Last night at the gym, I hopped on the Elliptical machine right next to my boss' wife and right behind my boss. They churned away on their own machines while I buried myself in a book and drowned out surrounding conversations with headphones blasting dance music at full-volume. The class I usually take on Monday nights came to an end, and the ladies with whom I normally aerobicize came pouring out of the door.
"Hey, Laurie!" they called, wiping sweat from their brows and necks. "Why weren't you in class?"
I removed my headphones. "I had laundry to do, it took too long to make it to class in time."
A chorus of "How's the new job?" followed, with me trying to answer as diplomatically as possible. The week before I'd entertained them with little spoofs of my new profession, telling them how I didn't love it, but didn't hate it yet, though the general feeling I was getting was not good.
Sure that they all remembered this, I did my best to not sound too excited, but not too apathetic.
It's going. It's a long drive. I miss the bank. I'm learning. These were my standard responses.
Then one of my regular classmates made her way to me. "Laurie, how's that job?" She asked, after giving my behind a little slap.
"It's going well."
"I thought you didn't like it," she announced in her loud voice. I was sure the boss had heard. Certain of it, in fact.
"No, I said I didn't like that I have to learn everything new," I reached, hoping to salvage the moment.
She eyed me quizzically. I couldn't tell her that my boss and his wife were flanking me. It would be too obvious. And anyway, my boss had a clear view of me from the mirror. I tried to avoid displaying my panicked reaction. I pumped my feet faster, hoping that my worry would be lost in the sweat and the rhythm of my machine.
"Ooooh," she said, nodding. "That makes sense. Have a good week. I'll see you Wednesday?"
I told her I hoped I'd be able to make it to our Wednesday night Kickboxing class, and we said our goodbyes.
My boss and his wife slipped out the door while I traded details of my weekend with a friend near the free weights, so I was unable to do damage control. I'm just crossing my fingers that my boss doesn't greet me this morning with "So, you don't like it here, huh?"