I think I might be stalking someone. Several people, really. It’s not intentional, I swear. Sometimes stalking just happens. Sometimes you just keep running into the same people. Once is baseline, twice is coincidence, but three times begins to get suspicious. This is the third time I’ve seen them.

I’m pretty sure they’re elevator repairmen. About eight of them. Sometimes I eat lunch at a food court, sometimes they eat lunch at the same food court. That’s all it is. They all sit together. They are loud, with their thick Chicago accents. They laugh throughout lunch. Their uniforms are all slightly different – some wear coveralls, others wear t-shirts and pants. Some are dark green, others are lighter green. They swear and give each other a hard time. Their hands are kind of grimy. Not unwashed grimy, but grimy from the kind of dirt that seeps into your skin and can only be removed by long sessions with Lava soap.

I think I want to hang out with them.

Yesterday, as they got up to leave, one of the guys forgot his goggles on the back of his chair so I waved over to his friend to let him know. He was confused, and kept his distance.

“Your buddy,” I yelled, because surely they don’t call each other friends, “Your buddy left his glasses on the chair.” I held my hands up to my eyes like glasses.

“Oh, no! Thanks!” he smiled.

The skinny one’s uniform tells me his name is Dino. He’s Sicilian and looks like a younger, more attractive Steve Buscemi. Someone at the table says that Sicilians aren’t Italian. Dino says, “That’s racist!” and punches him on the arm, laughing.

I can’t explain why I’m so intrigued. I feel like these are guys you can count on. I don’t know anything about elevator repair, but it must be pretty physical work because they all look strong. Even the white-haired guy looks like he could lift a car off of you.

Most are barrel-chested and broad shouldered, but even the smaller guys have that wiry strength about them. They eat three hot dogs each or two burritos and a hamburger, and drink 32 ounce Cokes – manly Chicago appetites that can’t be sated by individual servings. They have tattooed forearms, but deep, crinkly laugh lines around their eyes. Maybe they like their jobs, maybe they hate them. They like each other, that’s clear.

They talk about work, what they did over Labor Day, how the girl at Jamba Juice flirts with them, when their kids are finally going to move out. Then someone eventually looks at his watch, leans back in his chair to stretch and says it’s time to get back to work.

I want to hang out with them.

I don’t think it’s officially stalking if we just happen to eat lunch in the same food court at the same time. I don’t follow them to see where they go after they leave (out the lower level exit). And it’s not like I Google their company and search for job openings (collections manager in Springfield). And even if I did, it only starts treading into creepy territory if I were to take photos of them while they eat. As long as I don’t cross that line, I think I’m fine.


13 Responses to “Repairs”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I think it only really starts to borderline on creepy if you start to videotape them. I think you’re safe, so far.

  2. sassyviv Says:

    I think you should accidentally get stuck in one of the elevators — while wearing your most come-hither get-up, sister! Or, one of your FMPs could lodge into a groove of the escalator, and only a big hunk ‘a beef could save you from a shredding at the top….

    I wanna hang out with them, too; only I just wanna check out all the cool tools they’ve got on their toolbelts. That, and I’d also wanna test out their walkie-talkies.

  3. vahid Says:

    I think they want to ask you to be their lead singer, but are shy because they don’t think they have what it takes to be back-up dancers to a class act like yourself.

    “Jenny and the Repairmen.” I can’t wait to buy your first album.

  4. shari Says:

    Wouldn’t this just be so much easier in a bar than a food court? All you’d have to do is order a pitcher of beer for their table and you’d be in like Flynn! (What is that statement supposed to mean, anyway, “in like Flynn”?)

  5. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Dude. >_<

  6. churlita Says:

    OMG! you and I are so kindred. I fall into friend-love with people I don’t know all the time and I am the worst (read: best) internet stalker of all time.

  7. claire Says:

    At least you’re a helpful stalker. Course isn’t that how it always starts. ;)

    @shari: the phrase comes from ladies’ man Errol Flynn. You know who Errol Flynn is, right? I don’t think Jenny had that kind of hanging out in mind…

  8. Ignominious Bob Says:

    It’s only creepy if you lure them into a photobooth.

  9. Ignominious Bob Says:

    A further thought? I started following your blog only lately, but my impression (and a quick use of the blog’s search tool) is you’re not in a relationship? I think I want to hang out with them. Then go try to hang out with them.

  10. jenny Says:

    sarah: you’re so right! thank god i didn’t upgrade to the new video iphone!

    sassyviv: oh, you don’t even want to get me started on the keys these guys have! i swear, one of them must have had 200 keys on his belt. how can you keep track of 200 keys?

    vahid: OMG – you’re such a genius! indie elevator repair punk – it’s a totally new sound!

    shari: no kidding – here, all i can do is order them a giant cookie from mrs. fields.

    tracy lynn: i can’t help it if i’m crazy.

    churlita: that’s good to know – i may call on your super sleuthing skills in the future…

    claire: yeah, i suppose all of us stalkers think we’re well-intentioned.

    ignominious bob: why do you put even crazier thoughts into my head? can you imagine that photobooth scene? GENIUS! and i don’t think i want to date these guys. i think i want to BE them. [run away now, while you still can…]

  11. Pants Says:

    Please tell me you applied for the job.

  12. Ignominious Bob Says:

    “So can I buy you a cookie?” isn’t the worst pickup line I ever heard…

    As for BEing them, take a class in elevator repair at the local community college.

  13. Anecdote Says:

    Just found your blog through snailbird and I love it! Your stalking story is bloody hilarious! I can’t say I’ve had the same experience but I often find myself having odd deja-vu moments which could be mistaken for stalking…

    Anyway I will read through a few more of your little gems. So far I am being well entertained.

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