November 19, 1998
Love At Second Sight


Working on it  ...  right now I'm researching that mysterious sixth verse to "The Ants Go Marching." (*I* say he stops to pick up sticks, but there is some debate about that, apparently.  I'll let you know what I find out). You know the drill: click here to relive the wonder and splendor of that last entry, while you wait ... and check back in a bit.


Later That Evening:

Arrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (she says eloquently).

I have spent the past two days training the new receptionist  --  She Who Will Shortly Replace Me As *Lobby Goddess* For the Knife Factory  --  and I am swiftly running out of patience ... AND fingernails.

Mind you. It's not that I feel like I'm this ultra-irreplaceable front office *commodity,* or that she's inept or unqualified or smells like really bad Avon perfume or anything. (Honest.) It's just extremely difficult to train someone who feels she already KNOWS everything, ifyouknowwhutImean.

Secra (extremely tactfully): "Sometimes it's a good idea to plug the headset into the switchboard first. Otherwise you can't hear anything."
New Receptionist Person (attempting to plug headset cord into computer):  "I knew that."

I suppose she's going to be just fine, once I whip her into shape and teach her all of the really important stuff, like how to "ice skate" down the hallway in your stocking feet  ...  how to spin around in the desk chair when no one is looking ...   how to con the vendors out of candy and fountain pens  ...  how to *cover* gracefully when you accidentally sneeze over the intercom  ...  which vending machine has V-8 Splash mistakenly priced at forty-five cents instead of a dollar seventy-five ...

... and besides, it's only been two days, and if anyone knows that first impressions aren't always accurate, it's yours truly.

Take my first impression of David, when I got off that airplane in California for the first time a few weeks ago.

For one hour and sixteen minutes, flying from Oregon to Oakland, I told myself that I wasn't the slightest bit nervous about meeting this guy. For one thing, I've met online friends IRL before: it's no big deal.  For another, David and I knew each other, from the brain-side out, and we were comfortable with each other. ("I'm bleeding like a stuck pig," I delicately informed him during my last menstrual period). This was not going to be a big deal in any way, shape or form, and he's just a friend, and I'm gonna sleep on his COUCH forcryingoutloud ...

(But just in case, I think I won't be wearing my ugly broken glasses when he sees me for the first time.)

... so of course by the time the airplane landed in Oakland at 6:22:13 p.m. PST, I was a complete wreck. I literally had to stop a few feet in front of the entrance to the terminal and order myself not to throw up. And then I pushed my Mr. Magoo-like-self forward, blinking and smiling blindly into a sea of fuzzy faces, hoping maybe HE would recognize ME ... ... which of course he didn't, because he wasn't THERE. Yet.

Shit.

I looked everywhere. No one matching the description I had been given. ("Think: Adonis.") I'd been warned that he might be running a little late, though, so I plunked myself and my bags into a seat, and I tried to look cute and alert and completely devoid of expectation. (Try it! It's like rubbing your stomach and patting your head and vomiting, all at once.) And then all of a sudden, there he WAS, standing twenty or thirty feet away ... or maybe it was a hundred feet away: I had zero depth perception (or actual VISION) without my glasses.  

He was about the right height ... except shorter. About the right weight ... except not.  And he had almost the same hair color I was expecting, except maybe lots less of it.  He was wearing ... uhhh ...

(here is where I finally started to have a Problem Moment)

... something that looked like a khaki LEISURE SUIT, and sandals, and an expression on his face that clearly said "I am not completely thrilled to be standing here waiting around for anybody, and when the bitch lands she'd damn well better not expect me to shlep her carry-ons around the airport, and GAWD I bet I look groovy in my khaki leisure suit" ...

Tremblingly, I pulled my glasses out of my coat pocket and popped them onto my nose and looked at the guy. (David?)  And at that very instant his pale blue eyes focused on mine, and I sat there waiting for that magic *Hello Terri* Moment, and he looked me right in the eyes and ...

... snorted. Derisively. ("Hhiiinnk.")

And then his gaze swept right over and past me, as though I hadn't even registered on his personal radar, and he strode to the back of the terminal awaiting the arrival of the SecraTerri HE was expecting to see ...

... while I wildly considered my options. Get a ticket home to Portland right now? Casually get up and walk to the Ladies Room to throw up? Walk up to him and say, "OK ... I'm sorry, I know I wasn't what you were expecting, but excuse me all to hell but you're wearing a khaki leisure suit forcryingoutloud" ...

So I was sitting there frantically trying to decide what to do ... near tears, convinced that I had just made the biggest mistake (to date) of my life ... I'm here in California and my friend David doesn't even recognize me ...

... sinking deeper into despair ...

... when suddenly I heard a wonderfully familiar voice say, "Why, this must be Mizz Polen!"

I look to my right, and here comes this big goofy good-looking guy in a bright orange shirt and a Hallowe'en <-- (note the apostrophe) tie and a HAT ... NOT a khaki leisure suit ... and he's ordering me to stand up and give him "the obligatory awkward airport hug," and oh my god it's MY David  --  MY friend David, and he's happy to see me, and he isn't snorting derisively at me, and ... uhhh ... it feels unexpectedly OK to have him hugging me, but we'll deal with that later ...


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