Today I had the pleasure of running into someone who I haven't seen for a long time. We'll call him Fox, since that was his last name.

I met Fox during my sophomore year. I was working at Independent Study even back then, and our workplace was dominated by females. We didn't have a single male worker. And by a "single male worker," I mean both "not a one" and "not a single one." One day, a tall, muscular, strapping young man was interviewing in my boss's office. I announced to the girls in the cubicle (most of whom were married) that this was my chance. Independent Study may have just hired my future husband. All I could see was the top of his head over the cubicle wall, but I just knew that he was The One.

As he headed towards our cubicle, and we heard the boss starting to give him the tour, one of my married coworkers hissed at me, "Cicada! Ring!" I had the habit of indiscriminately wearing rings on any finger back then and I happened to have a ring on my left ring finger. As our new coworker stepped into the cubicle, I quickly switched the ring from the left hand to the right, looked up, and smiled at the newcomer.

He introduced himself as ---- Fox and gave us some getting-to-know-you details about himself.
  1. He was a freshman.
  2. He was in the ROTC.

Those facts, combined with his puppyish over-exuberance were enough to make me switch my ring back from the right hand to the left hand. There would be no future for me and Fox.

But Fox fit in quite nicely with the women of the office. He was excessively chatty and loved to join in our girl talk. That, and he gave great back massages. Now normally, I'm fairly closed to people physically (unless, of course, I'm not, if you know what I mean). But for Fox, I made an exception because his backrubs were exceptional. Blame it on the ROTC and his massive muscles. At 5:30, once all the superiors had cleared out of the office, we'd have a backrub break. Those days were glorious.

Because he was a freshman boy and because we were all women and because he loved to be involved in our love lives, one of us once decided to set him up with her freshman roommate. They went on a double-date. On Monday, our horrified coworker returned to the office to report to us all that she and Fox and their dates had gone to the HFAC for some musical performance, and in order to impress his date, Fox ate his program. As soon as Fox came back to the office, we lectured him on what does and what doesn't impress women. Thoroughly indoctrinated, and without having us tell him to do so, he called his date to apologize for eating his program. She said that he didn't need to apologize---it was impressive! Sheesh. Freshman girls.

Perhaps my favorite Fox story was the day when we were talking about the French R. At this point, we had another male coworker---Ben, a married man with a booming voice. I was trying to teach Fox to pronounce the French R correctly and said, "It's actually your uvula that's doing all the work."

Fox's eyes went wide and he asked, "I know what the uvula is, but why does it always sound so dirty?"

Ben, the married man with the booming voice said loud enough for everyone in the cubicle maze to hear, "It's because it's a cross between uterus and vulva."

Fox is now all grown up and he's even married. Yet I was still able to witness his puppyish exuberance. He even hugged me twice as I shed a tear for times gone by.


sakhmet said...

This reminds me of so many of my own glorious days at Independent Study. For example:
1) the day I thought they'd hired MY destiny and
2) the day one of my married coworkers--we'll call him My People--was working on a sex ed course and said "Is this a proper use of the word "engorged"?" Somewhere in the ensuing conversation, I said " know, like a tic..." and the night went even further downhill. If that was even possible.

Cicada said...

You know, to tell the truth, things just aren't the same working at Independent Study anymore. But thanks for hiring me, Sakhmet.

Th. said...


Ate his program.


Why didn't I ever think of that?

daltongirl said...

The day My People left us was one of the saddest days of my life. IS was never the same.

Ate his program.


Why didn't I ever get to date someone like that?

skyeJ said...

The uterus and vulva are genernally very clean. It's hard to get an organ dirty that is located internally and cleans itself on a monthly cycle. And, if one showers on a regular basis there is no reason a vulva has to be dirty. As a proud bearer of both anatomical parts, I resent the implication that they are inherently dirty.

Cicada said...

skyej: Very good point. And in fact, I may have misquoted him. He may have said, "I know what the uvula is, but why does it sound like a woman word?" And the "dirty" was just implied.

Squirrel Boy said...

Sheesh, Cicada, did you develop a crush on every new single guy that was hired? Or only the handsome young bucks?

Also, I didn't realize that there were so many former ISers around here. Sadly, I have no idea who all you people are.

Cicada said...

ASB: No, I didn't have a crush on all the young, single men! Name one who I did have a crush on! My crush on Fox lasted until he opened his mouth. Did I ever have another crush on a coworker that lasted longer? Excluding Limon, Scoop, DP, Coop and Christovitch79? (Did I miss any male IS workers who read my blog?)

Cicada said...

**Dear Mrs. Scoop and Mrs. Coop: I'm joking! Just joking!

Squirrel Boy said...

"Did I miss any male IS workers who read my blog?"

Only me.

Limon said...

I do have to say that I viewed firsthand the frenzy during hiring time when a male would enter the office. The girls' lips were flapping like a flock of magpies! Or vultures. You pick.

word verification: ayehot
So who could blame cicada?

Cicada said...

I'd like to say (in my defense) that I wasn't around when you were hired. Ha.

Cicada said...

ASB: I also missed your comment! It was filed in junk in my email system, so I didn't check to see it. Of course I had a crush on you. That went without saying. Proof:

I am still miffed that when I invited you to watch a movie with me for the first time, you said you had to do homework.

I came thisclose to raping you of your lip virginity.

You were a member of my family for at least a day, standing in for Richie Tenenbaum.

That time that you like that girl who the guy I wanted to date also liked and tried to make us all go on a double date... I was crying because you liked her, not because the guy I wanted to date liked her. Duh.

Your being hired by IS was an exact fulfillment of my expressed wish. Seriously. What are the odds that I asked that the guy hire a young buck named Chuck and then the guy did hire a young buck named Chuck? How could I not love you?

Star Wars Christmas Special. The only way that something like that is enjoyable is if you're watching it with someone you secretly love. Wait... didn't I not-so-secretly love my boyfriend at that point? Nevermind that. I loved you and you only.

That time when I cried when someone sent me a letter on my mission saying that you were married. Tears, Squirrel Boy. Tears.

That time when I cried after meeting Brinestone, the fulfillment of all your wishes and dreams, and knowing that I was not and could never be her. Tears, bitter hot tears.

The tears that I am shedding. Right now.

Squirrel Boy said...

Good heavens. I never knew I was such a heartbreaker.

Also, I just came across your "Ode to the Personality Traits of Jonathon Owen" poem the other day. How could I have been so blind?