Spotify Stalker

Spotify

Everyone at the coffee shop had a Mac except me. This was likely the case all along but the amount of people inside the shop due to the heat wave made it obvious. I bought my PC laptop used on Amazon from guy whose username was a mix of a date – most likely his birthday – and gen one Pokemon. The laptop ran on Windows 7. It wasn’t great in any way but it was mine. I used it to work, play Minecraft and watch porn.

Alex: Enjoying Taylor Swift?

I expected Alex to message me at this point in the afternoon. It was four on the east coast, and I knew by then he’d given up on work for the day.

Me: Maybe I am. I saw you listening to Beyoncé yesterday.

Alex: Yeah, but Beyonce’s done some great stuff. She’s earned my respect.

A man walked over and sat across from me at the back table where I always worked. He pulled from his leather bag a Mac and placed it on the counter. Over the Apple logo was a sticker of a different logo, one I didn’t recognize.

Me: Watch it, buddy or I’ll take you off my friends list.

I watched the man drink a an iced mocha from a large glass he placed next to his Mac. Anything helped, including this back table underneath the AC. I was surprised no one figured this out before this guy.

I wasn’t going to take Alex off my friends list but I did want to see what he’d say. He was the only guy I kept in contact with from high school. This was a recent development. I ran into him at the beach when I was home two months ago. Before then we hadn’t talked in years.

Alex: I’m just fucking with you.

I looked up and noticed the man was waving at me. I pulled out my left earbud.

“Do you mind watching my stuff for a sec?” he asked.

“No problem,” I said.

The man nodded and walked out with his phone in his hand. That guy was like me. He didn’t want to take calls in the coffee shop. That’s just rude, especially when someone’s sitting across from you, enjoying the AC because it’s so damn hot everywhere else.

Me: Yeah I know, sorry about that.

Alex: You haven’t changed since high school. You’re still so sensitive.

Me: Wow man, like you’ve changed so much? Tell your mom and dad I said hi when you go home.

“Thanks man,” the guy said and sat back down.

I nodded, replaced my earbud and looked back to my screen. Nothing. After twenty minutes I saw Alex signed off, or made himself invisible. I scrolled through my Spotify feed and looked at who was listening to what. Most of those I followed I hadn’t talked to in a while.

I stretched my arms and accidentally pulled out my earbuds from the computer jack. Taylor Swift blasted from my laptop speaker. The man looked up to me and laughed, hard. He laughed and shook his head with his eyes shut.

Me: Feel free to jab at me for listening to Taylor Swift whenever.

Whether Alex read my message I wasn’t sure. But that guy’s laughter. It played in my head long after I left the shop and into the heat.

Boss, Let’s Talk About Skipping My Birthday

Because no one has good office birthday party ideas…

Boss_Birthday_New

Boss, we need to talk about skipping my birthday this year.

I know you’re planning on something, I know you want it to be a surprise.  Let me just say it’s no surprise. You sent me the Outlook Invite for tomorrow with the subject “Quick Touch-base.” We’re having our touch-base today, right now.

Also, I know you’re doing this to build camaraderie within our department, and I respect your effort. Sales are down, and everyone’s a bit nervous. Let me just say that walking into your office with fourteen others crammed inside does nothing to help. Oh, our summer intern started today? Make that fifteen.

Let’s face it, there’s a lot of tension within our department right now. Jason and Will aren’t speaking to each other, not after that meeting with our VP. Will blames Jason for screwing up the presentation, and Jason claims the charts in the PowerPoint were inaccurate. Oh that’s right, you were at the meeting. How did I hear about how poorly it went?

Anyways, let’s talk about that cake. You know I have a gluten allergy, which means you already asked Tina to pick up Italian Ice. No one wants Italian Ice, especially me. There’s nothing happy about people awkwardly singing Happy Birthday over a single tub of Italian Ice topped with a single burning candle. Oh, birthday candles aren’t allowed in the building anymore? I forgot the fire chief visited this week, did anyone mention the sparks coming from the photocopiers in the closet space?

And the comments people will make about how there’s no real cake. I’m a hard working guy, wrists sore from the hours I spend number-crunching in Excel, and the last thing I want is to have people resent me because they can’t have cake from Baked by Melissa. You know Donna still thinks I’m making the whole celiac thing up? You know at the holiday party I saw her down glass after class of hot chocolate even though she claims to be lactose intolerant?

Also, I’m turning twenty-six. Yes, thanks again, but drawing attention to this only means that Jason will try to get us out for drinks at the pub downstairs. He’s a good guy, but I really don’t feel like hearing about the daughter that he never sees and how he has no life anymore. He’s only twenty-nine, and that’s a bit too much reality for me to handle, especially on my birthday.

Let’s not forget the company-wide birthday celebration that happens once a month. Honestly, that’s enough for me. We all file in, grab a slice of cake – or a Klondike Bar for someone like me – and leave, simple as that. Nothing like a bit of childhood nostalgia to help me forget where I am. Sorry, that slipped out, I’m very happy to be working here.
Oh, you’re concerned that no one will know that it’s actually my birthday? That’s alright, Sandra from HR knows. I started working here the day after my birthday four years ago, and I’m expecting an email from her to discuss how our company’s health insurance works.

I know you mean well, but if you really care about my well-being, as well as my future at this company, you will skip my birthday this year. What am I doing to celebrate after work? Nothing too much. Probably just go with my roommates for some falafel and then hit up a bar or two. Which bars? I’m not sure, we’ll just wing It. Yes, I’ll text you where we are if it’s not too late.