Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Twilight-Underwear-Zone and The Creepy Ex-Coworker

I went to the laundromat today and it was much more peaceful this time. The owner, a very nice Mexican lady who always chats with me when I come in, said, "So much nicer today. Not so much children!" I agreed fervently.

As I was unloading my whites/lights from the washer (I use warm instead of hot, so it's OK to wash beige stuff with the whites), I noticed that a pair of my undershorts (*blush*) was a strange light/washed out/faded color. They had been heather grey when they went in. I recognized the look of something that had been directly bleached. But--*cue suspenseful music*--I had not put any bleach in the washer. I smelled my other clothes from the load, and sure enough, they all smelled like bleach. Nothing else was really affected, not even my beige Dockers, although there is a tiny patch on the leg that looks like it might have faded a tiny bit (but it's barely noticeable).

It was a strange and haunting puzzle, and worthy of Rod Serling's narration. Maybe I'll write a script about it, and hire an all-star cast. Too bad Maureen Stapleton's gone now--she'd have been a great laundromat owner. As I made my dreaded discovery, she could have peeked in a sinister fashion around the Pepsi machine, or given me dark looks as she sold laundry detergent and handed out the restroom key...

After the laundromat, since I had my car with me (having come straight from the "Rudolph" audition), I had some extra time, so I ran to what we far Northsiders have come to refer to as the "new Target," over on Peterson Ave. They always have better prices on a few things I get at the grocery store, like cat food and shampoo. There are always a lot of cute security guards there, too (it IS Chicago).

As I was at the jewelry counter, searching for some cheap gold hoop earrings (I used to have some bigger ones, but they've all disappeared), I felt a sudden wave of nausea. After first panicking that I was suffering a delayed reaction to the flu shot, I realized that it was caused by a nearby voice that was familiar. But I couldn't think why. Then it dawned on me. It was a former co-worker from my first "city" job, years ago when I first moved here, at a small marketing agency (well, it was a big agency, but we were a small office).

I won't use this person's real name (since he DOES have a right to privacy, although he basically waived that right while I worked with him by moonlighting as some kind of stripper or something), but I will instead call him by his Native American name, Smells Like Sulphur. OK, it's not a real Native American name, and he's not really Native American, but I thought maybe a longer name would give him some of the nobility and class he never really earned.

This guy disliked me on sight when I worked there. And I never figured out why. I sure as hell wasn't going to ask him, since it didn't really matter, but a mutual work friend told me that she guessed he might resent me because I was openly gay while he was more "in the closet." He was?? He could have fooled me--whenever he opened his mouth, sequins spewed forth. In fact, that was the thing that tipped me off today that he was nearby, when I heard his breathy, rushed diction (glad he wasn't an actor instead of a stripper).

Anyway, I never figured out why he didn't like me (although I'd guessed that he was one of those vain, shallow people who don't like overweight guys, which I certainly was, and am even more so now). But I lost that job after about a year anyway (which was just as well, because I hated the fucking place. Rotten company. Lousy pay. Sour grapes.), and have only had the misfortune of seeing him in public three times in the last eight years. Today was the fourth. The nice thing about being as big as I am right now is that it makes me invisible to people like him, so I had no danger of being noticed, and I doubt he even recognized or remembered me. But needless to say, I abandoned my search for cheap gold earrings and went straight to the catfood aisle. The whole experience left me feeling unsettled and vaguely doomed, like the British reporter in "The Omen II," who fled Damian's soccer practice only to have her late-model Oldsmobile Cutlass break down outside Chicago and suffer a terrible death (hers and the car's). I fully expected to find a large black bird on top of my car when I got to the parking lot, ready to peck my eyes out.

But I made it back home uneventfully (although my car is making a loud knocking noise in the front occasionally--do I detect the sound of money getting ready to leave my wallet again?), and now I'm writing to you, dear reader(s?).

In other news, the "Rudolph" audition went reasonably well. It was a cold reading (although I did see the play, as I mentioned, two years ago), and I fucked up one line when I was reading it (I panicked when I thought for a moment that I was reading Mrs. Claus's line). Other than that, it wasn't too bad (not as good as I would have like to do, but is it ever on the first try?). I'd forgotten how funny some of the lines were, especially for poor Mrs. Claus, whose nasty husband drives her to drink. I always wanted to drive people to drink, but my mother was made of sterner stuff...

Now I've gotta run. I have to go for a walk and get ready for the "Caged Dames" performance at 7:00 tonight. Blessings to you all, each and every one...!


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