Ah, guilty pleasures I have a fair few. I’m not ashamed of most of them either, not even my somewhat questionable taste in music (according to some people) so what if I love One Direction, Little Mix, Miley Cyrus and Janet Jackson? However my guilty pleasures don’t stop there, they also cover my cliched movie choices and in some unfortunate circumstances, the unrequited crush on a straight girl.
I’m sure we’ve all been there, that crush on someone unavailable. I think I do it on purpose… choose someone so resolutely unavailable because that’s safe. You never have to do a thing about it. Better yet, if like me you were in a relationship and desperately bored of life in general then enjoying the company of an attractive lady adds that little something that’s missing elsewhere. Even if the exciting parts of your life are only playing out in your imagination.
So around about the time when Lara was heading back to school, I was stuck in my menial job in a contact centre slowly but surely getting dumber by the day. The only thing that would spice this up would be a continual ebb and flow of newbies to get to know, some stuck around and became friends. I enjoyed the easy banter and the ludicrous games we would play to pass the time while in the office.
One of my favourite games was only to be enjoyed with those in the office that could be trusted to keep their mouth shut. Someone would type a sentence or two of a story, then the email would be forwarded to the next person to write, then the next. Eventually it would go full circle and the outcome would usually be ‘snort your drink out of your nose’ funny. There was also a time where we put my paint skills to the test and I created Pokemon versions of one or two of my favourite colleagues, my creations included a Loulasaur and a Kimblypuff among others.
However the mother of all games I’m sure is played throughout any company in the world I’m sure… depending on the size of your employee base it’s either the top 3, 5 or 10. The aim of the game is as simple as it is genius and offers hours of deliberation and entertainment. All you have to do it chose who among your colleagues would make your to do list, and in what order.
Now I stress this point very clearly when I first started working for this company it was a sausage-fest. I think if you counted the women throughout the office which had over 120 staff you’d be lucky if you could count more than 20 women. Therefore in those early days you’d be picking the best from a limited selection… Over time this evened out and eventually became a bit more fun to play since me and the guys weren’t all choosing the same as each other, it was interesting to see people’s choices.
I can be a very indecisive person, it’s one of my worst qualities. So when I play this game it’s not unusual for me to change my mind with each answer. Not to mention I have a very unique outlook on what attracts me to a person, even the most stunning (in the conventional sense) of women can be rendered ugly in my eyes if she turns out to be a total axe-wound. That’s why I’m so genuine when I say I really don’t have a type. Plus it depends what day you get me on and if I have a secret crush on anyone at the time who then becomes my model of the ideal woman etc. etc. Michael and I played top 10 quite a lot, it got more and more interesting the more people we invited to play.
I was alerted to a developing crush of mine when I realised that my number 1 didn’t change for months. Oh dear. I was desperately unhappy in my relationship and the last thing I needed was a crush on a straight girl at work. Not a lot you can do about that though. So naming no names, what did I do? I made friends with her, she turned out to be one of the most awesome people I had the pleasure of working with during my six years in that office. The friendship didn’t totally nullify the crush but it did a lot to help, since we’d talk about anything and everything. Part of the allure of a crush is because it’s that person shrouded in mystery, when you get to know a person better it’s never as powerful.
Did she ever know, perhaps… did that matter? Not at all, you get past that point and you find that you’ve successfully put yourself in the ‘friend zone’ which for most people is hell on earth. However when you’re trying to avoid potentially embarrassing situations like unrequited crushing or dipping your toe in the water of a potential love affair when you’re committed to someone else I’d say putting yourself in the friend zone is actually quite wise.
Still during this time, I was eager to go to work and spend time with my friends, not just because of this crush but because it was a fun place to be. The people I worked with were great and a welcome distraction from everything that wasn’t going on in my personal life. We all spent so much time together that we were each others support network in a lot of ways, we listened to each other moan about work, life, love and other stuff. We rallied round and picked each other up when we were feeling shitty and laughed a lot, sure there were times when having fun at work was frowned upon, we just dealt with that.
It was a pivotal time for Lara and I, in some respects we were drifting apart. I naively thought we were just claiming back our lives, getting back to our own individual identities. We had been Lara and Elena for so long now that people couldn’t really separate us in their minds, we were a couple. We were invited places together, we socialised with all the same people a little bit of our individuality had been lost over the years. There were times when I acknowledged this and resolved to do something about it, there were other times when that was just too much effort and the boring routine continued.
The naivety prevailed, I couldn’t see that we were growing more and more distant from each other each day. Instead I thought that we were moving forwards, getting to a healthier place in our relationship. That if we had our own lives, a certain independence from each other that we would be able to enjoy spending time together more, that when we found time for each other it would come to mean something, that we might be able to reconnect in a way that we hadn’t done for so long. Like I said, I was naive.
Even so, that’s important in a relationship, I can see that now and it’s another lesson learned for me. I’ll never compromise who I am, I like me (for the most part) and if I ever become the drone-like bore of a person I used to be then ever again in my lifetime I’ll be very disappointed with myself.