relax

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein1 Comment

So, I’m in college, and it’s summer, and I’m living in the fraternity house. The football fraternity house. But he’s smart, so don’t think too much about that. And I’m dreaming aloud one night, “I filed that already.” And I’m sweating, so man of the year, wakes me to tell me I’m talking and having a nightmare. Then we go back to sleep, and I remember none of it the next day. And if he were to stumble across this post, he’d remember none of this. Dinner last week, same deal. With a twisted, horror-stricken face, I relayed the story of having to return the handful of daisies I stole from the neighbors garden to my dad. He made me do it. Teach her a lesson. When my father heard my retelling of the tale, he shrugged. Didn’t remember a thing. Pretty damn mortifying for me, like being caught in the act (which he has also blocked from his memory). Hmm. Didn’t phase him so much. Pass the bread.

Right,so… back to the middle of the night, talking, filing, dreams, sweat, nightmare, and for once, I’m not even talking about dating. The morning after the verbal nightmare in the fraternity house, I get fired from my first job. I worked at a modeling agency in the 40s, no, not the 1940s, the 40s near Ben and Jerry’s. Loved free cone day. Why would I get fired? Insubordination? Could be argued so, but really, I think it was my being condescending… to the boss… herself.

She requested I sort and file contracts alphabetically. I’m a smart girl, not as smart as many, but I’m up there, and can certainly swing my ABCs with the best of ‘em. As I sort modeling contracts, I notice some are unsigned. I raise a word of caution and anticipate appreciation. Yeah, not so much. My apt observation skills are put into question. “Stephanie, you must be doing it wrong. You shouldn’t see the backs of the contracts.” Oh dear. And away we go.

“Sabrina, relax, I’ve got it under control.” I say it the way you say something when your brain is losing time. Like when I’m coloring in art class, and we’re all chatting… no one is really talking, and no one is really listening. We’re just making noise that sounds an awful lot like conversation. I was making noise. And that I did.

Sabrina fired me on the Sabbath. “You can tell your parents or your boyfriend to relax, but you don’t tell your boss to relax.” The woman was having a bad day; I was sure of it. I exited, surprisingly, with grace.

“Okay, Sabrina. Sorry if I offended you. You’re obviously upset. Perhaps you’ll work it out in shul tonight.” Exit Klein. Stage Left. Then I went home and cried.

When someone tells me to relax, I immediately become uptight. That’s like telling someone, “we need to talk.” Relax is a judgment call. Relax is, I’m better than you, and quite honestly I’m too cool to even care about things as much as you do. Relax. That’s, hey don’t get all worked up, come on down here, where we’re cool and mellow, and don’t get so worked up baby. Relax is obnoxious and unnerving. So now, while I take it with a grain of salt, “relax” unless it’s during a massage, is bad news. That shite gives me nightmares. Linus would tell you… ya know, if he could talk… and he’s the last one anyone would call… relaxed. The boy does got some ears, and he hears me in my sleep. Okay, he’s a bed hog, but he’s a great listner.

Comments

  1. I think you are absolutely amazing. I don't know what else to say, except that any time you're feeling sad or lonely, please keep in mind that there are people who don't know you but still think you're fantastic. That's got to mean something.

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