I think I’ve been a closet or wannabe Sociologist for a long time.  It’s fascinating observing behavior around me and our interactions with one another.  But never enough to make it a college major or possible career.  Just enough to observe, get inspired, amused, or perhaps a bit shocked depending…just making notes on the virtual clipboard in my head.

And last night on Friday there was no shortage of juicy goodness.  Ever sit right next to two people on a first date?

I met my good friend T for sushi and drinks last night as a belated birthday celebration.  Hell, I love dragging out my birthday fun…any time to celebrate between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day is fair game.  

Picture this:  T and I are at the sushi bar on the end of a row of seats.  Right around the corner from us are the two people on a first date.  And oh boy I felt sorry for the woman – she was clearly mortified with him.  Body language never lies!  And it screams!  He was the longish-bang’d, cocky and somewhat oily type. She meanwhile is trying to be polite and not roll her eyes except on the inside.  Does Cher have a niece?  This woman would be a dead ringer for her.  Meanwhile, the guy would not shut up or ask her any questions!  When he turned to chat with the guy sitting on the other side of him she immediately whipped out her phone and started texting…probably calling the girls for backup, ha!  Can’t blame her.  UGH.  Haven’t we all been there one time or another?     

While T and I are enjoying sashimi, wine, chatting with the sushi chef whom we know fairly well (and doing some major catching up on life amongst ourselves), the dude around the corner is nuzzling his date and whispering in her ear about things, much to her chagrin.  He pulls away and chats again with the guy on the other side of him and I hear something like,  “…there’s an Angel on my left.”  I’m thinking, Dude, there won’t be for long the way you’re acting. 

Let me sidestep and give some random advice to any guys out there about things NOT to say on a first date. 

Gentlemen, DO NOT say things on first dates such as:
– “…restraining order…” 
– “The judge told my first wife that…”
– “One of my psychiatrists told me to…”

Just trust me on this one.

I really would love to go into more detail about all of this (T and I were both fascinated with those two but didn’t want to seem eavesdrop-y) so we stuck to our conversation and our incredible sushi. Good Lord, I swear the mention of “sushi” brings a Pavlovian response within me; wipe the drool from my chin!  Sashimi (raw fish)?  Bring it OWHNNN…as long as it’s the superior stuff.  And this place has it.  Oh and some extra wasabi please.

So here we are with a 3-day weekend already!  Had to laugh as this was the first full week of the new job, so I’ve only been back at it 8 days and already it’s Memorial Day!  I’m nowhere near feeling burnt out or ready for a long weekend obviously but it’s here so I’ll take it.  Might be a long haul till 4th of July depending on how intense things get.  The biggest thing for me right now is getting used to getting up earlier than I did when I wasn’t working, forcing myself to eat something first thing to tie me over till lunch, commuting and trying to absorb all the information coming at me at warp speed.  Names, roles, key dates/milestones and building floorplans.  And chowing down an enormous bowl of “alphabet soup.”  Meaning, learning a buttload of acronyms!

As I’ve written earlier, I’ve worked at this same large company before but in a different business unit and different campus location.  There are a lot of underlying similarities and yet the work is different.  How would I describe this feeling to my friends or new co-workers?  One day – BAM.  It dawned on me:

I’ve moved in with my “Cousins” !!  That’s it!

I even tried out that saying on a few people and they seemed to nod or light up and get what I meant!  There’s the underlying foundation and bond of family and familiarity, but other nuances, practices and habits are different.  Ta daaaa! 

The highlight of the workweek was getting invited out to lunch with 6 or 7 of my new co-workers who I’ve met either through meetings or general introductions.  I felt very flattered to be asked to join them for lunch as I’m not always sure as the new person how quickly I’ll be embraced or included.  And that’s no biggy, really.  I just rely on eating lunch on my own or with an office mate until I get to know people better.

But going out to eat and socializing is one of my favorite things to do (this is deep deep DEEP in my bones I’ve learned) and I think, frankly, it’s an area where I truly shine.  I love conversation, small talk, laughter and shit-flinging (meaning, teasing, not in the literal sense, heh). And it’s fun in this ramping-up mode with people who I sort of know professionally, at least after a couple of meetings, but haven’t yet seen in a social setting outside of work. I’m not yet aware of all the politics and other pressures in this team. They’re there but I’ll learn them in time.

We hit the British Pantry in Redmond (actually the Three Lions Pub right next door). And DAYUM I must have been craving some serious Iron or protein because I ordered a burger with Stilton cheese and pretty much inhaled it.  Red onions and all.  No meetings in the afternoon so onions are fair game! Otherwise, forget it.  And I learned what “HP” sauce is.  If A-1 steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce had a love child it would be HP (House of Parliament) sauce. YUM.  It has a great kick and is a nice change of pace from ketchup.  And boy did we whoop it up at lunch with some laughs.  I felt so happy to have this chance to eat out and have some time off campus with my new co-workers and give them a chance to get to know me a little better too.

I’m realizing one of the things I’d really been missing these past months unemployed is the general social interaction of being at work around people, working together, lunch or coffee breaks, all of that great stuff.  Maybe this new work assignment will be an opportunity to re-nourish that part of my soul. Eating solo and at home gets old and depressing.  And eating out is somewhat of a luxury when you’re on a tight budget.

We’re in typical soggy/drizzly late spring-early summer weather around here.  My good friend J and I were thinking about going to the Zoo this weekend but then thought that wouldn’t be very fun if it was raining. So we decided on the Aquarium – a first for her and a new visit for me after 10 or 15 years I’m guessing.  It was GREAT being in the city and out on the waterfront especially.  And kind of fun doing something “touristy” in your hometown. Thank you, rain, for not showing up! 

When you live and work in the suburbs it’s easy to forget the energy and faster pace of the city.  And I admit, I miss it.  I haven’t worked downtown since 1997 and don’t get into the city as much as I’d like save for a handful of times a year with a group of women I meet with for lunch and shopping.  Come to think of it, 1997 is the year I moved from the city to the suburbs too.  The company I was working for at the time moved from downtown to the suburbs.  And while I loved where I lived at the time in the city (a somewhat dumpy apartment but with a kickass view), I knew the commute to the suburbs would be insane.  So, I made the big move to the ‘burbs and here I am still 13 years later.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened had that company not moved.  Would I have stayed in the city and eventually bought some killer condo or townhouse?  Or would I continue renting?  

It’s fun being back downtown trying to remember buildings and street names as well as discovering what’s new.  Sometimes I have flashbacks and feel like I’m 25 again…I’ll see a favorite restaurant where the work gang loved to grab lunch or a watering hole for happy hour on Fridays.  And then I realize, holy shit, that was way back in 1992?  1994?  That’s not so recent anymore.  When I reminisce about these things with friends am I dating myself? Probably.

J and I had a great time hanging out, wandering around in the Aquarium and just laughing.  One of the things I really like about J is we’re both pretty easy going.  We don’t need rigid plans on where we’re going or what we’re going to do or when and just make it up as we go.  [I’m very punctual and schedule-driven at work, but off the clock I’m devil-may-care with my watch and calendar.]  She and I both love just diving into things we’ve never done before or just trying a restaurant on a whim.  And we crack eachother up with our senses of humor!  One time I asked, jokingly, “…can we take this act on the road and make money?”  Hmmm, probably not.  We think people would probably just glaze over and think what in Sam Hill are those two laughing about?

We grabbed lunch at Elliott’s and enjoyed the view of the ferry boats, the Port, people watching…I had a cup of chowder and incredible salmon and pesto sliders.  And once again, I inhaled my food. Delicious. When in the world did I start eating so fast?  And not feeling full or bloated afterwards?  I wonder if I’m making up for all those months I probably ate like crap (e.g. popcorn for lunch) and I’m slightly malnourished?  Lord knows I’m not going to waste away anytime soon.  Meaning, I don’t NEED to be scarfing down burgers with fries, sliders, chowder…oh and, ummm, chocolate ice cream with malted milk balls.  I justified this by skipping dinner, which was easy to do since we ate lunch around 3:00pm.

Yep, time to hit the treadmill.