Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Attire Satire

Had an important client presentation yesterday. Spent a considerable part of the weekend obsessing about what to wear and whining about need for another suit. Seriously, if I wore my pin-stripe suit again, for the 14th time in a row, my boss might give me a raise and the clients might just feel sorry for me and award us the project. Of course, couldn’t let my outfit prove my worthiness and do all the hard work. I am a woman of principles.

See, if it were a black suit, it would have been fine… no one really notices. But a pin-stripe ensemble (yellow and red) with frayed collars and a huge patch on the front is bound to make people recognize me even while they are in coma.

So Monday morning, looking all confident and ready to conquer in my new suit (purple and orange), I arrive on time… a few minutes earlier even. My boss smiles benevolently. My suit is already doing its trick. ‘Lets go over the presentation quick.’ He murmurs while we have 10 minutes to go. I seem to be in good shape and good clothes.

So we walk into the war zone and get introduced to clients and other consultants. While the others are signing the attendee’s list, I look for my pen. Couldn’t find it. I see my lip liner, eye liner, mascara (different types), but no freaking pen...not even a pencil. Frantic eye contact with boss… explain the situation with hand gestures. He hands over his only pen; I sign and give it back to him. Couldn’t he have brought two pens? Now people are exchanging their business cards. I scan my purse and horror of horrors, find mine missing. I remember forcing the last ones in my wallet on my friends just to show off. I have fifty hundred of them lying in the office that pop up at the most inopportune times. My boss hands over his card and tells me to write my contact details on the back. I take the card and give him a helpless look; he takes deep breaths and gives me the pen.

We finish the presentation without any glitches expect during the times when I had to pause and borrow a pen to write notes … sometimes writing with my fingernails dipped in mascara. Overall, I think it went well.

So I take the clients for lunch, as my boss has to leave for another meeting. They say they’ll follow. We are on the interstate and I see a toll plaza coming ahead. I pull over to the side and flag down their car.

‘Can I borrow 60 cents please? I forgot to bring change.’

The onus is all on my attire now.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

More Lame Excuses

Nope, nothing! I mean nothing exciting happened during the past few days except for a few torrid affairs. I also have a chronic heart disease that unfortunately won’t kill me. Yes, the hall ticket arrived by mail yesterday. Figured I need to get back to damn studies. Pi says I can remove the winter cap I am wearing (for containing knowledge in the head) as I have nothing in there yet. It might prevent stuff from going in. Good point! It’s also not a good sign when I am still battling to find a good place to do this ‘assimilation of knowledge for betterment of society’. Of the options I have tried, sitting on a railroad track and working out problems seems like the best bet.

Home was considered as the first option, but was quickly ruled out when I realized that I can’t seem to focus with the TV on. Turn it off, you say? (hahaha* sarcastic laugh, in case you didn’t get it) Frankly, I don’t think our TV has the capability of switching off. I am also made to believe that my hubby will just self combust if things stopped moving in the TV. Pi's internal functions are controlled by the flickering and blaring of the TV. His pancreatic juices react with his food at the sight of Anna Devlantes blabbering away on NBC5. There’s proof that his white blood cells and red blood cells do their work diligently when Seinfeld takes over. He smiles and sometimes chuckles too. Proof of life is all I need to make sure that I cook some food for him too. When he moves, it's within the TV's line of sight (that's why the fridge is in the living room). If I whine, stomp, fake headaches and act as if the world will split apart, I’ll be treated to lowering of the sound from a 29 to a 23. Lord be praised! If he feels extra generous or if I have created enough noise to cause neighborhood cops to stop by, he’ll put the TV on mute while squinting to read the sub-titles sitting 3 inches from Larry King’s wrinkled nose. If cable companies are running low on profit margins, they know which house to blame. When he called me this afternoon, I couldn’t recognize his voice without the background commercials.

Hence the only place I can study with some prevailing sanity is in the kitchen somewhere between the masala dabba and the dustbin. Next thing I know, all my (borrowed) books are smelling of sambar and burnt brinjal curry. Very soon, hubby might just eat the books while making love to the TV. In the interest of protecting my books, I decided to try the public library... I mean, no TV, right?

But I didn’t account for stalkers and lawn mowers. This black lady has something against the Indian race and every time I settle down in a secluded corner in the building, she starts hurling out abuses (something about Desis not liking her hair style) and then coolly sits right across giving dirty looks. This happened three times to me. I mean, its fine.. free speech and all…but staring is what makes me slightly uncomfortable. Can’t even pick my nose in peace.

So I had to pack up and leave to another area where this man was happily ensconced on a sofa sleeping. I thought, awww…poor homeless fella. So nice that they can use the library facilities to take afternoon naps. I took another ten minutes settling down..opening calculator, pen, pencil, book1, book 2, book 3, chewing gum, air freshener,making sure cell phone works and checking the mirror. Just when I positioned myself to tackle a problem, this person started snoring. What started off as a puppy’s whimper turned into a battery operated sludge incinerator in a few seconds. Couldn’t take it anymore and this time I had resolved not to move again.

I called out ‘Sir Sir!’

He stirred. Looked at me ‘Ehh?’

‘Sir, you are snoring way too loudly. I can’t sleep.’

‘Now that you’ve rudely woken me up, I don’t think I can go back to sleep!’

Didn’t know if I should be sorry or thankful.

Oh well, he got his revenge by snorting or coughing or sneezing every 3 seconds. I was done with the library and its policy of being a refuge for random psychos. Notice humanitarian me just fell off the cliff.

I took my bags and was about to leave in a huff when good old man admitted that people had complained about his snoring before (in the same library- four times today) and that he needs to get this operation done.

‘Which one?’ my anger turning to curiosity. ‘My husband snores too when he isn’t watching TV. At nights I dream of silence and a shattered Panasonic TV.’

So we had a pretty nice conversation and I bid him farewell and moved on to my next testing ground – the railway tracks.