Keyed to my heart

(Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young, from the corporate-approved soundtrack I listen to at work.)

Well, work continues at the clothing outlet as the strange world of women’s fashion slowly turns more routine with time. At this point, I’m pretty sure the customers are more surprised to see me than I am to work with them, which isn’t a bad thing really (in fact, many customers comment that they like seeing a man working there).

One of the problems with working at a big mall is the parking on weekends. Sometimes we have satellite lots in a muddy weed-strewn field, or we have even ridden shuttles from nearby properties in the past. Anyhow, I was coming into work not long ago and I was fortunate enough to have someone back out of a space as I was coming along the flow of traffic. As I pulled into the space, two girls in a car honked at me, and then asked me after I got out of the car if they could pay me for my parking space. I told them I was already late and went on into work. The next day, I noticed my car had been keyed pretty badly, and I suspect it was the two of them (when I left work that night it was dark, so I could have easily missed it). Either way, that’s just not enough justification to key somebody’s car. I know, some people are just mean enough to do it at random with no motivation at all, but someone would have to seriously wrong me for me to consider property damage (such as, by keying my car when I don’t deserve it). I was mad for several hours at work that day, but fortunately my customer interactions were kept to a minimum and I sorted clothes and worked on the style guide (reorganizing how the store looks) for a while. Ultimately I’ve decided that, unless I should just so happen to see those girls again, I’m going to let this go (if I see them again, they should expect a visit from the police). I may look into an insurance claim and getting the car repainted, I’ll cross that bridge soon.

The moment I really started to calm down at work that day, though, is when one of my coworkers walked by and the scent of her perfume just seemed to sap the anger out of me and made me relax. My next thought was, “Oh shit, this is a real crush.” I won’t share her name, but I will say that she is one of my bosses, and the only one that is single. She’s not exactly my type: a little too trendy, a bit more extroverted than I’d like (she likes to party from what I gather), and definitely not up on her nerd culture. On the other hand, we have this amusing banter/witty repartee running while we’re at work, where it almost feels like we’re cautiously flirting all day. We have some background in common (we’re both only children, which means we understand the need for personal space and private time; and we seem to share some tastes in music and movies, not across the board but enough to meet halfway). She has lovely olive-colored skin (reminding me of Mediterranean tones, like someone native to Greece or Italy), brown hair, dark chocolate eyes and a curvaceous little body that she likes to dress up. Her smile and her laugh are really infectious though, and that’s probably part of what makes me strive to get a laugh out of her in our work conversations.

At this point I’ve been burned a lot though; and part of me wonders how much of this stems from my own innate loneliness. Do I really like her, or the idea of her? There are a lot of doubts in this case, doubts about our common interests and hobbies, concerns about the work environment (she is my boss, after all), and of course doubts about my personal situation. I may have money coming in now, but not exactly enough to live on and not really enough saved up yet. I’m not able (or ready) to move out unless I have roommates, and that brings issues of its own. Would an independent woman of 27 really want to date a guy who is 31 and still living with his parents? I would think that might feel like a step backwards for her, though maybe I’m selling myself short. I know I’m hardly alone, there are plenty of adults who still live with one or both parents for various reasons, but I can’t help feeling like I’ve still got a long way to go before I can offer someone, well, a life together. I KNOW, that’s thinking too far ahead, but I don’t feel… young anymore. I realize 31 is young and many people are still active in the dating scene in their 40’s, but I’m feeling the sensation now that I can’t get those years back. Can I afford to still ignore my future prospects and the long-term in order to enjoy the present? For that matter, can I set aside my haunting feeling of past failures to enjoy the present?

I’m in no hurry to ruin things at work, and I’ve already (subtly) indicated some interest, so the ball is in her court. Since it seems some stereotypes tend to hold true (men have to make the first move) this probably means nothing will change for now. I will bide my time, keep saving money, and potentially repaint my car if the insurance covers it without a premium hike. If nothing else, it’s nice to have another friend at work.

Scratches reveal
my thin outer battlements
prove no redoubt against
your glancing keys,
and
like chemical welfare
the scent you spray
diffuses my will
to fight the invisible;
so
a key wrought in anger
and leveled in hatred
has opened a breach
more poorly defended:
the
key on my car
has plainly told
that you now hold
the key to my heart.

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