The Diary of a Yuppy Princess: Joyce McDonald Hoskins
My Dear Confidante, aka Diary: Monday
Wow! Something incredible happened at the office this morning. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I could fill a page with adjectives describing how I felt when I walked into Ms. Austin’s office and saw Albert Healey on her lap. Granted, we call him that cute little Albert from accounting, and Ms. Austin is twice his size, but (and you can call me old-fashioned if you want) I’m not used to seeing a man sitting on a woman’s lap.
Now, just in case you’re going to tell me it was my fault, it was Ms. Austin herself who told me I didn’t need to knock. She told me that the day we went over the employee’s handbook. Her exact words were, “Knock after 9:00 am. and until 3:00pm. Walk in any other time. You will find me a very accessible boss. I keep 8:00 to 9:00 and 3:00 to 4:00 open for my employees to discuss problems, chat, or join me for coffee”.
We went over the open door policy right after we had gone over the part about never touching a fellow employee, unless he or she gave permission. I couldn’t help but say, “That’s ridiculous. Can you imagine saying, I’m sorry about your grandmother, Tiffani, would it be okay if I gave you a comforting little pat on the shoulder?” You know, I’ve always been outspoken. I can’t help myself. Well, Ms Austin looked over the top of her reading glasses and said, “You know what kind of touching we’re talking about, Harmony.” I didn’t much like the way she put the stress on Harmony, like she said it with all capital letters, but I let that slide. I like the job. People do that to me all the time. Because my name is Harmony they think I grew up in a commune.
Okay, I do call my parents the last of the hippies. They were at Woodstock. My older brother Levi was conceived there. He and my sister Sunflower were born in a commune. By the time I came along, ten years later, our parents were right wing, conservative, Republicans, but they still named me Harmony. We joke about our parents’ past. Levi is actually Levi Gene. Sunflower says she is grateful they didn’t give her a middle name because it probably would have been Seed.
It really aggravates us when people assume we have loose morals because of our parents’ misspent youth. We don’t. Levi is a youth minister and Sunny teaches at a Christian School. I’m a CPA. The guy who lives downstairs, the one, like I used to say in college, I’d love to have a Tasters Choice moment with, calls me the yuppie princess. I guess he calls me that because I dress for success. I’m not a 21st century dress down Friday kind of gal. For success, dress to impress, that’s my motto. Every morning when I get in my car, he’s getting his paper. He always says, “Good morning my pretty yuppie princess neighbor.” I’ll have to think of a real snappy comeback.
My Dear Confidante: Tuesday
The incident in Ms. Austin’s office is rather funny, now that I look back on it. I had two cups of coffee, files under both arms, and a bag of donuts between my teeth. My eyes were down to make sure I didn’t stumble. I wish I could have seen the look on my face when I looked up. My mouth dropped open. Naturally the donuts fell out of the bag and landed frosting side down on Ms. Austin’s new Berber carpet. At least that was a diversion. It gave everyone the chance to compose themselves. I was the only one who blushed. They acted as if nothing had happened. I’m not going to tell a soul about this. Sunny and I have had long talks about how much we hate gossip. Thank goodness for you, dear confidante. After weeks of writing nothing but things like: “Went to work.” “Ate tuna salad for lunch.” “Watched Desperate Housewives and went to bed,” I finally have something juicy to talk about.
My Dear Confidante: Wednesday
I couldn’t stand it. I told Tiffani. She’s the one person in the office I can trust to keep her mouth shut. I was disappointed with her reply. She said, “Well, this is the 21st century, you know.” If one more person says that to me I’m going to scream. I hope everyone who says that lives long enough to see a teenager look them in the eye, with a soup bone hanging from her or his nose, and say, “Well, this is the 21st century, ya know.” Oh, and she said she thought Ms. Austin was lucky, because she would like to take that cute little Prince Albert home in a can. Tiffani says the corniest things. But I have to admit, all the girls in the office are crazy about Albert. I’m always hearing them say things like: “I usually go for tall men, but he is so cute,” or “If I were a few years younger I’d go for him,” or “I don’t care if I am a foot taller, I bet he dances beautifully.” You get the picture. He’s one of those men all women simply adore.
Ms. Austin hasn’t acted any differently to me and she hasn’t mentioned the incident. I like her. She’s not warm and personable, but she always treats people with respect. I had to go over some accounts with Albert today. He was nice and friendly, same as always. It almost makes me think I was hallucinating. Maybe you can have hallucinations from being breast fed by a hippie mother. I’ve got to call Sunny. That will crack her up. She has a great sense of humor.
The cute guy downstairs winked at me this morning when he greeted me. Think I’ll forget about the snappy comeback and invite him up for brownies or something.
My Dearest Confidante: Thursday
It’s the last time I will tell Tiffani anything. The incident is all over the office. When I confronted her she said she had only told Roger, and he would have kept it to himself if they hadn’t had a fight and broke up. When I tell Sunny about it she’ll say I should have know better, but being Sunny she’ll soften her criticism by telling me I had an important learning experience. I hate learning experiences.
She’ll also advise me that I should talk to Ms. Austin, and acknowledge my responsibility. Sunny is always so sensible. Sometimes I hate that, too.
The guy downstairs was washing his car when I came home from work. He introduced himself to me. Told me his name was D. J. When I said my name was Harmony he admitted the D. was for Dion.
Dear Confidante: Friday
Ms. Austin came to work this morning looking like a million dollars. Reminded me of those before and after pictures in a magazine. She is an attractive woman, very professional looking. She still looks professional, but also at least ten years younger. Whatever she did gave her a softer look.
If Albert or Ms. Austin heard any of the gossip they aren’t letting on. Actually, Ms. Austin is getting friendlier. She asked me to share her moo goo gai pan with her today. I know I should be direct and talk to her, but I just can’t. I’m not as close to Tiffani as I was before. Don’t like being betrayed. Should have kept my big mouth shut. Maybe, Ms. Austin invited me to share her lunch to see if I would take the opportunity to apologize. I wish I had.
D. J. came up around seven this evening. Would you believe he wanted to borrow some coffee. He’s a psychology professor. That made me a bit uncomfortable. I thought about asking his advice about my problem at work, but thought I’d better not. The good news is: He asked me out. Dinner and dancing. I’m going shopping for a new dress.
Dear Confidante: Saturday
Guess who I ran into at the mall? You guessed it right. Ms. Austin was shopping for a new dress, too. She was wearing jeans and had her hair in a pony tail. I can’t believe how friendly she is lately. She asked me to have coffee with her, and said I could take Monday off. She also said I would be getting a surprise soon. Scary, isn’t it?
My date with D. J. was wonderful. He asked me to his apartment for breakfast tomorrow morning. Don’t think I’ll tell Sunny. She’ll say I should find out more about him. Of course, she’d want references. It’s amazing that girl managed to get married.
Dear Confidante, Sunday
Wonderful day. Wonderful. D. J. is so nice and a gourmet cook. He made French toast stuffed with three different types of cheeses and strawberry jam. I would be so happy if it wasn’t for the fear of losing my job. I just can’t figure it all out.
Dearest Confidante, Monday
Slept late and the mail was here when I awoke. There was an invitation to a wedding. I am cordially invited to attend the wedding of Ms. Jane Austin and Mr. Albert Healey and to rejoice with them as they begin their life together as Mr. and Mrs. Austin-Healey. There is a handwritten note at the bottom. HARMONY: I am taking your suggestion and rewriting the employee’s handbook. The part about touching will be reworded or removed.