Friday, July 08, 2005

Office Romance

Everybody has to learn the hard way.

She was perfect, for one half of one date. Casey was a secretary at IBM Mountain View, a pseudointellect, an ex-model (or is that failed model), co-dependently living with her harpy of a sister, and was envious of anyone holding a professional position of any kind. She hated everyone that held a higher station, but smiled and said good morning like Pollyanna playing the Glad Game.

I received my call to California adventure only a year and a half into my first programming job in East Fishkill, New York. I left behind more friends than any man could dare to want to stake my claim in California gold. These were the days before the internet boom, where I was fortunate to find myself on the bottom floor of an elevator that would only go up.

But in the game of love, I had everything to learn. In the pedantic style of my father, Casey taught me everything I needed to know, by demonstrating the dark side of romance, and left nary a stone unturned.

She was a whirlwind of despite. It wasn't long before I knew what was wrong with every one of my co-workers. She had a special disdain for the lead technical writer, an intelligent, professional and long, sandy blonde haired beauty named Anne from Nashville, Tennessee. Casey had a degree in English, and felt the position was one that she was well qualified for.

"You should talk to Anne's manager to see if he'll give you a chance at it," I said to her.

"I've already talked to him about it."

"What did he say?"

"We talked for a while, and he decided that I was far too intelligent to be a tech writer."

Casey was always too intelligent, too cultured, too far above the rest, alienated by her God given gifts. Alas, she was from New York City, a place that gaff hooks it's residents and spoils them for the rest of the world. To her, the nation was always a decade behind the city in fashion and politics. To be upstaged by some hick from Nashville was a horse pill she couldn't swallow.

So what did I see in her then? Her superiority complex was a challenge to me, and I had to take her down, but at the same time, psychologically, I saw my mother -- aloof, unavailable, and yet, there. I put up with her games, and called her when she didn't call back. Basically I made a fool of myself, but it would be for the last time. I tried to break it off twice, and each time she cried to prolong it, but it never got better.

Finally it came to an end. For three days she avoided me. There was no doubt what that meant, but I needed closure. I drove to her apartment in the morning before work, took a deep breath and knocked on her door. Casey's sister Veronica answered, her eyes registered surprise then narrowed to a squint. She yelled into the hallway next to the living room, "Casey, Scott's here," then snatched her satchel and brushed by without a word. Casey came to the door, head cocked and putting on an earring.

"What are you doing here?"

"So, are we broke up now?"

"Well, it's not working out, is it?"

"No it's not. I just wanted to hear the words."

"Ok, so we're broke up."

"Now how hard was that?" I smiled, and my relief was not feigned. It was finally over.

This wasn't what she expected. She asked me to get some coffee with her, so I accepted. After we sat down with our breakfast she said, "I have some advice for you. The next relationship you are in, have some pride in yourself."

"Casey, I do have my pride, but I loved you, and to me love has no pride. I just made a mistake in who I gave it to."

She just smiled.

"I have to tell you," I continued, "I feel as light as a feather right now. I'm just glad that we are finally through." Her face darkened. I wasn't being malicious; truth is a two-way street. "I can go back to feeling like a human again."

That should have been the end of it, but Casey started a campaign to destroy me at work. By now she was best friends with Anne. I was walking by Anne's office and heard, "here he comes," in harsh whispered tones. Inside, Anne and Casey were staring towards the door. The secretarial staff, once warm and friendly, now stopped talking when I walked by. It seemed like the whole office was talking about me, and it finally drove me out.

My dad always said, don't take a shit where you eat, the wise old sage that he is, but I prefer something with a little subtext: never dip your pen in company ink.


Mrs.T said...


I found I had crushes on teachers, and people at places of work. Later I realized it wasn't a crush it was a level of 'like' and sometimes a high level of respect or even envy.

Women, women like her, those are the chicks that always had boyfriends to treat like crap.

mr. schprock said...

I'm glad you got out of it intact. It almost reads like a fable.

Mr. T said...

I had a girlfriend like that.. nothing was ever her fault, always the victim or better than that.

For some crazy f'd up reason I married her... and as you can imagine it failed.

I learned my lesson the hard way but I'm better for it.

jenbeauty said...

I have never had an office relationship. I don't know why I strayed away from them...just a bit wise about those around me.

You were lucky to leave in tact.

jenbeauty said...

Oh, and is it ok to link you on my blog? Thanks.

Scott said...

Mrs T - I think you and I have a lot in common. Don't get nervous Mr. T! I seemed to have crushes on my teachers too.

Mr. Schprock - Good to see you here Rev!

Mr T - For a minute I thought you were jokingly referring to your Missus. Hard lessons are the best learned.

Jen - Good for you. You can imagine I never did that again. Ooops, forgot one. Of course you can link me on your blog. Thanks!

trinamick said...

I don't date my co-workers. Mainly, because one is a 75 yo woman, and the other is a 21 yo woman dating a registered sex offender. Not exactly my types. :P

Mrs.T said...

Naw, remember we have bio-monster... she likes to play the part of victim and can also be known as the ex-wife who has no interest in anything other than having people feel sorry for her.

LOL, I almost thought that too for a second though..

Scott said...

Trin - All righty then!

T - Ah yes, that one is messed up.

Beth said...

I am another who's glad you made it out of that one unscathed, but with a valuable lesson learned. It's truly lonely to live in an infallible world with big walls.

Braleigh said...

That was wonderfully written.

Way to escape relatively unscathed from that sinister woman's clutches.

Scott said...

Knitter, thanks, she was the last lesson I needed, after a long string of similar experiences. I had to change.

Braleigh, I appreciate the visit, and thanks for the props. Unscathed is right; when it was over I was a brand new man, except for quitting my job. It was the best thing for me however, as I went on to work for my most credited mentor.

magnetbabe said...

How old were you when you learned that lesson? And WHY does it seem like every work has a Casey?

Scott said...

Like Wade Hayes said, "Old enough to know better, but still too young to care." I think I was 29.