Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Other Me Seeks to Woo

"Why doesn't she have any posters?"

That's the strange peculating thought I have when I look in her office.  She sits at the computer, intently typing and shuffling papers.  About her, the office is bland: the walls bare, the desk spartan, the photos nonexistent.  I follow the curve of her arm, but the keyboard and mouse are the only accessories.  Not even a chosen mouse pad bespeaks the tastes or opinions behind her dark eyes.

"She's kind of tall!"

My next thought.  Dressed as she is in her work uniform, it's difficult to tell her height.  Her head-height speaks to being above-average for a woman.  Her posture while sitting almost suggests she's stretching upwards.  Her chin probes outwards, not down towards her torso reflexively. 

I make up my mind that I'm going to ask her out.

I head towards the office door, but as the door frame approaches, it reveals that there's already someone sitting in the other chair in the space.  I slow, knowing that an audience doesn't make for the most controlled situation for asking someone out -- especially since I've had few conversations of any kind.

Further study of the person in the room shows a tall guy, slightly overweight, losing his hair.  He's older than she is by a hands-breadth of years.  She's seated at the computer, attention devoted to the screen.  He's seated behind her, playing with a desk trinket in his hands.  He smiles broadly as he speaks at length about something.  Whenever the cadence of his speech rises in the form of a question, she provides the requisite response while slightly rotating her hand in his direction.  Just as quickly, she's focused again on the computer.

I pause.  That guy.  The one sitting in the office.  It's *me*.  I'm the one in there chatting.

To say that catches Me the Observer by surprise would be an understatement.  I watch as the office Me makes repeated attempts to draw the woman into conversation.  The office Me speaks to her about her job.  That Me tries gamely to get her to respond about some slighted injustice I suffered while on vacation.  That Me asks her about family "where she's from".

Never once does one of these draws get her to turn around when making an answer.  The Me observing feels uncomfortable for the other Me.  Can't he see that she really doesn't have the time to speak to him.  One of two possibilities is being acted out: either she is very busy at work on some project that requires her full attention, or she is trying to indicate that she doesn't really want to make conversation at this juncture.  The observer Me sees that she's not biting at any of the lines.  She's not smiling except in a perfunctory matter.  She does not make eye contact.

All the while, the office Me just prattles on.  He seems to be working his way through all the social gambits he can think of.  None of them work.  He stands and excuses himself.  Her eyes do not follow him to the door and into the hallway.  The office me turns and heads down the hallway.

The spell is broken.  That wasn't me in there -- it was someone very like me in shape and condition.  Another tall single guy, trying to get his best foot forward.  And she appeared to want nothing to do with him.

It's what I would have done.  A lame emulation of a college mating dance.  Trying to use what all those studies direct: get her to speak about herself.  Impress upon her your interest.

On a different day, he's there again.  She's sorting a massive stack of papers while he toys with a desk object and uses his feet to nervously turn his desk chair back and forth in tight arcs.

I'm reminded of those scenes where the heroine is repeatedly and continuously wooed by someone she wants nothing to do with.  I anticipate the moment when she escapes to the stock room and sings a Broadway song about how she wants *more* from life.

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