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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream

Partner lunch today. I know, it conjures images of  a dark paneled conference room, glass pitchers of ice water quietly sweating, legal pads and interns that stepped out of the J. Crew catalogue. But here at DCL Agency, partner’s lunch is a tuna melt (with swiss on rye) at a neighborhood diner where the pickles are fat and the slaw is sweet. I gotta say I’m the luckiest motherfucker in the world with my partners. With all of my colleagues. It’s hard to explain because it’s not like we’re all Googly with po-mo offices and free grilled salmon and cous-cous lunches every day . It’s not like we play ping pong in the office and go on retreats where we reflect on e-book pricing and the fate of memoirs, or how to read a royalty statement. We don’t finish each other’s sentences, complete each other, or begin where the other ends.

What’s your agency like?

33 Responses

  1. At our partner lunches, we drink beer and shoot pool, debating if agencies and publishing companies are passé, and shouldn’t we just be dealing with Amazon and e-books, and bypassing the whole dinosaur-era bricks-n-mortar publishing establishment.

  2. Currently, my partner lunches consist of McRibs and Happy Meals.
    We’re all about how the other half lives.

  3. Two men in a tub. Long silences broken by the fog-muffled splash of oars. A deep bell at dusk sounding from the distant rocks. The clattering winch when the net is drawn in. Two coughs, three sneezes, a quiet belch and a ripping fart. The flat woody hammering home of the bung. The heavy wet thump of the hawser on the dock.

    • >>The flat woody hammering home of the bung.<<

      It took several passes over that sentence for my mind to haul itself out of the gutter and read that the way it was intended.

  4. Librarians in my neck of the woods go for the greasy-spoon burger joints and the hour-long bitch sessions about the AACR2, because they’re renaming it soon and what’s up with that?

    We’re all about the caffeine, the cholesterol, and the incomprehensible.

  5. Can’t believe Tetman said “2 men in a tub.” I was JUST wondering if I should say this, and now I have to. Betsy, I was walking by your building the other night when I realized that your offices share the same roof as the “Tubs,” the West Side Club! Did you ever try to go there at the end of an exhausting day?

  6. My firm is small enough that Secretary’s Day & Boss’ Day are both reasons for me to take myself to lunch. Not a bad deal until the check arrives and I have to pay that, too.

  7. I am a one-girl show these days. My staff treat me very kindly and I give them Friday afternoon off to go to the bar.

  8. Lord of the Flies.

    • It must be a franchised business plan – that would have described my first employer-after-college. Thanks for a needed laugh!

  9. Marley and me.

  10. Cripes I’d kill for a North American sandwich with a side of slaw.

  11. Well, the clients are on half term break now, so the catering and entertainment bills are going up. Not to mention my stress levels.

  12. Dog herding. I take myself out once a week for coffee and give myself a couple afternoons off to write when I get too crabby.

  13. American Psycho.

  14. I often work alone. It’s grueling, isolating work, no paycheck and few, if any, pats of encouragement for jobs well done. In fact, rarely do I get any credit at all. The flip side is that I never have to fire anyone and when something does go wrong, there’s usually no one but me to blame. Seeing as I’m not one for passing the buck, it all works out in the end but make no mistake. I’d give my left kidney for a Merry Maid.

  15. I just wheel my chair around and ask my husband which he’d prefer for lunch: chicken salad or tuna.

  16. We wrap. Greek wrap, Mediterranean wrap, roast beef wrap, turkey no mayo wrap, tuna with shredded carrot wrap. Occasionally a sun dried tomato shows up or a blob of goat cheese. Multi-colored flour tortillas died green, red, brown to deceive the health conscious. Wilted baby lettuce or spinach, mealy tomatoes, bag of chips on the side. Cut in half or thirds for mix and match.

    I’m sick of wraps.

  17. Wednesday is out to lunch with the girls and an afternoon of Mah Jongg. I’m using the word girls loosely here. We’re a group of eight long-retired elementary teachers. Average age–70ish. Number of artificial joints–in the double digits. Time playing mah jongg–not much. Time gossiping and laughing–much.

    On the other days I grab a yogurt from the fridge and do regular stuff.

  18. We tend to order in, eat at our desks, and then complain how the building’s bad air quality is slowly killing us.

  19. The particular “agency” I’m thinking of now includes my two writing friends. (Betsy’s blog is not a place where I want to discuss my day job!) On the average meeting, we meet in a coffee shop over mediocre tea and some smuggled treats to write and/or complain about how we can’t write. But last night we went out to celebrate one person’s major writing accomplishment. Maybe it was the second glass of wine or maybe it was the rain streaming down the restaurant windows, but I felt so fortunate to have these writing friends in my life. What I already have is one of the main reasons people get MFAs or suffer through awful writing groups.

    Now there’s just a hint of concern that one or more of us may eventually leave our city, thus breaking up our perfect little group. It’s best not to think about it yet.

  20. Kindergarten Cop

  21. We work remotely, as random and ignored as Keynesian animal spirits.

  22. My partners are two Newfoundlands snoozing in the corner. On a good day they get bones and I take a break for a vanilla Coke Zero at Happy Hour at Sonic.

  23. But I’ve gotta say, the po-mo offices and free salmon lunches are pretty sweet… 😉

  24. I am without representation, so my agency exist only in my mind. I see the head honcho as a crusty old bag. Weight gain has turned her eyes into slits. She was once gorgeous but all the pictures have been lost. Her associate has a chest that looks like she’s gassing up to cross the Atlantic and a bubble bottom that rivals Michelangelo’s David. To my dismay the associate only accepts romances. I’m reduced to bickering over my thriller with the battle ax who experienced her last thrill when everyone was in fringed suede.

  25. I have to stand on the table to get their attention but I refuse to dance for them. At least not on the table.

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