Friday afternoon in an Italian café and I’m under deadline. Sweaty, over-caffeinated, undernourished and dying for booze – the basic profile of any news reporter.
I type the last sentences of an article for a local paper, hit send on the email and the story is whisked off to web-world where it will land on my editor’s desk miles away from this cozy café.
I love my job.
I pull out my pink cell-phone, which is really pea green but color corrected for my sanity, and punch a text to my latest Match.com flame. We’ll call him Diplomat.
Diplomat is in the final phase of the ultra-competitive foreign services exam. Basically, once he passes and we marry: I will be living happily ever after in Bali or Panama, or some other ridiculously sunny country.
I will work solely for pleasure and spend most time entertaining foreign guests in our Spanish colonial home. Or maybe French colonial home. No matter. It will have court yards and balconies, and servants quarters for the cooks.
I will cook as well, when not penning my fourth or fifth novel or scurrying after children. The children will have a fast metabolism, inherited from me, and great athletic prowess, inherited from him.
I’m not sure of his athletic prowess since we’ve never met, but his online profile shows him standing atop a mountain in hiking gear.
Text sent. Reply received. We’re meeting in 15 minutes at a bar around the corner. That’s 15 minutes to apply makeup, buy hair mousse, apply hair mousse and find said bar.
The café restroom serves as the prepping station.
I skitter into the bathroom realizing I’m likely not a valued customer after hogging a café table for four hours, using free Wi-Fi and only ordering a cappuccino. Rude, I know. I was under deadline. No time to read menus.
The bathroom is delightfully private – one of those one-person-at-a-time situations.
Transformation commences: self-tanner, eyeliner, mascara, bronzing powder and more bronzing powder.
Then it begins…the jiggling of the door handle. Someone wants to get in.
Bronzing powder brushed on faster, faster. Lip liner. Eyelash curler. Curl, curl. Eyebrow pencil.
Snip stray eyebrow hairs. And, ahem, strays elsewhere. No plucking, just snipping. Plucking scares me.
Need to wrap this up. With cosmetics tossed into a makeup bag, I peer outside the door. No one is there.
More lip liner, lip gloss. Hair spray. Oh god my hair. Oh god help me. Mousse. Need mousse.
I throw the last cosmetics into an oversized brown leather bag and pull open the door. Again no one is there. Weird. Were they dropping a hint? Is it about the cappuccino? I tipped really well.
I sneak to the exit before anyone can see who the girl in the bathroom was for the last 10 minutes.
I’m on the street. I’ve got five minutes. I. Need. Hair mousse.
I dash to the only convenience store in the neighborhood. I’m talking full sprint. I arrive breathless, find $3 hair mousse and turn the corner to see a line of people waiting to check out at three do-it-yourself kiosks. Self-checkout.
Grrr. No time for this.
While waiting in line my editor rings. I try to slide open my cell but instead drop it to the floor with the battery tumbling out and my neon pink case splitting into two. Great. My phone is scattered across the floor in four pieces and I just hung up on my editor.
Oh and it’s my turn at the self-checkout counter, so a line of impatient people is hoping I’ll hurry the hell up.
Back on the street, I bounce along toting my mousse in a white plastic shopping bag and a working cell phone planted aside my ear. I chat with my editor and suddenly remember: life is grand.
As long as I beat this guy to the bar.
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