Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My 300th Blog Entry

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.


This adventure in self-expression began in April, 2007, right around Passover. On the occasion of this 300th posting, I'm thinking of:

  • Resting and studying on vacation next week, for two weeks
  • Our cats and how they're coming out of their shells
  • My partner Pat's acceptance in a year-long program at Rutgers, to become a Master Gardener; she got the good news today
  • The young guy, who filled my gas-tank this evening
  • The man, who disconcerted me this morning.

The man at the gas station saw my business card in my wallet as I pulled out my gas-card; he asked, "You work for IBM?"

"Yes. Do you have family who work there?"

"A friend, in Kolkata."

"Oh, I spent six months, working for IBM in India last year -- in Bangalore."

He's unimpressed, doesn't acknowledge what I've said and responds, "My brother is an Oracle database administrator and he needs a job."

"He's in Kolkata, too?"

"No, Louisiana."

"Well, he just needs to look at to see what we have."

A car at the next island of gas-pumps beeps for help.

The gas-guy looks over at the car quickly and turns back to my car, handing me the receipt I've just signed. "Please, write that on the back of this."

"Sure." I write the URL and hesitate, wondering if I ought to add my own e-mail address, and if I should offer that the brother send me his resume along with the job numbers of any jobs he found and applied for at the site. I opt not to.

Driving away, I think of the other driver, waiting for service, and ridiculously, worry that the driver might have thought that I was giving the guy my phone number...and that I might have seemed like a mark, for someone looking to marry a citizen, to gain citizenship....Actually, the full ridiculousness just occurred to me now; earlier, I didn't think about the green-card-sucker impression I might have been making -- just didn't want to leave the impression that we were flirting.

My Hair is Confusing Me

For the first time in 20 years, I'm opting to let my hair grow into a bit of a long style. My niece Zoe tells me I ought to grow it either chin-length or to my shoulders, with bangs. As it grows longer, it's getting a bit wavy, with some curls in the back, and makes me feel more feminine than I suppose I'm routinely comfortable with.

This morning, I was leaving the YMHA, where I swim and passed a man in his 50s, I think. As I was walking past, he said, "That's what *I* want to look like!" referring to me.

I was caught off guard, as he had a long beard and appeared to be ultra-Orthodox. Orthodox-Jewish men are not supposed to look at women other than their wives, and certainly are forbidden to make remarks about women's bodies directly to the women.

"But then you'd need to lose your beard," I said, wondering how I ended up responding so weirdly, yet slightly flirtatiously.

I kept walking and he stopped, and said, "You know who you look like? You know who you look like?"


"You look like that Olympian, Dara Torres!"

I smiled.

"Have a good day," he said, and then added, "I *bet* it will be good now."

I smiled and kept going. From the car, during my commute, I called Pat and asked, "Do I look like Dara Torres?"


I told Pat the context, but she was more interested in the eating habits of our new pet-cats, Phoebe and Toonces.

This is why I kept my hair short all these years, I think; depending on the interchange, I feel vulnerable more than flattered whenever a stranger notices me and speaks to me. Would I have been so bothered if a woman had said all that to me? No, probably, I'd have loved it.

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