A sunny afternoon outdoors and I'm stuck on a client's accounts. Not that self-employment doesn't suit me: the flexibility, the sense of satisfaction, the excited tingle I get when all the numbers add up.
I've built my reputation on working above and beyond the call of duty, which means sunny days spent looking longingly out the window from my home office. But it's worth it. Well, most days.
I'm dedicated to my work, maybe too much so. Just two months after I decided to work on my own, my long-term relationship ended.
"Your priorities have changed. You've chosen clients over me," my girlfriend had whined. I'm reminded of the day she visited me on her lunch break, sitting herself on my keyboard so I'd be compelled to stop working.
"Do me," she commanded as a jumble of letters and numbers filled the screen, and I obliged, though I had to spend hours afterward repairing the damage done to the spreadsheet, and the Ctrl key still sticks now and again.
I snap out of that flashback and decide to take a break. It's a perfect day for a ride.There's nothing like the whiz of air as I ride my bike - it's always the right response to procrastination. I'm enjoying a perfect moment until a nail pops a hole in my tire and I'm stuck with a flat.
Far from home and my impending deadline, I drag my bike to a repair shop I'd breezed past moments before
"A flat?" he asks as I step inside. His voice is slightly feminine, his face youthful, soft and unlined.
"Yeah. Can you fix it?"
He lifts the bike without effort, walking it through to the back of his cluttered workspace. Defined shoulders, must be from lifting bikes all day, I think, realizing that for the first time since high school I'm noticing something very appealing in a guy.
As he props my bike on a stand and starts to remove the tire from its rim, I notice his biceps. Nice. He looks at me lazily as he works. It's slightly unnerving.
"Cool space," I say, pointing at the bike posters and nodding to the music blasting from the stereo. I remember the days of actually leaving the house to work and interacting with others. There are certain unsocial disadvantages to self-employment, I think, and add aloud, "I was stuck inside - deadline, you know... but it was so nice I had to take a ride. So much for that bright idea."
"Flats happen. It sucks. What kind of deadline?"
"Oh, I'm a bookkeeper, work from home, so, you know, finance reports, accounts ." I trail off. "I've been at it for two years. Well," I chuckle, "not this account, but that's how long I've been in business for myself. Care to put my business card on your wall?" I hand him one as he idly rubs his face, leaving a grease stain at the tip of his nose. Cute, I think, then reprimand myself.
"Never do my own accounting. I leave it to experts like you." He grins. Yes, still cute. "Inner tube's replaced. Lucky you. I'm stuck here all day."
I pay up, thanking him more than I should, and resume my ride. Something's different now. I feel a bit fuzzy. I'm going over my client's accounts in my head, but now lists of figures are mixed with images of the mechanic's shoulders and biceps. Just last week I was into big breasts, and now a greased-up bicycle mechanic is turning me on. So much for consistency.
A warm sensation fills my body. Is it the result of a chance encounter with good muscle tone and a smudge of grease on a guy's face? I don't need to get it as I ride the wave of euphoria. Pedalling fast up a hill, I feel it in my core, the sensation hitting me deep in the pelvis. There's no time to analyze my attractions as I race into the apartment and throw myself on the bed, masturbating, reaching my peak fast and furious. It's as if the seat of my bicycle warmed me up, or maybe the flashing memories of the mechanic's broad shoulders served as foreplay; in any case, I feel relieved, and get back to work with a clearer head.
Hours later, I check my voice mail: a message from the mechanic asking about my professional services for his girlfriend. Sure, I'm a bit disappointed that he's not single, but on the plus side, I have a new referral. I try to be philosophical. Maybe it's for the best. Maybe I don't need to be consistent. Maybe I can be attracted to both breasts and biceps. Maybe even simultaneously, but that's a thought for tomorrow.
Maybe tomorrow afternoon will be sunny, too, I think, saving the message.