She started as an intern. Tall and slender, invisibly pored skin like velvet spring, Kara is what is right with the next generation of office workers: she learns quickly, she never says that she doesn’t know without adding “but I’ll find out”, and I once caught her smelling her un-shoed foot.
A sense of humor is imperative in an office environment, don’t you think?
“You can’t smell that over there, can you?” she had said, smiling and pink-cheeked. She held up her shoe, a cute little flat no doubt fashioned by elves and left outside her bedroom door. “Really. Nothing should smell this bad.”
What could be more charming?
Since then, Kara has gone from intern to full-fledged employee.
We had lunch the other day.
We are surrounded by men in slacks and sweaters, women in woolen skirts and tights. I am eating the brie and apples out of my salad and talking about my new electric toothbrush.
As one does.
“So it’s like this whole new world, you know?” I examine a bit of apple. “It’s like I had spent my life brushing my teeth with a bowling pin, and suddenly there I am, all state of the art-ish.”
Kara grins at me. “You seem really excited,” she says.
“I am! It’s like the first time you try cilantro. You wonder: how did I live before this?” I pick at my salad. “I’d show you all the fillings I have, but that seems more like a dinner thing than a lunch thing, don’t you think?”
Kara grins over her salad. “Fillings,” she says, as if trying the word for a first time. “Those are for cavities, right?”
My fork pauses, mid-air. “Are you playing with me?”
She shrugs. “I don’t know anyone who has a filling.”
I stare at her, blinking slowly. “You don’t know –“
She smiles. “Everyone I know has this plastic film, a sealant over their teeth. No cavities.”
I lay my fork on the plate. “No one you know has had a cavity filled?”
She shakes her head. “Nope.”
“But how is your generation going to form a fear of the dentist without getting fillings? I almost pity you.”
Kara smiles, lifts a fork filled with salad, toast-like. “I guess we’ll just have to struggle with that,” she says.”