[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
is that a big bottle of molton brown soap in your purse or are you just happy to...oh. it is a big bottle of molton brown soap in your purse - a tragedy in two parts
so, the hay adams is a pretty swanky place. it’s chi chi and frou frou and all those sorts of fake-french-sounding words.
very important people have rendezvouses there. and such. and there’s a kick-ass view of the white house from the roof of the hay adams that is supposed to be very...well, very kick-ass.
i, of course, had never been there. because i am not chi chi. nor frou frou. nor very important. nor do i have rendezvouses. so, when i got the invitation from the dreaded consultants – the very consultants who dismantled our department and made me a very very sad woman for a number of months...in a row – and saw that they were having a party at the hay adams i was very excited. even more excited because, you know, i was invited. it was being billed as a “client appreciation” party. and i thought, “well, by god, if anyone needs to feel a little appreciated by you motherfuckers, then it’s me.”
of course, by “feel a little appreciated” i mean get really drunk and eat as much expensive food on your dime as i can eat without getting sick. well, to be fair, i thought i might eat so much that i would actually get sick. and then go throw up and come back and eat even more expensive food. just on principle.
i am very principled.
on the day of the party, as i walked through the reception area of our office, the receptionist stopped me.
“julia, you goin’ to that party tonight?”
“that one at the hay adams. girl, i’m goin'.”
and i didn’t mean it the way it sounded. i was just surprised. i mean, i spent months taking it up the ass from these people. i expected some free shrimp. but i wasn’t really sure how the receptionist scored her invite.
“well, i heard some people talking about it.”
this was a revelation to me. an epiphany, really. i mean, i had never really considered hearing people talk about something as an invitation to attend. for example, i’ve heard people talking about the academy awards. but it never crossed my mind that, by hearing them discussed, i was invited. i thought of all the great parties i missed over the years by not employing this tactic.
heck, i’ve driven by plenty of cookouts. and gone home hungry. needlessly, apparently.
it just never crossed my mind that the mere knowledge that an event is taking place is tantamount to an invitation.
“so, you’re going to go, then?”
“hell yeah, i’m goin’. free food. free booze. what time you goin’ over there?”
“well, it starts at six, so....”
“okay, good. i’ll go over with you. meet me in the lobby at six.”
i have no idea how these things happen to me.
the bottom line is that now i’m going to this party with a coworker who was never invited. and, going with us is another coworker who is leaving the firm as a result of the consultants’ actions. basically, she’s decided to get drunk on their free booze and then tell all of them to go fuck themselves in light of the ass-reaming they delivered to us on a silver platter. but it’s cool because they actually invited her. and she would definitely feel appreciated if she could tell them all to go fuck themselves.
of course, since the consultants basically railroaded my existing department out the door, that meant that the department was filled with new people. my new coworkers. and they were going to be at the party. so, this would be the first time i would be seeing any of them, including my new department manager, outside of the office.
i wracked my brain trying to come up with a scenario in which the evening would not be a complete disaster. i was disappointed when i couldn’t think of a single one. disappointed. but not surprised.
so, my uninvited coworker and my soon-to-be-not-my coworker meet me in the lobby at six and we decide to take a cab over to the hotel. this is actually an executive decision, made by the uninvited coworker because she is wearing green stiletto pumps that have a heel approximately nine inches high. the idea of walking over to the party, when proposed, causes her much anxiety.
“girl, i am not walking anywhere in these shoes! did you see my shoes! look at my shoes, girl! i love these shoes. these shoes are bad. look at how they match my bag.”
and, she was right. they did match her bag. but that didn't change the fact that she could not walk in them. i don’t mean that as a criticism, by the way. just an observation. i, myself, own numerous pairs of shoes which i cannot walk in. so, sure. i’m on board with that.
we climb into the cab and i notice that her skirt – if one call really call such a paucity of fabric a skirt – was, um...riding up.
around her waist.
“oh, girl, my ass is hangin’ out.”
and it was. her ass was definitely hangin’ out. and so was the front of her ass.
i’m sort of in a stunned state as we make our way through traffic toward the hay adams. my two fellow passengers are chatting away, talking about how much they’re looking forward to the evening.
as we pull up in front of the hotel, my coworker’s alleged skirt decides to head north for the summer, and i, and the bellmen, are given quite the view. as she tugs her hem back down, she asks one of them, “you like what you see, baby?”
he smiles and says “you know it.”
suddenly i think about the scene around me. i mean, i’m getting out of a taxi cab at a hotel with a woman who is wearing green shoes with a nine-inch heel and an alleged skirt. i’m not a guest of the hotel.
the smile on his face and the “hey, how you doin’?’” he gives me as i climb out of the cab make it clear: he thinks i’m a hooker.
my soon-not-to-be-my coworker says to him, “baby, we’re here for a party.”
and he smiles at her and says, “i know you are.”
i feel compelled to step in.
“no, really. an actual party. our consultants are having a party here. client appreciation.”
and, really, who am i kidding? i can’t even blame him for the smirk on his face. i just walk into the lobby and over the to desk.
“excuse me, i’m here for the [evil consultants] party. can you tell me where that is?”
about this time, my coworkers make their way into the lobby. my friend with the alleged skirt, loudly exclaims, “gottdamn! this place is beautiful!”
i smile at the desk clerk who is eyeing us en masse rather nervously. of course, i'm a little irritated by this. i mean, you work the desk at a swank hotel in dc where senators and heads of state routinely stay. you haven't seen a bunch of hookers in this lobby before? oh please.
“the party?” i repeat.
“on the roof.”
“girl! did she say on the roof?! shit! that is some nice shit...on the roof...damn...that is first class.”
i thank the desk clerk and we make our way over to the elevators.
you know that scene in pretty woman where julia roberts is in full ho regalia and she’s standing there with richard gere waiting on an elevator and this older couple is standing there and they’re looking at her disapprovingly because, hey, she’s in full ho regalia?
it’s like that.
when we get upstairs, there is a minor scurfuffle about the fact that my coworker with the alleged skirt doesn’t seem to have a nametag. to me, this seems fairly logical. she didn’t have an invitation, ergo, she didn’t have a nametag. however, my coworker with the alleged skirt would not let mere logic stand in her way.
“here. i’ll just take his,” she said, reaching for the nametag of another guest. “he probably not coming anyway.”
she promptly turned the nametag over and wrote her name on the back.
“there. now where the bar at?”
“where the bar at, indeed,” i thought.
i was probably two drinks in by the time my new coworkers arrived.
i hear my new manager asking my soon-to-be-ex coworker what she’s doing there.
“i came to tell these bitches thanks for fucking me over.”
“really?” he says.
“yeah. i came over with julia.”
and, right on cue, the coworker with the alleged skirt comes up to the bar.
“hey, baby, get me another one of these...and this time, make it potent. you hear me?”
my new manager then tells her that he didn’t expect to see her there.
“oh, i love a good party.”
wait for it.
“yeah. i came with julia.”
i try to get as far away from my new manager as i can while not dangling off the actual edge of the roof. i try burying my shame in glass after glass of champagne and plate after plate of asparagus and crabcakes.
then, through the gaussian blur of the humid summer air and copious quanitites of champagne, i hear it. someone is calling my name in a voice that could fairly be described as "going up to eleven."
for the record: everything from this point on is squarely my fault.
well, maybe not my fault.
but i accept full responsibility.
not in a legal sense, though. legally, i deny all responsibility.
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