This time of year always makes me think of Bambi.
(Not the deer.)
Bambi was the 50-something receptionist at the first full-time job I had after graduating from university. She was good at her job; talkative and outgoing, but not one of those people who chats your ear off with no awareness of your boredom. She was interested in people, punctual and professional.
Unlike the developers, Bambi had set hours for working. She’d come in at 9:30, and leave at 5:30. By 5:25 she’d be sitting at her desk with her coat and hat on, maybe taking one or two last calls but mentally ready to go. On the dot of 5:30, the phones were switched over to the automated system and she’d be out the door before 5:31.
One day in February, I remember waiting by the door for some reason and talking with Bambi, and she mentioned that on the previous evening, just as she was leaving, she saw the thinnest line of sunlight on the horizon. It was the first time that year that she’d seen the sun on the way home, and it gave her hope. The dream of spring was alive; spirits were lifted.
Last night I saw that same wee bit of sun as I left for my Thursday night tap class, and I thought of Bambi.
The only other thing I really remember about Bambi was that she loved the movie West Side Story. She was so pleased one day when it came up that I’d seen it many times as well. She was a teenager when it was first released, and saw it 17 times in the theatre. She told me it got to the point where she’d break out in tears over the opening credits, then cry all the way through. By the end she’d feel completely cleansed and ready to watch it again.
Some days, I think I need a movie like that in my life.
There was another receptionist there — she worked from 8 in the morning until Bambi came in at 9:30, and some days she’d work the full day if Bambi couldn’t make it in for whatever reason. She was younger and super cool and all the young women in the office wanted to be her friend. Her name escapes me right now…I want to say Janet? Or possibly Janice?
Anyway, Possibly Janice was only doing the reception thing to pay the bills; in her real life she was an actress and was constantly auditioning for commercials. She was in several commercials while I worked there. Her most famous was probably a Lotto 6/49 commercial in which she and her husband are walking through a large, empty house with an older couple, presumably the husband’s parents. At the end of the commercial, the parents say, “This is a lovely house,” and then Possibly Janice says, “We didn’t buy it for us…we bought it for you!” and they all celebrate.
Today sometimes I’ll see her on TV and get all nostalgic for those early days of adulthood, when I had my own little bachelorette apartment and a bathroom all to myself. Good times.