22 June 2010

Lillian

I had a really great part-time job back when I was in graduate school. I worked in the back office of a big white-shoe law firm, doing odd jobs for my boss, who was head of office services. I got to do things like find a new cafeteria vendor and figure out a better system for distributing office supplies, and make contingency plans for a threatened NYC transit strike. That strike never came to pass (and I confess that I was a tiny bit disappointed, because I wanted to see if my planning would work), but we’d taken the threat seriously because it wasn’t all that long after the eleven day strike in 1980. That’s the strike when hordes of female office workers forced to walk to work across the Brooklyn Bridge took to wearing running shoes with their tidy suits, changing to pumps only when they got to their desks. After the strike, lots of women continued to wear sneakers to work – hell, I still see it from time to time.

One of the women I worked with was a file clerk named Lillian. Lillian was from far away in Brooklyn. She lived at home, and spent all her money on shoes and clothes, and all her time moping about looking for a husband. In contradistinction to the sneaker-clad women, she wore sunshine-yellow patent-leather fuck-me heels on the train and changed into bedroom slippers in the office – you know she was hoping to find a date on the subway.

But big-hearted Lillian had a tragic flaw. She had a growth on her gum, near one of her canines, so big it was kind of like an extra tooth sticking out in a place it didn’t belong. A visit to an oral surgeon would have gone a lot farther towards finding a guy than all those many pairs of shoes.

I wonder what ever happened to her.

11 comments:

Mental P Mama said...

Okay. I was all happy with the title of this post because my middle name is Lillian. And now, I'm all ewwwwww.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

People don't realize just how much dentistry--and the money to afford it--changes people's lives.

yogurt said...

I agree - scrimp on the shoes, save for the pretty smile. I haven't met a man yet who gives a flip about women's footwear.

mayberry said...

My daughter, the one who already has braces at age 8, is also kind of a shoe hound. I'm now concerned.

de said...

Good God! (again)

Maybe she had a fear of dentists in general.

liz said...

I hope she got it fixed.

Pinky said...

Ah, Lillian. I remember her well.

Gwen said...

Hey! I have bright yellow fuck me pumps. But I wear them on cobblestone.

I knew the kids at the last CPS school I taught at were better off financially than at any other school I ever worked because some of them actually had braces. You see that a lot, too, when a city kid gets a college sports scholarship. All of a sudden braces appears. Dentistry is expensive. And important.

The Library Lady said...

In this day when vampires are cool, she might actually have been an object of desire :/

n said...

You are reminding me of the mole women of Goldman Sachs. When I first moved here i did some temping there and all of the assistants had moles on their faces and were from Long Island. I used to wonder if it was a coincidence.

Elizabeth said...

I'm thrilled to see you've written about Lillian! I rememer her and several of the other folks we worked with quite fondly. Lillian was something else! She was also a very nice person. A few years back, I could have sworn that I saw her walking into the office building across the steet from mine . . . . .