I’ve stumbled into a conundrum at work and I don’t know the best way to get out of it. Or even if I need to get out of it. Or even if I want to get out of it.
As you might know, I am back at Barneys. There is a new parking system, one that was developed in the year that I was elsewhere. We now park our cars tandem style with an attendant who directs us. It’s a pretty thankless job because no one really wants to park in front of or behind another person. The parking attendants are all saints, every one of them.
On one of my first days back, one of the attendants, asked me my name and I told it to him. He wrote my name and where in the store that I worked and placed it on my windshield in case he or another attendant needed to locate me to move the car for the person in front of me.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a revelation from my friend. I don’t know his name and obviously, I should know his name. He is my co-worker and not just any co-worker, one who always greets my kindly even though his job is, like I said, completely thankless. Actually, it’s worse than thankless because most of us grumble that we don’t want to park tandem style to him as if all of these parking arrangements had been his idea in the first place. That being said, it feels too far along in our working relationship for me to, out of the blue, ask him his name.
Anyway, here is the conundrum: he thinks my name is Jeff. On the slip he puts on my windshield, he now writes Jeff and that I work in the restaurant. As I park in the morning and say hello on my way to the elevator, he says, “Thanks, Jeff, have a great day!”
And I’m really torn. On one hand, he should probably know my name. If they need me to move my car and he calls the restaurant looking for Jeff, it might be a while before the deductions are made that I am indeed Jeff.
And I don’t want to say, “Hey, I’m actually not Jeff, I’m Ray.” I’ve never been good at delivering those messages without sounding like at the bare minimum, passive aggressive, and at worst, well, let’s just say “jerk”. Did I mention he’s probably the nicest guy who works in the whole store?
Every day, when he says, “Have a great day, Jeff,” I wonder when and if I’m going to break the news to him.
But I don’t think it will be any time soon, because, between you and me, I get a certain thrill when he calls me Jeff. When he calls me Jeff, I am not Ray. Ray is fine, not horrible, but Jeff seems so rife with possibility.
I really want to be Jeff. Even though, obviously, others think Jeff looks like me, I see Jeff SIMILAR to me, but better. Brown eyes, brown hair, yes. But Jeff weighs 15 pounds less than Ray, he’s also an inch taller. Also, he’s 36. He looks like James Wolk from Mad Men and he has a killer smile and when Jeff walks by (or just parks his car) people always comment to themselves, “Man, I love that Jeff.”
Like Ray, Jeff is gay, has a significant other and dogs at home, but Jeff played high school football. (He wasn’t so great, but everyone loved him.) Ray and Jeff both drive the same car, obviously, but Jeff keeps his Jetta a little neater than Ray. There aren’t about 25 parking passes from the pool at Park La Brea strewn about Jeff’s Jetta. Also, Jeff washes his car every other Sunday morning, whether it’s his day off or not.
Jeff is midwestern like Ray. He’s super excited because his memoir about growing up in the midwest is getting ready to come out soon. (Simon and Schuster, if you can believe it.) He wonders if, when the book comes out, he’ll be able to stop working a day job. Either way, it’s all good. Everything always works out for Jeff. He’s super grateful to have corporate health insurance again.
Jeff is mostly perfect. His one flaw, if you can even call it that, is that he’s always posting motivational sayings on his Instagram. “We get it, you’re totally glass half full, Jeff,” his friends say, kidding, but they still adore him. Can’t stay mad at Jeff!
I could go on, but you get the point.
You see, it’s been kind of a big summer for Ray. There were some sad things that happened, some great things too. I took a risk leaving a job that I hated to go back to Barneys and, while no job is perfect, I am truly glad to be back and to have corporate insurance again. I didn’t blog as much as I hoped to and now I’m kicking myself a little because I’m feeling a little rusty now. I went to New York in August and ached before I went and ached after. Will I ever love a city more than I love New York?
And you know, here I am, trying to wrap up a simple blog about social etiquette that has morphed into a confession of being at a point where I’d just like to have a little bit more. Be a little bit more. Perhaps you can relate.
Don’t we all just want our life to be a little more awesome?
Unless you’re Jeff.
Well, maybe even if you’re Jeff.