My co-workers and I always share Thursday lunch. It was a suggestion made by us in upper management. Julie, Piper and myself were brainstorming ways that would pull our already close knit group of workers even closer. And I really do work with a great group of people, with the exception of my secretary, Nanette. So, one of us (it was probably Julie, she is the perky one) decided that we should ask everyone if they wanted to engage in Thursday Potluck lunch. Everyone (with the exception of one person...want to wager a guess?) thought it was a great idea.
So...every Thursday we take turns bringing either 1) paper plates, plastic cutlery (or the real thing if you don't mind being the washer afterwards) 2) sandwiches or a main lunch dish...nothing too fancy, 3) a salad or chips, etc. 4) a dessert or 5) being just a guest and bringing nothing but your appetite. Everyone supplies their own drinks. And the rule is NOTHING TOO EXPENSIVE OR FANCY PANTS. We don't want to turn this into a competition. And some of us (me) don't enjoy cooking that much.
It was my turn to bring dessert today, so I brought cupcakes from this incredible french bakery that I found.
Nanette called in sick (I admit that when I heard her nasally voice on voice mail, I went into Julie's office and said, "Let's get this party started!"), so it was just
Piper, Julie and Maria: big ass bosses
Charity: office manager
Kim and Brenda: long suffering secretaries who work at the front desk with Nanette
Ernesto: the doorman at our building
Each week, five of us are on, five off. Today, Piper brought cutlery, Charity brought homemade chicken salad sandwiches, Kim brought a fruit salad and I brought those delish cuppy cakes.
We all talked like magpies, even the men. And sometimes they are the worst.
But we all got to talking about something that scared the hell out of us.
Milagros spoke of the time that she was out jogging in the early morning and thought she was being followed.
Corona spoke of a man with road rage who jumped out of his car at a red light and came running at his car with a bat screaming, "Stop riding my ass, motherfucker!" This was when he had only been in America for a few months and barely knew English. He thought the man was accusing of him making love to his wife.
Kim spoke of the time her son fell down the basement steps and hit his head. She talked a lot about the incredible blood flow until we reminded her that we were eating, dude.
When it came to my turn, I had my story ready. It was close at hand. It happened when Liv was a baby. I had just moved into our present home and because it is ancient, it had no central air conditioning. I remembered a/c units from college, but didn't know much. At any rate, the one in my bedroom seemed pretty lackadaisical. So, I got out the yellow pages and called the first place I found that worked on window units. When the doorbell rang, I put Liv in her playpen (baby jail) and answered the door. There was this greasy haired man in a pair of jeans and a filthy work shirt. He didn't have a badge or anything.
Stupidly, I said,"Are you the air conditioner repair guy?"
He nodded and held up a tool box. I let him in. WITHOUT checking for id.
I know. Stupid. Incredibly stupid.
I was walking towards Liv when I heard the door slam behind him and turned to see him swiftly locking the three deadbolts on my door. And then I happened to notice that there was no truck in my driveway. No van with the name of the heating and cooling company.
My heart was banging against my ribs and I was terrified. I had just let a killer/rapist into my home. And it was because I was a stupid idiot. I felt my mouth go dry and I tried to think but all that kept running through my head was, "Oh, my God...I can't let him hurt LIV!" I swallowed and tried to think. It's harder than you think. You know how you see all those horror movies and you can't believe that the woman ALWAYS goes down in the basement to check that noise? Or that she trips and falls? Or fights back like a little girl?
Well, that could have been me. I actually tripped over Liv's bouncy chair and almost fell. And when the guy walked towards me, I gave out a strangled, very squeaky half scream.
He held up his hands.
"Hey, now," he said, not unkindly. "I just wanted to make sure you hadn't hurt yourself."
And you know the rest of the story. It was the heating/cooling guy. He had parked in front of my house instead of in the driveway. When I asked him about it later when my teeth weren't rattling, he told me that it was a company rule: DO NOT park in customer's driveways.
In short, he fixed the unit. Put coolant or something in it. And yes, he was kind of gross smelling and looking and that whole exposing butt thing that seems to come with repair men? He did that when he bent over to grasp a wrench or something.
It turned out fine.
I DO think it was ODD that he put my deadbolts on, but I never asked him about it. I should have. I didn't. His teeth were this brownish yellow that disgusted me a little bit, but he wasn't my dentist. He was my repair guy and he did his job. Well.
And okay, as he was leaving, he did ask me if I had myself an um...man. And I lied my head off and said that I sure did!
"Too bad!" he said, gaily. "I was gonna tell ya that I'd love to buy ya a brew sometime."
I smiled and shrugged. He left soon after with my check for 50 bucks.
I do think he was unprofessional. But...he didn't rape and kill me.
And I have NEVER done something so stupid again. I could have been a statistic. The kind you read about and wonder how on earth a woman living alone could be so stupid as to get herself and her baby killed.
So...I've been thinking about it and I really, really want to hear YOUR scary story.
Let's sit by this here camp fire and have some s'mores. Who wants to go first?