For one of my seven part-time jobs since I’ve moved to Chicago, I worked in a rumor mill. I don’t know if it was because I was new or because I wasn’t there that often, but people loved talking about me. My favorite: three people, conveniently best friends, said that in the same day, they all separately walked in on me having sex in a back room at work with one of the trainers who was seductively donning a Superman costume. Overlooking the most obvious issue with their story, not to mention I’ve never so much as made out with the guy in question, don’t you think after the first person walked in, even the second, it would have killed the mood enough not to leave a window of opportunity for yet another Peeping Tom? And please, Batman is way hotter than Superman.
The staff I made friends with, I got close to; they hated their jobs as much as I did. There was one guy who I used to talk to a lot at work but never hung out with in real life; he had a serious girlfriend and an opportunity never presented itself. One night, however, we happened to finish up at the same time so I asked if he wanted to grab a drink. We drove to a nearby bar, where we sat with our legs interlocked and I proceeded to get sufficiently buzzed. I knew I couldn’t drive home just yet so he suggested I follow him back to his apartment. Somehow driving to his place seemed safer than driving home. Brilliant.
I walked around his apartment, trying to play it cool while doing a little snooping. Not sober, but thinking it enlightened (well, not thinking it through at all) to continue the party, I found myself with the spins. Sitting on the floor staring at the wall, I began describing to the guy all of the bizarre things I was experiencing. It felt like an eternity, like it would never end. He surprisingly and patiently listened to my ramblings, laughing. When he suggested that I write everything down, I replied, “Get me a bag. I’m going to throw up.”
I heard him rummaging in the kitchen for something suitable.
“I’m not joking. Don’t take your sweet time. This is happening.”
He returned with a trashcan and placed it right next to me. Sitting in his computer chair, he watched as I tried to convince myself it wouldn’t be weird to throw up in front of him. Even then, I knew that wasn’t true. I waited for an opportune moment, then sprinted to the bathroom and slammed the door. I forgot to lock it, so the guy followed me right in and sat me on the edge of the tub, rubbing my back. I begged him to stop; I could tell it was going to incite disaster. Knowing exactly what he was doing, he smirked. I dove for the toilet bowl, yelled at him to get out, and shut the door again. Locked it this time. I hadn’t eaten anything that day so instead of productively throwing up, I began dry heaving. I turned on the faucet hoping the running water would drown out my humiliation.
And then, I felt wet. I touched my pants, looked down, then looked up only to discover the sink had overflowed and flooded his bathroom. I was sitting in a pool of water. A small child could have taken a swimming lesson in there.
Water leaked out under the bathroom door and I heard a knock.
“Is everything okay?”
He knew I was lying. I berated him for failing to warn me that his sink had drainage issues. This was clearly all his fault. (He ended up telling his girlfriend he accidentally left the water running, which I think was more for his benefit than mine.)
Every book and magazine-ruined. Towels and bath mat-soaked. Dignity-drowned. I’m a master at first impressions.