Although it's odd, I enjoy remembering random people or experiences that pop into my head for no reason at all. It's like I have a menu in my head with a section for the memory de jour- will it be my sister's former love for The Monkees or that rainy day in the suburbs of Illinois? Some thoughts float on the surface for fun and others more deep and surreal, almost taking over my mind like a thick haze.
Today's is not so serious. It's my first cube neighbor in my first office job. I worked the full time shift from noon to 9pm. We were collections reps at a call center for a bank. The team I joined was comprised of quite a variety of personalities and backgrounds. I was the youngest, just starting out at ASU. I remember almost every person on that team.
The cube behind me was empty and the person that shared my cube wall to the left worked mornings so we didn't cross paths often. To the right of me was the break room. D. Lovejoy sat in front of me. What a perfect last name! I secretly wished he had an Irish accent. He didn't. We worked the same shift.
D. was in his late thirties. He was a man of little expression. He had this huge insulated cup on his desk he used to refill with water every single day. He carefully hung policies up in his cube with thumb tacks. He spoke quietly and never raised his voice. He had a thin, blonde mullet with a part in the middle and wore pants that were about 10 years too small for him. It was the first time I had seen a man with hips like a woman. Every time he would return to his cube to sit, I wondered if he was uncomfortable. His dress shirts were normally thin, if he were a hairy dude I would have been able to tell. Sometimes he would have on the blue button-up with a white collar and white cuffs. That was my least favortie shirt of his. The sleeves were normally too short. He was a nice guy, I really wanted to give him a make-over, but then he wouldn't be D. Lovejoy.
He wasn't so great at collecting money from cardholders, he was too soft. He would never be a star on the team. I wondered if he wanted to be or if he was just happy being the standard Joe Collector with almost below average productivity.
He once told me I had really good posture. Then he turned into his computer and took another call. I loved to hear about his daughter and wife, he would smile so sweetly when he spoke of them. Those were the few times his face escaped the constant shade of neutral. We had a potluck once (my all-time favorite days) and he brought his family's leftover spaghetti. It was about 1 cup worth of broken, cooked noodles mixed with a little sauce to share with a 14 person team. I felt bad for him, either he totally forgot about the potluck or they were just really poor and that was all he could offer. It's all good D. Lovejoy, I got your back. We are cubicle buddies.
I was the only one who ate the spaghetti. Later people on the team joked that it must have been 2 weeks old because not even D. Lovejoy ate any of it.
The best memory of D. Lovejoy was somehow the team was talking about people being flexible, you know regular circus lingo, and he suddenly stood up in the middle of the row and raised his leg up to his head with a completely straight face. Like it was no big deal, people in small pants do the splits in the standing position all the time, in the middle of the afternoon, in front of people, at work.
I had a dream last month that I went back to visit the call center. In my dream D. Lovejoy came out of a large office. In the dream I asked what he was doing and he told me he was a senior manager in the Fraud Department and that it turned out to be a much better job fit for him. It was sort of like the end of Raising Arizona when he has that dream there are all those kids are coming to the table and they are holding hands and it's all perfect. The movie ends and you want to know what happens next, you want so badly for the happy ending.