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Secretaries - cellophane — LiveJournal
the story of an invisible girl
This morning I dropped my car off at the dealership, because the defogger was broken (not a good thing, since it was winter last week). This afternoon they called to say it was fixed, and they sent a shuttle to pick me up.

The little old man driving the van tried to make conversation as we drove back to the shop. He gestured to a building (though not, oddly enough, the building from which he'd just picked me up), and asked, "So are you a secretary there?"

I was momentarily taken aback. "What?!" Then I tried (unsuccessfully) to answer politely. "Nooo, definitely not... I'm a computer programmer."

He didn't respond to that comment, perhaps not knowing what to say. Instead he remarked, "That sure is a big building."

I still wasn't sure if he meant the building he'd pointed to, or my office building. Neither were all that big, so I just commented vaguely, "Yeah, there are a lot of offices here in Troy."

He then told me that "everything would be different" when they tore down K-Mart. I knew K-Mart's been struggling, but I hadn't known they were tearing down the K-Mart World Headquarters, and I told him so. "Oh yes, they've already moved most of the people to [somewhere I've forgotten]. They just have some secretaries left in those buildings."

I blinked. Internally, I started laughing at the image. All those office buildings, full of nothing but secretaries? And precisely who did he think they were working for, these massed secretaries? Wow, this guy had some very strange ideas about secretaries, and offices in general.

I wonder if he's ever really been in an office. Maybe he bases his whole conception of modern business on movies made in the 1950's.

The man continued, "My son works here in Troy, but he's a detective. You don't get a lot of crime around here though, maybe the occasional break-in. My son only gets called after it's already happened."

Immediately I imagined an old-school PI in a fedora and trenchcoat, sweeping into a crime scene carrying a little notebook and an angry glare. Guilty secretaries with high heels and short skirts offering him coffee. I suspect that's rather how the father pictured it too.

"Yeah," I said thoughtfully. "It's a pretty quiet town."

The following conversation takes place between Firefly's Shepherd and the First Mate, as they both are picking up multiple weapons in preparation for a rescue mission. He loads a gun menacingly.

"Preacher, don't the bible have some pretty specific things to say on the subject of killin'?"
"Quite specific. It is, however, somewhat fuzzier on the subject of kneecaps."

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encorecrazay From: encorecrazay Date: November 28th, 2005 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad they picked you up; here they'll just take you to your job/home but won't pickup anymore.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I was surprised/plesed that they did. I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask, but I didn't expect them to agree.
polaron From: polaron Date: November 28th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
That seems pretty surreal. Maybe (apparently ?) he just doesn't get much exposure to the world outside of the car ::lol::
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
He's been trapped inside that car since 1957!!!! The poor guy!
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: November 28th, 2005 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I don't know. I think you'd make a cute secretary. < grin >

Crossed legs, holding your pen in your mouth... filing your nails maybe.
< / tease >

thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: November 28th, 2005 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and congrats on the car! I'm glad it was easy to get the vents fixed. A window with a lack of frost is a good thing.
bagira From: bagira Date: November 29th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC) (Link)

How funny!

I run into this all the time. I do a little better when I am wearing a suit, but I do very poorly when I'm wearing regular business-casual clothes. God forfend I should be wearing jeans on a Friday! Unless I introduce myself as "Hi, I'm blah-blah-blah, I'm one of the attorneys in this office," people often ask me whether I am a paralegal/secretary. When I tell them, quite cheerfully, that I am actually a lawyer, they get horribly, visibly embarrassed and apologize. I, however, do not care that much--I suppose it's my Russian personality that delights in being thought too young to be a lawyer. :-)
cannibal From: cannibal Date: November 30th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: How funny!

Didn't Sharon just make an offhanded comment that was very similar when we were at Union Street, a very 1950s attitude towards herself and all women? It was kind of funny watching the hackles rise on you and Rennie both, going, "Hello? Sitting with two professional women here!" I don't remember exactly what she said... just glad a man didn't say it!
asyatka From: asyatka Date: November 29th, 2005 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
My son only gets called after it's already happened

Despite his luck of knowledge of the office environment, this old man has very advanced futuristic vision of the law-enforcement. It might be based on the idea of the "Minority report" movie, when the people were punished for the crime before actually committing it.
From: tlatoani Date: November 29th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You beat me to it. I'd be very worried if they weren't calling his son after the fact.
crwilley From: crwilley Date: November 29th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC) (Link)
They're...tearing down Fort K-Mart? That...just breaks my heart on some level.

My dad worked there. He used to take me for lunch in the cafeteria when I was 3. I wonder if they'd let me have a piece of the debris...
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:49 am (UTC) (Link)
aww, that's sad! cute, but sad. If we can figure out when the buildings come down, I'm certain there will be plenty of debris for the taking.

I work just a mile away. But I don't know if/when it's happening!
jeffreyab From: jeffreyab Date: November 29th, 2005 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think he thought the buildings were FULL of secretaries only that if there was anyone left in a building that it was a secretary.

Have there been any movies lately set in an office, or TV for that matter?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:48 am (UTC) (Link)
TV: The Office
Movie: Office Space
(both very funny!)

I guess what amused me by the statement is: a secretary is a personal assistant, right? So if the building has nothing but secretaries, who are they assisting? It'd be like a baseball team full of catchers -- without a pitcher, there's nothing to catch....
ferretsofglory From: ferretsofglory Date: November 29th, 2005 02:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I bet his son is really a secretary and either A) He makes up the detective story to feel better about it or B) the Son made it up so his pops wouldn't know!
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
ah-ha, that could definitely explain his odd obsession with secretaries. Clever insight!
specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: November 29th, 2005 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I would say you could be a secretary.

mrdisco99 From: mrdisco99 Date: November 29th, 2005 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Life in your head would make a great TV series. I could just see the scenes of whatever mundane thing you might be doing peppered with little tangents of where your mind goes... like getting a ride to the dealership interspersed with black and white scenes of offices and film noir detectives of the 1950s.

I think so, anyway.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee! That could be nifty. I'm glad you find the little snippets of "life inside my head" entertaining. And flattered!
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xtatic1 From: xtatic1 Date: November 29th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know whether to laugh or feel sorry for the poor fellow. Sounds like he's a bit out of touch. Still, wasn't it more entertaining for you to interact with him than with someone who a) didn't interact or b) wanted to spend the whole trip talking to you about engine displacement or the color gradient in cement?
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
This is true: not only did I have an interesting little conversation, but I got an LJ post out of it! Not bad, not bad at all. (:
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renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:42 am (UTC) (Link)
aww...but then Darby would have no job.....
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min8ive From: min8ive Date: November 29th, 2005 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
You could have told him that your secretary (And he prefers to be called your Administrative Assistant) would get a kick out of that story.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! Good answer!
bjorng From: bjorng Date: November 30th, 2005 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Secretaries make me think of the book Atlas Shrugged. As I recall, one of the early scenes involves a main character (who is a woman) walking through an office that's a sea of secretaries' desks. I've seen that 50s concept of secretary pools in older movies, but only rarely in modern ones. Clockwatchers springs to mind.

Someone else already mentioned Secretary. That's a great movie, but completely off-topic for your imagery.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: December 1st, 2005 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read Atlas Shrugged, nor seen Secretary. I'm missing out!
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