Dear Diary

Hi there, guys and dolls! My girls have asked of me to share my misshapen adventures in life. Starting today, I’ll be posting regularly, basically a “dear diary,” about my dating and social swirl, the neighborhood gossip that I shouldn’t share, workplace hazards, entertainment raves and faves and of course, a weekly advice column that you should definitely read, but I wouldn’t necessarily follow the suggestions given. Hope you enjoy and if you do, please share the posts and feel free to comment below. I love hearing from you.

So here goes!

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,

A Flaming Disaster

Hank, the bartender

What a weekend I had. It started out well, Friday night Happy Hour at the favorite watering hole. Hank, the bartender extraordinaire, thought he was doing a grand gesture by introducing me to Chuck, this handsome hunk of maleness that strolled into the place solo. At first, I played it cool, sipping slowly on my martini, nibbling peanuts, ever so casually laughing at his corny jokes, touching his hand only once. When I got up to powder my nose, I came back to an empty stool. Needless to say, I was a little pouty ’til I got closer and realized he had written his number on my soggy cocktail napkin. I clinched it with glee, tucked it away in my black patent purse and joined my friends who had arrived. A fun night was had by all, except for Billy, who lost at the barstool swiveling contest by spinning so fast he fell off. Glad it was him and not me this time.

Chuck almost looked like this

The next morning, I waited ’til at least 10 am to call Chuck. I didn’t want to seem too eager, but I wasn’t going to let this one slip away, even if he did put me in the position to be the first to call. I am modern girl, after all. He asked me to dinner at one of the swanky French restaurants in town. Yep, I hit the jackpot, I was certain. Eight o’clock? You bet I’d be there.

Then came the long look in the mirror. Eyelashes – that’s what I needed. Some big, long seductive things I could bat across the table, sending signals all night long. I rummaged around in my dressing table drawer and found just the set, but no adhesive. I must have some somewhere, turning my place upside down, finally finding this tube of super glue stuff in the kitchen junk drawer. That’ll do.

Well, it did. At first, it stung to high heaven and speaking of high, I don’t know what horse they got that one from but I tell you, the fumes were enough for me to day dream about pink elephants for a few minutes. Kinda liked it, to be honest. After it settled down and I was able to see straight and open my eyes, I got them positioned nicely and spent a good hour practicing just that right full laugh, hand to the chest and twittering lash batting. I was ready for romance!

Chez Luis was great. I showed up the perfunctory 10 minutes late, made my dramatic arrival and sat down to flowers, violins and candlelight. The conversation flowed with the wine and a flirty conversation that I really have no idea what we were talking about, but I’m sure it was full of innuendo. I was too mesmerized at the thought of it going so well that I just didn’t bother to follow it.

Then disaster struck. Chuck leaned in, I thought for a kiss but it was actually to grab a bread roll. As I leaned in towards him, I closed my eyes and got a little too close to the candle flame. Then I felt heat, not of the body kind. And heard a fooosh! Chuck panicked, accidentally threw a glass of wine and then immediately picked up the water he meant to originally meant to throw at me to dowse out my frizzling eyelashes and smoking teased and sprayed bouffant hair. I shrieked, started rolling on the floor, face down, all I could think of was stop, drop and roll.

As it turns out, the damage was minor; doctor says my own lashes and bangs should grow back over the next 4 – 6 weeks. I’m now experimenting with new hairdos and the exotic sunglasses all day look. As for Chuck, he cowered like a baby at the scene. So I chucked him.

The Tale of Val, Sal and Hal

Hi there, guys and dolls! You know, I just love Monday Night Bridge Club. Now of course, I don’t have the first clue how to play. I basically follow along, sometimes I take home a little lunch money, other times I leave after writing a check, hoping it will clear. Come to think of it, out of the 20 or so regulars of us who show up, I think there’s only about 4 or 5 who really know the game. Why do I go? For the pure entertainment value. Where else can you really get the true news of the world and the best gossip of the group? Take for instance, the salacious tale of Val, Sal and Hal.

Bridge Night

Last night started out as normal, all of us neighborhood ladies filtered in around 7. Drinks were poured, snack bowls were filled, fresh cigarettes set out on the tables and teams allotted. We always vary under the guises of good sportsmanship, but the truth is if we rotate our partners, you get the chance to get fresh news to share that you swear you’ll keep to yourself. What’s great is that by the time the next week has come along, all those confidential conversations have been spread throughout the gang and exaggerated in blown out details that by time they reach the subject of the gossip, they don’t have any clue the original story was about them.

Is this how Val gets the yard done?

Anyway, back to Val. She’s the new girl in the neighborhood, still not really knowing very many of us. A recent divorcee (scandal in itself!) with a terrific alimony settlement (she ended up with the big house on the corner, complete with a landscaper who seems to be there much past daytime hours, if you know what I mean), she just popped in one Monday night, bringing a homemade coconut cake and asking to join. Automatic in!

She was at my table last night, paired with Sal. My partner, Betty Sue, was a keen no nonsense play, not above cheating to give me signals that I sometimes picked up on, so chances are I was going to go home flush. Val looked especially glowy last night, while Sal looked a little surly. Betty Sue efficiently shuffled, while I hid behind my cards, hoping no one would draw attention to my recent singes (see yesterday’s post, re. the flaming disaster). Fortunately, I was ignored as Sal remarked on Val’s enlightened appearance.

Val giggled, saying she’s found a new beau. Sal remarked that it was awfully fast work, given that the ink must still be dry on the divorce paperwork. Val brushed that off, she didn’t care. She started elaborating on her new man, how distinguished (would that be old and paunchy?) and smart (wore glasses?) and funny (okay, now that just means fat) he was. The only thing that was a drawback was that he wasn’t free in the evenings (and that would be universal code for married). Val was convinced that she would change that.

By the fourth round of both cards and drinks, Sal was sick and tired of hearing Val wax rhapsodically about this new dreamboat. She asked her what he did for a living. Val said that he was a plumber, that’s how they met. He had really showed up to ‘fix her pipes’ the first time, Val tittered. Sal’s jaw tightened. And what was this charmer’s name was her next question. Harold, Val answered. Sal set her cards down, grabbed her clutch purse from under the table and took out a picture of her precious Hal out of her wallet and showed it to Val. Val blanched, realizing her Harold was Sal’s Hal and Val better vamoose. Up flew the folding card table, cards, pencils, ashtrays, nuts and bolts mix flying (I saw it coming, grabbed my drink in time and in one swift move, slid my chair back and watched the show), Sal lunging at Val, Betty Sue frowning, trying to keep track of her winning hand.

They had a great knockdown, drag-out fight, till our host Madge stepped in, warning that if they break her Limoges China Doll collection, she would sue. At the end, Val was down a beau and gained a black eye. Sal affirmed her martial status to her faithless flake and was down a new green satin wiggle dress, as it was split beyond repair.

I Love Bridge Night.

Another Day at the Office

Hi there, guys and dolls! Fun fact about me, I also do a side gig in an office. That’s right, Barbara Jean — office girl supreme! Well, sort of. I mean, I go there, stay a while, do a few things, collect a paycheck and toddle off. Been doing it for years.

A reasonable facsimile of where I work

I’m not sure exactly what business our office is in. I’ve been told it’s a very important, multi-faceted and an international concern. A big mover and shaker in the business world. It’s in a big city tower, all shiny glass and steel. Looks very impressive and makes me feel glamourous and important, so that counts. Anyhoo, long story short, I needed a job, went through an agency as a temp and got hired. I don’t even think I had a real interview. I showed up, they asked if I could type and take dictation, which I could bluff my way through and never left.

On my usual days, I type a few letters, go out for lunch, flirt at the water cooler, catch up on the news of who’s spending the time with whom in the supply closet, drink coffee, that sort of thing.

Yesterday was a little different. Very hectic, I don’t mind saying and not to be repeated. Ever. The receptionist went home sick and the temp agency was short handed. Four of us drew straws (I’m pretty sure Carol Ann cheated, but I can’t prove it) and I got the short stick. Out on the front line I went. Pure chaos.

It went like this

First of all, I had to remember the complete title and name of our firm. I don’t think I ever knew it. The letterhead I use is from the printers, I don’t look at it. My check evaporates before I see it, barely making it to the bank. So there I am – about 5 names and ‘global,’ ‘world wide’ in the full name. I make myself a little sign so that when the phone rings I’ll know what to say. And then it rang. Non-stop, about a dozen lights flashing up at a time. Good God! By about the third round of wrong calls, cut-offs and more than a few misunderstandings, I think I was answering the phone with some phrase that contained “Henny Youngman” “Milton Berle” and “Bing Crosby.” Eventually it broke down to pure gibberish and then a simple, “Oh, what do you want?” It got much quieter once I pulled the wires out of the wall.

Clever girl off the street

Then the people coming in! Who knew it was such a social place. I just sent them all back there. They could fend for themselves. If they didn’t recognize who they came to see, not my fault. We all need to get to know each other better, don’t you think? Eventually, this sweet young girl came in wanting to see someone about a job. I sat her down, told her she’s on a trial run ’til the end of the day, as long as she could reconnect the phone line. She was so clever. Problem solved.

Got back to my desk just in time for the final coffee break. After that, filed my nails, put on another coat of cherries in the snow nail polish and then time to go home. A good day’s work, I’d say!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts. And don’t forget to give my Poppy Cove Mysteries a try if you haven’t already.

Toodles, Barbara Jean

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