Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Harmon Keller/Alicia Polawski: Too Much Time as These Women

As a man of above-average intelligence, I should have foreseen that agreeing to go out with Alicia's co-workers when one had a birthday would simply result in being drawn into more of those absurd situations, but I suspect that one welcome actually realize that he is in quicksand until he tries to get some traction.  Once you have done the first of these things, people know that you will do them, and they cease being presented as an option.

As an example which Lindsey mentioned in her last missive, there was a memo in the weeks before Halloween saying that employees were free to perform their duties in costumes, so long as they were family-friendly, on that holiday.  Indeed, we were encouraged to do so, as it helped remind customers that air travel was fun (despite the converted effort on the past of the airlines to remove any joy from the experience over the last few decades), and I could be certain that the other members of my usual crew would eagerly participate.  I held out hope that I would not get the call that day, but alas, I did.

Lindsey had that day off , and while I would not say she was eager to use me as an oversized fashion doll, she certainly have the impression that it had been in the back of her mind.  As expected, the Halloween costumes she had worn to parties and such in previous years were wholly inappropriate.  I had let out a sigh, practicing how I could spin that as the reason why I was in my regular uniform, when Lindsey opened up a different box in Alicia's closet, said "oh my God" like it was three sentences, and pulled out the girl's cheerleading uniform from high school.  "You have to!"

"Must I?"

"Well, I suppose you don't have to, but, c'mon, you've got one Halloween like this.  I know you've got an itty-bit of cheerleader in you somewhere, and what better chance will you ever have to let it out for a few hours?"  I was about to object, but then she pointed to the French maid costume I had dropped on the bed.  "It's not like you've got better options."

And that is how I wound up with Lindsey making me over into a cheerleader so that I could "go to work", a scene which I suspect would have looked just as questionable to any onlooker who believed us to be mother and daughter.  She put me in a brassiere that I swear was a size too small because she said my breasts should be "perky", especially since this is a high-school uniform that didn't show any cleavage (thank God!) - or at least, that's what all the bustier girls on her high school team were like.  Thankfully, she wasn't entirely concerned with making me look like an easy lay - she found a pair of biking shorts for me to wear between my panties and the pleated skirt.  By the time she'd found the socks with the stripes and white sneakers, I was well-covered from neck to toss aside from my knees, though it hid none of my current shape.  She put my hair in a ponytail and did my makeup differently - less eyeshadow, more rouge - and the girl in the mirror looked the part extremely well.  I probably could not actually convince anybody that I was a teenager, but I looked less removed.  What foolishness would I allow myself to be talked into by the time this was over?  I am probably lucky that Lindsey did not have time to dye my hair blonde.

I added Alicia's name-tag and put on a long coat so as not to look ridiculous on the subway and while walking through the airport - most days I am merely glad for the employee fast lane because going through airport security just to get to work every morning would lead me to quit this job and damn the consequences, but not having to show my costume until I was actually standing in the jetway was a close second that day.  The usual group was there, with the shift leader dressed as a pirate and sighing that she could no longer pull "cheerleader" off, Elgin dressed as a doctor, and the one whose birthday we had celebrated the week before was apparently keen that we know she was wearing the outfit of Marvel's Captain Marvel rather than DC's, which sounds like an exceptionally tedious thing of which to keep track.

I truly cannot fathom why young women spend a day when they can dress any way imaginable putting on outfits that, by my reckoning, make them five times more likely to get their bottom slapped by some random idiot.  It was exhausting on top of being humiliating, and Lindsey asking how many I thought were tenured professors when I finally arrived back at the apartment was not nearly as funny as she thought it was.

She been making more of those comments of late, in part, I suspect, because of the different sorts of attention the two of us receive.  She says that it is not important, that she's simply counting the days until we can be ourselves again and not have this awkwardness between us, but how can she not be frustrated?  It is natural for women to compete for partners, and no matter how many times I tell her that I am not her competition, a certain primal part of her brain looks at us and cannot help but resent my attractiveness, causing her to lash out, even if the words she uses do not match the underlying issues.

As a result, we find ourselves drifting apart a bit, and without the other to serve as an anchor, it can be easy to fall into the traps these lives represent.  Though simple quiet is harder to come by now than it was, I am beginning to spend more time outside of the apartments and hotel rooms, whether in the company of Alicia's co-workers or on my own.  Fewer people respect that I simply want to read my book, but when I do want to engage with someone, it is a bit easier to get his or her attention.  She seems to be spending more time with work friends and at the gym.

She occasionally grosses that we feel like roommates rather than lovers or even ersatz mother and daughter, and it is sometimes bizarre to see just how far she'll go in one way or another.  As you might expect, last week was extremely busy for the both of us, as many people traveling for Thanksgiving had both cabin crew and airport staff taking on extra shifts, though the airlines will jump through every hoop they can to avoid overtime.  I crossed the country during the early part of the week before "jumpseating" back to Dallas in the wee hours of the morning so that I could work a morning flight back to the Bay Area, and was exhausted by the time I was climbing the stairs back to the apartment, only to open the door and be assailed by the smells of a full Thanksgiving dinner (admittedly, one where a couple of things were burnt).

I dropped to the couch and undid my shoes.  "Please, 'Mom', tell me that you didn't invite guests!"

"What?  No, this is just for us!  You know, do a family thing, bring some leftovers to work for the next week, get the genuine experience."

I would normally have gone to Alicia's bedroom before disrobing, but I took my blouse off in the living room to make a point.  "Lindsey, do we look like the kind of women who would eat a full Thanksgiving dinner?  Would that be staying in character?"  I don't spend time in the gym like she does, but it seems that being on my feet all day is enough to keep Alicia's waist slim, even without her bust and hips for comparison.

She snapped at me, completely unreasonably.  "Maybe I wanted to do it for us - no, for me!  I spend a bunch of time doing all the woman's work despite you having a set of tits as well, so maybe I'd like to do a mom thing that gives me a sense of accomplishment!  It's not like I'll have another chance once we turn back!"

"You yourself said it would be irresponsible to become a father at my age."

"Maybe, but..."  A pot on the stove-top started whistling, and she turned her attention to that. 

I sighed.  Lindsey had gotten this idea in her head, and even if there was any stopping her, she had clearly spent the morning cooking, so I went into Alicia's room and found something suitably autumnal to put on after a quick shower, despite needing to sleep after the morning's long journey, and despite not seeing much to truly be thankful for in our current situation.

As expected, she cooked too much, but there has at least been plenty to pick at for the last few days.  I must admit, though, that I am dreading what both she and our employers have planned for Christmas.

-Harmon Keller

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