Single In The Suburbs, Installment 107

Our writer’s job is in jeopardy and the two people she rejected are the culprits. Will she prevail?

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

aced with a trial by her peers, our columnist is more panicked than ever about losing her job. Who can she reach out to in this time of crisis? Will she triumph over the same two creepy coworkers who inappropriately hit on her in the first place? Read on…

Friday, 9 a.m.
I’m about to email LTC, thinking I’ll ask him to make the trip out here from Chicago. He’s an HR expert, he knows my case, and he thinks I should fight. Who better to represent me at this meeting? I’ll even offer to put him up at my house.

Wait. What am I thinking? This is exactly what I
He’s an HR expert, he knows my case, and he thinks I should fight.
promised myself I wouldn’t do.

Friday, 9:05 a.m.
I forward the email to Stan instead and ask him if he would sit in as a silent observer on Monday at 11, but even as I type this message, it’s demoralizing to think I’m not allowed to have a real advocate. What’s the point? Why bother with a human being if all you need is an accurate transcript? Ever hear of a video camera?

Friday, noon
Just got Stan’s email. He writes: “I’ve represented staff before at this kind of meeting and I know the drill. Silent witness. I’ll be there. No worries.”

Five minutes later, an email from LTC arrives. He wants to know how I’m feeling, “with everything that’s going on.” He writes, “Are you OK?”

Friday, 3:15 p.m.
The irony: I’ve just been notified that I’m a nominee for the “Living Legacy” award, the highest honor, bestowed annually, by the biggest professional organization in my field. A winner will be selected in September, and the awards ceremony is December 1 in Dallas. I wonder they’ll let me have the award if I’m out of a job.

Saturday, 9 p.m.
Tasha in accounts payable heard rumors that my office is under investigation. She insisted that I join her and a friend tonight on their trek to Felicity’s, a restaurant downtown known for three things: its house band,
I’m sure I must have misunderstood, so I say, “Excuse me?”
its Buffalo wings and its pickup bar. So now I am putting on makeup at a time I’d normally be taking it off.

I’m getting ready to go downtown when I wish I could just go to sleep. I’m not the pickup-bar type, if you haven’t already figured that out. But my daughter is with her dad tonight and Tasha was very persuasive. I insisted on meeting her there so I could escape at any time. I have a distinct memory of being at a bar the summer between high school graduation and college — I was as enthusiastic about the idea then as I am now — and my friend Carrie wound up making out all night with some guy up against the bar. She had the wheels (her mom’s Lincoln) and the buses had stopped running, so I was basically stuck there until they were done mashing faces. Lesson learned. I’m meeting her at the bar.

Saturday, 9:45 p.m.
We have been here all of 10 minutes, and Tasha (11 years younger, three inches taller, several degrees blonder) is already flirting with a very tan guy who, with his form-fitting polo and khaki pants, looks like a golf pro.

I’m stirring the red swizzle stick in my soda and staring absently at the baseball game on the screen above the bar when I can feel someone’s breath on my neck. I turn to see a guy with extravagantly hairy nostrils smiling at me. He motions toward the empty stool, and I nod to let him know he can sit there, though I wish he wouldn’t.

I decide that it would be rude to fully ignore him, so I adjust my seat very slightly so that I’m no longer completely facing away from him in case he wants to strike up a conversation. And guess what? He does. He says: “I may not be the best-looking man in this bar, but it looks like I’m the only one talking to you.”

I’m sure I must have misunderstood, so I say, “Excuse me?”

He says it again, and now I’m sure I heard correctly. I surprise both of us when I start laughing. I’m now laughing so hard, I feel like I’ve completely lost control of my facial muscles. I don’t know whether I’m going to keep laughing or shift precipitously to weeping. All I know is that I have to get out of here. Now.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 108

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