#3 The Air Vent Conversation

When I arrived in New York, 1971, I was naïve beyond understanding, believed myself truly ugly, for that was my training, and was hit on by every married man in the tri-state area. A few years later I was working at WNBC when someone joined the station who was smart, funny, successful and most importantly single. Don Imus played matchmaker. The guy also was raised in the Northwest so eventually we shyly flirted and finally had one of those New York date days: seeing the sights that are usually reserved for out-of-towners. I was nursing a deeply broken heart, so I didn’t view this man as even close to “the one,” but I think we had a pretty nice day. Then I drove back to my apartment in New Jersey.

The next day in my office I heard a conversation through the air vent. I recognized the voice of the man I had just been with the day before. And he was telling a colleague how he’d gotten lucky with me. Huh? We didn’t even consider holding hands. Now the fact that I had had two affairs before this, affair defined as with a married man, didn’t give me any moral high ground. The age of hot pants didn’t give any of us any moral high ground, or an award for good taste. But he was lying and they were laughing.

I left the security of my spacious office, walked calmly, head held high, through the series of outer offices, gaining steam. I tromped/stomped down the long hall to the office where they were talking. I don’t remember considering what I’d do or say on that long walk, I just appeared. I stood there as they looked up at me with blank or slightly startled faces. No doubt they hoped it was coincidence that I appeared just as they were talking about me. Instead of blasting the one guy for his bloody lie, heaven forbid I should embarrass him, I just said, “Are you aware that your conversation carries through the air vent?” I turned and left, went back to my office. My hands probably shook for a moment because that was about as confrontational as I could get. From my office I heard the click of the vent being shut.

Now get this. I went out with him again. Still no great chemistry, but we went out again and again. The attributes he had going for him were, he was single and he was funny. Don’t underestimate the importance of laughter with Mr. Not Quite Right. Also he was tall. I never realized I was so tall until I moved east. After a few months I left all my belongings behind and moved in with him in Manhattan. I also “gave” my car to a friend. So, not only did we work together, we lived together. There was no plan. No discussion of future. And I couldn’t understand why my career seemed stuck? I ended up living with the guy who had lied about me when I’m sure most women with a spine would have blasted him publicly and hung a sign around his neck reading, “Liar,” and moved on.

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One Comment on “#3 The Air Vent Conversation”

  1. Lori says:

    I think many women wish they could go back and say what they really thought to guys like your air-vent friend. Consider it one of those learning experiences! 😉


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