That Was Then:
How the Happygrrls met...
It's really strange how some friendships are forged. There are those that kind of happen out of convenience (like the girl that sits beside you in class and has very neat notes) and then there are those that you would never see coming from a million, trillion miles away.
The story of the Happygrrls falls under the latter. Although we had worked together for a long time, it was not until a weird twist of fate that we were thrown together.
In the beginning, there was only me. I tolerated my data entry job, but it wasn't something I had planned to do for the rest of my life. I was kind of shy too, so I didn't socialize much with the people I worked with. About six months later, Michelle started working at the company. She was in customer service.
I always had problems with the customer service people. "You think you're better than me?" I would say under my breath as I walked by their room. "Too good to fix the photocopying machine that you jammed, eh?" Okay, so I didn't really say those things, but I definitely thought them. Being a lowly part-time worker, I was never formally introduced to Michelle. Also, she worked in the mornings and I worked in the afternoons, so for about a month or so we didn't even know the other person existed.
One day, Michelle walked into the room that I worked in. This is my chance to say hi, I thought excitedly. But she began talking to my manager about the horrible day she had, and she didn't sound too happy. Or nice, for that matter. I immediately feared her. What if I said something she didn't like, and she slapped or choke slammed me? She looked a little violent.
Phan began working with us shortly after. She was in accounting.
I always had problems with the accounting people. "You think you're better than me?" I would say under my breath as I burned holes in their backs with my eyes. "Too good to fix the fax machine that you jammed, eh?" Okay, so I didn't really say those things, but I definitely thought them. Being a lowly part-time worker, I was never formally introduced…well, you know how the rest goes.
But Phan didn't look violent, so I was comfortable saying hi to her. Still, we didn't talk much.
Some things change...
Michelle took Phan out for lunch on her second day (sidebar: Michelle and I had never, ever gone to lunch when we worked together), and brought her back late, which she got in trouble for. See, I wasn't all wrong in thinking Michelle was a little evil. Phan avoided going to lunch with Michelle for a while, but they began talking and formed a friendship.
I would walk by the customer service room and hear Michelle and Phan laughing. "You think you're better than me?" I would mutter under my breath. Once, I said it a little too loud and Michelle looked at me. I ran back to my desk and hid under it until she went home.
A couple of months later, I bumped into Michelle as I was heading back to the office. We made small talk for a while, where she told me about her horrible day at work. Does she ever have a good day? I wondered. I knew customer service was stressful, but that day reinforced my theory about Michelle being mean. I nodded and agreed with everything she said, though, because I didn't want her to beat me.
During this time, our company was undergoing some drastic changes, and as a result there were some casualties. I was one of them. (Dramatic much? Yes? Yes!)
On my last day, a couple of us went to a bar to drink our troubles away. Michelle came along. She's not so bad, I thought. At least she isn't heckling me for losing my job, or beating anyone up. I thought it was also very sweet of her to sympathize with us, considering that she was being allowed to keep her job. And she was funny! And she laughed at my jokes! That day, my perception of Michelle changed, although I thought I would never see her, or Phan, ever again.
For some incomprehensible reason, our company still threw its annual Christmas party and invited everyone, including those of us who were fired. At first, the thought of going sounded a little too awkward for me, but with the promise of free food I was convinced. Michelle and Phan made an appearance as well. This was the first time I had socialized with them outside of work.
...and some things remain the same.
We drank long into the night, taking full advantage of the credit card that was left behind to pay for our tab. We maxed out the limit, and still we wanted to drink more. All I remember of that night was shot after shot of sweet, sweet liquor. If you really want to get technical, my friendship with Michelle was forged through alcohol. Phan and I also talked, and I found out more about her in two hours than I did working months with her. I had always admired her sense of style and her clothes, but it was that night that I learned how much of a shopaholic she really was. And she was sweet! And genuinely nice! I was a little sad that it took so long to find this out, as I thought I would never see them again.
Losing my job freed up most of my time, and there's only so much staring at the wall one can do. I wanted to do something meaningful, and that's when I thought about starting an e-zine. Knowing that Michelle and I had many things in common, including a passion for writing, food, and dramatic moments, I approached her with the idea. She agreed, and asked Phan to join us as well. So much for never seeing them again.
Working on Happygrrls has brought us closer than anything else. Many people we worked with marvel at the fact that we are good friends, because sometimes our differences are like night and day. But with friendships, just as with anything else with life, you have to take your chances and see what you come out with. Sometimes you'd be surprised at the wonderful things that can happen. ¤ C.Ho.