Monday: The lengths lonely men will go to
Earlier this week, I posted on Facebook that I thought there was nothing creepier than men who hung out in the women’s underwear section at Marshall’s. There were a lot of funny comments, especially from people who assumed I meant Ken. But he defended himself staunchly and the scandal soon abated. The bigger issue, though, is how I came to be in the underwear section at Marshall’s. Not that shopping for underwear is unusual, but I normally do it once a year, buy 25 pairs of the same thing in different colours, then I’m good to go for a while (ie technically, I would only have to do laundry 15 times a year). But now that I’m dividing my time between home and Toronto, I’ve had to also divide my lady wear. I keep them in two wooden boxes in my walk-in closet—one for upper garments and one for lower. When I first moved in, I just kept them on an open shelf, but then I had some friends from work over who wanted a tour (my condo is 624 square feet so it didn’t take very long). As they passed the walk-in closet, the door of which was wide open, I realized to my horror that if anyone looked inside, my “intimates” would no longer be fit to be called by that name. So I hastily shut the closet door—nothing to see here, folks!—and got the wooden boxes for storage. The problem is, the boxes are on the top shelf and I can’t actually see into them, so I just feel around and grab what I need. Unfortunately, on Monday morning, I reached into the box, rummaged around, and discovered that the box was empty. Apparently, I had miscalculated the ratio of underwear to days in the week. I had 10 minutes to get dressed and get to work, so I was stuck and my options were severely limited, as you can well imagine. I won’t tell you the decision I ultimately made—I leave that up to you and what you would do in similar circumstances. Which leads me, literally, to the underwear section at Marshall’s, having decided that some back-up items were an absolute necessity. I went through the racks, but the trouble with places like Marshall’s and Winners is that the selection is sometimes pretty sparse. I know I’d have better luck in a big mall, but I can’t stand the Eaton Centre with its noise, and all the crazy people who stand outside trying to sell you things, get money from you, or try to convert you to their cults (yes, I’m talking to YOU, Scientologists). At any rate, as I was perusing the limited goods, I realized that there were at least two men just HANGING OUT around the racks, one on one side, and the other near the window. Now, the lingerie area at Marshall’s is in the far corner, so it’s not like these guys got lost on their way to power tools or something, and the only other woman there was very elderly, and obviously not married to either, or both, of them. And it got me thinking—is this, like, the new pick-up spot? It makes sense, I suppose—you can tell a lot about a woman based on the type of underwear she buys: thongs, for those who might be a little adventurous, or just can’t stand too many layers of fabric on their posteriors (I once had a friend who said she wore thongs because her underwear “always ended up in her butt crack anyway, so why not just minimize the bunching?”), boy briefs for the sporty sisters, regular briefs for the traditionalists, and of course, granny panties for those who prefer comfort to style, or are actually grannies. So maybe these guys were playing the smart game, looking for someone compatible in a kind of weird, psychologically astute way. Or maybe they were just lonely creeps, fantasizing that someday, a woman would hold up a pair of frilly panties and ask, “Hey there, hot stuff–what do you think of these?”, and it would be the start of a beautiful relationship. Can you imagine 10 years down the road, when the kids ask, “So how did you and Mommy meet?” Who’s to say? All I know is that it made me really uncomfortable, like every time I started to reach for something, I imagined an intake of anticipatory breath and shifty eyes following my hand to see where it went. Ick. Next time I’m going to Victoria’s Secret, where the guys who hang out there actually work there, wear eyeliner, and help you find stuff in a “not looking for a hook-up” kind of way.
Friday: The hole in the roof next door
When I first moved into my condo, I was initially alarmed by how high up I was, and the fact that I had floor to ceiling windows made me a little dizzy. But I soon learned to love the view—I can see the sun rising over the lake in the morning, and the city lights are gorgeous at night. But the best part is that my condo directly overlooks the roof of the building next door, which, when I moved in, featured a quite lovely roof garden with raised boxes of shrubberies, lighted paths, benches, and so on. Then around the beginning of March, I looked out and saw a crew of workers who were starting to dismantle the whole thing. I was initially dismayed, but not long after they ripped it apart and took it down to bare concrete, they started laying down new rubber membrane and then patterned paving stones. I’ve had ongoing hope that one day it will be an even more beautiful rooftop garden. But the PACE of the workers is starting to concern me. There are 4 men, and they arrive around 7 am every day, and they’re gone by the time I get home from work. And so far, they haven’t even finished LAYING the paving stones. On Thursday night when I got in, it seemed that most of the stones at my end of the roof were in place. Except for one spot, where there was a hole with a single paving stone missing. I assumed they had left it because it was quitting time, and that it would be easy to finish up the next morning. Holy Hannah, was I ever wrong.
On Friday morning, I got up, and the crew was there. They’re too far away to really identify but there are 4 guys—let’s call them Bill, Frank, Bob, and Monty. Over the course of the next hour, as I was getting ready for work, I was fascinated by their activity—or lack thereof:
7:02 – Bill, Frank, and Monty are wandering aimlessly around the roof. Bob comes out of the porta-potty. (I have NO idea how they got a porta-potty up there.) I go into the bathroom and wash my face.
7:05 – Bill is staring at the hole. Frank is leaning against the wall, having a smoke. I put in my contact lenses.
7:07 – Bill is standing IN the hole. Frank is staring at him. I wash my hair.
7:10 – Bill and Frank are BOTH standing in the hole. It’s a tight fit AND they’re facing each other. I dry my hair.
7:15 – Frank is standing in the hole. Bill is about 10 feet away, lying on his stomach facing the hole and using his thumb as a gauge. For what exactly, I have no idea. Monty is hovering nearby. No sign of Bob. I pour out some cereal and go back into the bathroom to put on some make-up.
7:20 – Frank is out of the hole, and Bill is once again in it. He’s jumping up and down. Frank observes him carefully. I put my cereal bowl in the sink and apply mascara.
7:22 – Frank and Bill are kneeling on either side of the hole. They are facing each other and look like they are genuflecting. Perhaps a small god lives in the hole. I brush my teeth.
7:24 – Monty is standing in the hole. Frank and Bill observe him carefully. Could it be a time-travel portal? Maybe that explains what happened to Bob, whom I haven’t seen in a little while. No, wait—Bob has just come out of the porta-potty again. So much for the time-travel theory. Unless the porta-potty IS the portal. Hmmm. I go into my room to get dressed.
7:29 – Monty and Bill are standing next to the hole. Bob has made his way over, and seems to be instructing Frank on how to kill an insect by stomping repeatedly on it with his foot. He stomps, then looks encouragingly at Frank, who then stomps a little himself. They continue this for several minutes. I pack my lunch.
7:33 – Bob and Frank are still “killing insects”. Monty and Bill are now both lying on their stomachs across from each other, facing the hole, and both are using their thumbs as gauges. Again, for what, I have no idea. I get my bags ready to leave.
As I leave, Bill is once again IN the hole. Monty, Frank, and Bob are observing him carefully. I have hope that, based on the efforts of the morning, the hole will be filled by the time I get home from work.
4:30 – I arrive at my condo, anxious to see what progress the crew have made. Not only is the hole still visible, there are now at least 14 other holes where once there were none. It’s going to be a long summer.