2011-03-09: It's The Heels



Date: March 9, 2011


Seriously, it's not the hours, it's the shoes.

"It's the Heels"

Midtown, NYC - Common Grounds

Midtown during the midafternoon seems like a swell enough time for coffee, or at least stealing one's daughter from school early in order for some family bonding, one-on-one time. That's what Harrison has decided to do, cover two birds with one stone, opening the front door for his daughter and allowing her booted feet to clomp forwards. In the meantime of watching the girl trundle off for the counter, he's holding the door open for someone to exit past and bringing up his free left hand in order to sweep off a knitted hat from his head, "Whoa there, Addy, slow down some." He still has to adjust from the change in temperatures, at least.

Post lunch rush and pre dinner rush, the Common Grounds had a modest, well-behaved crowd. It's just starting to trend toward the end of the school day, and a few highschool hookies/early-leavers/ditchers are hanging around and drinking their expensive drinks and feeling cool for it. A few older people hang out reading newpapers, novels, or just chatting, having nothing else better to do in their retired old-people lives. However, one of the patrons has taken over one of the four-seater tables, coat over one chair, bag on another, laptop open and papers spread out to cover the open space. Two empty paper cups sit on the table, while their owner, a smallish brunette, has her phone pressed to one ear, nodding and typing.

Harrison stands in place for a lingering moment while he busies himself with shoving his hat into a side pocket on his jacket. He purses his lips into a thoughtful smile at the sight of the usual crowd and then directs himself into following after his daughter who begins to try to disappear, trying her damndest in ignoring his last comment and concerns. While he weaves through a crowd of folk standing in line for the baristas, she places herself wordlessly at the aforementioned four-seater table in order to stare blankly at the woman and the phone. There's a glance given down at the papers and the laptop before she breaks into a smile. The ten-year old digs into one of her pockets and holds up a five dollar bill, "Excuse me. Hi, hi, excuse me. Do you have change for this much?"

Alexandra's phone call is put on hold for just a moment, while she looks at the little girl. Good thing that it's Alexandra she approaches and not, say, one of the dippy high schoolers or something. Maybe the only thing better would be the old people, but then painful cheek-pinching may ensue. "Well hi there! I…actually, I think so, let me check!" That of course, requires reaching across the table to that oversized bag that tends to balloon up more like a suitcase or overnight bag (but it's never been used as a carryon bag - go figure!). "Five ones, right? Because I don't have much change!"

Adelaide smiles all the more broadly, revealing that she's missing one of her teeth. Thankfully, it's not one of the front ones and merely adds to her ability to manipulate older gents and ladies. As it stands, she bobs gently back and forth on her boots and nods emphatically so. "Yes, please!" Harrison picks up on his daughter's voice and wades through people up until finding her holding up the five dollars and in the middle of bartering some sort of exchange with a woman. The man opens his mouth to speak up and then steps in closer, placing himself behind the pint-sized haggler in order to place hands on her small shoulders and smile apologetically to the seated woman. "Ah, I'm sorry, excuse her," he apologizes, "I hope she's not, like, being her usual nuisance-self." He looks down to the girl who looks up to him and pointedly adds, "Nope."

"She has a knack for interrupting boring conversations, anyway." Alexandra doesn't seem annoyed or anything when she looks up from little girl to the father. "Besides, half the places around here won't make change unless you buy something. It took me a while to get used to that myself." The transaction is already completed though, as the little girl comes away holding five dollar bills, and Alex has a single five. "Distractions come with the territory when you work out in public though, I guess!"

Alongside the woman's words, the girl holds up her shiny new five single dollar bills into the light and pipes up cheerfully. "Look, dad, I made five dollars." Harrison looks down at her again and then knits his eyebrows thoughtfully before glancing back up to the woman. At least she doesn't sound or seem to be annoyed. That is a definite plus in this city. "You didn't make five dollars. If I'm remembering correctly, you earned that five dollar bill this morning from chores. Now, let's see you get your things. I'll," he looks to the woman once more, "I'll be right here, okay?" With a light harrumph, the girl begins to walk to the end of the line - since she knows better than to cut in front of a bunch of people in fancy power suits.

In the meantime, the man gestures to the only seat not claimed by something of the woman's. "You don't mind, do you?" Harrison offers a row of whites in a smile. "I'll help distract from a boring conversation, hopefully."

"If you want to, I suppose." Alexandra seems a bit wary, but, maybe not as much as one would expect a skirted, tiny woman to be when confronted by a rather large man like Harrison. "But I should probably warn you, right away, that my boring conversations are pretty boring. This is all work. Consults, plans, proposed drilling operation diagrams, PIDs…and see? It doesn't take long for me to start speaking engineer-ese!" She gives a weird little chuckle, and sets back in her seat, holding up a finger while she tells the person still on the phone that she's going to have to call them back.

Harrison looks around casually to the shop proper and rather than stand about with them he would much rather sit with her, so there he goes in drawing the chair back just enough to easily slip into it. He shifts a touch further and checks on Addy before turning his attention back to the conversation at hand. "I don't know. I think I've had to endure worse, I promise. Engineer," he remarks before pointing out in turn, "Mechanic." He holds up his right hand then and politely offers it to the woman. "Jack, too, by the way, Jack Harrison, though most people like to call me Harry - old high school thing."

Alexandra's hand is substantially smaller than Harrison's, of course, a bracelet jingling around on the wrist. She appears to be taking advantage of the warmish weather - the tail end of winter, hopefully! - by going sleeveless. "Alex…well, Alexandra. Doctor Lambert, in some circles. Oh, but that's a phi-duh, not an mmm-duh." That little habit she picked up from her advisor over the years, to differentiate the degrees phonetically.

Perhaps in spite of his apparent size and potential ability to crush coal into diamonds with his bare hands his grip, though calloused from working with his hands, is respectfully firm and nowhere near life-threatening. He pairs the gesture with his lingering smile though it does have a habit of naturally fading. It's unconsciously done in favor of speaking up in reply. "A doctor's a doctor in my line of work," not much difference in his opinion, "I'll just be sure not to have you root about inside of me anytime soon, and just drive me to a hospital, if that's needed." He makes sure to check on Addy every other moment, protective as he is of his daughter, but in gesturing down at all of her work he asks. "Not building the next atomic bomb, I take it?" That doesn't sound like boring work.

A little chuckle is her reply to Harrison's question. "No…no, nothing of the sort. These are drilling plans and instrumentation diagrams for offshore rigs. I'm doing the signing on these particular schematics, so that if they explode or go the way of the Deepwater Horizon, I'm going to be held liable. As for doctoring? Well, the only things I know about that are some first aid, the Heimlich, and various home-brew treatment methods. There's a lot of them down south." That first aid skill was put to the test almost a year ago, during one of the strangest expeditions ever.

"Sounds important enough," Harrison intones quietly. He would rather like to enjoy the idea that there won't be any future huge, or tiny for that matter, oil spills and so he starts to speak up with a moment of interjection but then passes up the opportunity. While listening to her response he turns his gaze from her face and looks idly over the paperwork. It's nothing he can decisively say is coherent and understandable but like mentioned it's important so it catches his attention. "So," he points down to the schematics, "Are you sure I should be distracting you from this? You know, in case they explode, because as much as I would like to test your knowledge in first aid by choking on something and putting my life in danger…" He trails off with his light, teasing tones and smiles instead.

"This is like…check number seven or eight, at least. Each stack here is its own little project. I'm actually just rechecking everyone's math as it is. See?" She spins the laptop around to show the PDFs with said solutions on them, attached to emails, and included with the simulation files. "This probably looks like Chinese, on second thought." And really, is that math? There are a lot of letters, strange brackets, upside-down triangles, and fat dots in the equations. "After this, I have to make them all shiny and send them off to the home base, so that the people that hired us for consultation can do their own double checks."

Jack leans over just enough to make it all the more easier in looking at the laptop's screen. If it is confusing, which it is, he does well in not making it oh so noticeable. He instead offers a breathless laugh and stiff, faint nod of his head. "More like Japanese… and the only phrases of Japanese I remember are I love you and Where is the bathroom?, so," he ends up shrugging things off and sitting back upright, looking away in order to do his check-up on Addy who is now trying to best spend her five new dollar bills. He smiles. He looks over to Alexandra. "So you do this all day, every day?" Is he actually surprised? Yes.

"Usually, it's in an office. Tiny, but an office nonetheless. With all of these about to be finished, however, I decided to take the next two days off. Work from home, which is a little more comfortable. I just decided to stop here off the subway line on my way back, and before you know it, one coffee turned into two, turne into a few hours now." She scrunches her nose up a little, and gives each coffee cup a shake. Yup, both empty. "The worst part isn't the hours, though. It's the heels."

"I wouldn't know how heels feel, Alexandra. No offense," but he does happen to quite clearly be a man. Harrison flashes a smart little grin at that and then he looks over in the direction of the pair of coffee cups. "If you don't mind," starts the man after looking down to all of her work and before reaching into his back pocket, "Let me buy you another one? It's not every day I get to talk with a doctor, or see Addy barter dollars for dollars. Least I could do and all that." It's a simple explanation on his part while he finds his leather wallet from a back pocket. Speaking of Addy, the little girl is carefully walking back towards them with a pair of very large cookies.

"Not a doctor doctor!" she reminds him. "A fake one! With a doctorate!" And speaking of little kids approaching with big cookies, it seems only prudent to clear a spot there on the table by stacking some papers (perpendicular-like, to keep them separate), and to lay out some folded napkins. "If you insist though. Plenty of cream and sugar. Almost the same way I like my iced tea…well, minus the cream, but you get the idea!"

"Well, there goes bribing the kid into calling you Doctor Lambchop." He speaks up offhandedly and checks his wallet for spare cash, of which he thankfully has. A twenty is slid out and then folded between his right hand's index and middle finger, tucked into his palm and held there by his palm while he pockets the wallet and looks up to the entrance of said kid. "Today's your only chance at spoiling dinner this week, kiddo." She's far too busy trying to get settled to respond to her dad, especially after thanking Alexandra for the napkins. So he looks back to Alexandra. "Plenty of cream and sugar, just like your iced tea, is there anything else I should know?"

"I don't have cream in my iced tea. Just lots of sugar, southern sweet tea and all that. Also, coffee. Just regular coffee. Nothing foreign-sounding." Beyond that, it's not a big thing. Harrison is left to get the coffee, and Alexandra makes small talk with the little girl (no pun intended).

"Now that is an answer I love to hear." It's more about the tea than the foreign-sounding, but Harrison doesn't really need or want to elaborate on that point; nope, instead, he looks across the table to check on Addy and then look between the two in making sure nothing bad is going to happen in the process of getting a drink. He buys himself nothing special in particular and when returning he places the specially-made coffee for Alexandra. For the time being, Jack continues to stand. "I hope she isn't driving you batty." A moment later there's a girlish gasp of, "Dad."

"I would be having this with some chickory, but, that's pretty hard to come by in New York City coffee shops. In fact, it's in less and less coffee shops back home, from what I've seen." "And no, no. Not driving me batty. She was just telling me about classes and what have you. I guess you couldn't tell from the work, but I'm a bookworm of sorts. From time to time I even root through some of the old book shops around town for early editions of classic science texts. Sometimes it's funny to read and compare to how theories have changed." On and one, that's how it goes, rambling about work and school and books and coffee.

Harrison nods once and then he nods once more. "With a bit of skill and luck, a good circumstance or two, and maybe she'll end up like you." Good looks, smart brain, a bit talkative but that has never stopped someone from being likeable and impressionable. "Well, I might not be a fan of classic science texts but I do happen to enjoy a good book or two. So maybe I'll see you around. I should probably get her home though, just the two of us and all. So, see you around?" Addy is busy trying to collect her cookies, one half-eaten, and prepare to head out in the meantime of Jack offering his hand to Alexandra again.

Before the two of them depart, Alexandra shakes the man's hand one more time. "It's a big city, but you have no idea how often you do wind up seeing people again. It seems weird, but…well, trust me. And thanks for the coffee! It was nice to meet you!" With that, and a wave, the two are on their way, and Alex is back to work. Not just for today, but for the next few days too, likely!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License