“Kai axe you question?” the reservationist shouted across the office, staring straight at my cubicle, as she raised her chin for emphasis.
“Sure,” I answered, startled by the thick accent that essentially stamped ‘The Bronx’ across her forehead.
“Can you do me a righteous solid?” she continued, almost skipping across the room, while continuing to answer the phone.
“Hold on a second sweetie,” she said, raising her index finger in the air. “Yes, we’re looking forward to seeing Mr. Luder at 12:30. We’ll have his table awaiting his arrival. Thanks for checking Janis. Will do,” the reservationist smiled as she removed her headset.
“What is wiff these people?” she asked no one in particular. “I mean don’t get me wrong. I love Mr. Luder. He’s a sweet old man. And Janis, she’s a nice girl, but the guy comes here every day. What’s wiff asking if he’s gonna get his regular table? He’s only been sitting in the same freakin’ seat every day for like what? 30 years? Ay Dios mio, these people.”
Without missing a beat, she returned her attention to me. “Hey I gotta question for you. I need wardrobe advice. My boyfriend says I dress like a hoochie.”
“Uh, sure,” I answered completely unsure what a “righteous solid” was or who Mr. Luder and Janis are.
“Hector, my boyfriend, said that I don’t look classy wiff tight jeans and low cut shirts. You know how we do. But I’m not all conservative like you. No offense,” she explained with a sincere combination of pity and respect. “Hey, my bad. I’m Rosario. I wasn’t here yesterday. Problem with the baby. Pleasure to meet you.”
“Hi Rosario. I’m Hannah,” I said, extending my hand to shake hers. She laughed and gripped it with a strength I didn’t expect from a five-foot tall, one-hundred pound woman who looked no older than 16 or 17.
“So whaddaya think? Do I gotta get all Catholic girl? You know how it is wiff us females. We catch their eyes wiff what we got going on, and then they try to hide us so no other guy can get wiff us. Oh shit. I gotta get these phones,” she apologized with a smile and hop back to her desk, where a switchboard of lights was blinking like a department store Christmas tree.
As I settled into my desk, shook the computer’s mouse to wake up the screen and adjusted my chair, I heard the hiss of a “psst” coming from over my beige carpeted cubicle wall. I turned to see who it was and discovered Constance Deitz’s blond bob dangling over the partition that separated our desks.
“Despite everything, Rosario is really a nice girl,” Constance whispered with a roll of her eyes to the ceiling, completely unaware that her words did not sound as complimentary as she wanted me to perceive them. “She’s just not interested in social people. Don’t take it personally.”
“Oh I didn’t,” I assured her, wondering if I should have. “She seems really fun. And busy. Those phones are relentless.”
“It’s like this every morning,” Constance said laughing. “Once lunch starts and Jack and Andrew go upstairs for service, it gets quieter. I just block it all out and check my lists to make sure I’m ready for the night’s parties.”
“Gosh it must be tough to get everything in place for the events you plan here. I’ve been working with Andrew for almost year at the ad agency, and it seems never a day goes by without something big happening here,” I gushed, knowing about all about the well-heeled clientele and lavish parties the Equinox was known for.
“Oh please,” Constance rolled her eyes. “I’m not talking about the parties here. I’m talking about the parties with people in society. You know the ones they cover one New York Social Diary. You do read it; don’t you?” she asked with an unusually inquisitive look that suggested my answer would determine where in her hierarchical filing cabinet my worth would be determined and stored.
“Oh yeah, it’s great,” I lied, having no idea whatsoever what she was talking about.
“Tonight I’m going to Prostate Cancer,” she explained with enormous pride, visible from her almost bragging expression. “All the right guys show up for that one and I bought the cutest dress for it. Thank God my bonus was decent this year. I paid off my Bergdorf card and now it’s time to ring it up again,” she laughed, completely unaware of how alien this concept was to me – the girl with $60,000 in student loan debt and a wardrobe consisting entirely of clothes I found in a Marshall’s clearance rack.
“Yeah I know how that is,” I lied again. “I’m sure you’re going to look great.”
Suddenly the door swung open and Jack, one of the two owners, strolled through the door dramatically.
“Of course I look great,” he said, sounding delightedly confident we were talking about him. “What do you expect? I’m Italian! Miss Deitz get in here. We have to go over the next week’s fundraiser. The Secret Service will be here any moment to sniff around.” Constance giggled, rolling her eyes and wiggled into Jack’s glass-walled office with her notepad.
Oh this place is going to be a trip, I thought to myself, wondering who all of these characters really were and what the Secret Service would be doing there.
The phone rang. It was Terry. “So how’s it going over there, chica?” she asked in her sunniest voice. “Do you miss us? Do you wish you were back here in the land of too many chiefs, too few Indians?”
“Of course,” I whispered into the phone, genuinely missing my friends from the ad agency, especially Terry whose desk was right next to mine. “What’s happening over there?”
“Oh it’s the same old, same old. George is stomping around, talking about how brilliant he is, while he’s showing a client his latest campaign, which is a total rip off of something he did 30 years ago.
“Ted is a complete asshole. It’s just a matter of time before he bankrupts this place – which, as we know, he’s done countless times before in other companies. And Mark is kissing everyone’s ass, while once again telling me that I cannot be promoted because I wear jeans and t-shirts.
“If they paid me more, maybe I could afford some decent clothing. I didn’t go to Brandeis to get treated like shit, while writing his kid’s junior high school essays. I’ve got to get out of here. Story of my life.”
“How’s your LSAT prep class going?” I asked with enormous empathy. Terry was far too smart to continue getting paid peanuts for doing the work of three people without ever getting any credit for it.
“It ends tonight,” she sighed. “The test is in a month. I’m getting a little nervous about it.”
“You’re going to do great. Just think: in four years you’re going to be a lawyer in a big firm,” I whispered into the receiver, hoping no one would notice that it was only my second day at the Equinox and I was already gabbing on the phone with a friend.
“I hope so,” she sighed, defeated. “I’ve got to get out of here. Hey, speaking of here, I’m actually calling on official business. Now that you’re the client, Mark and Allison are wondering if you guys can meet some time in the next week so we can show you the new ads and invitations. They can go there or you guys can come here. Whatever you guys want is fine with them.”
“Not sure,” I told her, feeling odd to be the recipient of one of these calls and not the assistant who was tasked to make it. “Let me check with Andrew and Jack and I’ll shoot you an email later.”
“Cool. Lemme know. But before you go, do you want to meet for a drink tonight with me and Privett?” Terry asked, mentioning Lane USA’s somewhat creepy, always genius production manager who regularly took us out after a long night at work.
“I’d love to,” I told her, “but I was out way too late last night and my friend is visiting from California. I’m going straight home after work and I’m going to crawl into bed. You wouldn’t believe what happened to us in her hotel lobby.”
“Hannah?” a bodiless voice called from behind the coat rack.
“I gotta run,” I told Terry. “Someone’s calling me. I’ll email you later.”
“Thank you, my dear,” Terry responded, as I was hanging up the phone nervously before I could properly exit the call.
“You should come upstairs with us,” Jack told me as he swung his scarf over his coat. “Let’s go. Where is she?”
“Where is who?” I asked him, genuinely having no idea who he was talking to or about.
“Miss Deitz,” Jack answered as he walked toward his private events manager and theatrically eyed her from behind. “Is she in the bathroom again? Or did she call out sick? She always has the sniffles.”
“Jack, stop it! I’m right here. He thinks he’s so funny,” Constance laughed, smiling at him and giving me a wink that said she knew she had him wrapped around her finger.
“C’mon let’s go. Let’s find out what we’ll need to do to get Mr. Cheney in and out of here as fast as possible before he has another heart attack,” Jack ordered us, holding open the door as Constance and I left the office and headed for the elevator that would lead us to the main dining room.
As we filed into the car, Jack continued his monologue. “I’m very surprised Andrew isn’t here. He just loves Republican boys,” he said, tugging his jacket’s lapel with his left hand, while kissing the back of his right hand and clicking his heels, like a soldier in a military formation.
“I guess he’s just too tired, just too fah-tee-gay,” he explained, staring directly at me and emphasizing the last syllable of how the French pronounce the word “fatigue.”
“With all of that going into the woods with the tree huggers, he probably cannot even walk. Just too many little boys,” he explained, again kissing the back of his right hand. “Don’t you think, Hannah?”
I had no idea what he was talking about or why Constance told him to stop. I liked Andrew. In fact I was starting to develop a crush on him, even before I left Lane USA.
“Oh shit,” Jack mumbled, starring at a text on his phone. “Hannah, can you do me a favor?” he asked with a sweet smile, “Beautiful, can you run downstairs and get me the fax from the White House? A fax? Who still sends faxes? These Republican putanas are still in the 20th century. “
“Sure, no problem,” I told him, remaining in the elevator as Jack and Constance took a step toward the dining room.
“You see that, Miss Dietz? That’s why Hannah is my favorite. She knows how to be respectful, unlike you. Hmph,” he grunted, striding into the restaurant and leaving her shuffling in his wake, as fast as her patent leather Tod’s loafers would take her.
I returned to the office, grabbed the papers in the fax machine, taking note of the presidential seal on the cover sheet and returned to the elevator. As I glanced through the pages, I noticed that there were in fact two faxes: one from the secret service and the other from Washington Controls.
Initially, I assumed they were related, but as I entered the dining room like a good retriever, hoping to give my new boss exactly what he’d asked me to fetch, I realized one had nothing to do with the other.
Oh great, I scolded myself, folding the Washington Controls fax into my jacket pocket. I’ve been on the job for less than 48 hours and I’ve already stolen someone’s fax, and completely by accident. It’s okay, I calmed myself. When no one is looking you’re going to make a copy of it and put it back in the fax machine. No one will see the fold marks. No one will ever know anything about it.
Category: Strange but True
About the Author (Author Profile)
I am a New York City publicist who specializes in promoting luxury products and experiences and occasionally moonlight as a journalist.
Relatively new to the world of blogging, I have watched and enjoyed Bravo’s Housewives shows since the first season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. I created this blog over the 4th of July holiday of 2011 because I enjoy writing and love to figure out how to blend images and words to create something that is both visually compelling and interesting to read.