Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sorry 'Bout That! - You Owe Me One!

Today I thought I'd turn the tables around on my passing out apologies for misbehaving and write about the one instance in which someone should apologize to me, instead.

I was a junior at UCLA. My psych class was done for the day and as we filed out I saw her across the room. Our eyes met and quickly darted away.

Who does she think she is, I thought. Look at her, all snotty and everything.

You Asians out there, JA's in particular, do you know what I mean? I saw this girl, a fellow JA, and my first impression was she thought she was something cool to behold. Now, normally whenever I go somewhere (let's use school - the first day of class, for example), what I do first is check out who else is there and make note of any Asians, especially ones who look like they are JA's.

And I know it's not at all right but depending on how they look and are conducting themselves, I make a snap judgment. Like in my psych class I made a snap judgment - who does she think she is??

I had a Filipino secretary who told me she didn't like other Filipinos. Why? I asked.

"Because," she explained, "they always come up to me and ask if I am Filipino and when they find out I am, they think they are automatically my friend and start asking me all kinds of personal questions. I don't like that and I don't like them. They are too nosy."

One day she told me about a new friend she had made at lunch that day. "I asked her if she was Filipino and she was and we started talking," she said.

"I thought you said you didn't like other Filipinos?"

"This is different. She is nice."

Getting back to my story, I'd already dismissed this girl without so much as a word spoken between us. Maybe it was her white boyfriend that made me think that way. Trophy, I thought. I know, I know, I was bad.

I worked in the Student Store at UCLA, more specifically the Sportswear section. Sportswear encompassed all clothing and clothing-related items that didn't have a UCLA emblem. In other words, plain clothes.

One day I walked into the office to clock in and begin my shift. Rachel, our manager, introduced me to the girl standing next to her, our newest employee. Uh-oh, it was that girl, the one from my psych class.

"Hi!" said Susan as she shook my hand and gave me a lovely smile. All of a sudden my preconceived notions melted away.

"Hi, nice to meet you," I answered back.

I'll make this simple. The more I worked alongside Susan, the more I liked her. She was bright, outgoing, had interesting things to talk about, and also looked very, very good. Things just seemed to, um, click. When the staffing schedule for the next week got posted, first I'd check my schedule then quickly check hers to see when we'd be working together.

Another newbie arrived soon after Susan. An engineering major named Oscar. Talk about the engineering nerd stereotype with the slide rule locked to the belt loop and pencil protector entrenched in the pocket, he was the original. Talking to him was frustrating because he spoke in a very formal manner, mainly of things that had no relevance to anything even remotely connected to the lives of the rest of us Sportswear employees. And when you spoke to him you wanted to rap your knuckles on his head and say, "hello, hello, anyone home?" because he seemed off in his own world.

Soon Oscar became a popular topic of conversation. And a person to be avoided when it came to conversation with him rather than about him. Nice guy but very strange and very boring.

My main buddy in Sportswear was Kevin Hanson. He was a red-haired senior who had a slight resemblance to Van Morrision. We'd spend a lot of time discussing Oscar but also made time to discuss the females in the department as well. One day Kevin asked me who was the best looking in the store.

"Susan," I said with no hesitation.

"Susan?" He mulled that over. "Naw. No way."

"Then who?"


"Debbie? Hmm. Good choice. Not as good as Susan, though. Susan looks better."

"You got it the other way around," Kevin told me. I told him he had it all backwards. But we did respect each others choices. Well, to each his own.

Meanwhile, Susan and I continued to enjoy each other's company. She told me she liked how I could always make her laugh. I wondered, did she still have that boyfriend? She hardly talked about him but from what I pieced together from the other employees, yes, they were still together.

Well that didn't bode well with me since I'd really taken a liking to her. I mean, really taken - like I was becoming crazy about her to the point where I was always thinking about her.

Since this post is getting long, I'll pick up with the next part tomorrow. But the video says it nicely up to this point:

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