Thursday, June 11, 2009

Miss Neat

She's impeccably neat. Obssessively-compulsively neat with herself. I really couldn't say much for her home or work-station as I have been to neither.

But she passes by like a porcelain doll on stilts, placing one foot ahead of the other in an accurately-calculated step, down to the last fraction of an inch. Everything will be in place - her hair, make-up, necklace, earrings. I feel awfully uncomfortable in her presence.

She is hardly ever around, just passes by in a stately aura with a trail of not-so-neat almost adoring friends following closely behind. But you know when she passes. The air is broken with the friction between obssessively impeccable and incorrigeably untidy. There's a slight click-click on the tiles and Miss Neat floats by, swishing her hips carefully eyed by 20-odd pairs of male eyes full of hope and an equal number of female eyes full of perceived disdain.

I've had more than one opportunity (I'm not sure whether it classifies as one) of being in the women's rest-room when she walked in. They are usually quiet entries, where she sneaks up on you. Perhaps she does not want to be noticed for not having her make-up on right. But she doesn't know it's fine - exactly the same way it was when she arrived at work in the morning.

She will proceed to comb her hair that has already been combed, pull it through into a pony-tail or curl it into place. Her manicured hands and shapely nails will pull the zipper of her clean (disinfected?) handbag to rummage neatly - if one can do that according to the laws of life - through its contents and retrieve a lipstick. It's really not needed, but it seems like a ritual now.

Carefully, with deft hands and keen eyes decorated with mascara, she outlines her mouth and purses her lips for effect. I am way passed my comfort zone and really, don't see me as a stalker or confused heterosexual. No, this is not attraction. It is wonder, amusement, repulsion and awe all rolled up in one.

I sometimes have the urge to shake her like a rag doll to stop her from being so perfectly "Barbie"-like. But then I stop myself. She just might break.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coffee break at work when it's raining outside

You sit on the steel chair lost in a large room full of others just like them, nursing a cup of free coffee. The deep smell wafts into your nostrils as you lose yourself in a maze of time, watching the rain drops fall in a movie-like fashion - slow and meaningful - outside the glass windows.

It's that time of contemplation, dreaming, hoping and pining. Your coffee break at work when it's raining outside. You realise you're hungry only on some occasions like these. Other times, you just sit alone and ignore time passing away. The atmosphere is so meditative when the clouds burst. Rain falling like a sheet against reality, screening you from what you wish to hide. You wonder about silly things. At least I do! - How big is a raindrop to grasshoppers? Do ants drown in the flood of a puddle? What would it be like if I was that small? Stupid existential questions of what ifs and how sos.

It still isn't nice having to go back inside when it's pouring outside. So you struggle to rise and help yourself to another thermacol cup, unmindful of the damage to the environment, arguing with your own mind that you deserve another shot of diluted caffeine. You slump back in your chair and revert to the comfortable vacuum of bored expression. Doodles on the table-top and eavesdropped conversations are such time-consuming and interesting passtimes.

You decipher gossip from the table nearby and feel good about your wonderful ability to understand the complexities of an unknown relationship just by listening to a stream of bitchy words. If someone you know passes by, you smile vacantly and get back to listening to the conversation, uninvited. It is still raining outside.

Alternatively, if you are the chatty sociable sort, you will still be in the cafeteria only this time with friends or colleagues. The conversation will be among yourselves and the bored loner seated at the table near you will be patting his back as you regurgitate gossip. You still spend hours at the table, eat the over-priced food, drink the free coffee, be anti-institutional and plan for the weekend.

Finally, whichever sort you are, you decide it's time to go. There's work a-pending and a boss to satisfy. You stand, stretch (as inconspicuously as you can), drag your feet to the office and give the world outside a last parting glance. It has stopped raining outside.