Most of the day was quite nice, actually. A box of See’s candy on the conference room table. A chair massage with candles in the office (our reward for reaching a sales goal). A beautiful pink sunset over Dolores Street on the way to Ruby’s. Spaghetti and garlic bread and TV: Boy Meets Boy and Queer Eye For The Straight Guy with Ruby, Mark, and Tomi. Why do I eat uncontrollably at Ruby’s?
Going home is when things get weird. First, the MUNI metro driver turns and smiles at me a couple of times while heading downtown. I smile back politely, and when we pulled into Embarcadero Station, he steps out of the driver’s booth and strikes up a conversation. Wants to know my name. Hands me his (apparently homemade) business card — T B Jr, Producer, Singer, President and CEO of Benstar Records — in case I feel like calling and hanging out sometime. Um… yeah. Right.
Next, I’m waiting in the BART station when a kid (late teens — early 20s maybe), seeing my newspaper, approaches and asks if I have the Sports Page. Just because I’m female I’m not going to read the Sports Page? The fact that I wouldn’t have read the bloody Sports Page is not the point. So I give it to him, which is his opening to ask for more. Can I tell him how to get to Tracy? I have no idea, but I don’t think you can take BART there. Can I lend him a dollar to get home? No way. I only have a dollar left myself, and at that point I am planning to use it for a bottle of water at the gym. Well, then will I come hang out with him in Modesto, since I’m so beautiful? Jesus! What’s going on tonight? Um… I’m probably old enough to be your mother, I tell him. He doesn’t believe I’m 38. I don’t believe he’s 29. You won’t come with me because I’m Arab, right? he challenges. Yeah, that’s it! I won’t come to Modesto with an unknown male at midnight because he’s Arab. How could he have guessed?!? Thankfully, he does not board my train.
I sit down and open the paper: “Pentagon to start futures market for terror attacks”. Huh? I thought Michael was making this up when he told me about it this afternoon on the phone. As the article calls it, “An Internet gambling parlor, sponsored by the U.S. government…” that will allow people to “bet over the Web on such questions as whether Yasser Arafat will be assassinated or Turkey’s government will be overthrown.” I feel as if I’m sliding off the edge of the earth. Or as if someone yanked away the table cloth and the dishes are all slightly askew.
Where is the world that I know? I go straight home. Do not go to the gym. Do not even look at anyone else. I close my apartment door behind me and breathe. Then, open my second pair of Invisalign aligners and put them on, almost a week too soon. They hurt. Good. Just now I need to feel that something is moving the way I want it to.