There’s a real person here

I’m guessing the guy who sent me the disgusting message at work on Monday didn’t take a minute to think about how his words, emoticon, and “lol” would make me feel.

He probably didn’t expect me to cry in the women’s bathroom. He probably doesn’t know that I left early and my best friend at work walked me out, gave me several hugs, and was concerned that I was too upset to drive. He probably didn’t expect that I wouldn’t be able to get my schoolwork done Monday night because I was so upset and couldn’t focus. He probably didn’t expect that as a result of not getting it done Monday, I had to get up early Tuesday morning to finish it.

He probably didn’t expect that I would feel so anxious standing in front of my closet to get dressed for work and didn’t know what would be hideous enough that he would leave me alone, so I left my pajamas on and worked from home. He probably didn’t expect that I would end up with my laptop in bed and crying throughout the day because I felt so gross and violated.

When I went back to the office on Wednesday, he probably didn’t know that I would make a beeline for an empty cubicle downstairs. I opted to work without a mouse and monitors, just so I wouldn’t have to see him. He probably doesn’t know that I pinged my friend upstairs asking her to bring me my water bottle, so I wouldn’t have to go to my desk.

He probably doesn’t know that after I saw him sign off for the day, I ran up to my desk to reunite with my teammates and finally put lip balm on lips that had been dry all day.

Thursday morning, in a moment of empowerment, I went directly to my desk and settled in. I didn’t raise it up to stand as I usually do in the mornings because that would reveal too much of my backside to him. Instead, I made myself as tiny as possible and shielded myself with the back of the chair. I smelled the red rose on my desk. It was the sweetest smell. It reminded me to be courageous. Then I opened an email about an interview loop I was participating on that day and saw his name on the email, too.

He probably doesn’t know that I panicked. I couldn’t be in a room with him. I couldn’t make nice conversation with him and a young woman who wants to work here. My eyes filled with hot tears. Luckily, it turned out all right because we weren’t in the same sessions with the interviewee, so I just had to make eye contact with him as I was leaving the interview and he was coming in.

He probably doesn’t know that later in the afternoon, I wanted tea. I saw that he wasn’t at his desk, so I hurried to mine to get my mug and green tea bag. I considered going upstairs to the weird kitchen for hot water, but again, didn’t want to change my life because of this incident, so I went to the regular kitchen downstairs.

He probably doesn’t know that my heart raced ask I neared the kitchen. What if he’s in there? Is that why he wasn’t at his desk? He doesn’t know that I carefully peeked around the corner and breathed a sigh of relief when the café was empty. While pouring my water, I heard someone come in and tensed up. I carefully turned my head and again was relieved it wasn’t him. I hurried back upstairs to my makeshift desk.

He probably doesn’t know that today I’m exhausted. All the crying and panicking has taken a toll. Again, I stood in front of the closet wondering what I could wear on this hot day that wouldn’t encourage him to stare. I also have the feeling that it’s going to be a hard day because most of my friends at work who know what’s going on aren’t there today to run interference.

I just wanted you to know that there’s a real person on the receiving end of your words and actions. Next time take a minute to consider that.

Ring-a-ling, move along!

Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall


City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, it’s Christmas time in New York City.

I worked at Target in high school and it made me hate Christmas. I used to love Christmas, but it took a couple years to get over the disgust I felt after witnessing people fight for Black Friday deals, complain about the parking lot and get frustrated about finding last-minute gifts. Then after Christmas the returns started. People got mad at us for not taking back the software they already opened or the old camera they put in the new camera box and tried to return.

I think my parents would attest to the fact that I was an unpleasant person after my shifts. They were nice not to roll their eyes and say, “Candace, have a snack and go take a nap!” They’re much more mature than I am.

In the 14 or so years since I quit Target, I learned to love the cheery spirits, the family time, the good food and drink, the holiday movies and specials!

It pains me to admit New York brings back some of those Target memories. Don’t get me wrong, the city is gorgeous all dressed up for Christmas. It just glistens. People are happily going to the American Girl store, the Lego store and Bloomingdale’s. They go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, Bryant Park or Central Park. They take in a show on Broadway. I support all these things. They’re so fun!

I enjoy taking in the holiday display early in the morning when it’s not crowded. Last year, I walked down 5th Avenue to get to the office. It was the magic hour when window displays are being set up and vendors are handing out samples. Loved that.

The problem is that while visitors took the day off to have a New York Christmas experience, the rest of us have to go to work and school and home.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular starts doing multiple shows in November. A show is always starting or ending, which means there is always a crowd out front taking pictures or stopping to consult a map or gather the group. Walking the one block from my office to the subway entrance takes me past the front of Radio City. I have to push through the crowds and photo bomb pictures. But it’s not just tourists behaving badly. Here are some New York behaviors that seem to get amplified at holiday time and drive me crazy:

  1. When people lean against the subway poles. What are you, a pole dancer? Other people want to hold onto that pole so we don’t fall over and take down half a dozen people in the process.
  2. When people put their bags on the seat next to them or sit sideways, taking up two seats, and don’t make any attempt at moving for others.
  3. When able-bodied adults don’t give up their seats for little children.
  4. When people walk down the street while on the phone, therefore walking slowly and/or haphazardly.
  5. When cars blow through stop signs and then glare at the pedestrians (read: Me) in the intersection who point at the stop sign.
  6. When people sit on the subway steps. First, gross! Second, get out of the way!
  7. When people stand in front of the doors on the subway and don’t move. I know in front of the doors is the coveted place. That’s my favorite, too, but you have to be on the side that isn’t opening or step aside to let people on or off. Get it together, clowns!
  8. At major stops, when half the train is getting off, yet people push their way to the doors to get off first. I promise you’ll get off this train. Just be patient.

OK I’m done. Enjoy the magic season. Merry Christmas!