Sometimes… certain relatively unremarkable (and now old) “things” cross my mind.
I am going to share 3 of them with you now in hopes that they will
remove themselves from my archival brain files.
This particular assortment has to do with
former workplace situations… and wearing black.
This is a long and random post. You are forewarned. 😉
Since Ancient Times, there has been a lot of black in my daily wardrobe.
1) One day at work in the mid-’90s, a guy at my office felt compelled to ask me, “Are you Goth?” I looked at him blankly and he asked again, “Are you Goth?” I didn’t respond… because I didn’t know why he was asking. And because I thought it was a strange question. And because I didn’t want him to know the inner core of my being, one way or the other.
[Question: Is this something one usually must pronounce to others? “Hi, I’m Goth.”]
A few years later, circa early 2000s in a new workplace, another guy I worked with saw me in the hallway wearing one of my usual (at that time) long flowing skirts with black knee-high boots, a pendant dangling from my neck on a long silver chain, a long-sleeved black crushed velvet turtleneck, rings on three of my fingers, silver dangly earrings, and my hair cascading about my shoulders in a long and wavy style. He asked me what my Goth name was. He was sure I had one.
I shook my head no, mildly annoyed, entered my office and sat at my desk. He followed me into the room and asked me again. I told him I didn’t have a Goth name, and how strange I thought it was that he would ask such a thing. He insisted that, if I didn’t have one already, I should make one up. So — to help him move along in life — I did.
And, therefore, if you must, you may call me by my Goth name: Lorelei Regalia.
PS: For the record, I was not trying to be “Goth” specifically, ever. I just wore what I felt comfortable in at the time — a romantically flowing skirt, a soft, snugly shirt, pretty jewelry….
… although, I do admit my musical preferences tend toward Goth-like. So… there’s that.
2) Around that same ancient time, I worked with a young woman who called me Stevie because she thought I looked like Stevie Nicks (refer to my wardrobe mentioned in the story above). Meanwhile, I thought she looked a lot like Toni Braxton, so I called her Toni.
One of our typical conversations:
“Hi, Stevie,” Toni’s voice carried across the conference room at an all-company birthday cake celebration for a co-worker. “I heard one of your songs on the radio the other day. Can’t wait till your new album comes out!” (They were still called albums back then.)
“Thanks, Toni. Looking forward to touring with you next summer,” Stevie replied, wondering which concert arena they would sell out the fastest.
I have no recollection what her real name was (and I’m sure she doesn’t remember mine either), and we never did go on tour together. Oh, well.
Side note: Years (and years) earlier, my high school friend Patrick had also thought I looked like Stevie Nicks. For some reason. (Not wardrobe-related.)
Sidetrack Story: A random thought I had based on something I said above…
When I was in 2nd and 3rd grade, my family lived across the street from two brothers. Mark was in my grade and his older brother Dave was in my older sister’s grade. We used to play together a lot. They had an above-ground pool in their back yard (I never swam in it) and a dog named Princess. (According to Google Maps, the pool is no longer there.)
One summer day, Mark was riding his bike up and down the street as I was running across it to play with another friend, Gina. Mark’s mom tried to warn me that I was about to collide with his bike, but I thought I could outrun him. Nope. BAM! I got tangled up in his wheels… and hobbled home with a bloody knee and foot or something. Well… it seemed like a good idea at the time! 😛
ANYWAY… on some other random day around that time, I remember Dave cranking up his radio in their garage and I instantly liked the song that was playing. It became one of my favorites that year, and I felt cool and grown up for liking it.
PS: I just remembered Toni’s real name. It was René.
Back to Ancient Times… with my final story.
3) In 1993, I quit my job. I was the Assistant Manager of a retail store that I’d worked at for 5 years (intermittently throughout college (summers and holidays) and then nearly 2 years full-time after graduation). It wasn’t my life goal to work there forever, but it was solid (albeit low-paying) work at the time. Sooner or later, I needed to move on.
On April 28, 1993, my grandmother died. I went to the funeral with my family and then returned to work.
Before I get too far, let me catch you up on what it was like to work at the store.
The store manager did not like me. At all. She resented my presence (the previous store I had worked at closed and I was relocated to her store because of my work experience; she was not pleased). She did everything she could to make life difficult for me there.
She insulted me daily, making fun of my college education (she had never gone to college) and my age (she was twice as old as me) and my intelligence (I corrected accounting errors she hadn’t noticed) and my clothes (she didn’t like my style)… etc.
I will interject here that I had previously worked at two other store locations over the years, with several different managers. I had earned customer service awards during that time, and other commendations from several store customers who would tell me I was an amazing employee and who would then take time to write appreciative letters to the corporate office about my job performance. (Thank you, again, to all of you who did that for me back then.)
This particular manager was the only person in the company who had ever treated me with blatant disrespect, blaming me for things I didn’t do, saying mean things about me in front of co-workers and customers, and bad-mouthing me to my co-workers behind my back. Anyway… I was stuck there, for the time being.
Back to grandma’s passing.
The week I returned to work after the funeral, I guess I wore more than my usual share of black-infused clothing. The manager said to me, “You sure have been wearing a lot of black this week.”
I told her, “Well, I guess it makes sense now because of my grandma’s passing.”
“Why?” she asked, “What does that have to do with anything?”
I told her, “It’s the traditional appropriate color for mourning.”
Her mouth dropped open and her eyes squinted at me in judgment, “Really? I didn’t think people actually did that anymore.”
Apparently, it wasn’t possible for her to just wish me well and pretend to feel sorry for my loss. She was heartless.
Now, as offenses go… that wasn’t her worst by a long shot. But what it did — yet again — reveal was just how insensitive and unpleasant she was to be around… and how much I really did not need to be in her presence anymore. So I gave her my notice — and told her I’d stay for 6 weeks longer because I knew she/the store needed me for our upcoming annual inventory session. (I know others would have left sooner, but that’s not the kind of person I am — I hang in there even in the worst of times because I know my actions affect other people.)
But… after that, I was done.
So those are my fashionably black and Gothic stories, such as they are.
Thanks for listening. 😀