Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

"I hate you."

You are in the bathroom at work, washing your hands in the never-warm water. Tuesday is shuffling around in the stall behind you. There's the occasional whisper and soft chuckle. You wonder who she's talking to, because it certainly isn't you. Your brain asks the fleeting question, "What on earth is she doing in there?" since she occupied the restroom before you arrived. The question is immediately dismissed for more entertaining thoughts.

You are about to apply a coat of lip gloss, when the toilet flushes at last You try to ram the tube into your pocket and make a speedy exit.

Tuesday emerges from the stall and looks your way.

"I hate you." She says this with some resignation. You turn to face her, still gripping the gloss.

"Beg pardon?"

"I just-I don't know. I hate you, I guess. I thought you should know."

Can this be happening? Your heart races for a moment as your body floods with the queerest sense of relief. You knew it all along, that she despised you. And you despise her, too, though without any concrete reason. Your hate just is.

Now, your hate is just. No more covert cringing, no more self torture. Her hatred of you is a fact, and that is enough to confirm every suspected slight, every imagined undermining sneer. It was all true. You are not crazy.

The relief that buzzes through your head with the wings of a thousand caressing butterflies almost impulses you to love Tuesday. This was pretty forthright of her, after all, to admit such an adolescent notion as simply hating a co-worker for the hell of it. The two of you can regale each other with revenge fantasies and delight in a future of best-friendship. The divide wasn't so wide. In years to come, the inseparable pair of you will relate the story to your children, how your hate blossomed into the dearest bond. Don't judge a book by its cover. Even the ugliest duckling may yet turn into a swan of kinship.

Your hand is still grasping the tube of lip gloss. The two of you are silent. Tuesday erupts into a sudden barking laugh.

"I'm kidding! God, what a terrible thing to say to someone, righ?" (Christ. She never pronounces the T at the end of the word Right.)

"Yes," you muster, "That is." You try to laugh, but the sound is more akin to a chair scooted across the floor. You have squeezed the lip gloss tube to the point of bursting. The ooze of petroleum jelly trickles into your fist.

Tuesday doesn't wash her hands. She clops past you and pats you on the shoulder. "See y'out there!"

From out in the hallway, you can hear her voice cawing to another co-worker, "Guess what I just said!"

You are left in the humid restroom to stew in your own loathing. And lip gloss.

We saw the Magnetic Fields in concert on Sunday. It was a terrific concert. I join the throngs of Stephen Merritt's fans in saying that he is a brilliant lyricist, and the Magnetic Fields' arrangements are truly musically creative.

(Laura Barrett is also someone to check out. The spritely Toronto native is imaginative and has a lovely voice. She occasionally lingers on the Isle of Twee, but a couple of her songs were earnest and beautiful.)

My one complaint is that they didn't play one of my favorite songs.

1 comment:

Sarah-Ji said...

I will have to check out Laura Barrett. Cadence loves the Twee. And that is one of my favorite Magnetic Fields songs.

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