Sunday, March 11, 2007

Our new friends

Friday, February 16, 2007, 12:30pm
Steve's office

"I heard you dumped Krista," Chris says on the phone.

"Don't you have to be dating someone to dump them?"

"Whatever. She won't shut up about it. She's pissed at you."

I hate when people say they are angry at me. If it's a customer, that's one thing; otherwise, I'll answer with a yawn. Be pissed at me all you want; ignore me all you want. It's arrogant of you to think I care.

"That's nice, man."

"She says you're pussy whipped."

"And I say she's a cum-guzzling gutterslut."

"I'm starting to think she's right."

Chris doesn't want to go down this road with me. He is the one who, after he cheated the first time, begged his wife's forgiveness like a little boy who broke his mother's candy dish.

"Is there a point to this conversation? I need to get back to work."

"What was the big deal? Krista was having fun with you. She didn't want to marry you, Steve."

"Chris. You're about five seconds away from getting an earful."

"Alright, alright! They want to hang out tonight. You coming?"

"Goodbye, asshole."


Outback Steakhouse

The waiting area crowd has spilled into the bar, and the door swings open every few seconds to add more. The benches are full, so Tim and I stand patiently, studying the pictures on the wall. She hates heavy jackets, and her windbreaker is far too thin for the cold, so she presses against me tighter each time the door opens; eventually, food is the farthest thing from my mind.

"That's a Timber Wolf," a bearded man says to me, pointing to a picture on the wall. "I noticed your eyes keep going back to it."

"I beg your pardon?"

"The wolf in the picture. It's a Timber Wolf. Beautiful, isn't it?"

"You were watching my eyes?" I say, but it doesn't sound as mean as I want it to.

He's wearing a vintage Led Zeppelin t-shirt and rumpled cargo pants, and a long-haired brunette with a pierced lower lip gazes admiringly at him as he speaks. Obviously, he's one of these life-is-too-short, earthy-crunchy types who would talk to Joseph Goebbels if he walked in.

"I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. Sorry, friend," he smiles, and he turns away.

He doesn't strike me as weird, just extremely laid-back. Maybe I'm nuts, but I believe him.

"What's the difference between a Timber Wolf and a regular wolf?" I ask.

We chat until we're interrupted by a voice over the intercom: "Bruce, party of two."

"Can you make it four?" he asks the hostess. She nods.

"Join us!" he says, smiling like a child.

"I don't use Microsoft products," he says from across the table. "It's been almost impossible finding IT jobs."

"The interview is usually pretty short," Patty interjects. "He sits down, says, 'I won't use anything made by Microsoft', and they say, 'Thanks for coming in.'"

We laugh.

"But why don't you use Microsoft?" I ask.

"Microsoft products are horrible. The worst-designed products in the industry. Most people don't know that because they don't see anything else. And they don't see anything else because Microsoft is a monopoly."

Patty nods enthusiastically.

"Microsoft is not a research and development company; they are an acquisition company. They wait for small, ingenious companies to make the breakthroughs, and then they either buy them or bully them out of business, and sell the technology as their own."

"So you oppose them on principle?"

"Of course!" he says.

"So why are you in IT? Why not another industry?"

"Oh, I do work in other industries at times. I've got a CDL now, so I can drive trucks! I also managed to find an IT job in a Linux shop, but it doesn't pay much."

"Linux? The non-Windows operating system?"


"How about you, Patty? What do you do?"

"I walk dogs sometimes."

I only agreed to sit with them so we wouldn't have to wait as long. But the conversation was interesting, and Tim and I actually had a great time with them. Before we left, we made plans to see them again the next weekend.