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last night i couldn't fall asleep. at first, it was worrying about molly that kept me awake. the question: does she think i'm a lesbian? i don't know what she thinks, and i want to know. it reminded me a lot of the 'what does terrie think?' obsession i had about a year ago. it's different this time through. last time, it happened mostly in my mind, because i never saw terrie outside of work. i spent most my time worrying about being around her. last time, i had a clear goal-to convince her i was straight, and i had a clear understanding of how she felt about lesbians (or i thought i did, anyway. nevermind that i was completely wrong). this time, nothing's clear, and i live with her. i spend most my time being around her, and i want to work to convince her of the right thing, but i don't know what the right thing is. i guess i know from experience that trying to find out by observing her doesn't really work. really, the only way to find out if she knows is to make it so she knows, because how can you ask 'do you know that i'm a lesbian?' without admitting that you're a lesbian? even with terrie, to find out what she thought, i had to come out of the closet. back then, christine and terrie were friends, and christine knew what terrie thought... christine doesn't know what molly thinks, and neither does jim. i'd be willing to bet on that. so i have to out myself to another person before i can find out what she thinks, and if i'm going to out myself to somebody who knows what she thinks (her and aaron are probably the only people in that category), it may as well be her. basically, by the time i will be able to get my question answered, the answer will be yes, and once the answer is yes, it won't matter what she thought before i asked the question. so i just wait and wonder and worry...
it was still early for me, and i wasn't tired, so my head started what-iffing. what if i had told christine and terrie, back when they asked? they were still friends... how many things could that have changed? maybe they would still be friends now. maybe i could still talk to christine, or if not, maybe terrie would like me a little more... maybe terrie wouldn't hate me... it would be better; i know it would... and that's how i finally fall asleep, in a world where terrie and christine get along, and they both care about me and i care about them and the three of us sit around and talk about things, just like real people, and we hug and laugh and talk and joke and exist, together. not romantic, just comfortable and happy and perfect. real people... i want to be a real person with christine...

i slept about 3 hours and woke up for work. i was actually fairly awake, and i was bored with running self-check. nickolas kicked some dirt, so i volunteered to find a broom and sweep it up. the broom was behind the service desk, so i went up and asked terrie for it. she made some joke about how she knew it was back there because she rode it to work today, and then she handed it to me and turned to some work-related paper. i said, 'wait, what about..' and i drew a blank. dustpan, was what i was looking for, but i couldn't remember the word. she stopped, looked up, stared at me, and waited. the more she stares, the more pressure i feel, the more nervous i become, and the less likely i am to remember what i'm trying to say. i stutter 'the... the place to put what i broom up.' from the office, i hear jane laughing. she calls out cheerfully, 'i believe dustpan is the word you're looking for,' and then laughs and repeats my phrase. i feel stupid, turn red, thank jane, and say to terrie (who is getting the dustpan), 'yes, sorry, the dustpan.'
she stares me down when she hands it to me, like she wants me to stop, like i'm doing something wrong. i don't know how i could sweep the floor without a dustpan, so i just take it from her, stammer 'thanks,' and quickly head out to sweep up the dirt.

teena comes through self-check, and coincidentally, peter comes in to use the bank. i don't notice him until he's out of earshot, and then i exclaim without thinking, 'that's my half-boss!' teena hears and laughs, and then she says something about how having 2 jobs is insane. she asks if i'm a full-time student too, and i say yeah. she says it won't be long before i start being unreliable at one or the other. i tell her that i'm already an unreliable student, so i should have plenty of time to dedicate to working. she laughs and makes some comment about how i'm smart enough that i can get away with it. i look at her funny, and she tells me that me and molly are both smart. not just a little smart, but a lot smart... i tell her i'm not so sure about that, and she laughs, 'well, maybe not common-sense smart,' and i get semi-insulted and tell her i'm not that bad, and she agrees and leaves.
i still don't understand why they think that, but evidently, even without christine around, they still do...

later, terrie goes through self-check with a box of cookies. there's a line, and while she's standing in line, she opens them and starts eating them. brian walks by and she offers him a cookie. he declines and moves on. i think back to monique and deshawn, and i wonder if maybe there's something to kelly's accusations that it was a race thing. i know there's a difference-terrie's standing in line, and is obviously going to pay. but the rule is that you have to pay before you eat, and if you start bending the rules just a little, how do you know where you stop? maybe it's not a race thing, but more of a class thing. terrie technically only has the status of marie, but she's been with the company for over 10 years. i suspect that if ann or brian saw somebody like aleesha or ayrik doing the same thing, they would at least make a comment, if not take some sort of disciplinary action... the managers swear that they abide to their own rules, and i've never seen any of them break one. so if they're not above the rules, why are they willing to completely overlook terrie breaking the rule, but they fire monique the first time she breaks it?

terrie pays for her cookies. she's too lazy to feed her money into the machine a bill at a time, so she brings it to me to punch it in. it's yet another example of how she's above the rules, although this rule isn't official. i've heard her complain about people who try to pay at the cashier's station, or people who make the cashier scan things... these stupid fuckers, this is a self-check-out. if they want the cashier to do it for them, why don't they use a regular line? of course, i don't comment, just punch the money in and get her change. while i'm doing it, she offers me a cookie. (i am still suffering from the ice cream overdose i had on tuesday... i ate 5 sundaes/cones/shakes at that training, and boy did it not feel good afterwards. since tuesday morning, i have not eaten any chocolate or candy or cookies or anything sweet, and that's a miracle for me, considering that the first thing i eat nearly every morning is a chocolate chip cookie, and that i'm constantly snacking on candy and cookies and ice cream, all day long...) i cringe at the thought of eating a cookie, and then fix my face and answer politely, 'no thank you.'
of course, she noticed my cringe, and told me, 'i didn't spit in them or anything.'
i answer, 'i know. it's just no cookies since my ice cream overdose.'
she stares at me blankly.
i add, '5 ice cream treats in one morning.'
she stares a moment longer, and then replies, 'right, i'll buy that one for twenty-five cents,' and then leaves.
i'm not so good at expressions like that, and i've never heard that one before. but to me, it seems like she doesn't believe me. if i'm interpreting that expression correctly, it bothers me a bit... why doesn't she ever believe anything i say?
all of a sudden, things start to make sense. they make sense not in the way where you're sure that they're right, but in the way where you could be right, and every piece you check it against, you could still be right, but you still can't be sure that it's true, a lot like the way i was convinced she thought i was a lesbian last year... the dustpan... the nametags... and that i'm smart... does she think i'm controlling it all? because she's convinced that i'm smart, she thinks i have enough extra brainpower to plain out an entire system of ways to decieve. she thinks i don't really forget my nametags, just pretend to, for the hell of it... she thinks i didn't really forget 'dustpan,' just pretended like i did... and she thinks i didn't really eat too much ice cream, just made up that story for fun... in her mind, am i a pathological liar? if so, it's no wonder she hates me; it bothers me when people lie just to lie, and i'm not half as irritable as she is...
but i don't get it... why does she think i would want to lie? lots of people have the brain to figure out complex lies and ways to act, but that doesn't mean they're going to do it. why would i do it? i suppose she's never thought about that. i guess you tend not to, until you're being accused of it. i knew a girl like that in high school. she was always telling stories and contradicting herself like mad. she drove me crazy. i never thought about why she lied, becuase it bothered me enough just thinking that she lied. i didn't want to think about her any more than i had to... i couldn't even stand to talk to her, because she didn't have anything true to say, and every time i caught her in another lie, i just wanted to smack her... but even when you called her on it, she would make up another lie to cover it up. if you called her on that one, she'd come up with another. after a while, the cover-up lies stopped making sense, but you knew better than to tell her that, because she wasn't ever going to admit that she lied. she wasn't so bright, though, which was probably half her problem. if you were a bit more intelligent, but still had whatever issues she had that motivated her to lie to the world, you could probably do a much better job of it. and if you were a super-genius, you could probably do such a good job that nobody but an intuitive, astute, bright, observant, and probably partially telepathic person could ever tell that the lies weren't the truth. does she think i'm that genius, and i'm fooling my friends and my family and everbody else i've ever known, but she is that person, and i can't fool her? does that seem a bit far-fetched? it does to me... i don't know... all i know is that she didn't used to hate me, and as far as i know, i haven't done anything different from what i always do since she started hating me, so that can only mean something happened to me in her mind that didn't involve any specific thing i said or did. i didn't used to get all these accusing stares... every time she's stared at me like that, and i've wondered what the hell she's thinking, is that what she's thinking? that i'm lying? that the words coming out of my mouth are pre-planned stupidity, or pre-planned intelligence, depending on which conversation we're having? that whatever i'm doing, i'm not doing it just to do it, but because i want to pretend that i'm doing it just to do it? and if so, what can i do to change her mind?
so i don't know. maybe she's not thinking that. maybe she doesn't even hate me. maybe it's just that things have never been set up how they used to be... she's not coordinator so much, so she doesn't get the chance to leave the break list by me... she doesn't get the chance to put me in charge of the keys while she runs to the bathroom, or to stand around pointing at food next to me. or maybe she's just sick of pointing at food and being greeted with silence because i'm still scared of her, and i don't know what to say. i guess that's another theory to consider... she watches me laugh and talk and joke with rashid and amit and malik and taysha and alyssa, and she watches me do whatever it is that i do with marie... and then she looks at how i act around her, and i'm silent and scared. maybe she thinks i hate her, and just wants to reciprocate that hatred... that could be why she hates me, but it doesn't explain the accusing stares. then again, i'm not sure that the stares became accusing until i came up with that first theory. if i could find a better explanation, the stares could probably become intense stares, or shocked stares, or confused stares.
what's going on? does she even hate me? isn't this exactly what happened last year? i was convinced that terrie hated me, theorized about why she hated me, tried to prove that theory and in doing so, fucked things up with jim, wound up coming out of the closet just to fix it, and then discovered that my theory was right but she didn't actually hate me. so i was half wrong and half right... just how paranoid am i?