23 November, 2008

Either Nothing, Or Nothing At All...

At the risk of labouring a point, I intend to squeeze just one more post out of the situation with Siobhan. Hopefully, before you tire of reading about it. That droning sound you hear is me.

There hasn't been much change in the past couple of weeks. We've practiced with the ensemble twice now and it's slowly starting to come together. The two women who sing are just brilliant. Sandra, at her first session, hit all of the notes and even made it easier to keep time. And she said she was nervous! Yvonne has a lovely voice. Jim knows his way around the fretboard and fitted right in. I'm wading through the songs as if through treacle and I've only completely nailed just Dear Prudence of the five. The others are on the way and I'm hopeful they'll follow suit soon.

Siobhan is coping well with a new type of guitar and new songs. Did I tell you I loaned her my acoustic guitar so it'd be louder than the classical guitar she has? No? Look, it's no big deal, really, not like sharing a toothbrush. I was apprehensive about offering it to her, suspecting she might shoot back with "What's wrong with my guitar?"causing me to beat a hasty retreat. But she was really good about it, thanking me for the opportunity and telling me repeatedly how much she likes my Ovation Celebrity DeLuxe.

Every time I think there might be a problem, there just isn't. When I wanted photos of the band for a slideshow, she came straight over and sat for me so it took only three clicks and I had all I needed. No "How's my hair?" or "Ooh, not today" or anything.

I'm anticipating she'll be well-practiced for tomorrow night's session. Sandra and Yvonne can't make it so I'm hoping like hell Jim doesn't bail out as that will leave us with the two's company dilemma. We really need to get together and play, but Siobhan might be apprehensive about it being just us. I hope not, she's been great about everything else with the band.

Just the other week, she gave me a soft kiss on the cheek and a gentle rub up and down my back to wish me a happy birthday as I was cutting the cake in the lunchroom (49. Shit. I feel 17 but mirrors keep giving me away). In Australia, if the knife touches the dish you don't get your wish and you have to kiss the nearest girl. A colleague called out to Siobhan in a louder-than-she-probably-meant-it voice that this had indeed happened and Siobhan needed to make tracks. Possibly because there's been some talk, or possibly because Siobhan happened to be the closest girl, I don't know.

I ignored it and didn't look left to where Siobhan was standing next to me but I didn't see her move at all, which if I'm correct, was quite lovely of her. Afterwards, we chatted for a few minutes and once again everyone else just faded into the background. Wallpaper, all of them. Can't seem to help doing that. I know I shouldn't but....

On Friday she came over to return my pen-drive again and I got the breathless "See you soon," with the big smile and the dimples. I smiled back but I think what she got was my best Milhous-pathetically-and-vainly-courting-Lisa look.

So I've decided to lay down a few guiding principles to keep things ticking along just as they are. To enable us to keep doing what we're doing. And not doing what we're not doing. To stay as friends. And limit the potential for causing discomfiture or embarassment to either of us.

1) No drinking anything stronger than light beer at work things. Not because I might do anything rash, but in case I say something stupid to Siobhan or let my guard down and enter into discussions about her with anyone else. To date, I've confided in no-one. Just to you invited members of my now-restricted blogosphere, where I'm an entirely separate non-entity. Entirely separate entity, I meant to say;

2) No seeking her out. That means no beating a path to or hanging around the lunchroom if she's there - just breeze on through and if she comes in afterwards, don't linger. Avoid going to her desk to drop disks or things off. I can feel a few eyes on me when I'm talking to her around there. And she tends to turn on the dazzle for me when I go over to her desk;

3) Include others when we talk. I'm far too focused on her. With a little luck, I'll be able to recognize that there actually are other people present. This is going to be difficult. She seems to exert a considerable gravitational pull on all of my attention;

4) Never touch her, not even fumbling for spoons in the drawer;

5) No lingering eye contact. There's also something of a gravitational pull there. Strong too. I'm sure it could dilate time;

6) Definitely no flirting with her - I don't think I have so far - absolutely nothing suggestive or cute. Here are a couple of things I stopped just short of blurting out: when she mentioned for the first time that she had a boyfriend, I nearly asked "So, who is this fellow you've been seeing behind my back?" Funny line maybe, but could easily have come out wrong; and when she gave me the birthday kiss, "Hey, there is a God." Again, overstepping the mark. "Aww, thanks Siobhan," was a better fit;

7) Don't be so quickfire about replying to her emails - shit, we do have to communicate but keep to the point. Don't try to write a cackfest of gags every time. Save something for the blog readership;

8) Don't try too hard to make her laugh, generally; she's got a good sense of humour and she's made me chuckle a few times. Let things flow naturally;

9) Don't be drawn into or initiate serious personal conversations with her about life, relationships, anything. You're bound to say too much;

10) Don't deconstruct your "relationship" with her. Don't talk about how well we get along or re-enact things that have happened. She's shown no inclination towards initiating this sort of thing so far;

11) Just basically, make things as fuck up-proof as possible, I suppose. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? I couldn't possibly be aware of the right thing to do and then not do the right thing, surely?

12) Don't write another blog entry on this topic unless things change. Hopefully, they won't.

05 November, 2008

She's Not A Girl Who Misses Much...

Well, blow me down if I didn't get some great advice from the comments placed at the previous post. Really insightful, warm-hearted and understanding. I was heading towards similar conclusions all on my own, would you believe?

I didn't think so.

But this is what's happening: firstly me;
1) I do like her. Siobhan is graceful. And charming. The whole office seems to think highly of her. I'm drawn to her the way lots of people are. And we have common ground. The music ensemble we're playing in. There is something of an affinity;
2) Alright, yes, she is very attractive. A young 35. Not overly tall, but both slender and curvaceous at the same time and with dark brown hair and big brown eyes;
3) What am I doing? Just two things, I maintain:
a) Her emails get answered first. And I spend more time composing an email reply to her than I would to the CEO. I think he's starting to get jealous;
b) And focusing intently when we talk. She's in vivid technicolour while everyone else languishes in low-contrast black and white. She seems almost equally attentive, but I'm a bit concerned it might also be kind of obvious to eyewitnesses;
4) What aren't I doing? Well, I'm not seeking her out. I just breeze through the lunchroom when she's there and don't hang around if she comes in after me. She's equally perfunctory. But we just bump into each other and have a chat - almost exclusively about the ensemble these days;
5) I'm aware of her. It doesn't matter if we're in the same space with plenty of other people around, everyone heading in different directions, we always seem to greet each other. I quite like that about her. I think anyone would;

Now to Siobhan:
1) See above;
2) She has this almost teenage-girl way about her that shows off a fairly dazzling array of weaponry - head tilted; eyes up through lashes; slight blush; big smile; dimples at full compression; my name elongated, "Hi La-aad." I'm sure it's been used to devastating effect on far better men than I. I've seen this a few times now. And I'm not getting sick of it;

So, ready for some conclusions?

Well, I don't think Siobhan has a crush on me. I believe 2) above is just her way. Part of her charm and means nothing. She might not be fully aware she's doing it. I thought at one stage she might even be making fun of me a little, "Here he comes. Let's see what shade of red I can turn him today. Need to be careful, though. He nearly crossed over into purple on Tuesday. I had to switch all my dimples off!" This is unlikely. But I'd think it was funny, just the same.

She has a knack for making me feel comfortable and appreciated. I'm very lucky in that.

And me? All of the above, really. I don't feel lustful towards her. There's no phwoar. If anything, it feels like one of those pure and noble teenage crushes, the kind you might have had on your older sisters' girlfriends who seemed wonderful to your early teen eyes.

And folks, this has never been a fidelity issue. Most of you would know that I passionately and romantically love TLOML, on all levels. I look at her like she's my exciting new girlfriend. You know, "Wait till my mates see who I'm going out with."

She's fabulous. Wife and mother. Great to watch walking towards you. Great to be with.

On Monday, she delivered one of the eulogies at her cousin's funeral. She was a woman the same age as TLOML, killed in a car accident last Sunday week. They'd been good friends as kids. A terrible loss of a much-loved and striking woman. TLOML would normally be apprehensive about public speaking, and she was nervous. But she looked beautiful and graceful and sounded clear, confident and warm. Got a few laughs too. There are many reasons why she is TLOML.

And so what will I do about Siobhan? Nothing, really. And she won't need to do anything about me. I'll back off on the emails, and try to include others when Siobhan and I do talk. Nothing else needs to change. I can enjoy the friendship and the music for what it is. Shit, it kind of means I'm okay.

And maybe get a little bit of a kick out of it too. I am only a bloke, after all.