Ah, the joys of temping. If I hated an assignment, I would ask for another one. If the group didn't like me, I was sent elsewhere and replaced with another warm body. I could turn down an assignment if I felt like staying home for a week. Back then it didn't matter that I didn't have any benefits. Plus my new found work friends were just as lazy and unmotivated as I was. It was great! We all hung out at this dive called the 117 House after work each night, drank beer, and listened to my very drunk friend Kerry belt out his rendition of "My Sharona" along with the jukebox. Sometimes we would crash this biker bar called The Sit n' Bull...for a change of pace. They had the best greasy burgers around. (I hear they have since morphed into a rather hip rock/blues club. Times really do change!)

What a motley crew we were. Sue G. was hard as nails, but really popular with her male co-workers for some reason (use your imaginations). Harry R. was cute like a teddy bear with cherubic cheeks you just wanted to pinch, but he was NO angel. Kerry Nigel F., esq. was originally from England with the body of an elf and the brains of a little devil. He won over more women with his accent and claims of intense expertise in the area of carnal knowledge...even if he only came up to my waist in height. *wink* Sarah had a mouth like a truck driver (sorry Sammie!) but secretly she came from big money. Steven T. was tall, quiet, with a full beard, long dark hair and a knowing smile. He was one of the brilliant engineers in DEC's stable...he'd been there since the 70's. He was an aging hippy, but a super nice guy with a warm personality. What he was doing hanging out with this dubious group of sinners was beyond me.

What was *I* doing with this strange assortment of human oddities? I met them all through Sue. I had been assigned to her group to help her with some projects. We hit it off and she invited me to hang at the 117 House with her and her friends after work one night. The rest is history, as they say. I never had any trouble getting served in the bars we hung out in (remember, I was only 18 and fresh out of high school). I think because the people I was hanging out with were so much older than me, the bartender assumed I just looked young for my age. I did look young for my age. I looked like I was 14!

Oh well. I guess 14 year old hotties appealed to these dirty old men I befriended. I really WAS hot back then! I look back on it now and shake my head. I never knew how cute I was. I think that made me even more appealing to men. I really didn't know how to handle all the attention. Steve often ran interference when men got too aggressive toward me in the bars. When my parents found out where I was hanging every night after work, my Dad went so far as to show up one night, caused a HUGE scene as he dragged me forcefully out into the parking lot trying to make me go home. I thought all my male pals were going to come to blows with Dad. They WOULD have if I'd let them.

Dad and Mom assumed the worst. They really didn't need to worry. I rarely had more than one beer and I felt totally safe hanging out with my new friends.

At work, Sue took me under her wing and showed me the finer points of goofing off and having fun on the job. Harry took me around the Mill and showed me little known and infrequently seen areas of interest. He was a network tech and ran wiring through sometimes barely accessible areas. His job gave him unprecedented access to all areas of the Mill complex (even the office of the company President). "The Mill" was just that. A former woolens mill at the turn of the century - Ken Olsen had purchased the long closed facility and made it into the shining jewel of the computer world. DEC's headquarters was a century old labyrinth of brick buildings, elevated passageways, tunnels and other nooks and crannies. Until I met Harry, I was getting lost on a regular basis. He showed me the shortest routes to anywhere and everywhere. I saw the sub-basement, cut-down rooms, access tunnels soaked with decades of machine oil from long gone mill equipment...even the inside of the famous clock tower. It was a shame the tower room wasn't open to the public (or heck, even just the regular employees). It contained a very nice museum dedicated to the early history of the Mill. The company president used it only on special occasions to entertain visiting dignitaries or other high ranking folk.

I've got many stories about Harry. Yes I did break up his unhappy marriage...but I'll save that tale for my boyfriends post. (Wow...look at all the eyebrows go up!)

Back to Sue...she showed me the coolest thing on the corporate intranet. They had this tool called VAXNotes (anyone familiar with Lotus Notes? No? How about the AOL Message Boards? Yes! Same idea.) There was a notes file (board) for any and every topic. I quickly found the topics of interest - music, prose, womannotes, soapbox, singles, friends, and flirts. I used singles to try and find a boyfriend for my friend Kathleen. I met one of my boyfriends in music notes (he offered me drum lessons *wink wink*). I found out about the best parties through ALL of the notes files. These folks used any excuse to throw a party and get all the noters together.

Then there was "flirts". Just like the name said, folks were there to polish their flirting skills. It wasn't really supposed to be a hookup spot like singles...but some of the flirters did hook up. How flirts worked - you put in a base note (an introduction) and members would stop by your note and post flirtatious comments or questions. If you were interesting and entertaining enough, the number of replies to your base note would skyrocket! I'll tell you what...I learned MAD flirting skills in that notes file. I became quite popular. One of the best things about this medium, it was totally anonymous (if you wanted it to be). Everyone had these cute handles (nicknames). I was...get this...Foxy Roxy. Aaaahhhhh! I can't believe I am actually typing that. Let's see if I can remember some of the folks I used to flirt with. There was HuggyBear, FuzzyBear, The Woobie, ... ah yes, and "The Stud".

I should have known this story would take at least 3 entries. ;-)


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