The Jennifer Chronicles - Volume IV
April 4, 2010Auld Lang Syne - Part I
I returned to Seattle on December 26th. It was raining. As usual. Seattle is famous for its many sights including the Monorail, Pike Place Market, and of course, the Space Needle. Like every good resident of a thriving metropolis, I had seen none of them.
I took a taxi from the airport. Pulling up to the Victorian style house with the rocking chair on the front porch, I took a long breath. I was happy to be back, but it wasn't really home. It was a tastefully furnished apartment. The house had six tastefully furnished apartments, all of them occupied by working people. There was never any noise. There were never any visitors or guests. As renters, we nodded to each other as we crossed paths on the way out or in, like the nose brush signal in The Sting. We would've done well as covert agents moving under cover of darkness or breaking dawn. We didn't have lives.
My apartment was on the first floor in the back of the house. A whiz New Technologies Administrative Assistant named Gina deserved my first born for finding the place for me. It was open and airy. The living room walls were "ecru," the kitchen walls were "sand," and the bedroom walls were "eggshell." This, it was explained to me, was to leave room for the occupant to express their personal style. As far as I was concerned, all the walls were beige and my personal style was working woman with no time.
The furniture was clean and modern. I lucked out because I got the unit with the bay window and private porch. The window had a seat that functioned as my reading nook. I liked to come home at night and sit there with my coffee, the window open, fresh air filtering in. Recently a cat had joined me, stretching its sleek, feline frame and making itself at home on my porch, eyeing me with disdain. I might have spent more time pontificating about what this meant, considering my single situation, but the cat didn't seem overly interested in staying. It came and went on its own, which reminded me of myself.
I had toyed with the idea of naming the cat Jennifer. Why Jennifer? Since that was the name of the spoiled, arrogant, yet sophisticated, gorgeous woman who married my then fiance a little over a year and a half ago, I thought it might be apropos. I found it hard to believe that last year at this time I had adopted a radical philosophy: Jennifers had it all: looks, grace, and poise. They were the complete package. When my mother mentioned that I was supposed to be named Jennifer but ended up as Joan, all it took was a few demented free associations and voila! I was convinced I could change into the Jennifer I was meant to be. The Jennifer of my imagination. I would be the uber Jennifer of grace, poise, and most importantly, sex appeal. I glanced over at a discarded bra and panty set scattered on the couch. So much for sex appeal.
Whoever said "nothing is ever what you think it will be" deserved a medal. In the end, I had learned more than a few hard lessons and morphed into a slightly less than uber sophisticated, uber thin, uber beautiful but highly competent Executive Assistant. That couldn't be so bad.
"Right?" I said to the gray, green-eyed cat relaxing on my porch. I decided Tiffany was the way to go for a name. Not quite as hip as Audrey Hepburn and her nameless cat in Breakfast at Tiffany's but I decided paying homage wasn't a bad thing. I certainly hoped I wouldn't become a phony. I had already seen that in the business world and it wasn't pretty. No, I was sure the final package of what I would become wasn't quite there yet. I hoped it turned out all right.
Tiffany answered me with a lazy wave of her tail and took off for the night.
I gave a brief thought to seeing Duncan in the morning; the handspring of anticipation in my stomach was not lost on me. I was looking forward to going to work. I was looking forward to seeing him. I squeezed my eyes closed for a minute. Oh no, I thought. Not again. I had done the "boss as potential prince charming" routine and it had ended in total disaster. I repeated my failsafe, my silent mantra: Duncan = Boss = find someone else to think about because Joan + Boss = schmucky Joan who should know better. It probably has nothing to do with Duncan. I'm lonely because I don't have a boyfriend. That's it. Isn't it?
I glanced around, staring at the pile of dry cleaning ready to go, and groaned. Forget about Duncan. There was yet another hurdle to overcome before I got into work. First thing tomorrow morning, I would have to see my nemesis.
Next Week: Auld Lang Syne - Part II
Haven't read Project Jennifer yet? It's available now at Borders and Barnes and Noble (stores and internet) and Amazon.com. Pick up a copy and catch up on the adventure from the beginning!