Saturday, May 29, 2010

Next to me

Jamie is the person who sits next to me at work.

At least, that's how it started.  I met her a couple of days after I joined the company and she struck me as a quick, efficient, no-nonsense kind of person.  She looked like she was in serious thought a lot and she worked really hard.  I remember Dianah telling me that Jamie could convince newsmakers to do almost anything.

When I first worked with her, I was terrified because she asked me all sorts of questions and I worried that she was beyond fierce.

But then, I began to realise that she took a while to warm up to new people and that her perfectionism was just a result of her worrying about getting it right.  Jamie wasn't as serious as I thought she was and soon, we were talking and laughing a whole lot more than we used to. 

We started making faces at each other over the low partition that separates us, and throwing things to each other, earphones, Panadol, cookies.

We even started having dinner together regularly, a habit that carried over to after Dianah and Mavis left the desk and it was just the two of us.  "What you doing tonight?", she would type to me, and we would end up having a cosy dinner in some random eatery, sometimes with Dhany, sometimes without, but always with heart to heart talks and lots of laughter.

"What you doing tonight?"

"Nothing much."

We decide to have Japanese food for dinner and go accessory shopping after.  I call Dhany, who is on leave, and he agrees to meet us there.

As we're walking out, the evening light falls in golden shafts over the neighbourhood and Jamie reaches for my camera.  "Quick!  Quick!  The light is very nice!" 

Laughing, we trip into a little clearing of stone tables next to one of the blocks where she snaps furiously for two minutes before the sun disappears behind a cloud.  "Oh well."  We take the train to dinner and over a salad and sukiyaki, start talking about something funny Dianah told me that day.

Dhany arrives, late from being stuck in traffic, and Jamie thoughtfully volunteers to take our photo.  "I never see any photos of you together," she protests.

"You're not going to get anything serious out of us," I tell her, as Dhany sticks his chopsticks in his mouth like Igor.

Dhany makes his "oooh" face, like a Gary Larson character who's made a new discovery.  She takes the photos anyway, giggling and we examine them like film critics.  "Haha, this one looks like we've been through an arranged marriage.  This one looks like we're one year from divorce!"

After dinner, we stroll across the road to get ice-cream from Udders and sit along the pavement like in a French cafe, talking and joking in the low headlights of the cars that past.  The streetlights paint us all a dim orange.  We talk about school, about Dhany's old teachers, about how the office used to be when everyone was on the team, about Mavis' wedding, about what we plan to do in the future. 

Finally, sleepiness sets in.  "We had a nice night," I observe to Jamie as we stand and stretch.

"Yes," she grins back.  We part to go our separate ways, she will take the train North and Dhany will drive us to the East, where we both live.

"I really like having dinner with Jamie," I say.

"So do I," he grabs my hand as we walk through the underpass.

Mavis, Jamie and I once wondered if we would be as close if we had met in school where Jamie was popular, Mavis was a prefect and I was the weird nerd.  We decided no, but that meeting as adults had changed all that.  I never thought it would be this way, but I see my colleagues every day and they're now friends to me, more than anything, and people I share some of my deepest and darkest thoughts with.

So, Jamie was just the person who sat next to me at work.

Now, she's so much more.

PS  Jamie says I talk too much nonsense on this blog and insisted on hearing more "personal love stories" instead.  Um, well, how's this one for you:  As I violently hacked the morning away yesterday, I got a call from Dhany who asked if he could drop by the house to see me for a few minutes before work.  He arrived, bearing a care package (no one ever made me a care package before!!) of grapes, crackers and cheese, Robitussin, a Vicks inhaler, chocolate and....  DOMO!


your bff. said...

baby... i know you're hurtin' BUT it's just not fair. i am your BFF and you write a post all about her?! gosh. PFFFFT.

berf said...

This shows you who is the real BFF

chengwei said...

hello shuli, i managed to stumble onto your blog from your facebook! and reading this post about jamie made me think about how she used to sit opposite me and how i was very scared of her.

Jamie said...

Whaaaaaat! I was so nice to you can!

chengwei said...

lol! you being nice to me doesn't change how scared i was of you when we did the rice story (the nightmares!). i hope everyone is doing well in the office! (:

Shoe said...

Hahahaha hi guys... you're hilarious... Mie and Ah Toh, the posts were totally meant to be about our collective friendship as a WHOLE. I love everyone.

JETSON! Long time no hear!!! How are you man?!

berf said...

wat?? i thought i was special

Shoe said...

BERF! You are!!! OhdearIseemtohavegotmyselfinapickle.

YOU are special. AH TOH is special. You are my biffy berffy biffs. Let us just be happy and at PEACE.

Chengwei said...

CHENG WEI's fine, thanks! :) I'm still in ns though, but life's good so no complaints! Haha, I like reading your blog!! Hope everything's going well for you!

Shoe said...

Hahahha thanks, Cheng Wei! Good to hear you're well... come visit us some time! Stacey was back here for several months!

Chengwei said...

Haha, now it feels weird that you're calling me Cheng Wei. I guess labels do stick longer than I thought.

I was there once a couple of months ago to pass Stacey her birthday present but no one was at s**times. She and Esther met me for lunch outside a couple of times while Stacey was at MYB.

Are tuesdays and wednesdays still the best days to visit?

YOUR BIFF said...

my god jetson. i miss calling your name!

anyway shus and miemie. u guys are my fav ppl at work too. we can have a threesome. :)

ps: i'm still shus' BIFFFFFFFF!

Shoe said...

ChengJETSONwei - Yes we are still most free on Tuesdays and Wednesday! But um if you come during Tuesday at lunch time we will probably be out somewhere.

Come and visit us and let us pat your botak head! (Or is it even still botak)


STOP writing nutty comments and get ready to be HITCHED!!!!!

PS When I think about you I touch myself.

Samantha said...

HAHAHA. okay shuli, i stumbled upon this blog after reading the facebook comment that you wrote about mavis' wedding. the wedding looks so nice! okay, then i started clicking on your history and this post cracked me up (:

ps. i can't call chengwei chengwei either. it's AWCW!

pps. i'll be back in summer (july)! a visit to you guys is due! tuesday lunch :D :D

Shoe said...

Hi Sam!!!! It's so good to hear from you, how are you dude??

Yes please come and visit us in July, we haven't seen you in ages! Also, I have been reading YOUR blog, but I can't leave comments! Is that just me, or is there no commenting?

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