Posts tagged ‘Austin Texas’

The Work Widow

Eleanor Roosevelt Frank Sinatra 1947

Image via Wikipedia

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage don’t shit where you eat. I learned this the hard way. And by that I don’t mean that I came down with hepatitis after eating a muffaletta on the toilet. I mean that it took me three mildly embarrassing incidents, as well as observing the heartache and sometimes even the firing of multiple friends, to learn that dating coworkers is just not a very wise idea. Some people pull it off seamlessly, and some of the women I worked with when I lived in Dallas had very happy courtships and subsequent marriages. But that is not how things worked out for me.

I’ve told the story of the WORST DATE EVER, and I’ve also relayed the anecdote of Vern. Here comes Strike Three. I’m a slow learner, but I do learn. Strike Three happened when I was working for the trailer company in Dallas. I did retirement plan administration in the human resources department of the trailer company’s corporate headquarters. This is how I met Damian Carson. No, that’s not his real name. And no, he doesn’t bear the mark of the devil. But I like that alias. It’s pretty close.

Damian was the personnel coordinator at a plant in Buda. Buda is a kind of suburb of Austin, but bear in mind that I was living and working in Dallas at this time. Damian had some kind of business at the corporate headquarters, and he and one or two of the other personnel coordinators were there for some kind of meeting. It wasn’t related to me, but we were usually curious when personnel coordinators came to town because we spoke with them on the phone constantly, and because they were located all over America, we rarely got to see them in person.

I was buddy buddy with all the women I worked with in the office. We hung out together outside of work and genuinely liked each other. There were even a couple bachelorette weekend getaways when two of the women got married. I was the only single woman in our little department. The rest of them all had husbands or significant others or boyfriends. I hung out with my friends and dated occasionally. So, when we had a cute, single guy in the office, naturally, the buzz reached me.

“Hey! C’mere.”


“You heard that [the personnel coordinators] are in the office, right?”

“Yeah. So?”

“So, Damian Carson is pretty cute. And he’s single.”

Now, secretly…okay, not secretly, because Amanda faithfully reads this blog. Dammit! Okay. Not secretly or privately, I was kinda excited about this news. Damian and I got along on the phone okay, but we didn’t have any kind of special rapport until just a few minutes later. I will give myself credit for not skipping across the office like some boy crazy sycophant. I sat at my desk, and I made him come to me.

It was apparent that he thought I was attractive. I mean, you know, I knew he wouldn’t kick me out of bed for eating crackers. And in no time we’re both grinning like loons. It’s amazing how looks will change your opinion of someone because before that moment I’m pretty sure he thought I was the 401(k) Nazi, and I just thought of him as that idiot I was always sending the forms back to because there was some i that wasn’t dotted or t that wasn’t crossed.

How to describe Damian Carson back then? Well, he was just a little younger but probably a whole lot more worldly than I was. He was sort of baby faced with very thick dark hair and a slim build. He was just a tad long waisted and short legged, with broad shoulders. He had a Tom Cruise smile. I wouldn’t have kicked him out of bed for eating crackers, either.

He travelled back to Austin. I stayed in Dallas, and we flirted like mad by office telephone until the next time there was some personnel coordinator’s meeting…yes, on the company dime. I remember very few conversations we had outside the office. Also, his 401(k) forms got flawless overnight. When Damian knew he was flying to Dallas for this seminar thing, he immediately asked me out. I immediately said yes. There was no coaxing necessary that I remember. It was a two-day thing, and they flew him and all the other personnel coordinators out and paid for one night at a hotel.

It was my city, and Damian didn’t have a rental car, which meant I had to pick him up at the hotel lobby, in front of all the other personnel coordinators and some of the people who worked in my office. It also meant I got to pick where we went since he didn’t know my city. And I really was never much of a party animal kind of girl, so I’m almost amazed that we managed to have a good time. But we had a hell of a time. At one moment he carried me across Lovers Lane on his back. Cheese factor very high. I got a little tipsy, but not so bad that I couldn’t drive later. We went to a jazz club, and I sang along with Frank Sinatra’s rendition of, “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” and then promptly started making out with my date in public.

I would say that we were sitting in a dark corner booth, and we were. However, I should still be ashamed of myself because I remember that when Damian scooted out to use the men’s room some guy told him that he got a hard on from watching us. This was really the only bad part of the evening, waiting for Damian to get back from the restroom with Creepy Hard On Guy still standing there. I’m such a hussy.

We left pretty soon after that, and it was late, but I don’t think it would have been after midnight since we both still had to work the next day. We must have spent at least 45 minutes necking in my car in the hotel parking lot. The windows literally got a little steamy. He was a really amazing kisser.

The conversation in the car went like this.

Damian: Why don’t you come up?

Gooseberry Bush: Um, I don’t think that would be a very good idea.

Damian: All I want to do is just kiss you in that big king sized bed.

Gooseberry Bush: We have to work tomorrow.

Damian: You know you want to.

Gooseberry Bush: I don’t think all you want to do is kiss me.

Damian: I promise.

Gooseberry Bush: What if someone sees?

Damian: We’ll sneak you out.

Gooseberry Bush: I don’t think it’s a good idea.

By then I think the buzz was killed, and I wasn’t born yesterday. So, I went home and he went up to his room…alone.

That weekend he called right after he got home. We talked about maybe seeing each other again. I said I’d think about it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a great time. It was two things. One was the distance. I knew that it was going to be impossible for us to have any kind of serious relationship with that much mileage between us.

The other reason was that there was just something too, well, slick about him. He was a little too perfect, too good looking, too charming. And I guess you could sum this up to the fact that Damian Carson struck me as a player. I thought he’d probably see me and some other girl or girls in Austin, too. And I wasn’t sure just how long he’d be interested in me if he ever actually got into my pants.

We didn’t have much in common. He would never have understood me, and worse yet, he would have wondered what I meant by “understood.” You see how we haven’t even gone on a second date yet, and we’ve already broken up…tragically? I actually am pretty good at reading people, but that kind of thinking is a little messed up.

By the time I called him from work the next week he made up my mind for me. The hold music for his plant was all Rat Pack all the time kind of stuff.  He placed me on  hold. The song was Bobby Darrin’s “Mack the Knife.” When Damian came back on the line I complimented him on the hold music, and he said, “Yeah, I love Sinatra.” And I decided right then and there that there would be no second date. It was like an episode of fucking Seinfeld.

All this doesn’t sound very traumatic, and even the end isn’t very traumatic. I did go out with him and the Austin personnel coordinator the next year to play pool. It wasn’t a date. We went as friends. But I did make sure to wear my shortest shorts. I’m such a hussy.

And a little after that outing, word spread through our little department. Damian Carson was no longer employed by our little trailer company. Damian Carson’s roommate got caught selling pot out of the trunk of Damian’s car…in the parking lot of the Buda plant of our little trailer company. And Damian Carson did not show up for a required drug test by the next day.

All over the next week I was barraged with phone calls of condolence from all over the nation from personnel coordinators who knew that Damian and I were “close.” I’m surprised that they didn’t send flowers. I can only imagine how this would have gone down if I had actually gotten caught sneaking out of his hotel room at some ungodly hour of the morning. As it was, I became Damian Carson’s work widow. It was embarrassing then, and I used to bitch about it. But now…I just think it’s funny. Here’s to Damian Carson…wherever you are.

May 25, 2011 at 12:29 am Leave a comment

The Kool-Aid of Personality

A typical North American office

Image via Wikipedia

If you read this regularly, you’ll notice (or not) that I don’t write about my day job. Yes, I have one. Again, this blog doesn’t make me one penny.

I recently started working for a new company. I still socialize with people from my old company, a great company where I worked for three years. Let’s call my old company ABC Company. ABC Company is a multi-billion dollar company with division offices here in Austin.

Because I don’t want to lose my job or be sued for releasing proprietary information or any nonsense like that, I don’t usually write about my job. I just don’t even want to be tempted to write something that’s going to get me in trouble. Even now I’m not giving much away.

Suffice it to say that ABC Company was a great company to work for with good benefits and a top-notch, pleasant working environment. It is considered the premiere company in its field, and its stock is favorably rated. It’s a tech forward company run by a charismatic CEO, a sort of cult of personality if you will. People greatly admire ABC Company, and the corporate culture refers to this admiration as “drinking the Kool-Aid.” You could guess as to the identity of ABC Company, and you just might be right.

Now I work at XYZ Corporation. XYZ Corporation has a division office in Austin. They bought a wholly owned subsidiary that started in Austin, and they office some of their people out of this office. They also still operate the subsidiary under its original name with its original purpose.

So, like the other company, they are not headquartered here. XYZ Corporation is also a pleasant working environment. It’s very technologically adept. It’s publicly traded. They have comparable benefits and just as much free food and free concerts and other unusual perks as ABC Company did. You might even say that XYZ Corporation is the premiere company in its field. It has been around forever, and it has a stellar reputation.

Now if I mentioned the actual names of either of these companies you would know exactly what I am talking about because both of these corporations are multi-billion dollar household names with global presences. So, why is it that everyone that I used to work with at ABC Company looks at me at parties, wrinkles their foreheads, puts on an air of pity and tells me, “You know, you can always go back to work for ABC Company,” as if ABC Company were the only company in the world?

Is it because I no longer have to work on weekends or in the evenings or work in a call center? Or is it because it’s a smaller environment where my contributions are more likely to stand out in the crowd? Or is it because I really will have an actual shot at a writing job at XYZ Corporation, where they not only employ procedural and technical writers but have an entire editorial department that offices here in Austin? I’m confused.


December 17, 2010 at 12:06 am 4 comments

Chicken Shit Bingo

There’s a bar here in Austin called Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon that does something called Chicken Shit Bingo every Sunday evening from 4 P.M. to 8 P.M. A couple of my girlfriends and I were going to partake of the experience since it has taken on an Austin legendary status. Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon is a long, skinny dive bar on Burnet Road that plays country western and features some kick ass live musicians. For Chicken Shit Bingo we got to listen to Dale Watson.

Chicken Shit Bingo, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, is a bingo where the caller is really the chicken. Feed is put down on a large plywood bingo board that’s covered in a crate with chicken wire, and whichever number the chicken shits on is the number that everyone marks on their cards. You pay for a card, and if you win then I presume you get to take the pot home.

One of my girlfriends “chickened” out on me, shall we say. The other girlfriend and I met at precisely 4 P.M. on Sunday night. We ordered two beers. We could have eaten there since chili dogs out of Crock Pots were provided as a courtesy for our enjoyment. We just chose not to do so. We stayed until 5:30. First off, let me say, Dale Watson is ridiculously talented. His first set was great. There was a couple swing dancing to the up tempo numbers on a dance floor that must have been the size of a floor tile. They were fun to watch.

Also, you, Hot Guy, who looks sort of like Matthew McConaughey! You were wearing a navy bandana around your head and a red hankie out of the left ass pocket of your jeans and walking around with a camera – call me.

Unfortunately, we didn’t end up staying for the Chicken Shit Bingo. The line to buy cards to play was ridiculous. The bar was overcrowded. I guarantee you that if a fire marshall would have made an inspection at that moment the place would have been shut down on the spot. I am going to guess that there might have been close to one hundred people there in a bar without central heating and air. There’s one window unit literally kept together with duct tape that looks like it might have enough horsepower to keep one small bedroom cool, and some ceiling fans. I was literally going to sweat to death before the chicken could get done shitting.

Some additional observations: my friend and I saw a young family enter the bar with two preschool aged children. Only in Texas can you see a mother with toddler on hip, with the aforementioned toddler holding a pocket sized version of the New Testament, next to Dad, who is holding a beer in one hand and his gambling money in the other, on a Sunday afternoon. All this in a state where liquor stores are required to be closed on Sundays. That being said Ginny’s does have a family friendly sort of atmosphere. You have to get up and make a walk to the bar to get a beer for yourself, but the wait staff will pass the hat themselves to make sure the musicians get tipped.

My friend and I left and decided to go to Trudy’s North Star for some margaritas and Tex-Mex at a place that’s definitely not part of the Keep Austin Weird movement. In its favor: the food was good, the place was cool, and someone served you your drinks. My friend and I would definitely go back to Ginny’s again. We are going in the winter and bringing our own personal fans and fire extinguishers…just in case.

June 27, 2009 at 1:43 am Leave a comment

The Biker Rally

Katina and I went to the Republic of Texas Biker Rally Parade Friday night. First, we worked out together. Our plan was to work out at the gym, shower and get ready, and then head downtown to Sixth and Congress to see the parade. The gym was actually full on a Friday night, and we could not secure any of the machines. Since when do people in Austin work out on a Friday evening instead of getting their drink on?

Katina was ready to pick up a biker, having gone shopping to secure just the right cleavage-revealing blouse for the evening, the night before. She and I went to the mall after our work out, where, I, a woman who also is not particularly into shopping, was amazed at her efficiency in picking out just the right thing for picking up a biker.

The gym was crowded, so we ended up walking around office buildings in our work out clothes for thirty six minutes, before we went back to the full gym to shower and get ready. The thing about showering and getting ready in the gym is that in spite of great facilities and all the necessary hygiene instruments, that even in air conditioning one continues to sweat after working out for at least thirty minutes afterward, at least in this Austin heat and humidity.

I should have incorporated this into the evening’s schedule. Work out, sit on my ass and do nothing for thirty minutes until I stop sweating, and then shower and get ready. Instead, I put on full makeup in a rainstorm of sweat and then did my hair and put on hairspray, which set my hair in the sticky wet windblown look, since Katina’s vehicle is not air conditioned.

I love people watching. We walked to the parade, watched it for forty-five minutes, and then went to get chips and queso afterward. I put my check card and I.D. in Katina’s purse, along with my cell phone. We stood up and watched the bikes go by. Since Katina and I were both sober at the time, neither one of us had the guts to pick up on a biker if we were so inclined. The parade lasted for forty-five minutes. We saw bikes in every shape, style and color imaginable. Some displayed lights, one had fire coming out of the exhaust, and one was in the shape of a John Deere tractor. Then, all hopped up on chips and queso and iced tea, we made the trek home.

On the way home, we made conversation. At one point, on the way to my car at the North Lamar Transit Center, I had a scary thought. It was dark, I was on my way home from downtown on a Friday night, and I started laughing. I turned to Katina and said, “I was just wondering if I would be safe to drive by the time you dropped me off.” We both laughed. She said this was definitely going into the weekly email, and when we got to the transit center I had the presence of mind to ask for my check card and I.D. back, since I had a hair appointment at 10 AM the next morning.

What I did forget was my cell phone. Now, as I am writing this, Shy Guy and another friend have left Facebook messages, asking me to call Katina this weekend to recover my cell phone. Obviously, I was high on something. Possibly, considering the work out, it was endorphins. People should be warned about these endorphins. They are wicked.

June 14, 2009 at 8:34 am Leave a comment

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