people. We all have says and we all make the decision. Each and every single week Ariel’s name gets brought up by the assistant and every week I fight to keep her and every week the supervisor cuts it down the middle and keeps her. Tony’s always safe because of all of them; he’s the quickest and can learn more.

This goes on for about three months and for three months I’m giving this girl rides home cause she’s less than a mile from me and doesn’t own a car.

And I still get that feeling around her.

I still get all light headed when she’s near me.

I’m still married.

I don’t even consider breaking my vow but she’s still a good friend.

When the job ended for all of us we went our separate ways. Ariel and I found each other on myspace not long after and added each other as friends. We didn’t talk much, mainly due to schedules and what not, plus I wanted to keep some distance. It was just the way that it was.

She moved two hours away to a place called Eugene and recently got married, about a week ago.

Then she called me last night.

I’m going to be honest in the last year she’s called me a few times and each time I’ve found a reason NOT to answer the phone. She’s away with some dude, she’s happy and she’s not near me.

So when the phone rings last night I’m thinking to myself, Self, it’s okay to answer the phone, she’s going to tell you the good news that she’s now happily married. You can do the whole, I’m happy for you thing, hang up and feel good knowing you did the right thing. Chat for a bit, go to bed and move on.

The conversation went nothing like I expected it to…at all.

When someone gets married you want to hear about the ceremony or at least pretend to and the after party. She didn’t go into any of that. She did tell me she was happy, she did say that he was a wonderful man. (Two points, I’m good) Then she told me something that I didn’t really want to know, she’d always had feelings for me and wanted to know if I ever felt the same.


I don’t know about you guys but to me it’s too late. What are you going to do, tell them the truth after they got married? How fair is that?

“I’m asking because I love my husband but he is okay with my having a boyfriend.”


To be continued.

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