“So. I’ll tell you something else about Doug. You know how he is. He greets me when I come in. He always says, good morning. Elsa. How are you.”
“Yeah, he does that with everyone.”
“Right. That’s Doug. And I always tell him, how I’m doing, I guess. Apparently I do. This is what I’ve learned because I don’t pay attention.”
“What do you mean, Elsa?” Denis said. Except he said, Ilsa because he’s from Cameroon and has an accent. “What do you mean, you don’t pay attention?”
“Well I just answer him, I guess. And I say good morning, Doug and I tell him how I’m doing and I go through the thing like everybody else.”
“Yes. But anyway the other day I came in and he said, how are you, Elsa? I said, I’m good, Doug. I feel good today. You’re not cold he asked?” I laughed. “And he was smirking. And this is when I realized every day I come in, I’m bitching. I am. I am constantly complaining about how cold it is and I didn’t even realize it.”
Denis smiled, and I pointed to my stomach. “See that? Skin sticking out.” There is a gap between my pants and my top. It drives me crazy. “So every morning I come in and say how cold it is and apparently he listens. My skin is cold, I say like a Capricorn. I am freezing, I complain. And this would have never occurred to me. You know. That he’s tracking. So now I know he sees me coming in and he thinks, here comes Elsa. She’s going to come in here and complain about the cold, wanna bet?”
We both laughed.
“So that day, I told him, no. Not cold today, Doug. I guess I have this warmer jacket now, I said.” I smiled.
“You got a new jacket?”
“Yes. So two days later, I come in and now I’m cold again. Where’s your warmer jacket, Doug asked. What happened to it?” I looked over at Denis with an eyebrow raised and he grinned. “So he asked me this and I looked down at myself all stupid, because I was wearing it. My warmer jacket, I mean. So what can I say? How can I explain this to Doug? I don’t know why I’m cold. Well this is it, Doug. This is my warmer jacket so it must not be working anymore. I guess I broke it or something because it ceases to work. Because Doug? I am cold as hell today. My troubles are starting up all over again.”
“Yeah, it’s vaguely disturbing, though. To know he actually listens to me. Because there is no telling what I’ve said to him. Don’t think for a minute I pay attention. Because I am sure I have said all kinds of things. How are you doing today, Elsa? Horny! I’m freakishly horny today, Doug. And I’m not sure… I don’t know if I am going to survive this or not.”
“Yeah, its funny, except it’s true. I am sure I’ve said something just like that to him and more than once. Because this is exactly the kind of thing I think and the way Doug is… well I am just lulled into some kind of state where I think I can say anything and have it not be a problem.”
“Yep. Sounds like Doug to me.”
“So now I find out he’s been listening. And not just recently but for years, apparently. I have been coming in here awhile. So I should probably take this into consideration and beware. Beware my own mouth, except for that it’s way too late for that. You know. My cat is out of the bag and I am just happening to find this out now which is the story of my life.”
Is there someone in your life who lulls your into a state of complacency?