Michelle – Chapter 3 – Ignition

I never wonder how history can get to be blurred over time. Details are lost. Words forgotten. Deeds bent and twisted by time and sometimes other factors. The story of Michelle and I only lived in two places. In both of our heads. That’s it. Nowhere else in the world. There is her version. There is my version and somewhere in between there is the truth. But I will do my best to tell this compelling tale.

Michelle was still trying to get acclimated to the job and was coming along. We had been getting pretty close as pals. There was lots of laughs in our department and Michelle fit right in with our band of idiots. Like the rest of the company, everyone liked and respected her.

In our building we had our on lunchroom. Like the watering hole on the savannah, it would not be uncommon to see salespeople, writers, reporters, production people and even management all eating in the same place. Obviously they would all sit in their little cliques together like high school.

One day I asked Michelle if she’d like to join me for lunch up there. She agreed, which I was thrilled about. I could never have imagined in this moment how this day would ultimately end. We’d be moving to our new, modern workspace downtown, so this could be one of the last time anyone of us would be using this lunchroom.

Lunch was nice and people said hello as they passed. I was still relatively new to the company so many people didn’t know who the hell I was but everybody knew Michelle. I don’t remember what we even talked about and it doesn’t even matter. I was just happy to be out of our tiny office and sitting enjoying a simple meal together in public.

After lunch we went back to work as usual. The details are a little fuzzy because this was 8 years ago, but Michelle and several other staff members were all going across the street to a local go-to bar after work for a few drinks. I do remember it was a Thursday, because the next day was Friday and there were moving all of our stuff to the new space. We were to start at the new location the next Monday. I’ll never turn down the offer to have a drink, so when Michelle asked if I was going I said that I’d check it out. I had been there before but only with a co-worker for lunch.

I finished up my work and packed up the last of my stuff. It was probably around 5:30 when I walked over to the parking garage and dropped my computer bag into the trunk of my car. I walked across the street, and entered the establishment. Michelle was sitting at the bar chatting with this young, short jewish guy named Seth who worked in local digital sales. I knew him only in passing because we sold different products than his group. The local sales team were a young, hip, good-looking bunch that always appeared to have it better than the rest of us. I will say this, I liked him. He was hungry and a good sales guy. So he had my respect. I took a seat next to him and Michelle was on the other side of him.

I ordered a glass of wine and we all chatted. Talking about the move to downtown and just regular corporate stuff that happens at every happy hour around the world. At some point Michelle got up to chat with some ladies she was friends with by the jukebox. Seth and I continued to talk. Business, goals, women, bosses, etc. At one point I asked him how his love life was going. He said he had started dating a nice girl and it seemed to be going well. He asked me and I told him I had just moved back from New York and wasn’t seeing anyone. I asked him if he could have any woman who would it be. He looked me right in the eye and with a serious tone said; “Michelle.” I was like, “Really?” He said, “yea, I love her. She’s amazing.” I suppose I would get that answer from any short Jewish guy. A pretty tall blonde on his arm.

Time went by and everyone was throwing back their drinks. People drink a lot in the advertising and financial world. It’s just part of the business. We were all pretty buzzed and everyone was laughing and the place was getting loud. Seth said he had to leave soon, and it looked like Michelle and I were going to stick around a little longer. I thought I’d shake the place up and see if I could get everyone’s attention and maybe annoy them at the same time. It was my turn to feed the jukebox, so I had a plan. I played something popular that everyone liked and then I programmed in Dio’s Holy Diver being performed by Killswitch Engage. I love heavy metal and I’m sure nobody ever places that kind of music in a place like that. But then I programmed a bunch of other songs that were part of my plan.

Seth says his goodbye’s and now it’s just Michelle and I and we’re chatting away and slugging our cheap wine. Frank Sinatra comes on the jukebox. Michelle exclaims that she likes his music and asks if I played those songs. I told her it was indeed me. She smiled.

We continued to talk and tell stories, I told her I  lived in Pennsauken, NJ and how I would ultimately find a place in the city . I always felt like the type of person that should live in a metropolis. I had spent most of my life living in the suburbs wherever I was and hated it. But after getting a taste of city life while in NY I knew where I belonged. Michelle lived in a high-rise apartment building in Fairmount. It was only about six blocks away so she liked walking to work. She had a roommate, who she used to model with a few year ago and they had remained friends and decided to get a place.  She said the apartment had a great southern view of the city.

Then she asked me if I wanted to check out her view. We had been drinking for a couple of hours and were both “tipsy”. I’m being gentle here. It’s like when the police say: “Tipsy driving is still drunk driving.” That’s how tipsy we were.

We literally were outside and she was having a cigarette and we had our wine glasses in our hands, and the next thing I knew we were walking towards her house still caring our glasses of wine and drinking from them. She whips out her iPod, (I had only seen one before in my life. I still had a flip phone back then!) She puts one ear bud in my ear and the other in hers and she’s playing songs for me. It was the first of many surreal episodes I would encounter with Michelle. I asked her wouldn’t the bar be angry if people walked out with full glasses and took them? She said it happened all the time. At that point I didn’t give a shit, I was just happy to be with her. Lunch and then drinks in the same day was a big deal to me. I did notice that if you don’t have both ear buds in your ears the sound quality just isn’t there. But the music was chill and sort of dreamy.

I don’t remember entering her building, nor do I remember going up in the elevator, or entering her apartment. Apparently her roommate was away for the weekend. All I remember is kissing her and her saying my breath was bad. I don’t know why she said that or even why  I remember that, but it didn’t stop me from drunkenly making out with her. I remember some other things happening, but we did not have sex that night. I can’t remember anything else or where  I even slept that night or when the night ended.

I woke up I think on the floor the next morning and was pretty hung over. The beautiful thing was we didn’t have to go into work that day, which was clutch. I remember looking everywhere for my glasses. For the life of me I was looking all over for them and just couldn’t find them. It’s even harder to find your glasses when you’re not wearing your glasses! I did finally locate them. They were under a chair out on her balcony. It had rained during the night and they were all wet but thankfully, undamaged. No idea…

We awkwardly pulled ourselves together, and I’m sure she was probably feeling bad about what transpired, especially because she was working hard to get back together with Delaware Dave. I think we agreed that it was just a case of drunken slipsies (That’s what my Dad calls it) I apologized for the infraction but deep down didn’t regret having it happen.

We said our awkward goodbyes and I told her I would talk to her later. She said she had to go into the office and pick up a few things but that was all. So I did my first Philadelphia walk of shame back to the parking garage under cloudy skies. When I got home I realized I had forgotten to pack the AC adapter to my computer. It was still plugged in the wall under my cubical at the old office. I called Michelle and asked if she could get it for me. She was pretty hung over and she agreed to slip in and out, and get her stuff and grab my adapter for me. Well at least she doesn’t hate me, I thought.

I was so tired and banged up from the events of the night before, I just drove back to Jersey and took a nap at home. It was officially the weekend, and we would all be reporting to the new location Monday morning. I had a lot to think about, but only time would tell what the coming days would bring for us all.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances on Wednesdays at 9am EST.

Sarika – River of Betrayal

I was down at Harbor Park down on the Delaware River, two summers ago. I remember I was stumbling about with one of my bartender pals, Myles. We her drunk and stoned and just grooving on the lights and checking out the ladies.

I remember looking off to my two o’ clock and seeing this stunning Indian beauty in a blue and white striped shirt with white slacks. She really struck me because she was so lovely. Just an ethereal, exotic beauty. She was with a group of girls, so we just kept walking. Myles had a girlfriend at the time and I wasn’t in the market, so we just browsed.

I never really thought of that Eastern beauty again, until I was chatting with my friend, Keila. She was showing me some of her friends in her phone, and I was suddenly like, “Wait a second! Back up! Who is that?” “Oh, my friend, Sarika?”

I told her how I saw her at Harbor Park and was immediately taken by her beauty. “Can you introduce me to her?” I squeaked.

So a few weeks later I was at an event with Keila, and she had her squad with her. Sarika was there. Keila knows everybody and has tons of contacts so it stands to reason she’d be friends with hot Sarika. She introduces me, and I proceed to tell her the story of how I had noticed her at Harbor Park weeks before.

I became friends with Sarika. We would meet up for drinks, and I was just happy to be seen in public with such a deadly beauty. I would take her to fashion shows and she would be hotter than the models on stage. I kid you not.

I learned that Sarika was a nerd. As hard to believe as that may seem, it’s true. She worked as an engineer. She would rather go to the Franklin Institute after hours with me than sit in a bar or go to a club. I found that incredibly hot. Because most nerds aren’t hot. I mean my friend Trish is hot, but not “Sarika” hot. We would hang out quite a bit. I started to realize that she didn’t have many female friends. She was seeing this pretty boy type, but I think he wasn’t that into her. Which I didn’t understand. How could you not be interested in someone who lovely? The more time I spent with Sarika, the more I started to see that she was vacuous and really self-absorbed. She would say things negative about herself only so you’d say, “Oh no you’re not. You look great.” Why would she need that?

Then I heard a story from my dear friend Alice. She was in New York with Sarika, and Alice was visiting some people and one of them was an ex that she was still friends with. Alice stressed to everyone that she still had some feelings for him. Which if you were a normal person you would be careful about what you said or did around them. So they’re in a taxi, and Sarika starts flirting with Alice’s ex right in front of her. Then goes so far as to laugh and make fun of Alice. I hear this story later, and I find it hard to believe, because Sarika has never done anything to me. But I’m not a girl.

Then I hear another story about how Sarika was flirting with Keila’s then boyfriend. She would do it right in front of her. Keila knew this was breaking the code. You don’t pull that shit on your friends. Granted, at the time she was dating this rich guy that looked like Woody Harrelson’s brother with down syndrome and the HIV. I didn’t understand that mess.

So what was up with Sarika? Was she really a Black Widow? My female friends would ask me why I still hung around with that shrew, and my answer was always the same. “She’s never done anything to me.”

New Years 2016 rolls around. I have tickets at the Pyramid Club for a $70 a plate event. Who do I want to be seen with in all the pictures on New Years eve at the Pyramid Club? Exactly. I don’t even have to say her name.

Well, it’s like the day before and I get a call from her and she says, “I’m trying to get Jim a ticket but it looks like it’s sold out.”

Ok. I know she has been seeing Jim off and on for a while now. First that smacked ass wouldn’t commit to her, because he probably was still banging his ex that he said he was ‘still ung up on.’ Maybe he didn’t want to commit to a brown-skinned girl.  i don’t know. But if you are my first choice to go to an exclusive event, and you agree, I don’t expect you to bring a date. It’s just rude. I didn’t expect to be kissing Sarika at midnight. i just wanted her to go with me. Sure i would have loved to have been with her, but i knew that wasn’t happening. She was just a friend, and the best darn bit of arm candy i knew.

I jus got really pissed at the infraction and sort of cut her off. I ended up taking some other loser chick that I could get to go with me last minute. I shouldn’t call her a loser. She’s clearly not but it just wasn’t the same. It was however one of the most sober new years eves I’ve ever had.

I started to think about some other times I was out with Sarika with some other women friends there. Sarika would sometimes make fun of the other girls. It’s kind of bizarre. Here is this tragically beautiful girl, who knows she’s gorgeous and smart as a whip, and she’s kind of an asshole to those around her. But I will tell you this. In the time I’ve known her, she’s never once been in a stable loving relationship. So there’s that.

My father used to say, you should be able to be friends with men and women. It’s a good balance. He also once said, “Go through this life and hurt as little people as possible.”

So watch out for karma, Sarika.

Update: It’s been over a year but I recently ran into Sarika and we have made some amends. I am supposed to meet up with her this month, so we’ll see what’s up. Sure she’s probably still a self-absorbed asshole.

But God, she is beautiful…

Phicklephilly!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday at 9am EST. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances, on Wednesdays at 9am EST.

Michelle – Chapter 2 – Getting to Know You

I know these initial chapters are  short and I’m sure the real Michelle reading them will feel the same. But Just know that this is the beginning of me knowing her. There isn’t much data, because not much was happening in the beginning. But just know these stories will expand and be rich in history once I get to know her. Stay with the story. It gets better.

Michelle began work as an account representative in my department. At first it was kind of weird having her there. We were all a bunch of misfits and she was this really pretty woman who seemed perfect. Why would she want to work with a bunch of miscreants like us? But everyone made her feel welcome. Of course I would chat with her because she was a total babe and I couldn’t help it.

Michelle, is basically an easy-going girl. For someone as tall and beautiful as she is, she doesn’t have analoof  attitude. She’s very approachable and friendly. I have always described her as, “The nicest, beautiful girl, I’ve ever met.” That statement stands true to this day. Many think beauty equals kindness. That is usually not the case. Physically beautiful people get preferential treatment every day.

Beauty is not subjective. Contrary to popular belief, men and women generally agree on who is and who is not physically attractive, even across other cultures.What makes someone enjoyable to look at? High cheekbones, fuller lips, big eyes, and a thin chin are associated with sexiness in women, whereas a big jaw and broad chin are preferred in men. Smooth skin, shiny hair, and facial symmetry are also key aspects of beauty. According to various studies, these provide measures of health, good genes, intelligence, and success. More often than not, the world rewards beauty. Beautiful people are viewed as healthier.

Facial symmetry, considered the beacon of beauty, can be perceived as good health, even if it is not related to actual health. In an Australian study, researchers morphed photographs of young adults so that their faces were perfectly symmetrical. In general, the symmetric version of each face — both male and female — received higher health ratings than the normal image. Individuals with asymmetric faces were perceived as unhealthy.

It’s easier for beautiful people to find mates. Men seek attractive women as mates because good looks signal youth, health, and reproductive fitness. Beautiful people are more persuasive. Good-looking people can use their sex appeal and good looks to be more persuasive, say in a job interview or when asking for a promotion. Attractive people are more persuasive, in part, because they also possess or develop key personality traits — like intelligence and strong social skills — that make them more effective communicators. Researchers also found that compared to unattractive speakers, attractive speakers were much more fluent talkers.

Beautiful people are perceived as more likeable and trustworthy. Beautiful people are typically treated better by others. In a study from Harvard University, researchers found that wearing makeup, shown to enhance a woman’s attractiveness,boosted people’s perception of the subject’s competence, likability, attractiveness, and trustworthiness.

All of that said, when I met Michelle she was just coming into her own. She was breaking internal barriers, emotionally and physically. She had a hard shell that she wore like a suit of armor every day. Not a hard exterior or an attitude, just a barrier to protect her fragile, developing, inner self. She was a confused twenty-seven year old woman. Just trying to figure it all out like every other girl her age. She liked novelty, but loved adventure, sometimes in the fast lane.

Michelle is kind. Like I said, she is a very nice lady. She is also mostly conservative, but liberal in her beliefs. She always comes across as authentic. She doesn’t like bullshit, or those who spew it. She had a strong dislike for fake people or gossips. She does not have the time nor the tolerance to put up with a lot of nonsense, or “give people a lot of chances.” She’s very civic-minded and volunteered at several foundations.

Michelle does love to laugh, drink and smoke cigarettes. She loves to listen to her music. Michelle is always down to party any day of the week. Who doesn’t love a chick that’s willing to take a few chances?

She had told me she had won a trip for two to Greece through the company. Sadly, she had to come up with the money for the hotel or the airfare or something. So it wasn’t really a prize. I don’t know what it was. I asked her who she was going with and she said her ex-boyfriend. They had been together since they were 15 and broke up when she moved to the city a few years ago. (See: Michelle – Chapter 1) I think she had been with him for so long, (I’m sure he was the first one to punch her V-Card, so there’s that.) When you’re with someone like that when you are so young and you’re together for years, that person sort of becomes like family. They were trying to get back together when I met Michelle. She had dated a few guys since coming to Philly, and even had a relationship with a guy that worked at the company for a while. I’ve met him and he’s dumb as a post. He never treated her well simply because he didn’t know how. He liked acquiring her but he couldn’t relate to her and was never compassionate to her. He just didn’t have it in him. He liked hanging at the club with his boys surrounded by bitches and hos. Are you getting the picture? They were like O.J. and Nicole but without the murder. There you go.

So that was a fail. When you fail you go back to the familiar. Michelle migrated back to Delaware Dave. That’s what I’ll call him. But Dave was in Delaware and didn’t like being around crowds, or going out in the city or anything. Me, on the other hand was there in the office with her everyday. I had been away from Philly for many years and loved going out and exploring the city. Actually, back then I was living in a little apartment in Pennsauken NJ. I would commute in every morning. I had not yet become the Dark Lord of the City of Brotherly Love yet in 2008.

One night our department went out to dinner at the Continental on 18th street. I remember me and the retarded guy making room for Michelle to sit next to our boss because it was so obvious he liked her. The dinner was great and the drinks flowed. Michelle had to go and Herbert was super concerned about Michelle’s safety walking home. A little too much. This guy was weak. He was smart and well-educated but when it came to matters of the heart he couldn’t handle himself properly. It felt awkward. So he’s had a few drinks and we’re walking with him and he says: “Guys, I think I’m falling in love with my employee.” This wouldn’t be the first time for family man Herbert. We found out that he once worked for a competitor and had an affair with one of his employees. It didn’t go well and I saw the long scratch from a key down the side of his white 300 series Mercedes. What an idiot. So he ended up leaving that company and coming here. I wonder how he explained that gouge to his wife. Probably blamed it on vandals.

There were days when I would take a seat next to Michelle by her work station and chat with her. She began to open up to me about some aspects of her life. She suffered from some health problems that many don’t understand. Nothing life threatening but troublesome in regard to quality of daily life. I gathered some info from a specialist and passed it along to her. I would sometimes leave her a granola bar as a breakfast snack some mornings. I also bought her lotion because her hands would get dry in the cold weather. Sometimes in the afternoons we would watch funny videos on her computer. She admitted that when she saw clips of people falling down accidentally or from doing stupid activities it really tickled her. So our work friendship was developing. I was just honored to be around this lovely lady.

This was so much better than scuttling down the hallway after her to the billing department.

 

Thank you for reading Phicklephilly. Pleas read, like, comment and most of all follow my blog. I publish every Monday at 9am EST.

I publish new Dating content every Monday. I publish Updates and bios and stories about related characters, such as male and female friends and acquaintances on Wednesdays at 9am EST.

Maria – Chapter 2 – Amor en Vano – Part II

Another tale of one man’s journey through the dating scene in Philadelphia. Searching for true love.

In our last episode, our hero was meeting with Maria at a coffee shop to find out why she had been let go from her job. But does he have ulterior motives?

Maria stated that it was one incident on a Saturday night where she did one shot with a table of people. But she said some of the other servers said she was drinking all night long, and that simply wasn’t true. (I believe her) I was just happy that she was talking to me and meeting with me over coffee. I asked her what was she going to do now and she said she had already gotten another job at a nicer restaurant. I was surprised it happened so fast but in that industry there is always turnover, and they always need experienced help. (And because she’s smart and understands the hospitality industry) Maria lamented that she’d have to learn a new menu but other than that it was a decent gig. I had been to the new place when it opened and I thought it was a great spot in a good area. The food was good, so she’d probably do well there.

And that’s when I said the following. “Maria, I have something else I need to share with you.” She crossed her arms. I’m really good at reading people’s body language so I tried to put her at ease. I told her that I had real feelings for her. You have to be willing to take risks like this if you want the better rewards in life. But I will tell you, sometimes you roll the dice and your number doesn’t come up. Maybe on a later roll, but sometimes you leave the casino alone and broke.  She said she didn’t want to be misconstrued on how she was when she would serve us at the restaurant.

I understand if a server is sweet and a little flirty it helps garner bigger tips. It’s just human psychology. I told her she was just being friendly and that it was her personality that shone through. I told her all of those times we came into the restaurant all I wanted to see was her. The weekends I would spend at my office working on ad copy. I would text her and say “I’m burning so many calories banging my head against the wall trying to come up with an idea for this ad campaign it’s making me hungry. Should I come see you and have some delicious sliders?” That was the sort of thing I would do but it was all about wanting to see her.

She responded, “Do you think we’d be compatible?” And I said, “We went to the flower show, that was great and you don’t know if you’re compatible until you spend time with someone.” I simply told her how I felt about her. I think she was surprised, but at least I know it’s out there now and I’ve said it. I know she’s sporty and I’m more of the arts guy but who knows? Stranger things have happened. (Please continue reading this blog each week and you’ll know!) She was on her way to the new job when she met me, so I bid her farewell and told her I’d stay in touch. We hugged and she was gone. At least now she knew what I felt for her.

I told Maria that me and my colleague were going to boycott the old place for firing her by never going there again, but that clearly wasn’t happening. The food is delicious there and we still love the lunch hostess, Mary (See: Mary – Unexpected Table for Two) and a couple of the other servers there!

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

 

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